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The Daily Word of Righteousness
Doing Away With Sin
Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. (Hebrews 9:26—NIV)
"To do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself."
We know from the Old and New Testaments that God's plan of salvation through Jesus Christ includes not only the forgiveness of our sins but also the removal of our sins. We know the Bride of the Lamb will be without blemish, not by imputation but by actual deliverance from sin as well as by the formation and dwelling of Christ within her.
But how and when will such deliverance and transformation be accomplished?
Two Possible Interpretations of "Do Away With Sin"
The ninth and tenth chapters of the Book of Hebrews argue that the new covenant is better than the old in that the new does away with sin—that which the blood of bulls and goats could not do.
But what does it mean to do away with sin?
It means one of two things: either it means the doing away with the guilt of our sin now and forever such that God does not see sin when we practice it; or else it means Christ intends to remove the presence of sin itself, our sinful nature, from us.
It appears to me that the great majority of Christian believers have been taught that the new covenant is a better covenant because the animal sacrifices under the old covenant did not really result in the forgiveness of our sins and now, under the new covenant, our sins actually have been forgiven. This is to say the new covenant does a better job of forgiving our sins than was true of the old covenant.
It may be true that only a small minority of Christians hold to the second interpretation, that the new covenant actually contains the authority and power to remove the practice of sin from us.
Actual Righteousness of Behavior
However, those who believe the new covenant is restricted to doing a better job of forgiving us and does not actually deliver us must admit that they also believe the new Jerusalem will be holy in terms of actual holiness of personality and behavior, not just righteous and holy by imputation.
In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16—NIV)
For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem's sake I will not remain quiet, till her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch. The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow. (Isaiah 62:1,2—NIV)
I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. (Revelation 21;2—NIV)
I think most Christians would agree the above three passages are referring to an actual righteousness and holiness of personality and behavior, not a salvation that consists only of forgiveness and imputed righteousness. Forgiveness and imputed righteousness cannot possibly shine out like the dawn nor can the nations see such righteousness.
To be continued.