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Devotional by Ray Stedman for December 21- A Burned-Over Place

Topic:A Burned-Over Place

For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own.
Hebrews 9:24-25

Ray Stedman devotion
Ray Stedman

The writer points out that the old system required endless repetition of sacrifice. The effect of these sacrifices never lasted very long. A man had to bring a fresh sacrifice every time he sinned, and once a year the whole nation had to offer the same sacrifice, year after year. The old arrangement required repetition. But the new arrangement is beyond time, as well as beyond space. The cross of Christ is a contemporary sacrifice, it was offered at one point in history, but the effect of it, the results and blessings of it, are available at any time, forward or backward from that point of history. What a great advantage this is over the old system!

I was born on the wind-swept plains of North Dakota. I remember as a boy sometimes seeing at night the flames of a prairie fire lighting the horizon, sweeping across the grass of those prairies. Such prairie fires were terrible threats to the pioneers who crossed the plains in their covered wagons. Often these fires would burn for miles and miles, threatening everything in their path. When they would see such a fire coming toward them, driven before the wind, they had a device they would use to protect themselves. They would simply light another fire and the wind would catch it up and drive it on beyond them, and then they would get in the burned-over place, and when the fire coming toward them reached it, it found nothing to burn and went out.

God is saying that the cross of Jesus Christ is such a burned-over place. Those who trust in it, and rest in the judgment that has already been visited upon it, have no other judgment to face. That is why Paul can write with such triumph in Romans 8: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus,” (Romans 8:1 KJV). In the realm of the spirit we have already been forgiven everything. We need now only to acknowledge wrong, confess it, and, the moment we do, forgiveness is already ours. We need only to say, “Thank you” for it, and take it.

Father, I pray that I may learn to rest upon this new arrangement and thus be equipped to enter into every situation, face any circumstance or any problem with the adequacy which is yours, available to me.

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Life Application

Are we burdened with continuing self-judgment for sin which is forever covered by Jesus’ atoning sacrifice? How does confession of sins free us to experience His forgiveness and rejoice in the judgment He has borne for us?

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