- Chad Werkhoven
Hebrews 9:11-15 - Unblemished
Be reminded why Jesus' death & resurrection were possible in the first place.
Read / Listen
Read Hebrews 9:11-15
11 But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. 13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 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!
15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
Listen to passage & devotional:
Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 36
Q. How does the holy conception
and birth of Christ benefit you?
A. He is our mediator,
and with his innocence
and perfect holiness
he removes from God’s sight
my sin—mine since I was conceived.
Old Testament worship was a bloody affair, because God wanted Israel to know what so many of us as Christians have forgotten: that forgiveness requires blood be spilled. Had we kept reading Hebrews 9 for just a bit longer, we would have been reminded that "the law requires that everything be cleansed by blood, and without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness (v22).
But not just any blood will do. The way that the Torah describes it over and over, the animals offered to atone for sin had to be without defect, or in other words, they had to be unblemished.
This is a big reason why so many people missed the point when Jesus hung on the cross, and why so many Jewish Biblical scholars rejected the message of the gospel. They knew it would be impossible for any man to make payment even for his own sins, much less the sins of others, because every son and daughter of Adam has been born defective, being totally infected with sin.
And they were right.
But Jesus Christ is not just any man. Remember, "he was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary," and so he didn't share the same defect every other person inherited from Adam. Not only was Jesus born unblemished, that is, sin-free, He remained so throughout his life.
Because it conveys this concept, v14 is one of the most important of the entire Bible:
The blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, will cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death.
As you approach Resurrection Sunday, you've seen in this past week that the idea of Christ's virgin birth is so much more than an obscure doctrine that you can toss out if you don't like it. It is, in fact, the bedrock foundation that makes Christ's saving work on the cross and victory over death possible in the first place.
As if that weren't important enough, knowing that Jesus was born, lived and died, and came to new life unblemished results in huge additional benefits for you.
You've been put into a new covenant (v15). You were born into God's covenant with Adam in which you only gain ongoing life if you perfectly obey God (which you failed to do before you were even born). But Christ died as a ransom to set you free from that arrangement, and so as one who has been called to Christ, you will receive the promised eternal inheritance of the new covenant!
But understand that all of these benefits come with strings attached. You obviously can't continue to live in the sins of the world, but just as importantly, you can't just sit and passively wait for the promised eternal inheritance to show up. Circle the words 'so that' near the end of v14, because they indicate why you've been cleansed and set free: "so that you may serve the living God."
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our holy and perfectly righteous Father, who justly requires unblemished obedience
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Thank God for your mediator who had no defects and pray that you will serve the living God since you've been set free.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Matthew 2