We live in a culture of self-righteousness and so we recoil at any hint that we need to be righteous. Political correctness itself is a kind of self-righteousness, smugly condemning those who believe in moral absolutes.
Scripture: Hebrews 7:11-28; John 17:20-26
- The typology of Melchizedek speaks to the power, clarity and authority of Christ’s priesthood.
- Christ Himself upholds the validity of the moral law in Matt. 5:17-19, so we must understand Heb. 7:12 to be speaking of a change in the law with respect to the old priesthood.
- Jesus is contrasted with the Levitical priesthood in three ways: He is of the tribe of Judah not Levi; His life is not of bodily descent, but from the power of an indestructible life; and Jesus’ priesthood was made with an oath (Ps. 110:4).
- The Levitical priesthood served to instruct us in God’s righteous wrath against sin and in our complete inability to atone for our own sin and guilt.
- We depend on Christ’s perfect and permanent priesthood to draw near to God (Heb. 7:19).
- To enter God’s presence we must strive for peace and holiness (Heb. 12:14; 1Pet. 1:15; Lev. 19:2). We become righteous by living according to God’s Word and after the example of Christ. However, we cannot do it (Rom. 7:19).
- We have a heart problem that is so serious (Matt. 15:18) that we need a heart replacement which only God can provide (Ezekiel 36:26).
- Only God can transform our hearts from the inside out, giving us righteousness that is by faith (Phil. 3:9).
- We live in a culture of self-righteousness and so we recoil at any hint that we need to be righteous.
- Political correctness itself is a kind of self-righteousness, smugly condemning those who believe in moral absolutes.
- We all seek approval from someone, and our culture has a phobia of guilt. Though we try to eradicate any sense of shame for our moral failures, our personal guilt is a theological problem that will not go away.
- The person and covenant law of God is the standard of righteousness in the Bible.
- The first man and woman were naked and unashamed, because they walked with God and were proud of living in the light of His approval (Gen. 2:25).
- After their disobedience they knew their shame, and tried to cover up their guilt (Gen. 3:7). Having lost God’s approval, the covering symbolizes their perverse attempts to replace His righteousness with self-righteousness.
- God in His mercy covered them. He had to sacrifice an animal to do so, which already hints at Christ’s sacrifice. (Gen. 3:21; John 1:29).
- The first type of righteousness is self-made: either we continually try to build up approval by our works, or in immoral rebellion we seek self-approval.
- The second type of righteousness is that which comes “not from the law, but through faith in Christ” (Phil. 3:9). To avoid self-righteousness and rebellion we need to put off our sinful selves daily, and to put on Christ’s righteousness.
- Paul regularly stresses the need to put on Christ as a garment (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 13:14). He is our ‘breastplate of righteousness’ (Eph. 6: 14).
- Christ saves us completely since He always makes intercession (Heb. 7:24-25).
- Trusting in Christ and clothed in His righteousness, we enter into God’s presence face to face without shame.
- What characteristics set Christ apart as the perfect high priest? What sort of priesthood and perfection is required?
- Why didn’t God send Jesus in the first place instead of instituting the Levitical priesthood?
- What benefits do we receive from Christ’s intercession?
- What is righteousness and why do we need it?
- Whose approval are we seeking?
- What standard of righteousness guides our lives?
- How can sinners be received without shame in the presence of God?
- How will knowing Christ’s approval change the way you relate to yourself and others this week?