On Pulling Back the Curtain of The Old and New: The Old Covenant and the coming of the New Covenant, we will look at the effects of Christ’s superior ministry. What Christ had done for us has effects in our personal lives, and we need to know the effects. When you are evangelizing people by discussing the gospel, and you ask them if they know where they are going if they were to die today. Often, they will respond by saying, “I don’t think anyone could really know where they are going when they die.” Therefore, there is this great cloud of doubt over most systems of religion in the world, and, of course, they are basing their “getting to God” on what they have done – the good works and the bad works. When you come to Hebrews 9, it boasters our confidence to know that our salvation is based on solid foundation, especially since it is all of God, not of us.
The New Covenant offers a superlative plan of salvation for sinful humanity. By way of reminder, the Old Covenant and its system of sacrifices and priestly order were powerless to take away sin, the worshipers were continually plagued by guilty conscience, they lacked peace, the old system gave restricted access to God, partial external cleansing, and limited pardon. The old system was incapable of bringing the Israelites into a permanent, right-standing before God. The Old Covenant was unable to take the blame-worthy sinner, who is usually overwhelmed by remorse and longing to be relieved by the oppression and tyranny of unrelieved guilt, and completely free them.
At this very thought, the Christian realizes how superior, to anything else, is this great salvation the Lord has given to us. No design of man could have accomplished, or designed, what God had done in this plan of salvation. A Christian can stand and declare, “I’ve been saved and my whole position has changed before God. I have gone from being unsaved to saved, from one of being condemned to being free of God’s condemnation.” In other words, we can know that we have been moved from one place to another place, and really say, “I am a Christian and when I die, I know where I am going.” We can say this with assurance, not based on our good works, religiosity, moralism, ethics, or anything but Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf.
When we realize that God did this, we realize that it isn’t simply the best solution to the human dilemma, but the only solution to the human dilemma. There are not many ways, paths, or religions to God. There is only one way, and it is a narrow way. Acts 4:12:
“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
We are saved from the just penalty of our sins against God that incurs His wrath. By reading Hebrews 9, you will get a fresh appreciation for the redemption that God has provided, and to see the practical effects of the New Covenant that comes into your daily life. There are four vital effects of Christ’s superior ministry, which He incurred on our behalf.
The first effect that Christ’s superior ministry acquires for us is a secure and good future, which is what most people are looking for. Hebrews 9:11:
But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands not of this creation;
For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near.
In other words, our future in Christ is a good one, and in Christ, we have one. Jesus, the God-Man, acquired what no priest could, and that was to appear in the very presence of God. The high priest could do it once a year for a short period of time, but Jesus comes into the presence of God for good. He does it on His own power by His own will on our behalf, not His own. So, the tabernacle Jesus entered was not a physical or a created tabernacle made from any materials on earth visible to the human eye. The heavenly tent is far greater than that which housed the earthly holy of holies.
Because Jesus entered the presence of the Father, it was all done, finished, and complete, and our future is filled with good things, not the fires of hell or the wrath of God because of our sin. It is filled with the good things that God is going to offer and give us, and the number of those things are innumerable. Though, one is a secured future.
Also, Christ entered an uncreated place. The old, earthly sanctuary was God’s prescribed method of approaching Him, so it did have glory and beauty. However, it was only temporary and operated until the time of reformation, or the time that Christ would set things straight by replacing the Old Covenant with the New Covenant. Hebrews 9:10:
since they relate only to food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation.
Some have called it a season of reformation or the perfecting of things, and it was connected to the time of Messiah. The Lord’s plan is still going on and it will culminate with His presence as King of kings and Lord of Lords in Jerusalem, which He will bring peace to this present world. Then, the Kingdom of God will come to earth completely, and the Lord will consummate all things, deliver the kingdom back up to the Father, and God will be All in all. Jesus passed through the created heavens in the incarnation, but this heaven is the uncreated place where God dwells. Now, the way into the Glory and Majesty of the heavenly sanctuary has been made known, or manifest.
We know the way, as believers, into the heavenly sanctuary – we know how to get there and how to enter there, which is the greatest news we could ever have. So, the question really is: how can I know the way to God and enter God’s presence? Jesus said to the disciples, specifically in Thomas’ response, John 14:1-6:
“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. 2“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3“If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. 4“And you know the way where I am going.” 5Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” 6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
You want to know the way? Come to Christ. Again, this is the effect of good things for a believer to know, with confidence, where you are going when you pass from this world. This is a great gift that God gives us, and it opens the door to all good things to come for His children. Our identity is totally changed in Christ since we are now Kingdom kids, have royal blood running through our veins, and we have the authority to be called sons of God. We are somebody in Christ, and He makes us a somebody by virtue and by being connected to Him as our Lord and Savior. Now, being born into His family and His kingdom, He makes us something, so this gives us great confidence. Today, we need that kind of confidence and assurance.
