All right. Take your Bibles this morning and turn to Hebrews 12. We’re going to be looking again at Hebrews 12. I’m going to look at Hebrews 12:24 again in the Word of God because I kind of went fast last time in this area, and I wanted to go back because it’s such an important part of Scripture.
Before we go there I just wanted to say that we’ve been making a sharp contrast between the Sinai Mountain experience and Mount Zion in the Word of God. This is really meant to show show the drastic difference Christ makes in our approach to God the father.
In fact, if it was not for Christ’s sacrifice we could not approach God the Father and we would end up being at Mount Sinai under God’s judgment in fear and trembling.
Our approach is favorable. It’s welcomed by God. But only because we have been reconciled by Jesus Christ, only because we have a Mediator between us and God, and only because we have been sprinkled by His blood. We have been reconciled and have been made friends with God, the Father of Jesus Christ the Son.
That’s an odd phrase to call someone a friend of God. And yet that’s the point being made here in the Scripture that God wants us to know we’re friends of God because of Christ’s death.
And if you’re friends with someone, you don’t have to put on masks. You can be just who you are, but it does tell you that if you were a friend of God, it’s a different kind of friendship than a human friendship. God is still the Judge and He is still holy and so therefore we always have to consider that when we are approaching God. Already we have seen that the atmosphere is quite different between the mountains. One has an atmosphere of fear and the other has a festival atmosphere.
Always remember that Mount Zion must be appreciated as very different, because believers are brought to a place where they will enjoy close and delightful fellowship with God and constant access to Him.
So in Christ God becomes approachable. And together we discover that what awaits us is what the Bible calls Mount Zion. So, Hebrews 12:22 says:
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels.
And of course, those are all synonyms describing Zion and pointing to the reality of what’s ahead. When we get there, there is a myriad of angels. We share in joyful celebration alongside of angels, which is quite unusual and quite wonderful at the same time.
And then look at Hebrews 12:23, which says:
To the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect.
We will be that special group enjoying Heaven because of our union with Christ and the rights of the first born. Remember that in modern-day vernacular, the rights of the first born is when we get the full size inheritance. There’s nothing that’s held back from God’s children whatsoever.
This is true, and the truth always has a way of making one joyful when responded to correctly. Just think, we have come to membership in the city of God. This supplies us with the confidence and the endurance to run this race in a very doable manner as we’re thinking through what’s ahead of us.
So what’s at the finish line? Remember the fourth thing that I mentioned last week in the middle of verse 23 is that you have come to the God, who is the Judge of all.
Even though we have come to celebrate at Mount Zion, there is always a reminder of the serious certainty that we are coming into the very glorious presence of God, who is still the Judge of all. He is the God who will dole out precise and perfectly measured judgement wherever it is going to be needed. God will take care of everything. No one can escape before God.
And Hebrews 12:23-24 really does help us see why there’s an emphasis on a festival atmosphere because something has happened. Something has changed the position of the person who stands before God. Believers have been declared righteous and made perfect before the Father.
We see also the fifth thing in this verse is that the spirits of the righteous are made perfect. That word perfect could also mean “to bring to the goal,” or “to bring to the finish line.” And of course along with that, it does mean to be perfect.
We can’t get into God’s presence unless we’re perfect. And the only One who can make us perfect, is God Himself. In fact back in Hebrews 9:9, we see that it says:
Which is a symbol for the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience, since they relate only to food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation.
In other words that all these religious ceremonial things could never have made someone perfect before God. It had to take someone who would die in their place as a perfect sacrifice, an unblemished sacrifice who perfectly obeyed the Father. When you come to Jesus then it is Jesus Himself that makes you perfect so that also includes that there is nothing lacking in our relationship with God because of what Christ has done.
There’s nothing to prevent us from having access to God’s holy presence. There’s nothing that could hold us back, nothing at all. It’s all been taken care of. And of course that is great encouragement.
I was thinking the other day that Hebrews is such a deep heavy theological book. Sometimes you really have to put your thinking cap on when you are reading and studying through it.
God wanted us to know this and He wanted us to know about this. You know, I can give you a really nice story, make you happy and we can all have a good old time and walk out of here and never even get to a passage of Scripture like this and just go home.
But God said no. He wants us to know this and think about this. So last time I took in list six and seven as a package because I wanted to take you to Hebrews 12:25. I’m going to look at that one more time because I concluded in the message last time with a question.
