The Superiority of Christ's Sacrifice
Christ's Superior Sacrifice
The epistle to the Hebrews is a book of contrasts. Christ is compared with angels, Moses, Aaron, tabernacle, and sacrifices, to name but a few. In our text, the author shows the unsurpassable excellence of the high priestly work of Jesus Christ. By contrasting the Old Covenant priestly sacrifices with Christ's New Covenant perfect sacrifice, we are encouraged not to revert back to legal sacrifices as outlined in Judaism. Instead, we must cling fast to the risen Messiah who is their only way to salvation. The sacrifice that Christ offers to God on our behalf is superior, effective and final.
Christ's Superior Sacrifice
The location, type and repetition all showed the imperfection of the law. In Israel, a high priest was appointed to represent the people before God. (Heb 5:1) But the actual time spent before God in the holy of holies was minimal; it occurred only once per year on the Day of Atonement. He presented animal blood before God since he could not offer his own, it being tainted with the corruption of his sin. God taught His people that animal blood is not enough. (Heb 10:4) These lesser sacrifices pointed to the necessity of a greater sacrifice. Christ entered the sanctuary of heaven with a superior offering of Himself, able to take away our sin.
Christ's Effective Sacrifice
The legal sacrifices could not put away sin, nor procure pardon for it, nor power against it. Christ by one sacrifice made the end of sin. There is no other way. If God could have found another door of salvation for the lost, would he not have kept His only begotten son from emptying Himself in taking on human nature and suffering on the cross? If your good works could save you, do you think Christ would have died? Only the God-Man could pay the penalty owed to God. Only God could cover the immensity of sin that separated God from His people. Only man deserved death through the sin of Adam. Therefore, the only sacrifice that would be effective in removing the sin had to be the God-Man.
Christ's Final Sacrifice
God doesn't punish twice for the same offense. If payment for sin is rightly offered, nothing more is due. Christ put away sin once for all on the cross at Calvary. This offering is completed once and for all. Compared with the repetition of the Old Covenant, Christ's offering is not to be repeated. Sin is removed with Christ's blood. Sin is put away. God the Father no longer condemns those who put their faith in Christ Jesus. There is therefore, now NO CONDEMNATION to them that are in Christ Jesus. If you wash in the fountain of Christ's offering, though you are crimson to the core, you shall be whiter than snow, for the Lord Jesus, by the sacrifice of Himself, has forever put away the sin of all who trust Him. Who are the "many" that Christ saves? They are those who look for him in every duty, in every ordinance, in every providence now; and they expect his second coming and are preparing for it. This is the eternal salvation for those who look for it.
MICHAEL C. FENIMORE, Lt Col, USAF, is a ministerial student, having studied at Greyfriars Hall in Moscow ID and currently in training at All Saints Church (CREC), Lancaster PA.