The Cost of the Cross, part 3

Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. 14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:
16 “This is the covenant I will make with them
after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts,
and I will write them on their minds.”
17 Then he adds:
“Their sins and lawless acts
I will remember no more.”
18 And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary” Hebrews 10:11–16 (NIV)

In the days before Easter, I’ve shared three devotions that reflect on the suffering of Christ—this is the third. It may sound utterly fantastic, but just as there was a Temple on earth that had a most Holy Place, there was also one in heaven. On earth, once a year the High Priest would enter it with the blood of bulls and goats that God might forgive the sins of His people. *

Heaven, too, had a Holy Place where the right person could enter.  * Our God is so fascinating! He put this Old Testament system of sacrifices in place until the one perfect sacrifice was offered.

What was the hope of this great Sacrifice? Full fellowship with God. I really like the words: “has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” in verse 14. This verb “has made perfect” is one word in Greek. The tense of this Greek verb is used to indicate a completed, or “perfected,” action or condition.” *

To understand this, picture a spring flower garden. One could say, “I planted bulbs in the fall and now daffodils and tulips are coming up.” It takes time for bulbs to sprout and grow, but we plant them, and we wait in anticipation of the joy that the sight of their flowers will bring. God made you perfect in Christ. He very much understands that it takes time for us to grow to be as beautiful as Christ. But this is His intent for us: to grow and to bloom.

But God does not leave us to grow and bloom on our own power and strength. The Holy Spirit “testifies” to us (v. 15). The verb is present tense and it means: “‘to speak well of a person on the basis of personal experience—‘to speak well of, to approve of.’” * It’s amazing that the Holy Spirit has such a positive outlook on what He has, can, and will continue to do. It’s a beautiful testimony of God’s steadfast love.

“Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2, NIV).

“…the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. 7 But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. 8 The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still functioning” (Hebrews 9:6-8, NIV).

“They [the Jewish High Priests] serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: ‘See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain’” (Hebrews 8:5 NIV).

Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 417). New York: United Bible Societies.