Have you ever known someone who needs kidney dialysis to live? Your kidneys act as very efficient filters for ridding the body of waste and toxic substances, and they return vitamins and other vital substances to the bloodstream. You need dialysis if your kidneys no longer remove enough waste and fluid from your blood to keep you healthy. Dialysis is usually required if your kidney function is down to 10-15 percent.
Hemodialysis is a procedure where a dialysis machine and a special filter called an artificial kidney are used to clean your blood. For most patients, dialysis is needed three times a week for approximately four hours each session. Most importantly, a dialysis patient needs hemodialysis for the rest of his/her life unless a kidney transplant is received. A dialysis patient continues to live, but not what we would call a “quality” life.
The example of kidney dialysis reminds me of verse 11 of our Hebrews passage today, chapter 10. “And every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.” The Hebraic priests daily performed their duties, offering up animal sacrifices on an altar for the various sins of the people. But the cycle never ended because God’s people then, like us today, continued to sin. Sin needed to be removed by their offered sacrifices just as kidney dialysis removes waste from a patient’s body.
In truth, the sacrifices were simply a reminder of the people’s sin. This is explained in verse one of this chapter. “The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.” Heb. 10:1 NIV
But Hebrews 10:12-14 NASB continues: “but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until his enemies be made a footstool for his feet. For by one offering He has PERFECTED for all time those who are sanctified.”
Praise to our Almighty, loving and gracious God. And to His Son, Jesus, our Saviour, the sacrificial Lamb who died for each one of us, once and for all. Verse 14 says Jesus’ death on the cross made we, who have accepted that sacrifice and entered into a relationship with him, perfect! Perfect! Through Jesus’ sacrifice, we appear pure and without sin to God.
“Now where there is forgiveness of these things, an offering for sin is no longer required.” Heb. 10:18 NASB. When we sin, we ask forgiveness of God, and through Jesus’ sacrifice, we are forgiven. There is NO NEED for daily offering of animal sacrifices by priests.
What then should be our response to this marvelous covenant (verse 16) God has given us?
“Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:19-25 NIV
- Draw near, fully assured of our purity before God
- Hold fast to our hope in God
- Stimulate one another in love and good deeds
- Assemble together regularly
- Encourage one another
Remember our introduction about kidney dialysis. When a dialysis patient receives the gift of a kidney transplant, from a donor, the regular three times a week dialysis ends. New life begins for the kidney recipient, a life of freedom to enjoy their loved ones, to travel, to appreciate each day. A kidney recipient is no longer tied down to the once necessary dialysis regimen.
Regular dialysis of the Hebrew people’s sins was no longer necessary with the gift of Jesus’ sacrifice. He was their donor; he is OUR DONOR!
Today, when we accept that gift through repentance and baptism, a cleansed and new life is “transplanted” within us. Praise God for the freedom we have in Christ.
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” Romans 8:2 NASB
Paula Kirkpatrick lives in Minnesota with her husband, and is a wife, mom, grandma, school librarian, and most of all, a child of God.