“From duty to delightful devotion”
- 11-14 Not made with hands
- 15-16 All things through Christ
Here in verses 11-14 the writer gives his readers the contrast to religion with its activity that had:
- Limited Value: No value in religious activity in and of its self!
- Limited Truth: No meaning in religious activity apart from what it pointed towards!
- Limited Reach: No ability in religious activity to change the heart or conscience!
The contrast is immediately apparent in the first two words of verse 11, “But Christ”! Jesus is the opposite of religion even when religion had its ordinances, ritual’s service and activity that was ordained by God because Jesus’ impact didn’t have “limited value, truth or reach” into our lives! Religion, (even God ordained activity) has a faulty motor inasmuch as it depends upon human activity of the worshiper to do what only God can do change the inward heart! All the activity of the worshipper can only affect the outer-man; it can do nothing to change the inward man. It can never clean clear or quiet the conscience. If it could then there would be no need for Christ we would be totally dependent upon our own religious activity. In this section we look at one of the most difficult aspects of the Christian life; Duty at the expense of Devotion! The writer is walking a fine line as he expounds upon what has changed it the believers service of God that the religious Hebrews didn’t want to abandon. Saints, our religious works will never work, to ease our troubled conscience, but those who have understood grace will be set free to serve not to receive love and forgiveness because they have love and forgiveness!
- 11-14 Not made with hands
Vs. 11-14 That’s why we Christian’s depend upon “Christ as our High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more permanent tabernacle not made with hands, that is not of this creation.” The new covenant, depends not on the activity of the worshipper but on the activity of Christ in our place! Because of this the affect of Jesus moves from the outward man to the inward man. When our conscience, is confronted with the value, truth and reach of Christ’s blood, it has nothing to say! In verse 12 we are told of three things that Jesus does in this “perfect tabernacle not made with hands”:
- “Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood”: First, Jesus’ service is in His own blood, not in the temporary sacrifices. The sacrificer was the sacrifice!
- “He entered the Most Holy Place once for all”: Second, He made His sacrifice of Himself only once, and that one sacrifice was more than sufficient for ALL people. That means that not matter type of sin or how often you sinned, accepting Jesus’ sacrifice is all we will ever need!
- “Having obtained eternal redemption”: Third, Jesus obtained a “permanent eternal redemption”. Because of this Jesus has cleansed us from “past, present, and future” sins once and for ALL!
All of our religious activity adds NOTHING to our acceptance before God. Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:6 that God has made us “accepted in the Beloved.” As difficult as it is for us to believe this: God doesn’t “LIKE US BETTER” because we serve Him, go to church, read our Bibles or pray! Some may argue that I just destroyed the motivation of doing those things; and I would argue that I just changed the motivation from fear to LOVE, from works to GRACE! God’s love has never been based upon what we do for Him, God loves us because He is love and that is what He does! Serving God is not our DUTY it is our DELIGHT! Nothing impedes our growth and maturity more that a guilty conscience. A guilty conscience is one of satan’s most effective weapons as he knows you will never draw near to God if you have a guilty conscience. If a Christian want’s to be victorious over the devil, you will need to accept the fact that the blood of Christ completely makes you acceptable to God. The glorious truth is that God the Father welcomes us into His presence NOT on the grounds of:
- Our successful spiritual progress
- Dedicated service
- Biblical knowledge
- Ability to say no to sin
Instead He welcomes us into His presence on the sole grounds of our acceptance of the blood of Christ cleansing us from all sin, past present and future! It is this truth that has far to often been a secret in Christianity that has enabled believers throughout history to overcome the satan as we are told in Revelation 12:11 that the martyred believers during the tribulation will overcome satan, “by the blood of the Lamb.” These future saints refused to wilt before his accusations of the devil and were, able to enjoy access to the throne of grace.
- 15-16 All things through Christ
Vs. 15-16 But what does all of this have to do with the blood of Christ? It is this aspect that the writer address in verses 15-23. In verse 15 he begins to address this saying, “For this reason He (Jesus) is the Mediator of a new covenant, by means of of death..” As I said a few weeks back the clearest way to understand a “covenant” is to call is a “contract”. There are many different kinds of contracts but the two which the writer looks at is a two-part conditional contract also called a “if-then” because it has terms that needs to be completed in order for the promises to be received. But if you look at verse 16 the writer refers to another type of contract that he calls a “testament” and he describes this type of contract by what must take place for people to be the beneficiaries of it has he writes, “For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.” So what kind of contract requires the death of someone for the beneficiaries to receive the promises? A WILL! The writer points out, that no will that is written that can bestow any benefits until after the death of the person who wrote the will. Jesus blood is inescapable; His death was not for his sake, but for ours. He was our representative. The cross is God’s way of telling us that there is nothing in us worth saving at all, we have no salvageable content in us whatsoever. He takes us and says, “There is nothing any of you can do for me, not one thing.” In 2 Corinthians 5:21 we are told that God “made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” This is Paul’s way of telling us that God says, “There is nothing in you that can please me; there is nothing you can do in your own effort that is worth a thing.” The Cross of Jesus eliminates us, from claiming any approval, we simply are NOT good people and we can NOT do good works to make up for our failures. This why our religious activity can not improve our relationship with God in the slightest degree. The truth of this destroys our pride. We Christians are not indispensable to God; He is indispensable to us. It is this great truth to that brings us to realize that: We are completely bankrupt to do anything for God, so that we can receive everything from him. That is why the writer says in verse 14, “the blood of Christ … purifies our conscience to serve the living God.” Included in the gospel is the truth that Jesus has made Himself available to us, to do everything in us. Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 5:24 “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” Jesus is the one who calls you to do something but He is also the One who intends to do it, through you. Therefore, we need to stop thinking that we have to depend on our intellect, our ability, our gifts, our talents, or our anything, and start realizing that we are relying on Jesus’ ability to supply what He asks us to do. That is what Paul said in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.” All of these “benefits” are available to us Christians but only if we relying upon the FACT that Jesus has died for these benefits to be released towards us! The “WILL” is NOT in effect if there is NO death of the benefactor. That was the problem with these religious Hebrews as they didn’t want to accept His death because that would make “null and void” all their religious activity making them a “special people”! If we refuse to accept this fact, then we will never find any lasting acceptance before God because it will always be conditional upon our religious activity. We will always be wrestling with whether we have done enough to be pleasing to God by our activity. But if we accept this truth we will move from DUTY, to DELIGHTFUL DEVOTION in our service. The writer of Hebrews will sum it up very well in his doxology in 13:20-21 where he writes, “Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”