Cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God
Hebrews 9:11-28 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; 12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
15 For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. 16 For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. 17 For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives. 18 Therefore even the first covenant was not inaugurated without blood. 19 For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God commanded you.” 21 And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood. 22 And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
23 Therefore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, 28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.
Again today, since we are comparing the old and the new covenants, we do it through the lens of what Jesus says in Matthew 5:17-20: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.For assuredly, I say to you,till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceedsthe righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” A jot or a tittle, refers to some of the marks used in the Hebrew language, similar to an apostrophe, a comma or a period. If these seemingly insignificant marks will not be left out of the law, certainly we should not eliminate words or phrases. We should not disregard or destroy the law or teach others to. Jesus fulfilled every detail of the law. He did not and does not destroy, eliminate, break or disregard them.
In today’s text it says: If the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? It is important that we know, understand and believe all that happens through Jesus fulfillment of the law. Not only are our sins forgiven, not only are we redeemed from sin by grace, but through Christ, our conscience is also cleansed from dead works so that we would serve the living God. The text also says: Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. The forgiveness of our sin was fully accomplished once and for all, the price was fully paid, it was fulfilled by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Yet what remains to be fulfilled is that we would walk in the cleansing of our conscience, serving God. Indeed Christ only suffered once, but if we continue in sin, we diminish the fulfillment of the cross.
The text says: For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. 1 John 2:1 says: My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate before the Father--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. Hebrews 7:25 says: He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. Jesus act of intercession, His sacrifice on the cross, completely fulfilled the requirements of the law for our sin. When He said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing,” (Luke 23:34) it was for the forgiveness of every sin. The intercession He now offers for us is to help us with every need. Hebrews 4:14-16 says: Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Jesus helps us when we are tempted to sin. For us, because of the fulfillment of Christ, we not only have the once and for all act of intercession of Jesus sacrifice on the cross and His continuing intercession and advocacy for us in heaven, but we also have the indwelling Holy Spirit, who Jesus said would teach us, guide us and bring all that He said to our memory. If we will walk by grace in the fulfillment of Christ’s covenant, we will serve God, we will keep His commandments and teach others the same. Our righteousness in Christ will not only be that we have eternal life, but also fully filled with the Holy Spirit, we will walk in the fulfillment of Christ’s new and better covenant, entering and walking in the kingdom of heaven here on earth, through Christ’s righteousness, fulfilled in us.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Through grace and the fulfillment of Christ may I live to serve You and walk fully in Your way. Amen.