Hebrews 9 and 10 are incredible chapters of Scripture. Both chapters were written to show us how superior the sacrifice of Christ is in comparison to our old form of religion. Chapter 9 shows how the blood of animals could not achieve the cleansing that was ultimately needed. Chapter 10 shows us how ultimate, victorious, and glorious the sacrifice of Christ is. We would be smart to return to these chapters again and again.
Let’s highlight a few things in Hebrews 9 before we camp in chapter 10 for a little while. Hebrews 9 describes early worship rituals for Jewish believers. They would have to offer sacrifices through the blood of animals to make themselves “clean.” In verse 9 and in verse 13 we see something very important about these sacrifices. Verse 9 says that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. Verse 13 says that these gifts sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. Both descriptions are extremely important.
No sacrifice before Christ was ever big enough, good enough, or final. They could not clear the conscience of the worshiper, nor could they inwardly clean the worshiper. There had to be sacrifices year after year, never ultimately perfecting the worshiper. Animal blood was basically a temporary cover-up. This is why Hebrews 9:14 becomes so pivotal.
“How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!” (Hebrews 9:14)
This is massive. Our consciences can now be clean. We can now be more than just outwardly washed. Blood has been shed that cleanses us forever and breaks the cycle of yearly, shallow sacrifices. How freeing this should feel! The blood of Jesus has accomplished what our empty efforts never could. Truth does not stop there, however. Hebrews 10 is packed with more goodness for us to celebrate.
Verse 4 and verse 11 in Hebrews 10 tell us something more about our shallow sacrifices. Verse 4 says that it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Verse 11 says that priests used to offer the same sacrifices again and again, which could never take away sins. Do not miss this: The sacrifice of Christ not only makes us clean, but it also takes away our sins. Sit on that thought until it sets your heart on fire. We are clean from what we have done, and we are free from whatever we may do. This sacrifice was enough.
I think it is fitting to end by pondering together on the finality of the cross. Verse 14 is an amazing use of words describing just how ultimate Christ’s crucifixion is.
“For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” (Hebrews 10:14)
One sacrifice has made God’s children perfect forever. Nothing can hinder the saving work of the cross. Anyone who has trusted in Jesus is perfect forever. Their consciences are clear. They are inwardly clean. Amazingly, their sins are taken away. God sees them as perfect. He sees them as perfect forever. A perfect sacrifice was needed, and a perfect Sacrifice was provided. No more blood needs to be shed.
“Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more. And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.” (Hebrews 10:17-18)
This is the gospel. Where our repetitive religion failed, a sinless Savior prevailed. You are clean, brother or sister. Your sins have been taken away. They are remembered no more. The sacrifice of Christ is final. Sacrifice is no longer necessary. Ponder that thought. Treasure that thought. Build your life on that thought. Amen.