Archives For Atonement

When Jesus Sat Down

Mark Beuving —  October 22, 2013 — Leave a comment

Of all the actions Jesus performed, one of the most significant was sitting. I’m serious:

“After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high…” (Hebrews 1:3)

“But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:12–14)

Hebrews repeats this important concept: Jesus did what he came to do, then he sat down. According to Hebrews, Jesus played the role of both priest and sacrifice through his crucifixion. He was the priest offering the perfect sacrifice to God, and he was also the perfect sacrifice being offered as an atonement for the sins of humanity. In doing this, Jesus purified us from our sin and brought us to God.

And then he sat down. That was it. All that he needed to do. With his last breath on earth he declared “It is finished,” then he went back to the Father and sat down. When you make a perfect offering, you don’t need to add anything to it.

This has so much significance for our daily lives. Jesus has “offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins.” Your sins have been paid for. I know that we all feel unworthy of God. Sure, Jesus paid for my sins. Sure, Jesus has reconciled me to God. But I still feel like there’s something I need to do. I need to get cleaned up a bit.

But Jesus sat down. He made the perfect sacrifice—he’s the only one who could. And then it was done. So he took a seat. What more are you going to add to Jesus’ sacrifice? If God is fully satisfied with Jesus’ offering on your behalf, what more is he looking for? What is your effort to clean yourself up before God going to do, other than demean the perfection of Jesus’ crucifixion?

Our thankful hearts should lead us to do much for God’s sake. But don’t forget where you stand. You’re God’s child. Not because you deserve it, but because God received the perfect payment on your behalf. God’s satisfaction with you is not evidenced by your stellar obedience, but by Jesus’ seated posture at God’s right hand.

 

The weight of sin compounds until it becomes unbearable. It is at this moment that Paul cries out, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Rom. 7:24). How do we answer this? What is the solution to “the sin which clings so closely” (Heb. 12:1)?

Paul answers his own question in the very next breath: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” When we feel the weight of sin and its utter filthiness, when we see it staining everything around us, when we feel its terrible pull even within our own hearts, then we can truly appreciate what Jesus has done to deal with sin.

It is at this point that the “Sunday school” answers come alive:

 “By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh.” (Rom. 8:3)

“We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.” (Romans 6:6-7)

“But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet.” (Hebrews 10:12-13)

In part 1, I mentioned that Christianity alone has an answer for the problem of evil. How can God be both powerful and loving if evil exists? The answer is that human beings invited sin into the world, and that God is actively fighting against it. This battle with sin began the moment Eve ate the forbidden fruit, and God vowed that one day, her descendant would crush the serpent’s head (Gen. 3:15).

This is exactly what we find in Jesus. In offering “for all time a single sacrifice for sins,” Jesus dealt the fatal blow. The power of sin is loosed. The sting of death is removed. According to Hebrews 10, Jesus dealt with the problem of evil, then sat down at the right hand of God, where He waits for the proper time when all of His enemies will be placed under His feet.

Sin and evil are still realities that we face everyday, and we should not minimize their pull and the wake of destruction they leave behind. Sin still changes people’s lives for the worse. Yet Satan is a defeated foe, and his final doom is certain. The evil in this world still causes pain and suffering, and sin still “clings so closely.” But the moment Jesus rose from the grave, this world became a fundamentally different place. We are assured that sin will not have the last word.

Paul promises: “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Rom. 16:20). But that is the subject of the next (and last) post on sin.