by Mike Ratliff
Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD and all the rules. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the LORD has spoken we will do.” And Moses wrote down all the words of the LORD. He rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the LORD. And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.” (Exodus 24:3-8 ESV)
With the demise of the Biblical/Christian Worldview those of us who belong to the Lamb of God must stop assuming that our culture, our environment, knows or grasps what we mean when we talk about sin and God being Holy, Righteous, and Just. In Romans 1, we see that the natural Man knows the truth in his or her heart of hearts, but they suppress it. In turn, God gives them over or gives them up to a debased mind. This is spiritual blindness. These given over to their lusts and desires are no longer convicted of the evil of their sin. They lose their fear of God’s judgment. Over time, they become resentful and full of hate towards any who teach or preach the Gospel to them. This is why so many flock to seeker-sensitive “churches.” There they are stroked and made to feel good without having to deal with the real Jesus. Their religion, Christless Christianity, is friends of the world and eager to welcome those of other ‘religions’ except for those troublesome orthodox Christians who preach the whole Gospel, the Law of God, and the truth about sin and total separation from God for the unredeemed.
Therefore, we must become prepared for this time. We must become very familiar with the truth; therefore, we must become immersed in God’s Word. We must know what we really believe. I cannot think of better place to start than a study of our redemption through the blood of Christ.
But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. (Hebrews 9:11-14 ESV)
In Hebrews 9:1-10 we learn of the Temple and the work of the Priests as they served the Lord in their day-by-day service. Then the writer of Hebrews begins in v11 to contrast the work of Christ in our redemption with the animal sacrificial system of the Old Covenant. Christ is the high priest of the good things that have and are to come. What good things? His single sacrifice is superior in a superior heavenly tabernacle (the very presence of God). It is superior to all of the sacrifices done under the Old Covenant because it brings complete forgiveness of sins, eternal salvation, purified consciences, and direct access to God as we will see as we unpack the rest of this passage.
Why is it important that the conscience of the believer is purified from dead works to serve the living God? The Mosaic sacrifices did not affect the conscience, but Christ’s sacrifice purifies believers to their innermost being. The conscience is a vital part of our hearts. The Holy Spirit uses it to convict us of sin. He also uses it to give us an inner justification as we rest in Christ. Genuine believers receive a purified conscience at salvation. However, it must learn what behaviors are right and wrong. This is why it is so critical for Christians to become immersed in the Word of God. Blessed is the man or woman whose conscience is not seared and yet does not condemn them. This is only possible with a purified conscience.
Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. (Hebrews 9:15-22 ESV)
The New Covenant in Christ is mediated by Him revealing it and then by serving as its priest who offers himself in sacrifice (Hebrews 1:2; Hebrews 9:11-14). Who partakes of this New Covenant with Christ? This is those who are called. This is God’s electing call to salvation.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (Romans 8:28-30 ESV)
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 ESV)
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, (2 Timothy 1:8-9 ESV)
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. (1 Peter 5:10 ESV)
What do the called receive? They receive an eternal inheritance. What is that? This is everlasting salvation.
In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, (Hebrews 5:7-9 ESV)
From this we see that those who are called receive eternal salvation and the result of this call is that they obey Christ. This eternal salvation comes because of Christ’s death. It redeems them from the sins committed under the Old Covenant. Yes, that is right. The Law will judge all who are not believers. They are liable to it. The New Covenant is for believers alone. The promises of this New Covenant were instituted at the time of Christ’s death. His blood sealed it. Sin necessitates an atoning blood sacrifice (Leviticus 17:11) and Christ, being perfect, paid that redemption price for all those called by God.
Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:23-28 ESV)
The structure of the Old Covenant was of earthly things, which were patterned as copies after greater heavenly realities. The Heavenly realties always represent the presence of God. The earthly copies were purified with animal sacrifices, but the heavenly realties required a greater purification sacrifice, which was, of course, the blood of Christ. Jesus Christ walked this earth as the God-Man. He entered the earthly Temple during that time, but after His sacrifice on the Cross He entered into the heavenly realities. He is in the presence of God right now on our behalf. Think of that my brethren. He is interceding for us right now.
His sacrifice on the Cross was completely sufficient. It was once for all unlike the sacrificial system in the Old Covenant, which required daily sacrifices. Christ’s redeeming work on the Cross has put away sin. Of course, this is referring to all in the New Covenant, not those outside of it. Every one of us has but a single life before eternal judgment. There are no second chances. There is no Purgatory. What is this judgment? When Christ returns the final judgment will take place. His death was to atone for the sins of many. When He returns He will save His followers who eagerly await His return.
What are we to do who are His in this trying time in light of what Christ has done for us?
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:19-25 ESV)
Even so, come soon Lord Jesus!
Soli Deo Gloria!