The second effect that Christ’s superior sacrifice acquires for us is our eternal redemption, which is the greatest one in all of Scripture. Hebrews 9:12:
and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
The author states that it is not by the blood of goats and calves. Meaning, Christ did not need two kinds of blood. The blood of goats was offered for the people’s sin, and when the high priest got ready for the sacrifice on the day of atonement, he first brought in the blood for the people. Leviticus 16:9:
Then Aaron shall offer the goat on which the lot for the LORD fell, and make it a sin offering.
Then, there was a second set of blood, and that was the blood of calves. Leviticus 16:11:
Then Aaron shall offer the bull of the sin offering which is for himself and make atonement for himself and for his household, and he shall slaughter the bull of the sin offering which is for himself.
In this passage, the term “himself” is used three times to emphasis that he was a sinner. He was to offer a sacrifice for himself before he could ever go into the presence of God. Symbolically, he would lay his hands on the goat, and transfer his sin to the goat and then send that goat away. The point is: Christ did not need blood for His own sins and then enter a second sacrifice with the blood for the sins of the people since He was sinless. Christ did not die for himself, but for us.
Some theologians have said, “Did Christ actually present his blood in heaven?” It doesn’t say in Hebrews 9:12 that he entered with blood, but by, or through, His blood, which is by the virtue of His atoning work at His death. Several reputable commutators have said that Jesus did not carry his poured-out blood to heaven, but used it as a means of expiation, or the sending-away of sin and then ransoming, or purchasing, us who were caught in the slave market of sin. He offered His own blood for us, not for Himself. Unlike the Levitical high priest who entered each year to offer animals blood, Christ entered once, there to remain and advocate for all believers. He did not enter there to leave and do it again, but He entered once, and it was complete and forever. Not only did Christ enter through His own blood, but He entered the most holy place once for all.
Remember, the day of atonement, or Yom Kippur for the Jews, reminded them of their sins. Therefore, everyday of the year led up to that day of atonement, and everyday reminded them that they were sinners. However, the fact that Jesus entered the holy place once for all screams for the once-for-all promise of God’s will to forget your sin, not to remember your sin. It is God’s will to forget your sin, and to put it behind you completely and forever so that our fellowship would be pure and clean with Christ. So, Christ entered the presence of the father and stayed there, never to return for another sacrifice since it is done once forever.
When Christ entered heaven, He had already obtained it, so it was done and complete. The Greek word, redemption, is the idea of buying something. For example, when we buy a shirt, we redeem that shirt. Of course, this isn’t in the same context as the Bible, but we are paying for it to set it free from that store so that it may adorn our body. Therefore, the understanding of this word is to buy something. The word lutro, another Greek term that biblically means redemption from the penalty of sin, depicts the release or liberation of a captive slave. In other words, the blood is the Lutron, or the ransom paid by Christ to effect release for sin and from sin and guilt. Romans 3:23-24:
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.
It is Jesus who is part of the process of buying, redeeming, or purchasing you from something. This word in Romans means a release effective by payment or ransom. Ephesians 1:7:
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.
It was the Psalmists who said, “No man can, by any means, redeem his brother or give to God a ransom for him. For the redemption of his soul is costly, and he should seize from trying forever.” In a very real way, no man could pay for the soul of someone else. That cost is too great and too large, and no church or religious system could do that. It is beyond the scope of any human being to be able to pull that one off, but that is exactly what had to be pulled off for our salvation. When you come to the New Testament and you read the beginning parts of the Gospels, you find words like in Luke 1:68:
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people.
That becomes a very key element to what the Word of God says. Now, here is the question: Who was the ransom paid to? Two major views say that the ransom was paid to Satan because he held fallen man under bondage. In other words, Satan was the kidnapper, who snatched us away from the Father’s house, and Christ came and paid a ransom to the devil to set us free. However, if that is the case, it would be the kidnapper who has the upper hand since it would be the kidnapper who set the ransom price, so if it was paid to Satan, then Satan would be the victor, not Christ. Therefore, that cannot be the correct answer, especially since there are specific passages of Scripture that tip that idea right on its head. 1 John 3:5:
You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.
The Lord came to lift away, remove, or carry from us our sin, and to send it from us. Now, the ironic thing is why do we wish to retain what Christ came to remove? We love our sin, and the very thing that Christ came to remove, we want to hold onto. However, the Bible is clear on stating that Christ’s mission was to come and to take away sin and remove it completely from you forever. Essentially, that was Christ’s job for us on our behalf. 1 John 3:8:
the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.