And the question I started with and ended with is: “What do you think God will do if someone ignores or minimizes or sets aside or rejects God’s final revelation in Jesus Christ?”
What do you think he’ll do? That was the question because verse number 25 is pointing out the possibility of apostasy from the profession of the gospel. Somebody decides after hearing the message of the gospel to reject Him who speaks from Heaven. Now if someone does that what will God the Judge do? Look at what it says in verse 25:
See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven.
Moses was the mediator between God and man in the Old Testament in the beginning there. And remember when God spoke at Mount Sinai, the people said, “We can’t take it don’t speak to us anymore. But speak through Moses and so Moses could be the in between for us and God.” God’s presence was much too frightening.
It’s easier to deal with a man. And so when the people grumbled and complained, who did they grumble and complaint against? It was Moses, right? But actually they were grumbling and complaining against God.
So often when we think about Moses being the mediator back then it’s easy to forget that God is behind it all. Therefore we can grumble against the man and we can even curse men but if it’s really God’s representative here on Earth, then Moses was the mediator and he was speaking for God.
So it says in verse 25 that if they didn’t escape when they refused to listen to him who warned on Earth, much less will we escape who turned away from him who warns from heaven. So who is the one that warns from heaven?
Well the Heavenly Mediator is the resurrected Jesus Christ who is now seated at the right hand of the Father. And of course he sits there not only interceding for the believers, but he warns through the preaching of the Word of God through God’s final Revelation, which I’m preaching this morning. He warns from Heaven.
How do you think anybody would ever get away from God’s message of the Gospel, that this passage is really speaking of the absolute disastrous eventuality of cutting one’s self off from the grace of God. Therefore the only thing that is left is God’s judgement.
The Lord is no longer Savior to a person like that. He’s just their Judge, it is appointed once for man to die then comes the judgment of God. So without Christ, your people are in big trouble.
Christ does make the difference in every way, no matter how you want to put it. He makes the difference in making that important point.
I briefly mentioned Hebrews 12:24 last time, but because of its importance I want to go back to it. And that’s what I went through this morning. I want to go back to it because there’s someone else who also awaits us at Mount Zion.
Well before I even look at the passage, and I want you to turn to look there with me and your Bibles, we need to look at two very important things in this passage. This really provides the basis for believers having entry into the joyful Heavenly gathering at Mount Zion.
Both of them remain consistent not only within the book of Hebrews, but the entire message of the Bible concerning the person of Jesus Christ. Well, if you look with me at Hebrews 12:24, you’ll see what I mean.
It says in verse 24, if I go back to what we have come to we have come to Jesus. See that in verse 24? It’s interesting that the Bible is using the name for Jesus. The human name for Christ is Jesus, right? It is the name that points to his full humanity. It stresses from the first chapters of Hebrews that Jesus is the Son of God and is fully human, and of course He is fully God too.
He is the God Man and is in this unique position that no one has ever been in and no one will ever be in again. He is the unique Son of God that he is totally and completely qualified in this role as Savior to accomplish salvation. Jog your memory back to Hebrews 2:10 where he started out his message and he says this:
For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.
In other words Jesus is uniquely qualified to bring us to glory into the presence of God. Now, how does Jesus bring us? How does Jesus accomplish bringing us or bringing many children into the glory of God? Into the presence of God and into Mount Zion where we enjoy this tremendous festival that will be going on for all eternity?
How does He do that? He does it in two ways. In Hebrews 12:24, He is the mediator of the new covenant. It says again in verse 24:
And to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant.
The second way He does it is by sealing the covenant with His sacrificial death and notice in the verse it says “to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.”
Now, I explained a little bit about what that means and I’ll minions it again at the end. But I want to step back now and look at the first particular point that is is explaining to us how the Lord actually accomplishes bringing many children to glory.
And the first thing is by being the Mediator of the new covenant. Now I have to backtrack a little bit and go back to passages of Scripture in the early part of Hebrews to kind of bolster this up a little bit. You may have forgotten but the new covenant is unrestricted in its power, it is eternal in its duration, and it is complete in its effects.
In contrast with this, we have the old covenant. Which is limited, temporary and only partial. Let’s look quickly back Hebrews 8 for a minute and if you look at verse number 13 it says:
When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.
