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Description: Completely New in Christ
Completely New in Christ
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
Take your Bibles please, for a moment or two and look at Ephesians 2. And we’ve reached verse 15
and it runs like this, “By abolishing in his flesh the law of commandments and ordinances, that he
might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace.” Perhaps we could just
look at that first phrase, “By abolishing in his flesh the law of commandments and ordinances.”
I don’t know if you’ve had difficulty with the whole idea of the ceremonial law, and why the
ceremonial law was abolished and not the moral law. But it’s good maybe just to review in our own
minds together, the situation as well as we can put it in human terms, that our Creator faced when
he decided to make beings like himself who had free wills. And even though analogy is very
difficult in this situation, I’d ask you to think of what you would face if you decided to make
other human beings like yourself who had free wills.
You have the same character as our Maker and you, I think, would feel as responsible probably as
your parents felt. And you would certainly think, “Well, now if I make these people and I give them
freedom to do whatever they want, they can certainly do whatever they want to each other and to
anybody else, and is that what I want? I am going to sit here, and they are going to do what they
want, sometimes according to my will, sometimes against my will. Am I going to sit here and watch
what they do to each other?” And of course, we would have the same difficulty as our parents had
probably with us, and certainly as our Creator had when we think of that. We’d think, “Well no, I
can’t make things and release them into the universe to do whatever they want, and just sit here
free untouched by it all. No, that isn’t right. I’m a responsible person. If I make something,
I’m responsible for it. And I’m responsible for whatever my mind creates and however wonderful that
is or however terrible it is, I’m responsible for it. And I must face that responsibility.”
And even though that’s a pitiful explanation of what perhaps happened in our Father’s mind, yet
knowing the responsible person he has shown himself to be over the years for us, it’s probable that
he thought the same way. And he determined of course, there was only one real way in which he could
be totally responsible, and that was to make everything inside himself, so that whatever they did,
whatever these little free-willed human beings did, he, himself would bear it first. And indeed he
would bear it, so whatever death they determined to bring to others, he would bear it first in
himself, the full brunt of it. So that he knew absolutely and completely the consequences of what
his will had brought about. And so that as well, he could shield the other human beings in some way
from the full effect or the full consequences of those actions, be they a Hitler, or be they just a
murderer in New York City. That he in fact, would bear that first, and would filter through to
human beings here on earth only what they were able to face and endure.
And so it seems that, in some way that I’m sure is far deeper than what is expressed in those words,
our Creator committed himself to making us inside himself and to bearing whatever we did inside his
own body, indeed inside his own Son. And then of course, he obviously was faced with the great
question, “Well how then do these human beings ever learn that that is not the way I mean them to
live and that this is the way I mean them to live?” And the only obvious way was of course, if in
some way the mighty suffering, and pain, and death that took place inside him and his Son as a
result of the free will rebellion of all these human beings, if that could be somehow shown to the
human beings. But until that happened then, he had to in some way mirror the fact that these things
And it seems that that’s part of the reason why our Father set up a thing like the ceremonial law.
So that in some way at least one group of human beings would realize no, the Sabbath ‘is’ holy; it
‘is’ sacred to our God. It ‘is’ the day in which he rested, and it is a day to be respected. No,
it is wrong to kill; it is wrong to murder. And if you steal then you must offer a sacrifice
according to the ceremonial law, and by that we know that this thing is wrong. And somehow or other
this caused a great cosmic adjustment to take place inside our Father’s heart. And it seems that
that’s some of the reason for the ceremonial law.
And that’s why when Ephesians 2 says that Christ abolished the ordinances and the ceremonial law, he
abolished them because he himself died on Calvary the death that he had died before the foundation
of the world. And so suddenly we all saw the reality of what our actions and our behavior was
doing to our Maker.
So it seems that in some way therefore, the ceremonial law was put there by God to enable us to know
that the life we were living was wrong and that it had caused some great cosmic catastrophe in his
own heart, and in the life of him and his Son. And of course, ever since the death of Jesus, we
have known what that is. We have known that we all ‘have’ been crucified with Christ, and we ‘have’
been raised with him and made to it at God’s right hand. And so the heart of our Father is clear to
us all. And in a sense we do not need the ceremonial law any longer.
And so today, in a sense, this is the only ceremonial law that we have. This is the only sacred
ritual that we observe that brings home to us clearly the pain, and the agony, and the suffering,
and the mighty transformation in our own lives that has taken place, not even just on the cross, and
certainly not in the sacrifice of some bull or some animal, but the transformation that has taken
place in us inside Jesus himself, in his own flesh.
Let us pray.
Dear Lord, we realize we see only vaguely the mighty act of self-sacrifice that you have endured so
that we ourselves might be free, and might be free to choose, and might have a real choice. So we
bow to thank you Lord, for all that you have borne so that we might have the privilege of seeing the
kind of world that our own self will would produce, and yet also have the opportunity that you’ve
given us now to accept the mighty change and transformation that you have worked upon us in your Son
Jesus. So that we, this very moment, can step out of this fallen world, and out of this failed
existence, and can step into the perfect and victorious life of your dear Son our Savior.