The Blood Of Christ
Key Verse 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!”
As we had been discussing all along, there are two tabernacles, one on earth and made by the hands of people, and one in heaven, untouched by human hands, which is the sanctuary of God. One is the replica of the other, and there are major differences. The earthly tabernacle or sanctuary is limited and imperfect. But listen to what the apostle says of the other in verse 11. “When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation.” The sanctuary in heaven is unique in many ways. It tells us which tabernacle our Lord Jesus is associated with. He’s associated with the better one, the greater and more perfect tabernacle that’s in heaven. He’s the Lone and Singular High Priest associated with the sanctuary in heaven. Why did he need to enter into the heavenly sanctuary, into this most holy place in heaven? As we said before, the high priest needed to enter the most holy place in order to present blood at the altar before God. That was the high priest’s work as the mediator between God and his people— the bearer of blood which atones for their sins. But while the earthly high priests offered the blood of animals at the earthly altar as atonement for sins, the Lord Jesus presented a different kind of blood all together at the heavenly altar in heaven. Verse 12 tells us that “He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood.” In other words, Jesus offered his own blood at the heavenly altar. Jesus sacrificed himself on the cross and offered his own blood on the altar in the sanctuary in heaven for the forgiveness of our sins. Why did he have to do that? Because, according to verse 22 “The law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” So Jesus shed his blood and offered it on our behalf.
Jesus offered his own blood as our high priest for many reasons some of which are listed in 12-15. Read verses 12-15. “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, having obtained eternal redemption. 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. 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! 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.”
First, Jesus shed his blood and offered it on the altar in order to provide us with eternal redemption. Look at verse 12 again. He says that Jesus “Entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption,” What does that mean? (15b) It means that through the blood of Jesus, he secured for us complete and permanent redemption. It is hard to miss the emphasis the author puts on the words redemption by making it an eternal kind of redemption. Perhaps any other kind of redemption done in the past had been temporary. The priests had to sacrifice time and again, and enter once a year into the most holy place of the earthly tabernacle in order to purchase forgiveness and relief for sinners. But it did not last, and the whole process had to be repeated year after year. But the moment Jesus entered the real sanctuary in heaven bearing his own blood, it was once for all time. And it was complete and it was permanent. Redemption for those who seek refuge in Jesus would be prefect and would never have to be repeated. Why is this so significant for us? Because many Christians still live and act as if their redemption is conditional, temporary, depending on their spiritual performance or lack of it. Many still live and act as if the redemption purchased through Jesus’ blood could be reversed or cancelled the moment they fall into sin. Eternal redemption literally means eternal, unbreakable, unchangeable, unrelated to anything we ourselves do, but everything to do with the blood itself that was offered on the altar on our behalf. Christians who have doubts about their own redemption, should repent and trust in the blood that was shed and offered on their behalf.
Second, Jesus shed his blood and offered it on the heavenly altar that we might be sanctified at heart, and cleansed in our consciences. Read verses 13-14. “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. 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!” The apostle talks about outward cleansing! And many people are only concerned about that. They care about how they appear on the outside. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they care about their own appearance, but they care about outward things that make them feel good about themselves and makes others see them as righteous people. They don’t see themselves as hypocrites but they see themselves as people who are really trying hard to please God with all the outward things they do for God and for each other and for the church. When John the Baptist was calling people to be baptized in preparation for the coming of the messiah, many came to him to be baptized. But John could see through to their hearts and said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” (Matthew 3:7-8) They wanted to be among those who were getting baptized. They wanted to go through the act of outward baptism. But that wasn’t at all what God was asking them to do through the message of the Baptist!
Jesus also talked about how well they clean the outside but they were not concerned about what’s on the inside at all. He said: “You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.” (Matthew 23:25-26) It’s the inside that God wants cleansed, and not the outside! When Paul wrote to the Roman church he reminded those who valued outward purification about God’s heart’s desire for us. He said: “A man is a Jew [meaning belongs to God’s family] if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.” (Romans 2:29) It’s the circumcision of the heart— that’s what God really wants. What God wants is not outward appearances or merely outward purifications. What he wants is inner change! And inner change requires repentance and faith in Christ. Inner change requires that the conscience be thoroughly cleansed from all the sins that pollutes it and make it unpresentable before God. For who can go before the Holy God with a corrupted conscience! One could be an angel in appearance and in actions but have a heart full of sins and desires that can’t possibly appear before God. To come into God’s presence we need our hearts washed and our consciences cleansed from acts and sins that lead to death. Why do people not understand the seriousness of this? Unless your conscience is cleansed from sin, you can neither hope for salvation nor to ever enter into fellowship with God? Why do people take chances with their souls, cover up their guilty consciences and then perish without hope!