All that means is that the new covenant has replaced the old covenant and that’s an important point in Hebrews. The new covenant offers a superlative plan for salvation and for sinful humanity. This means that God will be able to complete save a human being as they come to Christ. The old covenant and its system of sacrifices and priestly order were powerless to take away sin.
Worshippers were continually plagued by a guilty conscience under the old system. They lacked the peace of God. The old system at best really restricted access to God, gave partial external cleansing and limited pardon from God. Remember it was a year-by-year thing where people had to bring sacrifices constantly. The priests were constantly offering up sacrifices to God and it never ended because people kept sinning. So you have to keep offering sacrifices and even then you walk away and you feel you’re forgiven, but then you sin again and there’s the guilt that comes with it. Then you go through it all over again.
So the old system was incapable of bringing anyone, especially the Israelites of course, into a right standing before God. They always felt like they could never feel right before God. They could never feel cleansed or perfect before God. The old system never brought someone to that place where you always felt that way or knew that that was the case.
It wasn’t the case that the old covenant was unable to take a blameworthy sinner, overwhelmed by their remorse and longing for release from the oppression and tyranny of unrelieved guilt, and completely set them free. It was unable to do that. It could not do that and it was never meant to do, which is a point made in the Word of God.
And so even those people in the Old Testament under the old covenant had to look forward to something that was going to happen over here. As a matter of fact, unless God’s promise to Abraham happened over here, and of course we know that included the Messiah, then of course they could not be saved. No one could be saved.
So it’s this very thought that comes to our mind when looking at the book of Hebrews that a Christian begins to realize: “Wow! What I understand and know is superior to anything else that had ever come before to anything at all. This so great a salvation that the Lord has given us has nothing that can top it. There’s nothing that comes close to it that makes a Christian stand and declare that they have been saved.
A Christian can now say, “I have been born again and my whole position before God has changed from one of being unsaved under God’s wrath and condemned, to one of being saved. I can say that I am free from condemnation.”
There’s no condemnation against God’s children at all whatsoever. In other words, we are moved from one place to another. We are moved from the place of not being a Christian to becoming a real genuine Christian.
And then when we know that, we persevere right to the end. We’re in this race and we know it! And if you remember the basic Biblical idea of a covenant was a relationship between God and man specifically that was unbroken.
But the old covenant, or the first covenant as that is the way it’s mentioned sometimes in Scripture, was always dependent on man keeping the law. It had conditions on it. That was a great burden of of the law. God says do this and they did that and then they broke the law. And as soon as a person broke the law, the covenant became ineffective and access to God was lost. It became a wearisome ordeal for anyone in the Old Testament to ever feel like they can stand up and say that they are free from God’s condemnation.
The new covenant or the second covenant’s basic meaning is because Jesus inaugurated this new covenant with His blood, people are called by the gospel and receive Jesus as their substitute sacrifice, which gives them access to God and fellowship with Him.
Now with that in mind, there’s an adjective connected to Hebrews 12:24. Look at what it says:
The mediator of a new covenant.
Moses was the mediator of the old covenant and each covenant has a mediator. In the New Testament it is Christ. There are no other mediators. In fact, it was Paul who told Timothy this as he was beginning to pass through the church at Ephesus. Look in 1 Timothy 2:5, it says:
For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.
He’s stressing again the humanity of Christ in this mediatorial role that He has before the Father and also between men and God. The new covenant is this thing that the Lord is becoming the Mediator of. In Scripture, there are three observations about Jesus’ mediatorial role. There are more than three in the Bible but I just want to mention them in Hebrews.
Here is the first thing in Hebrews 9:15, it says:
For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
Jesus’ mediatorial work enables God’s gracious purpose to be retroactive. Remember that a mediator is someone who mediates between two parties. The mediator stands, in this case, stands between us and God the Father. We have to have the Mediator to be able to finally one day approach the Father. The mediator removes a disagreement. And in this case, as we were enemies of God, the Mediator is going to take us as we approach Him correctly and make us friends with God.
He is going to make us who were not forgiven, forgiven. He is going to reconcile us to God. A mediator can remove a disagreement or bring us causes to reach a common goal. Both of these things are found in the mediatorial work of Jesus Christ. Jesus comes to us as God’s Mediator, as the One who speaks from Heaven. He comes to bring a Righteous God and disobedient children together. He comes to break down the huge barrier that sin has erected between God and man.
