Hebrewsby Robert M. Solomon
While the old tabernacle system of worship is a type (or a shadow) of the reality found in Christ, we can still learn many lessons from the old patterns. By looking at the old one, we can better understand the new order.
The sacrifice of animals was central to the old order. Blood had to be shed to bring about divine forgiveness and ritual purity. In the new order, blood is also a central reality. Christ has come now as our High Priest and what He does includes the ″good things that are now already here″ (Hebrews 9:11) as well as what we shall receive in the future through Him. We can experience His reality in the present even as it will be more perfectly seen in the future when He returns. As our unique High Priest, He goes not into the earthly tabernacle, but into the ″more perfect tabernacle″ (v. 11), making it possible for us to enter God's presence without the need for animal sacrifices (see Ephesians 2:6). Jesus enters the Holy of Holies in a way no other high priest could enter, not with the blood of animals, but His own blood-His own life, for blood is life (see Leviticus 17:11).
His blood is offered ″once for all″ (Hebrews 9:12), for unlike the old system, His sacrifice need not be repeated. It has permanent and eternally lasting effects in securing our forgiveness and reconciliation with God. In short, through the blood of Christ we have ″eternal redemption″ (v. 12). The blood of animals only brought outward ritual purity. It is the blood of Christ the Lamb of God that can cleanse our conscience and bring about true forgiveness and holiness. By the power of the ″eternal Spirit″ (v. 14), Jesus offered himself as an unblemished sacrifice to God (note how all persons of the Trinity are involved here). His sacrifice of himself on our behalf is able to ″cleanse our consciences″ (v. 14).
The blood of Jesus is able to provide not only pardon for our sins by removing our guilt, but also provides power to overcome sins that produce guilty consciences, ″from acts that lead to death″ (Hebrews 9:14). We are then able to ″serve the living God″ (v. 14), from hearts that have been made clean and kept clean by the power of Christ and His Spirit.
What does it mean to have one's conscience cleansed? Take time to thank the Lord Jesus for His gracious work.
Christ also rescues us from the power of sin so that we can be sanctified and made holy. How is this playing out in your life? Why is it important that justification (made right with God) and sanctification (made holy by God) are both necessary to really serve God?