Read Hebrew 10:1-10, and then verses 14 and 18 from that same chapter.

Lately, we’ve been focusing on our need to live with God and not just for God. God longs for intimacy with us, and this intimacy should be our goal in life. Falling deeper in love with the Father is what we should be striving for, but what about becoming holy and avoiding sin? We are called to follow God, how does obedience tie into this focus on intimacy?

The writer of Hebrews was telling his readers, mostly Jews at the time, about Jesus’ sacrifice for us. He explains that unlike the sacrifices dictated by the Law, Jesus’ sacrifice makes us perfect. This is the amazing gift of salvation we Christians have in God; we are “made perfect forever.” (v.14) But when it comes to sins that still make appearances in our lives today, we can be a bit like the Jews. We tend to take on a “for God” attitude yet again by trying to stop ourselves from sinning with our own strength and methods. If we could do it, Jesus never would have come. When we choose to focus on God instead of our sin, even when we’re trying to correct it, it allows God to help us and show us Who He is along the way. It’s like we’re filling ourselves with the Lord so there’s no room for us to think about anything else.

It causes us to focus on growing closer to the Father instead of just trying to be holy and pious. It also causes us to be holy out of love for God instead of out of an effort to earn His love. We should be focused on spreading our roots deeper into His love and growing even more attached to the Vine (John 15:1-17), and better fruit will grow as a natural result. And as we become more and more aware of His love, it causes us to love others more too.

Staying wrapped in God allows us to see that He doesn’t get angry at us when we sin, and He doesn’t hate the people around us even if they don’t know Him or try to follow Him. This simple fact was surprising for me when I first learned it, even though I was already trying to see God as the loving Father instead of the just Judge. God loves us so completely, flawlessly and mercifully that it astonishes everyone. Our Father loves that person you don’t. Our Father loves that person you struggle not to hate. The Boston bombers, the Pharisees, the terrorists, the annoying brats, the prostitutes—all people are loved by our holy Father, and He wants them to come to Him for love and forgiveness, total acceptance and eternal life, that His Holy Spirit can live in them and they can be a part of the bride of Christ His Son! But this took a sacrifice only Jesus could pay, and hallelujah, He paid it in full! Seeing that God loves these people as much as He loves us, and He longs to have a relationship with them like He does with us, and He wants to spend eternity with them too allows us to love these people. And if this doesn’t amaze you and fill you with wonder at the grace, mercy, and pure love of our heavenly Father, then maybe you don’t know how much He loves you.

So next time you see sin, whether in your life or someone else’s, run to Jesus. He will keep your focus on Him if you are willing and will help you overcome just like He did. Whether it’s looking over someone else’s mistakes to see the person on the other side or battling your own because you want to love God with all you are, our loving Father will be your strength always, until the day we never have to see sin again! Praise the Lord for that!

Thank You Father that this is true, You do love us all like that and want to hold us and guide us through it all! Jesus, You are the Way by which we are brought to God! And You are for everyone, no matter who that person is or what they’ve done. You long for us all to come running to You, my Father! Help me when I am struggling with sin to run into Your arms and let You rescue me! And when I meet people who have sinned, help me see how much You love them and their value in You, and help me love and value them too! Thank You for Your great love, mercy, and grace, by which I have been saved. And thank You for Your sacrifice on the cross for me Jesus my Lord! In Your Name I pray, Amen.