Hebrews 9:11-14: A Better Sacrifice
Trying to capture my notes, my thoughts from our pastor’s sermon this weekend. He’s preaching from Hebrews – deep, rich – I especially love how the author of Hebrews ties themes from the Old Testament to our new and better covenant! You can listen to Pastor Paul’s sermon here.
But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!Hebrews 9:11 – 14
Christ entered a greater and more perfect tabernacle!
Christ came as a high priest of the good things that are now already here. (An aside – If you want to read more about Christ as high priest check out my notes from the two previous weeks – January 3 and January 10.). But notice that phrase – good things that are now already here! With His life, death, resurrection, ascension, Christ ushered in His new kingdom, establishing the new covenant! Moses hints of the new covenant when he tells the people, “Yet to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear (Deut 29:4). God speaking through Jeremiah says, “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people” (Jer 31:33). And in Ezekiel, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws” (Ezek 36:26-27). Jesus himself speaks of the new covenant at what we call the last supper, saying, ““This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” (Luke 22:20).
“Christ and his covenant are so much better! This is exactly what the Law-covenant was given to help us see… The Holy Spirit designed the old covenant to teach God’s people about what they really needed and to point beyond itself to something greater: a solution to sin and access to God.”Hunter, T., & Wellum, S. J. (2018). Christ from beginning to end: How the full story of scripture reveals the full glory of Christ.
As our high priest, Christ enters the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands. Last week our pastor provided insight into the original tabernacle – check out some of those details here. This greater, more perfect tabernacle is heaven itself!
“Things that no eye has seen, or ear heard, or mind imagined,Paul quoting Isaiah, 1 Corinthians 2:9
are the things God has prepared for those who love him.”
In fact, John records his final vision, the new heaven and earth – note the emphasis on God’s dwelling place, that He will dwell with His people! This new heaven and earth is a perfect “golden” cube, after which the Most Holy Place in the tabernacle was patterned.
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.Revelation 21:1 – 3
Christ enters the Most Holy Place by way
of a greater and more perfect sacrifice!
Christ does not enter the Most Holy Place using the old sacrificial system. That system was imperfect, incomplete. The blood of bulls and goats could only clean outwardly but could never fully, completely cleanse from sin. Israel was clean only until they were unclean again. Instead Christ entered the Most Holy Place by shedding His own blood. And His sacrifice cannot be repeated, will not ever need to be repeated because it obtains an eternal redemption – hallelujah! So powerful is this work of Christ on our behalf that we should be overwhelmed with joy!
Notice in that last verse, v. 14, that Christ offers himself through the Spirit to God. Here we see all three persons of the trinity reinforcing that Christ’s sacrifice represents the full divine plan for our redemption. And that redemption is complete – we are bought with a price, wiping our consciences clean with His blood so that we never again have to live with unresolved guilt. I don’t know about you, but I need this truth! It allows me to experience victory over past sins that Satan would use to taunt me, to steal my joy.
Over against all the charges which the law, Satan, and our own hearts bring against us, He takes upon Himself our defense. He comes to our aid in all our temptations. He has pity for all our weaknesses. He purifies our consciences. He perfectly sanctifies and saves all those who pass through Him to God. He prepares a place for them in the Father’s house where there are many mansions and where there is room for many, and He preserves for them the heavenly inheritance. Therefore believers have nothing to fear. … Hence we do not need a priest, a sacrifice, an altar, or a temple here on earth any longer.Bavinck, H. (2019). The wonderful works of God: Instruction in the Christian religion
according to the Reformed Confession.
And again, this is shouting ground. Look at the last phrase … the “so that” phrase! “So that we may serve the living God!” Christ’s work on our behalf is not just our “ticket to heaven,” not just so we can have clear consciences, not an end in itself, but His work on our behalf is so that we may serve God! We have been qualified to worship God, to bring Him glory, and to represent Him well in this world!
There’s a wideness in God’s mercy,
like the wideness of the sea.
There’s a kindness in God’s justice,
which is more than liberty.
There is welcome for the sinner,
and more graces for the good.
There is mercy with the Savior,
there is healing in his blood.
But we make God’s love too narrow
by false limits of our own,
and we magnify its strictness
with a zeal God will not own.
For the love of God is broader
than the measures of the mind,
and the heart of the Eternal
is most wonderfully kind.
If our love were but more simple,Frederick Faber, 1862
we should rest upon God’s word,
and our lives would be illumined
by the presence of our Lord.