Jesus Christ, Our Merciful High Priest

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Jesus Christ, Our Merciful High Priest

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Remember that Jesus Christ is the mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5 1 Timothy 2:5For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
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). One of the major themes of the book of Hebrews is to show how Christ carries out His sacred role as our High Priest—how He is "bringing many sons [and daughters] to glory" (Hebrews 2:10 Hebrews 2:10For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
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).

Many in Christendom rely on a false "grace" that is merely a license to sin—unaccompanied by true repentance, obedience and overcoming. Apparently many know little or nothing about Christ's present role as our merciful High Priest.

The primary scriptures

"Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren [referring to the Word becoming flesh], that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God [the Father], to make propitiation [an atoning sacrifice] for the sins of the people" (Hebrews 2:17 Hebrews 2:17Why in all things it behooved him to be made like to his brothers, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
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).

Sin has seriously damaged the human race. "Sin is the transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4 1 John 3:4Whoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
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, KJV). Sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2 Isaiah 59:1-2 [1] Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: [2] But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
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) and threatens our eternal reward. It is the implacable enemy of every human being and must be conquered. This task is not easy and never has been.

But Jesus knows what it's like to have human nature, to be tempted to sin, to be tempted to transgress God's spiritual law. "For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted" (Hebrews 2:18 Hebrews 2:18For in that he himself has suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted.
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).

Christ did whatever was necessary to resist the pulls of the flesh and temptations to sin. He never underestimated them. He prayed and fasted, but mostly He continually looked to and relied on the Father for help.

By never once transgressing God's law, "He condemned sin in the flesh" (Romans 8:3 Romans 8:3For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
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). In contrast, sin has tainted us, and one of our major goals as Christians is to learn to overcome its entanglements. Yet we cannot do this apart from our Savior, who told us, "Without Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5 John 15:5I am the vine, you are the branches: He that stays in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing.
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).

Notice Hebrews 4:14-16 Hebrews 4:14-16 [14] Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. [15] For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. [16] Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
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: "Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need" (NIV).

Christ is the author and captain of our salvation. "Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession [with the Father] for them" (Hebrews 7:25 Hebrews 7:25Why he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come to God by him, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them.
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). He now sits at the Father's right hand "to appear in the presence of God for us" (Hebrews 9:24 Hebrews 9:24For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
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).

What to do when we sin

Christians are to strive against sin and learn to conquer it with Christ's help and intervention. But it takes a lifetime of overcoming, marked by more failures than we would care to admit to others. Psalm 130 asks, "If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?" (Psalms 130:3 Psalms 130:3If you, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?
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).

The apostle John encourages us enormously with these words: "But if we walk in the light as He [the Father] is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin [nothing to overcome], we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins [to God], He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:7-9 1 John 1:7-9 [7] But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleans us from all sin. [8] If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. [9] If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
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). A biblical proverb says that the righteous man falls seven times and seven times gets up again (Proverbs 24:16 Proverbs 24:16For a just man falls seven times, and rises up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.
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).

However, this wonderful truth is not a license for us to sin. John cautions us: "My children, I am writing this to you so that you should not commit sin. But if anybody does, we have in Jesus Christ one who is acceptable to God and [as our High Priest] will plead our cause with the Father" (1 John 2:1 1 John 2:1My little children, these things write I to you, that you sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
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, REB).

Here John expresses the same basic truth as the book of Hebrews—a truth mostly lost to mainstream Christianity. One rarely hears of it in most pulpits. Many have no idea of what sin is. Some don't want to discuss sin because it makes people feel bad. Sadly, much of Christianity is mistakenly assumed to be only a celebration of what Christ has done for us—saved us from our sins without any need for us to overcome with God's help.

Paul reaffirms the wonderful truth that "it is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us" (Romans 8:34 Romans 8:34Who is he that comdemns? It is Christ that died, yes rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.
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). Both the Father and Son are actively involved in fulfilling Their purpose of bringing others into the divine family. It's your destiny.

Will you repent and accept this marvelous calling? Or will you cling to historical misconceptions shown to be false in the light of God's Word? The choice is yours.