Questions for Littles: Who came as High Priest of the good things to come (v11)? What kind of tabernacle does He minister in? What as not used to make it? Indeed, what is it not a part of at all? With what did He enter the Most Holy Place (v12)? How often has He entered there? What kind of redemption has He obtained? What blood used to be splattered (v13)? To what ashes did this blood witness? What did all of this cleanse? By whose blood are we cleansed (v14)? Through what (Whom!) did Christ offer Himself to God? What does His blood cleanse? From what does His blood cleanse our consciences? Of what does this make Him Mediator (v15)? By what means? For the transgressions under which covenant does v15 specifically say Christ made redemption? Who from that covenant received the promised eternal inheritance?In this week’s sermon text, we were reminded again that Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come. The sacrifices and purification rituals of the Old Testament looked forward to Him and the “good things” that He would accomplish for us.
This explains why v14 refers to them (among other things) as “dead works.” Were they sinful in and of themselves? Of course not; God had commanded them! But they were dead on two counts.
The first is that until we are enabled to believe in Christ, and receive life through union with Him, we ourselves are dead (cf. Eph 2:1). Even now, we do nothing without sin.
The second is that the works of the former time had no value in themselves, but only as they looked forward to Christ and His works, which alone have the true value (cf. Rom 3:25)
We heard in 6:1 that a foundation of Christianity is that we must turn away from these dead works as a way of being made right with God; and, we must turn instead to God’s own righteousness, provided in Christ alone, as our only way of being made right with God.
Now, we hear about having our consciences cleansed from these dead works. The question is: how can we come near to God? The old purifications were good enough for “coming near” in the earthly tabernacle. They “sanctified for the purification of the flesh.”
But one day, we are going to have to draw near to the glorious, heavenly presence of the Living God Himself. We must not do so holding onto anything less than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
So, that presses this question: what right do I have to hold onto Christ? How do I know that He will acknowledge me and save me? And the answer is: my baptism! I was sprinkled with the water of baptism at the command of Jesus whose blood shed on Calvary washes my conscience clean. In Christ and His blood, I can stand confidently, with a clear conscience, before the Living God!!
This was even the means of “redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant.” And it is our guarantee that He who has called us will surely give us our eternal inheritance—Himself!
What is your plan/habit for using your baptism to develop your sure confidence in Christ alone for your forgiveness and eternal inheritance?Suggested Songs: ARP78B “O Come, My People” or HB198 “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”