I asked a friend about a new relationship that was beginning to blossom in her life. Her response was, “it’s complicated.” This a popular way these days to say that the relationship is not fully developed or trusted to be “the one” in which a life can be built upon. It’s also a way to say that there are some things that need to be worked out before the relationship can grow. How sad, in a way, that is it so complicated.
God’s Old Covenant traditions and practices with His people was a bit cumbersome to say the least. This passage in Hebrews touches on the some of the complicated directives from God in building a tent with a place for His people to come, a section for priests to offer animal blood sacrifices in atonement for sins of people and priests, and then a curtained off place for one priest to enter, once a year, chosen to enter to present all requests for atonement to God called “the Holy of Holies”. Whew, it was really complicated!
Then Jesus. The One and Only, sinless, became the once and for all sacrifice for all sin. God sent His Son to simply save us. God simplified the Way to a relationship with Him by sacrificing a part of Himself, Jesus, His Son for us. No curtains, barriers or animal sacrifices with a million rules of tradition. Only Jesus. Believe in Jesus and you will be saved from your sin was God’s simplistic New Covenant. Believe and you will be saved—forever!
AND “I will be with you always!”—Jesus’ promise.
There are not enough words I can write at this moment to express the gratitude I have for Jesus. Read for yourself, while tears of gratitude fall from my eyes and pure joy springs up from my heart and soul. Obvious faith in Jesus motivates this response when we think about the simplicity of repenting of our sins to Jesus, in His Name, which immediately brings us to the throne room in an intimate growing, simplistic, pure and holy relationship with God! Wow.
Hebrews 9, The Message
A Visible Parable
1-5 That first plan contained directions for worship, and a specially designed place of worship. A large outer tent was set up. The lampstand, the table, and “the bread of presence” were placed in it. This was called “the Holy Place.” Then a curtain was stretched, and behind it a smaller, inside tent set up. This was called “the Holy of Holies.” In it were placed the gold incense altar and the gold-covered ark of the covenant containing the gold urn of manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, the covenant tablets, and the angel-wing-shadowed mercy seat. But we don’t have time to comment on these now.
6-10 After this was set up, the priests went about their duties in the large tent. Only the high priest entered the smaller, inside tent, and then only once a year, offering a blood sacrifice for his own sins and the people’s accumulated sins. This was the Holy Spirit’s way of showing with a visible parable that as long as the large tent stands, people can’t just walk in on God. Under this system, the gifts and sacrifices can’t really get to the heart of the matter, can’t assuage the conscience of the people, but are limited to matters of ritual and behavior. It’s essentially a temporary arrangement until a complete overhaul could be made.
Pointing to the Realities of Heaven
11-15 But when the Messiah arrived, high priest of the superior things of this new covenant, he bypassed the old tent and its trappings in this created world and went straight into heaven’s “tent”—the true Holy Place—once and for all. He also bypassed the sacrifices consisting of goat and calf blood, instead using his own blood as the price to set us free once and for all. If that animal blood and the other rituals of purification were effective in cleaning up certain matters of our religion and behavior, think how much more the blood of Christ cleans up our whole lives, inside and out. Through the Spirit, Christ offered himself as an unblemished sacrifice, freeing us from all those dead-end efforts to make ourselves respectable, so that we can live all out for God.
16-17 Like a will that takes effect when someone dies, the new covenant was put into action at Jesus’ death. His death marked the transition from the old plan to the new one, canceling the old obligations and accompanying sins, and summoning the heirs to receive the eternal inheritance that was promised them. He brought together God and his people in this new way.
18-22 Even the first plan required a death to set it in motion. After Moses had read out all the terms of the plan of the law—God’s “will”—he took the blood of sacrificed animals and, in a solemn ritual, sprinkled the document and the people who were its beneficiaries. And then he attested its validity with the words, “This is the blood of the covenant commanded by God.” He did the same thing with the place of worship and its furniture. Moses said to the people, “This is the blood of the covenant God has established with you.” Practically everything in a will hinges on a death. That’s why blood, the evidence of death, is used so much in our tradition, especially regarding forgiveness of sins.
23-26 That accounts for the prominence of blood and death in all these secondary practices that point to the realities of heaven. It also accounts for why, when the real thing takes place, these animal sacrifices aren’t needed anymore, having served their purpose. For Christ didn’t enter the earthly version of the Holy Place; he entered the Place Itself, and offered himself to God as the sacrifice for our sins. He doesn’t do this every year as the high priests did under the old plan with blood that was not their own; if that had been the case, he would have to sacrifice himself repeatedly throughout the course of history. But instead he sacrificed himself once and for all, summing up all the other sacrifices in this sacrifice of himself, the final solution of sin.
27-28 Everyone has to die once, then face the consequences. Christ’s death was also a one-time event, but it was a sacrifice that took care of sins forever. And so, when he next appears, the outcome for those eager to greet him is, precisely, salvation.
YOU are Savior once and for all. Jesus, YOU are the reason we can come boldly to God in holy relationship with Him . There are no curtains, no barriers, nothing standing between us because of the once and for all time sacrifice of yourself on the cross in full payment of our sins. There are not enough words to speak of the gratitude that is in my heart. Tears come as I think about all you did for all of us who believe and follow you. You are indeed, precisely salvation. You are the reason for my obvious faith in You. I love you, Lord, heart, mind and soul. There is no one like You. You are my everything. You are Life forever!
In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen! I believe.