Daily Thoughts from Hebrews: A Pure Conscience

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 contrast to the Tabernacle ritual and sacrifice by the high priest of Aaron’s line, Jesus the Messiah, who came as the priest after the order of Melchizedek, provided a sacrifice, his own death, and the blood to sprinkle on not an earthly altar but the heavenly one, the real Holy of Holies or Most Holy Place.  And Jesus did not have to make this offer every year on the day of Atonement but made his offering “once for all” to secure eternal redemption.

Animal sacrifices were prescribed by God for His people as a picture of what was required for forgiveness…death.  The penalty for sin is death and unless you want to pay that penalty personally you need someone to be your substitute.  An animal was not an adequate substitute for a human but that animal, without blemish, pointed to the real substitute that God would provide, the seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15) whose heel the serpent would bruise, the servant of Yahweh on whom the iniquity of us all was laid (Isaiah 53), the Messiah.

If you have put your trust in Christ to rescue you your conscience should bear witness that it has been purified from dead works, works or deeds designed to merit God’s forgiveness but which cannot.  Your conscience should witness that in Christ alone you have found eternal forgiveness.  There is no more condemnation because Christ’s sacrifice has forever dealt with your sin issue.  He has paid the penalty you don’t want to pay yourself.  He was sinless but became sin for you (2 Corinthians 5:21).  You were sin-ridden but became sin free through his atoning work on our behalf.

THEY CRUCIFIED HIM with the criminals. Which is more amazing, to find Jesus in such bad company, or to find the criminals in such good company? … Jesus died precisely for these two criminals who were crucified on his right and left and went to their death with him. He did not die for the sake of a good world, he died for the sake of an evil world. – Karl Barth, Deliverance to the Captives

SINCE JESUS had no sin either in his nature or in his conduct, he need never have died either physically or spiritually. … Then why did he do it? What was the rationale of his death? There is only one possible, logical, biblical answer. It is that he died for our sins, not his own. The death he died was our death, the penalty which our sins had richly deserved. – John Stott, Our Guilty Silence

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