Who or what can cleanse our consciences? That’s the glory of the New Covenant. It promised hope. In Ezekiel God promised these words to his guilt ridden people: “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. … You will be my people, and I will be your God. I will save you from all your uncleanness.” (Ezekiel 36:25-29) It was a hope that Jesus brought when he sacrificed himself, shed his own blood and offered it on the heavenly altar. If that blood touches your heart and life, it thoroughly washes you on the inside. Your heart will be clean because the blood of Jesus has the power to effect inner change and give you and me, and everyone who looks to be washed in it, what we could never do for ourselves! We cannot change ourselves. We can wash ourselves on the outside till we are sparkling clean and appear holy and righteous to others. But we cannot wash ourselves on the inside to appear before God eternally clean. Only the blood of the Lord Jesus can do this for us.
Third, Jesus shed his blood and offered it on the heavenly altar that we might be called by God. Look at verse 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.” The blood of Jesus has the power to effect one of the greatest callings in human history. Jesus had once said regarding his crucifixion: “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” (John 12:32) Ever since then everyone whose sins have been washed by Jesus’ blood and through faith in him have been mysteriously drawn to the Lord Jesus. We who are drawn to the Lord Jesus instinctively know that we belong to him. It was through his blood sprinkled on the heavenly altar that those who belong to him were called and blessed to belong to him, and set apart for his own glory. Our calling is not random nor does it rest on who we are or what we do. You cannot belong to him by your choice or by your works, no matter how righteous your works might be. God’s calling to belong to him rests on God’s grace through his shed blood. If it were not for the blood of Jesus sprinkled on the heavenly altar not one of us who are called to belong to Jesus would belong to him. You and I who belong to him are called to belong to him. Our calling is uniquely connected to that Holy blood offered in heaven. Some rejoice in their calling, others see it as a burden, and still others seem to be indifferent to it. But regardless of what your response to God’s calling is, we are eternally bound and indebted to Jesus’ blessed blood. It’s Most Holy Blood.
Fourth, Jesus shed his blood and offered it on the heavenly altar that we might receive an eternal inheritance. Look at verse 15 again. “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.” Jesus entered the heavenly sanctuary to offer his Holy blood so that we might finally receive that eternal inheritance lost to us at the fall of our ancestor Adam, but promised to us through the faithfulness of our God. The word eternal appears many times in the book of Hebrews, and three times in this short passage we are looking at today. We have a calling to belong to Christ Jesus and to act and behave like those who belong to Christ Jesus. In other words Jesus expects you to live and act like one who belongs to him, not like a selfish indifferent person who cares only for yourself. You should understand what this means; and if you don’t then you don’t really belong to him. But just as we have a calling to belong to him, we also have an inheritance that goes along with it. Jesus talked a lot about that inheritance in every sermon he gave. He talked about building up treasures in heaven rather than on earth. He talked about sacrificing much in this life for the sake of the one we have in heaven. He talked about invitations to his kingdom and how to prepare for them every day of our lives in this miserable world. Jesus talked about seeking first his kingdom and his righteousness— about forsaking your earthly possessions and giving them to the poor. In all these things Jesus’ heart was on your inheritance in heaven. Adam had lost us everything in a moment of rebellion against God’s word and God’s rule in his life. He lost us all the privileges we had in God’s presence and kingdom, and confined us to this world. He reduced our once glorious lives and inheritance to nothing but a fight for survival in a dog eat dog world. But Christ shed his blood to restore what we lost to us— That Eternal Inheritance— An inheritance that most people are so blind to, they can’t see past the few pennies in their pocket.