In fact if you look at the rest of verse 15, you’ll see that there’s a redemption of transgressions. The word transgression literally means to cause separation. What causes separation between God and us? It is our sin. So this Mediator, Jesus Christ, has to deal with the sin. He does it quite differently than a human mediator would do because Jesus not only dies for the sinner but He is the Mediator for the sinner and becomes the High Priest and sacrifice for the sinner. He becomes everything that the sinner needs for that mediation to take place where there is complete reconciliation.
So He breaks down this huge barrier of sin that we could never break ourselves. There is no way we could ever take care of it on our own. The barrier between us and God is huge. The debt is unpayable. As a Mediator, Jesus opens up a way into God’s holy presence and also frees us from the slave market of sin. That word redemption in this passage of Scripture is a word that means to release by payment of a price.
There’s a problem that is being taken care of in our text. How is it possible for those who were stained and who committed sins under the old covenant, which is powerless to cover sins permanently, to be made clean? How are they going to be made forgiven if they died under the old covenant. Look back at what it says in the middle of verse 15. Really what’s going on here is that he is saying that the mediatorial work of Jesus Christ is made retroactive. Those under the old covenant could be saved because Jesus Christ would be their Mediator. He would be great than Moses. If Jesus didn’t do that, no one like Abraham and Moses could have been saved.
Retroactive means relating or applying to things that have happened in the past as well as the present. The term retroactive is used here when we say that the sacrifice of Jesus is effective to wipe out the sins of people that were committed under the old covenant. It also gives those people permanent access to God.
Christ had to die on the cross so Abraham could be saved, as well as all of those others listed in the hall of faith in Hebrews 11. In other words until Christ, all people in the past, present, and future, were and are slaves to sin. But through Christ’s work, they and we are released from sin’s mastery and set free to serve God as righteous slaves.
That is what the Mediator has done. He has mediated this work of salvation for all mankind no matter when they lived, in the past or one hundred years from now. People need that go between that person to take care of the work on the cross.
There is a second thing in Hebrews 9:15. Jesus’ mediatorial work enables God’s gospel call to be graciously offered. When we preach the gospel to people, we are offering something gracious and free. We are offering the free offer of coming to believe in Jesus Christ. But not everyone receives such grace and that is the downside of evangelism.
You may pour your heart out to give the gospel, and it’s like you never even give it. People often times reject it and sometimes you don’t even know what is going on in people’s hearts and you cannot read their minds. You don’t know how God may be convicting them or the spiritual level of acceptance they are at. Even if God brings the increase by your message, you may not be there to experience it. But we have to be faithful to give out this gracious offer and because Jesus is the Mediator, we can give out a gracious offer to people and pray that they would respond.
At the end of verse 15 it says:
Those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
This word called means to be invited and summoned by God. When we are preaching the gospel, God is actually summoning people to His call by your message and your sharing of the gospel with them. It includes carrying out to an immediate or final end, which is ultimately salvation. Those who respond to this Heavenly call know only too well that God did not call them as a reward for, or a response to their special merit or religious devotion, or even their moral achievements. If any of those things were to be true, you would cancel out the sacrifice of Christ from the beginning.
We know that when we give out the gospel, it is all by God’s free grace, unmerited favor. This call is much more than an invitation. It also includes the idea of a summons. Let me just back up for a minute and ask this question. How are we to understand the word called here in Hebrews 9 and other places it is used in Scripture? Well we know that there is always an outward call to the gospel, right? People can reject the gospel many times as it says in Matthew 22:14:
Many are called but few are chosen.
Many are called by the message, all who hear the message are invited or summoned to come. This call is ineffective by itself, but because all men are totally depraved and hate God by their natures, they resist the call when it goes out. They resist the work of the Holy Spirit when it goes out by your message. By experience, we know that not everyone that receives the call of the gospel are justified or believe. Not all believe the gospel when they hear it. This will always happen because this is the outward call.
There is a second thing that the Bible talks about relating to areas of theology, and that is the inward call. This usually takes place when the outward call happens or is made, and it doesn’t happen until later when someone goes home and thinks about whether they are right with God. They begin to think about what was said and the Holy Spirit brings to mind the person’s sin and that Christ is the only answer. They think that this is the truth and they don’t have to search anymore. They seek Christ to be saved because they are sinners. They know that no religion or good works could save. They throw themselves on Christ and say, “Save me!”
