There are some things we do over and over again: wake up, get up, brush our teeth, get washed and so on. It can be difficult to estimate how many times we do these things in the course of our lives, though many try, calculating how many hours we spend in the bathroom or asleep, for example! But some things happen much less frequently and some things are literally ‘once and for all’ events.

As we approach Christmas, that is one such event. We may celebrate it annually, but Christ’s birth at Bethlehem was a once and for all event. Similarly, His death happened just the once: ‘He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.’ (Hebrews 7:27 TNIV) There is no need for a repeated sacrifice, as happened in the Old Testament: ‘Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many.’ (Hebrews 9:28 TNIV)

There is another ‘once only’ event which that verse alludes to, though this one has not yet happened. The verse goes on to say ‘He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.’ (Hebrews 9:28 TNIV) As we celebrate Christmas, as we take Communion regularly and celebrate His once-for-all sacrifice for our sins, so we wait in eager expectation and anticipation of that ‘blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.’ (Titus 2:13-14 TNIV)

‘Once and For All’, Chris Tomlin