Once for All
Read Hebrews 9:11-28
So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever.
Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow 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. 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.
The high priest could enter the Most Holy Place (Hebrews 9:3), the innermost room of the Tabernacle, one day each year to atone for the nation’s sins. Their only access to God was through the high priest, who would offer a sacrifice and use the animal’s blood to atone first for his own sins and then for the people’s sins (see also Hebrews 10:19).
When the people in Bible times sacrificed animals, God considered the people’s faith and obedience, cleansed them from sin, and made them ceremonially acceptable according to Old Testament law. But the sacrifice of Jesus—the ultimate High Priest—transforms our lives and hearts and makes us clean on the inside. His sacrifice—once for all—is infinitely more effective than animal sacrifices. No barrier of sin or weakness on our part can stifle his forgiveness.
Though you know Christ, perhaps you sometimes believe that you have to work hard to make yourself good enough for God. But rules and rituals have never cleansed people’s hearts. By Jesus’ blood alone (1) we have our consciences cleansed, (2) we are freed from death’s sting and can live to serve God, and (3) we are freed from sin’s power. If you are carrying a load of guilt because you are finding that you can’t be good enough for God, take another look at Jesus’ death and what it means for you. Christ can heal your conscience and deliver you from the frustration of trying to earn God’s favor.