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The Blood of Christ May 14, 2015

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Hebrews 9:11-28.

Summary: The author begins by stating that when God’s promise in sending and manifesting Christ in the flesh was accomplished, He did all of His work in His human nature. Indeed, He performed His priestly work by offering Himself – thereby paying a valuable ransom to deliver people from their bondage. The author then draws the following contrast to highlight the value of Christ’s sacrifice:

  • in the Levitical services, the blood of clean animals and the ashes of a heifer – mixed with clean spring water – purified sinners in a carnal sense
  • Christ offered Himself to God – through His sufferings – thereby purifying sinners in a spiritual sense.

The author then asserts that Christ is the mediator of a new covenant between God and men, where those He has predestined to receive His blessing shall receive it; this results from His death, which has delivered them from their bondage.

Now the author proves the necessity of Christ’s death for the establishment of the new covenant between God and men as follows:

  • the bequeathing of the possessions of the maker of a will only occurs after their death
  • the old covenant between God and men was solemnly separated for sacred use through blood; indeed, when Moses read the old covenant to the people, he consecrated it by taking the blood of animals that had been offered for burnt offerings and peace offerings, and he sprinkled it on the scroll where the covenant was recorded and on the people.

The author then draws the following contrasts between the Levitical priests and Christ:

  • while the blood of animals that had been offered for burnt offerings and peace offerings was used to consecrate the earthly tabernacle, Christ consecrated heaven by His sacrifice
  • while the high priest entered into the holy of holies on an annual basis, Christ entered into the real presence of God once
  • while the Levitical priests never offered themselves as sacrifices, Christ offered Himself – through His sufferings – as a sacrifice.

The author concludes by asserting that Christ will return from heaven to complete the salvation of the church.

Thoughts: This passage illustrates the power of the blood of Christ, especially in relation to the blood of the Old Testament sacrifices. It also spurred me to ponder Exodus 24:7, where the people of Israel bound themselves to the old covenant. Perhaps they were fully convinced at that time that they would be able to fulfill their obligations under that covenant. Yet they began to repeatedly fall short in that regard; my conjecture is that their responses to their sins fell into three categories:

  • some of them viewed their sins as minor issues in God’s sight; they assumed that as long as they offered the requisite sacrifices, God would forgive them
  • some of them were troubled by their sins and knew that offering the requisite sacrifices could not repair their broken relationship with God; they could not find a solution to this problem, and so they longed for death
  • some of them were troubled by their sins and knew that offering the requisite sacrifices could not repair their broken relationship with God; they trusted that God would provide a solution to this problem that transcended the Mosaic institutions.

Indeed, the members of this third group looked to the Messiah as the solution to their broken relationship with God. Of course, most of the Israelites looked to the Messiah as the solution to a political problem – especially when they were driven from their homeland by the Assyrians and the Babylonians. How were the members of this third group able to trust in the Messiah, rejecting the national consensus regarding His person and work? Perhaps God had predestined that they would choose to look to Him in the midst of their sinfulness, though I am sure that their kinsmen belittled them for their faithfulness.

In verses 27 and 28, the author notes that Christ will return to bring salvation to all believers. Owen offers some insights on this point:

Faith in the second coming of Christ is sufficient support for the souls of believers in their difficulties and trials. All true believers wait, with expectation, for the coming of Christ, and this is one of the distinguishing characteristics of sincere believers. At Christ’s second appearance all sin will be dealt with.

Owen’s thoughts reminded me of the importance of properly expecting the second coming of Christ. My viewpoint on this topic is that since we have been placed on Earth to advance God’s kingdom, it would be improper for us as believers to sell all of our worldly possessions, travel to remote mountaintops, and await the time when the clouds part and Christ descends to Earth. Since God has not revealed the time of Christ’s return, our time on Earth will be more fruitful if we work to advance His kingdom; moreover, if we are still alive when He returns, then He will find us to be (spiritually) “alert” – as opposed to being (spiritually) “asleep.” Indeed, God does not call us to ponder the return of Christ at every waking moment; instead, He will view our actions that glorify Him as actions of “expectation.”

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