All of a sudden, the Holy Spirit of God calls them and effectually works in them this miracle in their hearts and brings them from spiritual death to life. This is the difference between an external call or outward profession of faith and a real call that comes from an inside by the Spirit of God, through the gospel and our witness. The Holy Spirit transforms the mind and the heart and the will. I believe that this passage of Scripture is talking about the inward call. The text speaks of a call that always results in justification. Why is that? Because the end result is eternal redemption, someone who has an eternal inheritance.
This passage of Scripture has to talk about someone who has really been saved and has come to the Mediator Jesus Christ, and now is going to inherit what is theirs because of what Christ has done. It is like what John said in his gospel, in John 6:63:
It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.
Nothing the flesh can do can supply to someone’s salvation. Therefore the outward call for salvation is made to anyone who hears God’s gospel of grace. Then the Holy Spirit extends theologically to the elect a special inward call that inevitably brings them to salvation. The external call which is made to all without distinction, and is made to anybody we preach the gospel to, can be rejected. Whereas the internal call is made only to God’s elect, and only He knows who these people are who have been made elect before the foundation of the world. These people cannot be saved unless they also hear the gospel. Every time the Spirit of God gives an inward call, it cannot be rejected. It always results in real conversion.
But that’s not our work, it is only God’s. We are just the messengers. I love what it says in John 1:12-13:
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
This is the only way that one can be born again, by the will of God. This is the only power that will bring someone to salvation. There is no where you can run from the internal call. God will get a hold of your heart and convict you of your sin. He will bring you to the only Sacrifice, Substitute, and Mediator that you can believe in, which is Jesus Christ.
There is a third observation in Hebrews 9:15, which is that Christ’s mediatorial work enables God’s gracious promised inheritance to be eternal. Look at what it says again:
Those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
Believers in this life have been given the pledge of that inheritance, which is the Holy Spirit Himself. Paul told the Church in Ephesians 1:13-14:
In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.
As believers, we remain true to the call and we don’t apostasies as is mentioned in Hebrews. We don’t throw in the towel, or get out of the race, or sit on the bench for any length of time. We get knocked down but don’t get knocked out. Believers are the heirs named in the will, we receive the inheritance and enter in the generous promise of God which is seen all over the Word of God.
Those are some of the ways in Hebrews in which Jesus being the Mediator brings us to glory, and brings us into the presence of God. We could not have done it all on our own. That brings me back to Hebrews 12, but keep your hand in Hebrews 9 for the end.
So how does Jesus accomplish bringing many sons to glory? A second thing in Hebrews 12:24 is, “to the sprinkled blood.” I thought for a minute that that’s a unique way of saying it. Why did the Spirit of God say it like that? There’s a particular reason, which is that the sprinkled blood is connected to how God ratifies covenants.
We must go back to Hebrews 9 to be reminded of the testator’s blood. Testator is a will-maker, someone who makes a valid will. In Hebrews 9:16-17 it says:
For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives.
The medium for the enforcement of this new covenant is really a word that is connected to Jesus Christ’s death but it means will. It is not an agreement between God and man like a covenant. Here is given the very nature of a will or a testament, a death having occurred. What happens after the death? The inheritance is received. In our text there is an important fact that cannot be missed concerning the death of Christ.
It is the very death of Christ that enables us to receive our eternal inheritance. Jesus’ death makes the inheritance accessible to all those who are His heirs irrespective of time. Remember that for a Jew, a dead messiah is no messiah. Therefore the death of Jesus Christ becomes a great obstacle to those who are unsaved because it means that the person could not accomplish what they said they could accomplish because they died. The author is showing them that Jesus’ death is necessary because without His sacrificial death, no testament or will could be enforced and no sin could be forgiven.
He reminds them that when God inaugurated the first covenant, He did not do it without the shedding of blood, but with it. The Mosaic testament was itself inaugurated with the death and blood of sacrificial victims.
Again the old covenant was put into force by blood. The new covenant is also put into force by blood but look at what it says in Hebrews 9:18-19:
Therefore even the first covenant was not inaugurated without blood. For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God commanded you.”
