Once for All
Read Hebrews 9:12-14 (ESV)
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, sanctity 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.
How is the sacrifice of Christ, different from the old sacrificial system?
Imagine living in the times of the Old Covenant. According to Leviticus 16, once a year on the Day of Atonement, the high priest would have to sacrifice bulls and goats on behalf of the people of Israel. Death was required as atonement for the sins of all the people. Numbers 19 explains the ordinance of the red heifer which states that an unblemished cow should be burned and its ashes stored outside of camp. Every time someone was deemed “unclean” due to coming into contact with the dead, the heifer’s ashes served as a purifying agent. The “unclean” person would go through a cleansing ritual that involved getting sprinkled with the heifer’s ashes.
This sacrificial system was ongoing. It had to be repeated because the sacrifice was never sufficient. Also, while the sacrificial system offered atonement for sin, it never provided direct access to God. Only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies, the place Most Holy Place in the Tabernacle, where the Ark of the Covenant and the mercy seat dwelt. No matter how many animals were sacrificed, God's people could never be in direct relationship with Him. Sin separates us from God.
But Jesus... Hebrews 9 explains how Jesus’ sacrifice was superior to the Levitical system. As our Great High Priest, He entered the Holy of Holies once and for all. His blood is infinitely more perfect and powerful and His ashes ultimately more purifying. When we trust in Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf, our sins are not merely temporarily covered. Our sins are forgiven. They are removed from us. We are washed clean by the blood of the Lamb.
Today’s passage tells us that Jesus offered Himself without blemish to God. He did not go involuntarily or against His will. He knew that His sacrifice was the only way for us to be made right with God. It was the only way to restore our relationship with Him. And He loved us enough to lay down His life on our behalf.
Friends, on the cross Jesus said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). All of our efforts and strivings to earn forgiveness are not only useless but they are not necessary. Jesus paid our debt with His blood. The sacrifice has been made. Once and for all. It is finished.
Jesus, thank You for loving me so much that You were willing to die for me. In You, not only are my sins forgiven, but my relationship with God is restored! It is finished. Amen!