by Mike Ratliff
3 Then Moses came and recounted to the people all the words of the LORD and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words which the LORD has spoken we will do!” 4 Moses wrote down all the words of the LORD. Then he arose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain with twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel. 5 He sent young men of the sons of Israel, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as peace offerings to the LORD. 6 Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and the other half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. 7 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!” 8 So Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.” Exodus 24:3-8 (NASB)
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 truth is known by the natural Man in his “heart of hearts,” but it is suppressed. 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. Why? There is that reminder within them that judgment is pending. This is why so many flock to seeker-sensitive or easy-believism “churches.” There they are stroked and made to feel good without having to deal with the real Jesus and the demand for repentance. 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 and why we believe it. I cannot think of better place to start than a study of our redemption through the blood of Christ.
11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; 12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Hebrews 9:11-14 (NASB)
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.
15 For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. 16 For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. 17 For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives. 18 Therefore even the first covenant was not inaugurated without blood. 19 For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “THIS IS THE BLOOD OF THE COVENANT WHICH GOD COMMANDED YOU.” 21 And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood. 22 And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Hebrews 9:15-22 (NASB)
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.
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. Romans 8:28-30 (NASB)
23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (NASB)
8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, 9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, 2 Timothy 1:8-9 (NASB)
10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10 (NASB)
What do the called receive? They receive an eternal inheritance. What is that? This is everlasting salvation.
7 In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. 8 Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. 9 And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, 10 being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 5:7-10 (NASB)
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.
23 Therefore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, 28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him. Hebrews 9:23-28 (NASB)
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?
19 Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling 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 (NASB)
Even so, come soon Lord Jesus!
Soli Deo Gloria!