When does the Bible say a person or a group of people were sprinkled by blood? Well he is bringing this out from Exodus 24, where people were making a covenant of obedience with God which was sealed by blood. Half of the blood in the Old Testament Moses sprinkled on the altar which signifies God’s part, that God would supply the offering so that the people could be forgiven. The other half of the blood was sprinkled on the people, which signifies the person’s part of the covenant.
Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people and said in Exodus 24:8:
Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.
So blood consecrated to two parties involved in the covenant signified the dedication of obedience. “Lord, this is what You said to do. We will obey You.” That is a conditional covenant. That means that God said to do it and the people said they will obey it. That is an agreement between God and men in the Old Testament.
Now don’t forget this. There’s a different word used here in Hebrews for covenant. It doesn’t mean agreement. It means a will; the conditions of a will are not made on equal terms. God did not make an agreement with us in the new covenant. Instead He made a will. Of course when you make a will, conditions are not made on equal terms with anyone. They are made entirely by one person, which is called a testator. The other party cannot alter it or the terms. They can only accept or refuse them.
Of course the terms include the eternal inheritance that comes to us through Christ. That’s why a relationship with God is described here as a covenant with a different word. The word means the terms for which only one person is responsible for the will. Christ, the Mediator, is responsible for the will.
So it’s unlike the Old Testament covenant, in that it’s all in Christ. It is a gracious offer. We are not asking anyone to do anything but believe. Believing is not a work, it is a gift of God that comes graciously in the offer of the gospel that the relationship is offered solely on the initiative of God’s grace. When we use the word covenant, we must remember that it does not always mean that man made a bargain with God on equal terms. It always means that the whole initiative is with God. That means that salvation is all of the Lord. You don’t add, give, or include anything with it. All you do is believe it! By faith! It is a gift of faith, not of works lest any man should boast.
The point being made by the author of Hebrews is that under the old covenant, God offered the people of Israel a unique relationship to Himself. But the whole relationship was entirely dependent on keeping the law. Here is the argument of the old covenant which is done away with because Jesus Christ brought in the new covenant. He brought in a better one because it was one in which all the initiative was with God. Man can’t touch it, can’t manipulate it, and can’t change it.
It is not dependent on his keeping the law, good works, what he done, etc. It also doesn’t depend on how much we have sinned. It only depends on what Christ has accomplished for sinners on the cross. So when we come to Christ by faith, Jesus Christ provides a new permanent relationship with God. In Hebrews 8:7, it says:
For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second.
But because the old covenant could not make man right with God permanently, Jesus Christ had to make a will. When He did that, when Christ shed His blood, He brought redeemed man and God into a covenant of obedience. It was not based on our obedience, but Christ’s obedience.
Christ’s blood is sprinkled on us, a spiritual cleanse, wiping out all our sins, making us clean, and making us eternally forgiven so that we by God’s Spirit will obey Jesus in the power not of the flesh or keeping the laws, but of the Spirit of God. That is why I love this passage of Scripture in 1 Peter 1:2, which says:
According to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.
There it is, the ratification of the covenant of Jesus Christ that we by God’s Spirit after conversion and being made right with God, can obey God. We obey Jesus Christ and are sprinkled with His blood. The blood is used to cleanse everything unclean and is used to make people ceremonially clean before God. When it comes to the remitting of sins, Bible says that there is no remission apart blood shedding. In Hebrews 9:22, it says:
And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
That brings us back to Hebrews 12 where he says in verse 25, which I mentioned last week why this becomes important. All the blood of the Old Testament was only typical of Christ’s blood because sin and guilt and just punishment stick so frightfully close to sinners and they cannot get rid of them at all whatsoever. It is only by the precious, all-sufficient blood of the Testator, the Will-maker, Jesus Christ, that the sin of His children can be ever-wiped away.
The word used for wiped away is the word remission, but it is also translated to forgiveness. Forgiveness of sins literally means to send away forever the thing that causes separation between us and God in which the Mediator mediated the will between us and God so we can be saved and hear the gospel. And so that the relationship between us and God would not only be forever, but would bear eternal inheritance in the city of God.
This should cause joy in the believer. Tell me there’s not some heavenly theology going on here. I preach to you this morning in fear and trembling because of the concepts through in Hebrews 9 through 12. I pray that you would get the sense of what’s happening here and that God actually wants us to know what is happening.
Again bringing it back to Hebrews 12:24, which says:
And to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.
Remember from last week that Jesus’ blood sprinkling speaks louder and longer and more significantly than Abel’s blood. Why does Abel’s blood cry out? It cries out for judgment and vengeance. And yet it says here that when Jesus was slain, His blood opened up a new way of reconciliation that His sacrifice made it possible for people to be forgiven by God through the Mediator Jesus Christ and to become friends of God. There is no fear whatsoever and it has nothing to do with us, in the sense of our obedience or disobedience. No matter what we have done or haven’t done. It has everything to do with Jesus Christ.
When we talk about complete and total salvation, we mention Jesus Christ as the Mediator, we are talking about how the sinner cannot reconcile him or herself to God. That is God’s place to do that. That is only God’s place to do that. It is when the sinner repents and turns to Jesus Christ in faith. Only then, and by God giving that as a gift, can the person change his attitude from one of wrath to one of peace. His change is solely based on the death of the sin and the work that Jesus accomplished on the cross, that God can set aside His wrath towards a repentant sinner. From the anger of God it goes to the joyful celebration of being a believer and knowing what is ahead.
Again not believing Moses, God’s faithful apostle and mediator, is one thing. But not believing in the One who is greater than Moses, the Faithful Apostle and High Priest Jesus Christ is really ruinous all together.
In other words, his conclusion in verse 25 is to not refuse God’s gracious offer. Don’t refuse the Mediator who speaks to us through the gospel because there is no other Mediator or way to get saved. This is it. If you do refuse, then you will not escape God’s judgment. But if you have believed, then you will have escaped God’s judgment because of the Mediatorial work of Jesus Christ between you and the Father.
He was greater than Moses because Moses could never have done what Jesus was able to. Do you see what a difference Christ makes? Do you see how special you are to God because of your new position in Christ Jesus? How does Jesus bring many children to glory? By being the Mediator of the new covenant and by sealing the covenant with His sacrificial death on which Moses could never have done.
There’s no other way to end up in glory. I’m amazed when preaching the gospel to a group of people who you don’t know. You are laying out the points and the law, how people are under the judgment of the law because they have broken it. Finally, you lay out the generous offer God has given through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and you get a multitude of facial expressions depending on who you’re talking to and where you’re doing it. You know right away in your mind that there is the fool, the naive, and the scoffer. It is written on their faces.
When you see even the face of the scoffer, who if they could would beat the living daylights out of you, stop and think about how you could run or you could continue to give the message and the results to God. And yet often times it is the scoffer who turns and repents and trusts in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. It has always amazed me throughout my Christian life.
I never could think that that person would get saved, and God saves them! They have a stinky attitude and a bad way of dealing with life, and God reaches out and saves them. It humbles you because there is nobody beyond the grace of God. Even if they are sitting today on death row for a multitude of murders, Christ’s death is powerful enough to reach with the grace of God into that person’s heart and forgive and save them.
I can’t understand that. I don’t think there is a single person who has that kind of grace and mercy, but God does. That is the power of the message of the gospel, to go out to all humanity no matter who they are and preach to them. But do it with joy! A joyless Christian is an oxymoron. I know I wake up some mornings and think it’s going to be a tough day. We let so many things rob us of our joy. But sometimes we aren’t even robbed, we give our joy away! This passage of Scripture helps us to not give it away. Because this is what is in front of us, no matter what happens.
That’s why we should continue to live the Christian life and preach the gospel with gusto and to whomever and wherever we can. And we should not hold back. Believe me, God blesses you for it. He brings the results, and someday we are going to be very surprised as we walk through the streets of the city of God, to see some of the people there. Not only that, remember that He saved even you.
Let us pray. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for the tremendous truth of the gospel. Thank You, Lord, for being our Mediator. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for having Your blood sprinkled on us in this new covenant that You have made. Not with us but in the fellowship of the Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit made a plan to save humanity. Thank You, Lord, that we are the recipients of that plan and that we have a glorious future to look forward to. Lord, let us keep the joy that You have given us and that it would increase as our minds are thinking of things above, not things on this earth. We know Lord that those things cannot rust away or be stolen away. They are ours forever. Lord, help us to live that way even on the hardest days of our lives. Help us to remember what You have done for us as our Mediator and our High Priest. I pray this in Christ’s Name, Amen.