So, who is the victor? By looking at the passage, the victor is clearly, Jesus Christ. The devil is the originator and instigator of sin. He brought sin into the world, his works include opposing the work of God, he tempts people to sin, and enslaves them until death. He wants to build people from the truth, keeping people in darkness, and binding them so that they cannot get free. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil, which means to render his work inoperative and powerless. Jesus breaks the devil’s control by dying in the place of a sinner, becoming the satisfaction for the Father and the propitiation for their sins. Basically, Jesus’ atoning sacrifice dealt with the problem of human sin, and in doing so, destroyed the work of the devil forever. Again, Jesus paying the ransom to Satan is an incorrect answer or view.
In fact, the ransom was paid to God. God is the one who needed to be satisfied. When the Bible speaks of ransom, it speaks of that ransom being paid, not to a criminal, but to the one who is owed the price of redemption or the one who is offended, and the offended party in the complex of sin is the Father. Therefore, Jesus paid the ransom to the Father by offering Himself as a payment for us, and in doing so, made redemption for His people, redeeming them from their captivity or slavery.
This rich Word of God has a picture of redemption, or what the Bible calls in the Old Testament, the kinsman redeemer, a relative within the blood family that can redeem somebody or some property that a person lost most likely because they became poor. However, the concept is that of purchasing something for someone that could not purchase it for themselves. Leviticus 25:23-27:
‘The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me. 24‘Thus for every piece of your property, you are to provide for the redemption of the land. 25‘If a fellow countryman of yours becomes so poor he has to sell part of his property, then his nearest kinsman is to come and buy back what his relative has sold. 26‘Or in case a man has no kinsman, but so recovers his means as to find sufficient for its redemption, 27then he shall calculate the years since its sale and refund the balance to the man to whom he sold it, and so return to his property.
In ancient Israel, it was the custom for a family to take care of the debts of their relative members. If any member of the family became poor and that piece of property was to stay in the family, but that person had to sell it, his kinsmen redeemed it by buying it back for the person who had to sell the property. So, the kinsmen could come and pay the price that was owed to redeem the property back. Then, at the end of the year of jubilee, they would give the properties back to the supposed owners.
On an interesting note, the kinsmen redeemer had to qualify to buy it back. It was not about having good intentions. For one, you had to be a relative. Secondly, you had to be able to pay the ransom price, so that if you bought this for your relative, it would not put you in jeopardy. Thirdly, you had to be willing to pay the ransom price. In the Old Testament, Boaz acts as a kinsmen redeemer for Naomi and Ruth since they lost what they had when their husbands all died, so Boaz realizes their plight and he redeems them by buying it all back for them. Of course, all these examples in the Old Testament could be applied to the work of the Messiah in His atonement.
In the ransom that Christ pays, He works as a kinsmen redeemer for his people and purchases, for us, our salvation. We are so in debt to God with our sins that we could never pay it off, and that’s why hell is eternal. Then, our Elder Brother, as mentioned in Hebrews, pays the indebtedness that we have incurred before God, an unpayable debt, He buys us out of indentured servitude. By paying the price for our freedom, He restores us to our inheritance in the Fathers kingdom. Therefore, Christ came and paid the ransom to secure the release of His people, who are held captive to sin; then, Christ purchased eternal redemption to those who have been called to salvation by faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is our kinsmen redeemer, and He can pull off what no man could do – buy souls back – because He is God and He is willing. Christ was assigned to do it, and He did it for us, and completed it forever on our behalf.
Personally, this is the kind of theology that frees you on the inside, in your conscience, in the places where Satan wants to condemn you, from your history, and from the fear of the future. It lays you bare and open in the present to be able to say, “This is what my Lord did on my behalf because I would never be able to do it.” That is the love, mercy, and grace of God that is lavished upon us. A love that is overabundant and overflows for His children, so that we could have a relationship with him.
The third thing that Christ acquires on our behalf is a purified conscience, the inside of us. Hebrews 9:13-14:
For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, 14how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Under the Old Covenant, the worshipers were benefited in a very personal way when they followed the procedures for cleansing and offered the correct sacrifices for their sin. The sacrificial blood of animals removed their defilement and set them apart as holy unto the Lord, but only for the flesh. It did not free the conscious from the deadly guilt and all evil deeds. The conscious needs a far greater cleansing to put it at rest than the blood of animals. Though it cleaned the outside and set a person aside for that year period to have a relationship with God, it did nothing more. The problem is we sin so much that as soon as you stepped away from the sacrifice of the one atonement, you are already guilty. Regardless of the sacrifice for the constant sin, the person was guilt-written in their conscious all the time. Remember, it is the heart that needs to be cleansed and softened. God needs to remove that heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Therefore, the conscious needs a far greater cleansing to put it to rest.
