Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: The Work of the World's Great High Priest

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Here's a good question: In order to become the world's great High Priest, why was it necessary for Christ to take upon His sinless nature our fallen, sinful nature?

No sinless angel could have taken the job of being our high priest because he could never make contact with fallen humanity. In the illustrative sanctuary ministry of ancient Israel, "every high priest taken from among men ... can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray, since he himself is also beset by weakness" (Heb. 5:1, 2). A Levitical priest with a sinless nature couldn't help anybody. Only one who has fought the battle with sin and has overcome could relate.

The sacrificial lamb dies in place of the sinner, but that merely pays the penalty of his sin. It's a legal provision; his heart is in no way changed. The priest must minister conversion to the sinner's heart, taking what the lamb accomplished and relating it to him. The death of Christ has provided for us a "title" to heaven, but we must also acquire a "fitness" for heaven, or we could never be happy there. Ministering that "fitness" is the work of the high priest.

That's why it's impossible for us sinners to "overcome even as [Christ] overcame" (Rev. 3:21) unless we "see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, ... that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. ... As the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same. ... In all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest ... to make propitiation for the sins of the people."

All this could mean nothing to the sinner unless the High Priest "Himself has suffered, being tempted, ... in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin." Only then could anyone have the courage to "come boldly to the throne of grace ... [to] find grace to help in time of need" (Heb. 2:9-4:16).

The "judicial verdict of acquittal" proclaimed at Calvary's cross for "everyone" must be translated into the experience of "justification by faith," for "whoever believes in Him [shall] not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16; Rom. 5:16-18, NEB).

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: December 5, 2003.
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