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Daily Devotional | A Better Way: The Book of Hebrews | A cross with the sun rising in the background. Daily Devotional | A Better Way: The Book of Hebrews | A cross with the sun rising in the background.

Daily Devotional | Living in the Law’s Shadow

My two sons lived on the other side of the country for several years. Because it was too far away to conveniently travel, we would visit via video. It was a comfort to see their faces, but nothing could compare to being present in the same room with them.

The book of Hebrews contrasts the “reality” of Christ’s once-for-all offering of Himself with the “shadow” of the sacrifices of the Law, which were “repeated endlessly year after year” (v. 1). If the sacrifices of the Law could have accomplished what Christ’s sacrifice does, they would have “stopped being offered” and those who offered them “would no longer have felt guilty for their sins” (v. 2). But if the sacrifice of Christ is so much better, why bother with those of the Law at all? According to verse 3, their purpose was to serve as “an annual reminder of sins.”

In this way, the law paved the way for the coming of Christ. It was not meant to be an alternative or a substitute for Christ, but it was an anticipation of what Jesus would do for us. The Law showed the need for Christ’s offering.

The Old Testament testified to this need by anticipating Christ. Messianic Psalms, like the one quoted in verses 5–7, predicted aspects of His ministry. Specifically, these verses quote the Greek translation of Psalm 40:6–8 to emphasize the incarnation. Jesus took on a human nature so that we could be “made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (v. 10).

The reality of something is always better than a mere image. Now that Christ has come, we no longer need to live in the shadow of the Law. All the good things it foreshadowed are found in Him.

Go Deeper

Sometimes we try to gain victory over sin on our own. How does the reality of what Jesus has accomplished change our perspective?

Pray with Us: What is the purpose of the Law? The Law of Moses speaks about You, Lord, foreshadowing the things to come. Thank You for the reality of Your grace and forgiveness! Save those, we pray, who still labor in vain under the rules of the Law.

BY Dr. John Koessler

John Koessler is Professor Emeritus of Applied Theology and Church Ministries at Moody Bible Institute. John authors the “Practical Theology” column for Today in the Word of which he is also a contributing writer and theological editor. An award-winning author, John’s newest title is When God is Silent: Let the Bible Teach You to Pray (Kirkdale). Prior to joining the Moody faculty, he served as a pastor of Valley Chapel in Green Valley, Illinois, for nine years. He and his wife, Jane, now enjoy living in a lakeside town in Michigan.

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