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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

OUR OFFERING OF PRAISE

Hebrews 13:12-15 Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name.

Christians have an altar, as the preceding verse 10 tells us. It is not the altar found in the Jewish temple, but it is a spiritual altar on which our Savior, Jesus Christ, offered Himself as atonement for the sins of the world. Verse 10 also tells us that those that cling to the Jewish faith - those that continue to worship God from the temple altar - have no rights to the benefits of the sacrifice of the Messiah. With the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior, the need for temple worship was abolished, the covenant between God and the children of Israel was fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God came into existence through His Son, Jesus Christ. Both Jew and Gentile, bond and free, men and women; all have access to the atoning blood or our Savior. It is available only to those that believe Jesus to be the Son of God, and by faith, obey God's will, and submit to baptism for the remission of their sins. Those that are faithful, God will add to the church of Christ and they will immediately, and forever, become His children.

Under the Old Covenant, the blood of sacrifices, made for the atonement of sin, was presented to God at the temple alter, but the bodies of those beasts ...were burnt without the camp (or city) (Vs. 11). Verse 12, of the lesson text, tells us that in order for Jesus to become a complete atonement for the sins of mankind, He was willing to become the final, everlasting sin offering that God would require. Having been wrongly convicted by the Jewish authorities, Jesus, too, was taken outside the city of Jerusalem, to the hill of Calvary. It was there that He suffered and died - crucified on a cross, as if He were the lowest of sinners, so that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, and give all of God's obedient children the hope of eternal salvation.

Considered to be a malefactor, Jesus was delivered up to the Roman officials to be crucified (John 18:30). Bearing the cross on which He was to be crucified, Jesus went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst (John 19:17-18). Verse 13, of the lesson text, tells us that the Hebrew Christians, as well as all Christians, must go forth from all rebellious unbelievers, such as the Jewish Sanhedrin and the Romans that crucified Him, follow the path of Jesus to Mount Calvary, and carry our own burdensome cross. Jesus assured all of His followers this when He told them if any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me (Matt. 16:24).

By following Christ, and the will of God, we are assured that we will bear His reproach. Before His crucifixion, Jesus was beaten, spat upon, taunted and reviled. Christians must sympathize with his reproach, and when necessary, bear up under similar shame and reproach. Again, we have this assurance of Christian's persecution from our Savior. In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told all His followers, Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake (Matt. 5:11).

Referring to the Jewish holy city of Jerusalem, the writer of the Hebrew letter tells all Christians, that it was a doomed city - a city that would not continue, which did, indeed fall, and was destroyed by the Roman army. It is not this earthly city that Christians are to seek, but we seek one to come. The body in which our soul dwells is as transient as the earthly cities in which we physically reside. Our earthly life is but a pilgrimage. Like God's servant, Abraham, Christians are but sojourners here on earth searching for a city, which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God (See Heb. 11:8-11).

Earth has no resting place; death will not allow mankind but a few years to remain here on earth. For the hope of eternal salvation, we must seek that permanent dwelling place in the city of God, which is in heaven. Therefore, by Him (Jesus Christ), let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name. Christians are not required to make animal sacrifices. Our sacrifice is to bethe fruit of our lips - a continual offering of obedience and praise to God for salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ.