The Book of Hebrews – Jesus, God’s Plan

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“That is why, when Christ came into the world, he said to God, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings. But you have given me a body to offer. You were not pleased with burnt offerings or other offerings for sin. Then I said, ‘Look, I have come to do your will, O God—as is written about me in the Scriptures.” Hebrews 10:5-7

The plan from the foundation of the world was for God to provide redemption for His people. The Bible tells us that Jesus was the lamb slain before the foundation of the world. “It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days he has been revealed for your sake.” (1 Peter 1:19-20) The redemption of mankind was never “plan B”, it was intentional and thought out long before the world even existed. The sacrificial system was merely a type and shadow looking forward to the time when Christ would present His body as a perfect and holy offering. He came in the flesh with a human body that was prepared for this very purpose.

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) I wrote this on October 14, 2006, it was the year that my son turned 33 years old. It seemed that we were not going to have kids, then God blessed us with a son. There is no doubt he was a gift from God. He was a stabilizer in our lives. God always knows what we need. I believe that God has something special for our son. Just as you God had something special for your Son. As I think about your Son and how hard it was for you to watch your Son die for our sins. How special and great this was that you loved us so much that you gave your Son for our sins. My son is the same age as your Son was when He went to the cross. I cannot image what you must have gone through as you watched your Son die for us. How you must have struggled knowing all you had to do was send the angel down and He would not have to suffer but you did not because that was something you had to do no matter what. If you had stopped this from happening, we could not have what we have today.

The Book of Hebrews – Sufficient Sacrifice

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“If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared. But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year.  For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” Hebrews 10:2-4

One thing about the law was that it was great about building anticipation to the time of Christ. I imagine that every time a bull or goat was brought as a sacrifice, the people would stop and think about the promised Messiah, longing for Him to come; knowing that when He came there would no longer be the need for these endless sacrifices.

The Messiah on the other hand would be able to cleanse the entirety of mankind by the sacrifice of Himself. This is why the endless sacrifices served to bring a fresh remembrance of sin. It would prepare the people for Christ. In contrast to the blood of bulls and goats, His blood would take away sin.

When Jesus appeared, He did away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself. His blood was more than enough to cleanse the worshipper and bring each one into perfect fellowship with God the Father. This was what the sacrificial system under the law portrayed and looked forward to in Christ. Now that it is here, there is no longer a need for any other type of atonement. Jesus’ blood worked to cleanse us of sin, the first and only time it was given.

Just as the Israelites looked forward to Christ in anticipation, we can look to Christ, trusting in the perfect redemption He provided. We can rest assured that we are forgiven and accepted through Him alone and that His blood was more than enough to justify us in God’s eyes. Just as the blood of bulls and goats was an annual reminder of sin, the blood of Jesus reminds us that we are forgiven and free through faith in Him. What an amazing truth!

The Book of Hebrews – Insufficient Sacrifices

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“The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship.” Hebrews 10:1

Sin is man’s greatest problem. No matter what the religion is if it cannot deal with sin it is of no value. By nature, man is a sinner, and by choice, he proves that his nature is sinful. Why was the old covenant insufficient? After all, they were ordained by God, and they were in place for hundreds of years. Animal sacrifices could never completely deal with human guilt. God did promise forgiveness to believing worshippers, but this was a judicial forgiveness and not the removable of the guilt from the heart. People lacked the inward witness of full and final forgiveness. The old covenant was only an outward sign of forgiveness. It was not a cleaning of the heart and the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Rituals do not change our heart, only Jesus can change our heart and free us from the guilt of sin. While the new covenant brings permanent redemption through Christ, the old covenant only temporarily suspended the judgment of God.

 The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves To bring the point home, the writer draws attention to the fact that if they could have worked, they would have only needed to make the offering once, instead of time and time again. Pointing out that the one sacrifice would have cleared the conscience and absolved them from the guilt associated with sin. But this was not the case. This proves that the Law wasn’t the means to an end, the reality of it could only be found in Christ.

The Book of Hebrews – Man’s Appointed Death

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“And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, so also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.” Hebrews 9:27-28

We all have an appointment with death. As Ben Franklin said there are only two things that are sure in this world that is death and taxes. The reason we have an appointment with death and judgment takes us back to the Garden of Eden. God told Adam and Eve they would die if they ate the forbidden fruit. The reason for their death was disobedience. In their moment of rebellion, mortality entered the human experience. By virtue of our corporate union with Adam, our forefather’s sin and his experience of death became part of our experience.

Life is lived one time, then death and judgment; just as there was for Adam and Eve. Man will die and God will judge him. This directly relates to the work of Christ. He too was appointed to die once. He died one time and His death need never be repeated. Because He has died once, He will never come again to act as a sacrifice. Rather, He will come to bring final salvation to His people. Death is not just some natural process in the world. It is part of the divine judgment on sin. Death is a verdict. But this is not the end of the story. Because of the gospel there is hope.

God had a plan. “People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus the Nazarene by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs through him, as you well know. But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to a cross and killed him. But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip.” (Acts 2:22-24) Jesus conquered death and He will return one day, but not as a sacrifice. He is coming back to forgive sin. He is coming back to save those who are eagerly expecting Him.

The Book of Hebrews – Christ Abolished Sin

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“For Christ did not enter into a holy place made with human hands, which was only a copy of the true one in heaven. He entered into heaven itself to appear now before God on our behalf. And he did not enter heaven to offer himself again and again, like the high priest here on earth who enters the Most Holy Place year after year with the blood of an animal. If that had been necessary, Christ would have had to die again and again, ever since the world began. But now, once for all time, he has appeared at the end of the age to remove sin by his own death as a sacrifice.” Hebrews 9:24-26

This glorious truth rings out from the dawn of mankind until the time when our King will return to bring us home. This is the entire message of the Gospel, our sins are completely, utterly and eternally blotted out from all record and we are forgiven through the Lord Jesus Christ! This is why the cross was a complete victory, it was the means to forever deal, once and for all, with the issue of sin.

The writer of Hebrews stresses this truth so many times that it is impossible to miss. In fact, looking at the Scriptures as a whole, this is one of the most amazing truths that the Law and the Prophets foretold, Jesus talked about and the apostles wrote about. It is a theme throughout the entire Scriptures. Jesus’ sacrifice was so perfect and so complete that it only took one time to completely undo everything that sin corrupted. The more we realize this great truth the better of we are. “The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.” (2 Peter 1:8-9) Christ abolished sin so we can live in freedom.

The Book of Hebrews – Better Sacrifices

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“That is why the Tabernacle and everything in it, which were copies of things in heaven, had to be purified by the blood of animals. But the real things in heaven had to be purified with far better sacrifices than the blood of animals.” Hebrews 9:23

As I have researched and wrote these devotions in Hebrews, I have gained so much. I pray that you have learned why Jesus had to die on the Cross and sacrifice His blood. If you still have questions, I urge you to study and dig deeper. You will be blessed.

The Bible tells of the heavenly dwelling – perfect in all ways, but entrance to it comes at a cost – “But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life” (Revelation 21:27). In order to be accepted into God’s paradise, one must be cleansed by the blood of the Lamb. To reject His gracious sacrifice is to remain outside of God’s favor and outside of His eternal dwelling. Come to Christ, be purified through His shed blood, and be reconciled to God once and for all eternity. Jesus is the better sacrifice.

“Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself.  We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:20-22) God gave us His Word so that we all could understand His wonderful grace. Hebrews was given to the Hebrew people and Ephesians was given to the Gentiles. A purification is being accomplished in us which was only prefigured in the earthly sanctuary of the Old Covenant.

The Book of Hebrews – Purified by the Blood

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“For after Moses had read each of God’s commandments to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, along with water, and sprinkled both the book of God’s law and all the people, using hyssop branches and scarlet wool. Then he said, “This blood confirms the covenant God has made with you.” And in the same way, he sprinkled blood on the Tabernacle and on everything used for worship. In fact, according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified with blood. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.” Hebrews 9:19-22

Both the Old and New Covenants were put into effect by blood. The blood proved the death, thereby enforcing and enacting the will of the one who died. This is the only way that the Old or New Covenants could be in effect.  Leviticus 17:11 explains why the blood was used, “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life” (Leviticus 17:11). If the sacrifice did not die, the covenant was not in effect. The writer of Hebrews tells us this in verse 16-17.

Jesus’ blood was shed to usher in the New Covenant. His blood proved that a death had occurred thereby enacting His last will and testament. His blood was the price necessary for this will to come to pass, in other words, it put this covenant into effect. The New Covenant is not only the will of Jesus, whose blood ushered it in; it is also the will of God. Throughout Jesus’ time on earth He said over and over that His will was to do the will of the Father. He stressed that what He said was only what the Father told Him to say and He did only what He saw the Father do. His words and teachings were not His own but the words of His Father. “For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God, who sent me, not to do my own will.” (John 6:38) Jesus’ blood served multiple purposes, it enacted the Will of the Covenant and it was the cleansing agent for sin. If no blood was shed, there couldn’t be any forgiveness for sins.

The Book of Hebrews – Claiming Our Inheritance

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“For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives.  Therefore, not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood.” Hebrews 9:16-18

Obtaining a family inheritance only comes after the death of the family member and after the will is read. The will provides the guideline for how the inheritance is to be dispersed. The will’s originator is the one who dictates this by creating a last will and testament so that their wishes are known and honored. This is a legal binding contract and it is never put into effect before the death of the individual, although it exists in legal form before death. The same is true of both the Old and New Covenants. They were put into effect after death, and always with blood.

This is the truth about the Covenant we enjoy through Jesus. His death put the will of God into effect and made it legally binding and in operation. It is important for us to know what this Last Will includes so that we will understand what we have inherited through Jesus. To do this we must look at what Jesus said His mission, or God’s will for His life was. Luke describes this perfectly. “The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.” He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently. Then he began to speak to them. “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!” (Luke 4:17-21) Jesus came to bring us into fellowship with the Father through the gospel. The good news is that our sins are forgiven and paid for through Jesus, and that we have been redeemed and purchased back by His blood.

The Book of Hebrews – Jesus Gives Us Freedom

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“That is why he is the one who mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant.” Hebrews 9:15

Jesus has set me free. “So, if the Son sets you free, you are truly free” (John8:36) Some forty years ago a miracle happened in my life. I realized that I could not handle my life anymore, and I asked Jesus to be the Lord of my life. Just what does this mean? It means that I gave the control of my life over to Jesus Christ. I had made a mess out of my life and I needed help. I no longer wanted to handle my life. I am a servant now, an underling. I am just a follower that takes instructions and relied on the master’s power to see that the orders are carried out. Jesus gave me freedom. It is the freedom to just trust Him and follow His leading. I don’t always follow Jesus in all that I do. At times I get the feeling that I can handle it own my own. Then everything falls apart and I come back trusting in God. You would think that I would have learned in the past forty years that God knows the best for my life and He will provide just what I need when I need it. The benefits of letting Jesus Christ lead your life is too many to number. The best benefit of following Jesus is the freedom from the penalties of sin. We have the eternal inheritance that God has promised us. Not only do we have this wonderful freedom on earth, but we will spend eternity in heaven with Jesus.

The Book of Hebrews – Jesus Gives Life

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“Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer could cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity. Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins.” Hebrews 9:13-14

Jesus came to give life. This is an amazing truth. We once were dead, but Christ came to give us life and the life He gives is abundant. As I read this scripture, I feel the presence of God. I am so thankful that Jesus came to give me life. I do not know how I made it without Jesus in my life. I have trials and tribulation in my life, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus Christ is in control.

If the blood of bulls and goats sanctified the Israelites for the purification of the body, just think how much more surely the blood of Christ cleanses us. The Israelites only experienced a momentary cleansing and this was only for the outside of the body. However, Jesus’ blood works from the inside out. It purifies the heart of man, eliminating the eternal effects of sin and purging the conscience of the guilt and shame that results from sin.

This was possible because Jesus’ blood was unblemished by sin. He was perfect and sinless. He fulfilled the letter of the Law which qualified Him for being the perfect sacrifice. He became our sin so that we could have His righteousness. “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) The result for us is that we are able to serve the living God. We have been cleansed and our consciences have been purified from dead works. We stand before the Lord holy, righteous and completely justified. To God be the Glory!