Jesus did something for us no high priest would ever do. He gave himself as a sacrifice for our sins. Hebrews 9:26 says, “…But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.” A 747 is better than a hang glider. A ski boat is greater than a paddle board. A typewriter cannot compare with a computer. The sacrifice Jesus made initiated a new way of relating to God far superior to the old. Hebrews 8:6 says, “But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises.”
I know a lot of guys who love to grill. When the weekends are nice, the wonderful aroma of burning meat fills the neighborhood. But, the grill at the tabernacle never stopped. The smoke of sacrificial offerings rose continually into the wilderness sky day after day. Hebrews 10:4 tells us why – “It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” It was a temporary fix, but could not answer the problem of sin in the human heart.
If you do something once and for all it’s conclusive, definitive, and final. Wouldn’t it be nice to change the water filter in your refrigerator once and for all? Or buy an affordable car that once and for all could generate its own power? Or, how about treating your lawn once and for all, making it weedless and green forever? What if our past failures could be covered entirely in perfect righteousness once and for all? Not only that but even sins we have yet to commit?
Jesus’ sacrifice for us was once and for all. Hebrews 10:10 says, “And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” We all know we’re not holy. We desire to please the Lord but fall short, try as we may. But the moment we put our faith in Christ we are made perfect. Hebrews 10:14 says, “For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” My position before God is one of holiness, even though my condition tells me I’m in the process of becoming.
Hebrews 10:18 declares the incredible outcome, “And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.” All the should have, could have, would have thoughts are no longer necessary. Feelings of guilt, shame, and regret are no longer necessary. You don’t have to punish yourself, making daily sacrifices hoping it will be enough to atone for your sins. It’s time to step off the cycle of defeat. Yes, you made a mess, but Jesus made a sacrifice. Get your eyes off what you did, and look at all Jesus has done.
I was in my early twenties, working with my dad as a worship pastor. As I began to stretch my wings in ministry, flashes of past failures would shoot across my mind. I wrestled with the fear that somehow God would punish me, that my future would be less than what it should be. When I tried to lead others into God’s presence the devil whispered in my ear. In my prayers, I asked God to forgive the same old sins. Then, one wonderful Sunday morning, while pleading in prayer once more, I heard God say in my heart, “Arlie, I forgave you already. It’s time to forgive yourself.” In other words, “Your past is under the blood. I don’t even see it anymore. Let’s move on to a better future.” Remember the sacrifice Jesus made today. If the blood of a goat was enough to cover a sin, how much more will the precious blood of Jesus cleanse us and make us forever righteous before God?