Look at what the author says in verse 15. Jesus “Died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed.” That’s what it cost Christ to restore our lost inheritance. Sins blind and bind people so that they cannot see past what they have in their pocket. Sin binds us to this world and blinds us to the kingdom of God. But Jesus’ blood has the mysterious power to set people free from the bondage of sin and to the blindness it causes those who give in to it. Some are so bound up by sin and blinded by it and blinded to it that they don’t even know what sin is and when and why they are sinning. That’s the tragedy of sin! The Bible clearly tells us who causes this tragic blindness. Listen to what the Bible says: “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:4) The god of this age is none other than the devil. And he binds people to the power of sin to keep them locked up in sin. And he blinds them to the truth that God made us for an eternal inheritance far greater than anything we can imagine in this miserable world, in spite of all its glitter. This world doesn’t make sense— Human beings content to live and die in the misery of sin struggling for what!
But powerful as he may be, there’s nothing the devil hates more than the mention of Jesus’ blood, because it’s the one power far greater than his own binding and binding power of sin which he exerts on all people. There is something mysterious about the blood of Jesus that this world cannot abide. To start with blood has always been important to us. Even before science confirmed it, the ancients declared that “the life of every creature is its blood.” (Leviticus 17:14) They even said that “The blood is the life.” (Deuteronomy 12:23) Indeed blood is precious, and powerful. There’s the blood of those who died for freedom, and the blood of those who died for faith. That’s powerful blood that has written history. But none could set free from sin. Then the Savior came, and his blood was different than any other. It is Royal blood for he is a King. It is Holy blood for he is the Son of God. It is willing blood for he is the sacrificial Lamb. It is loving blood for he is the Shepherd. That blood was most powerful. The moment it began to fall from his head and his side and from his hands and feet, the devil’s kingdom began to crumble. Why? Because every heart and mind Jesus’ blood touches, it frees from bondage to sin and opens eyes to see the world beyond where our inheritance lies. When the Lord Jesus told Nicodemus, “Unless you are born again, you can’t see the kingdom of God” and “Unless you are born of spirit and water, your cannot enter the kingdom of God”, he was talking about the power of his blood powerful enough to give him a new birth and a new life.
Fifth, Jesus shed his blood and offered it on the heavenly altar that— all this that we might serve the living God. Read verse 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!” There’s is nothing in this universe more precious than the blood of Christ. The blood of Christ gives us Eternal Redemption. The blood of Christ sanctifies our hearts, and cleanses our consciences. The blood of Christ restores our Eternal Inheritance. It frees us from the power of sin. We wonder with all these glorious blessings brought about through the blood of the Lord, yet there is still something marvelous in the mystery of the blood! The author of Hebrews tells us clearly that Jesus shed his precious blood “That we might serve the living God”. Satan’s strategy has been to keep us locked up in sin. And as long as we are bound by sin, our consciences are guilty. And no one with a stained conscience can fulfill his or her purpose to serve God. That’s why Jesus shed his blood so that our conscience may be cleansed, so that we might be able to serve God in our lives.
Christ shed his blood so that you and I can serve God with our lives. He didn’t shed his blood and deliver us from sin so that we might do nothing, but clearly so that we might serve God. Listen to what the apostle Peter tells us. “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. (1 Peter 1:18-19) God didn’t create us to live empty lives without meaning or purpose. He created us to serve his purpose. But we can’t do that if we’re living in sin or entertaining sin and our conscience is stained with it. Only the blood of Jesus redeems us, cleanses us, forgives us and restores our purpose to serve God. If you’re not serving God, you’d better claim the precious blood of Christ, the only power that can help you get up off your paralytic mat and serve God. There are many Christians who are paralyzed to serve God. Why? Perhaps they don’t regard the blood of the Lord with the respect and honor it deserves. They need to take off their shoes when standing on holy ground in the presence of the blood of Christ and claim it upon their hearts.
The Bible tells us that the righteous live by faith. We ought to marvel at and fully trust by faith the power of Jesus’ blood that sets us free not only from sin, but cleanses our consciences daily and restores us to the service of God. Every Christian is called to serve God. If we’re not serving God, perhaps you’re not honoring the blood of Jesus which he shed for that purpose. Today let us examine our hearts, claim his blood, and stand to serve the Living God with everything that we are and have. Amen.