So, we go from a lesser sacrifice to a greater sacrifice. The lesser sacrifice being the blood of bulls and goats, which was limited, but the greater sacrifice was a complete and total sacrifice, in fact, the solution to an inner-defiled conscious. It is the blood of Christ that cleanses us from all external and internal uncleanness and defilement, which incurs guilt. He cleanses the conscious, and the blood of Christ is God’s answer to man’s disturbed conscious.
People are guilty and rightly condemned by God because of sin and they don’t know where to go, so they start a religious system where they start doing good works and forming God in their own mind, a God they could control, would be pleased with them, and listen to them. Yet, it is no different than what Israel did. In Jerimiah, he says, in other words, every man is stupid and devoid of knowledge. Every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols for his molting images are deceitful and there is no breath in them.
Isn’t that what we do? We make up another way that could sooth our conscious, and keep it down a bit so we don’t feel so guilty, empty, and lost. However, it’s the blood of Christ that is the answer to man’s disturbed conscious. A person who comes to Christ can know that he is forgiven, and that is what soothes the conscious. You know you are forgiven because of what Christ has done by redeeming us from the market of sin, and took our sin and sent it away. Instead of remembering our sin, He forgets our sin, and we are forgiven by God. That is what calms your conscious down. Thank you, Lord, the God who created the heaven and the earth, that we can be right with you. Acts 15:9:
and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith.
The cleansing of the mind, emotion, and will that taunt us because of our sin, dirtiness, and defilement we have acquired while in this world. Titus 2:14:
who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.
That is what the Lord does, in fact, He must purify and cleanse you to allow you in to His holy presence. You cannot come in otherwise.
The fourth effect of Christ’s superior ministry acquires for us is a sanctified service. Thus, a purified consciousness leads to a sanctified service. In other words, you are saved and freed up from a guilty conscious to serve God. Looking back at Hebrews 9:14, dead works are all the formal, empty, false, legal observances, the self-invented works, and the religious system where men would seek to stand before God. God cleanses you from that and dead works too. All the dead works and things you try to do to appease God in your own mind, doing, and works, God will cleanse you from those things too since they could have never brought salvation but only damnation.
The road to religion is marked “heaven this way”, but ends in hell. Therefore, dead works further defiles a person, provides no ability to cleanse the conscious, and give no power to enable a person to serve God rightly and willingly from their heart. Some people hope that having done such things, that their good deeds will outweigh their bad, and that they would be accepted before God based on their merit. Isn’t that where all systems end up? People have in their mind that somehow God has these divine scales in heaven, and that their good works will outweigh their bad. However, that is all vanity, grasping after the wind, and none of those things could make you right with God. That is why they could never be assured of their foundation, but Biblical Christians can know.
We are cleansed to serve the living God. We go from one slavery, the slavery of sin, to a slavery of serving God. As mentioned before, slavery has to do with your master, and the Lord is a good master. We have received a new life that restores our fellowship with God so that we can engage in energetic services to Him. Meaning, services that counts for eternity. When you become a Christian, after conversion, your good works start. So, people are not saved by not being sincere about their own faith. They can be sincerely wrong, and most of the time, they are. God has appointed one way of salvation. Jesus came into the world to save sinners, and this is what is at stake for us: the eternal salvation of perishing people. If God rescued you from that, you must worship and serve Him. In fact, you have been created to serve Him – your ears to hear the word of God and your heart and will to serve God with all your might. In this world, the Bible tells us, that we will have tribulation and suffering, but the good things are ahead for those who know the Lord. We have a good future, eternal redemption, a purified conscious, and sanctified service. How great a salvation God has given us! There is nothing that comes near it, and that is why there is only one way, not many ways. Let’s pray:
Lord, Thank You again for the word of God. I pray, Lord, that you will continue to use it in our life to encourage us, teach us, and, Lord, to build us up in Your faith. Lord, I pray, that we not walk out this building today if we have not dealt with what your word says. Lord, let us be the kind of people that can know that we have eternal life because of what is written in the word of God. Lord, let us not just talk about it, but let us put it into action and service, and live for you, Lord, with all our heart, all our mind, all our soul, and all our strength. Just like the great commandments in the Old Testament ad recorded in the New, first to love You and then to love people. Lord, use us in that manner, and give us the confidence and boldness to live with gusto for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I pray this, in Your name. Amen.