Today is our last in our series on the Reformation and the focus is on Christ alone. The writer to Hebrews helps the readers to see how the Jewish sacrificial system and all the Law is fulfilled in Jesus who is the perfect sacrifice for our sin. In our passage today Hebrews 9:11-28 we are encouraged that Jesus’ death cleanses our consciences from guilt 9:14. People can experience false guilt whereby they experience guilt for things which they have wrongly interpreted as being their fault. However, there is true guilt which we all experience. The Bible teaches that we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of Christ Romans 3:23 and we experience guilt because we have not lived up to God’s standards. The good news of the Gospel is that through Christ’s death our guilt is removed. This guilt and its accompanying shame is dealt with and cleansed based on the fact that Jesus’ death has satisfied God’s just anger at our sin. God’s anger is no longer directed at us because God’s anger and judgement has fallen on Jesus instead of us. This means we can approach God with confidence and enjoy Him and serve Him. In this passage there are 3 other phrases which capture the essence of what Jesus has done and achieved for us. In 9:15 Jesus is identified as our mediator meaning that He is the one who represents us to God. As our high priest he takes up the role of the OT priest who would make a sacrifice on behalf of the people for their sin. Jesus is qualified to be our mediator because He is sinless and also willingly offers His life as a sacrifice for our sin. Secondly we learn of the power of the blood of Jesus 9:22. Theblood of Jesus refers to His life - see Leviticus 17:11. Jesus’ blood means that Jesus has given His life and takes the punishment we deserve so we could be forgiven. Jesus’ blood shed is consistent with the OT teaching that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin 9:22. Thirdly we learn that Jesus’ death is once for all 9:28. In the OT the High Priest had to repeat the sacrifices each year because these sacrifices were not an end in themselves but pointed to the need of a perfect sacrifice that Jesus would bring. The sacrifice of Jesus is powerful and effective because He sat down at the right hand side of God Hebrews 12:2. This is a very important truth because we are reminded that nothing can be added to the death of Jesus. Indeed at the cross Jesus called out It is finished John 19:30 meaning that He had completed the work of salvation. God encourages us to rest in what He has done not what we do. The death of Jesus means that you are justified before God. The reformers also taught that there is something else wonderful which the Lord does. In 2 Corinthians 5:17 we are joined to Christ through faith in His death. The Holy Spirit applies the work of the Cross to our lives and so we experience Jesus as the lover of our soul. This work of Christ leads to an intimate relationship and rejoicing in God’s goodness and kindness.
Rev David O'Mara