Washed In His Blood
We are washed in His blood! Today’s sermon takes a look at the ordinances of the old covenant and the blessing of the new covenant founded in Jesus Christ.
My key verse:
For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
When we take a look at the full context of today’s scriptures we are able to notice that the writer of Hebrews is focusing on two things, the old covenant and the new covenant – which is to say the Old and New Testaments. For many, when they think of the Testaments, they think of where to turn to in their Bibles. Others begin to think about two different ways of living spiritually – under the Law or under mercy and grace. You will see that our writer notes the main differences between the covenants which is what we will certainly look at and talk about in this week’s message – Washed in His Blood.
The Old Covenant
The old covenant can be dated all the way back to the days of Abraham in which God promised that Abraham would be the Father of a nation, land, and that the world would be blessed through his seed (Genesis 22:15-18). Through the old covenant came the Mosaic Law which came from God and was delivered to the people by Moses. The Law, as it was referred to, ultimately judged what the people did wrong. Now take a look at the full context of our scriptures for today’s sermon and you will notice that our writer begins to point out some of the ordinances that came through the old covenant.
In the ancient days of the first (old) covenant there was a tabernacle (a large, movable tent) and inside of the tabernacle the priest would have to perform certain daily tasks – they had to set up the sanctuary. A lot of the priest’s work required preparing the altar for the sacrifices of the people. Back then, the people had to provide sacrifices for the atoning of their sins (unrighteousness) against the Law. There was a special chamber in the tabernacle, where the Ark of the Covenant was located, called the Holy of Holies. Only the high priest could enter into the Holy of Holies, and he could only enter into the Holy of Holies once a year – on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur, Leviticus 16:5-34). During that one day of the year the high priest would enter into the Holy of Holies and present the offering of atonement for himself and for the rest of the people.
Seeking Atonement and Redemption
I want to take a look at atonement because that is the main focus of this week’s message. Atonement or atoning is when you make amends for a wrong you have committed – righting a wrong. I have spoken about this particular subject in the past but for whatever reason man feels that they’re wrong; it is the feeling of having wronged somebody or feeling bad about something that drives us to correct that wrong. We see this thought and idea played out in TV, in movies, and in some of our favorite books – gaining redemption and forgiveness.
You’re taught as a kid that you should apologize and seek forgiveness for any wrongs you have done. The idea of being forgiven and gaining redemption over our old ways seems to get more and more important the older and older we get – at least to those of us that have matured. We go out and try to seek forgiveness and go out and seek redemption. I’ve always wondered, why is it that we go out seeking forgiveness? We don’t necessarily follow all the rules and lessons we were taught as a kid but there is something about atonement that drives us, something about having a clear conscience.
We, and when I say we I mean everybody, want a clear conscience. When we do somebody wrong we would ultimately not like the idea of what we have done to that person weighing on our minds. It’s hard to fall to sleep at night when you have a guilty conscience. It’s hard to look that person in the eyes when you have a guilty conscience. We want to be guilt free, we want to have that clear and clean conscience. These are our thoughts in the world, but we are also driving by the conscience when it comes to living spiritually. We are compelled spiritually, through our soul, to know that we are not guilty in God’s eyesight. When you are living in God you want to be feel guilt free consciously. Don’t believe me?
When you start running off at the mouth to somebody and they’ve really gotten you warmed up to the point that you start letting all kinds of words fly… you begin to feel a little guilty, spiritually, don’t you? When you start doing some things and your spirit be telling you, “you not supposed to do that,” but you go on and do it anyway… you begin to feel a little guilty, spiritually, don’t you? When somebody call you out on your character and say, “you’re not acting Christian-like”, and they be right about it… you begin to feel a little guilty, spiritually, don’t you? Then you fall to sleep at night and your conscious brings it back up in your dreams, and then you can’t fall back to sleep because you’re feeling more and more guilty. That’s when we’re ready to do some of anything to atone for our wrong doing and be redeemed, not only in other’s eyes but in God’s eyes. How do we go about seeking that atonement and that redemption over our sins in God’s eyes?
The rituals we perform
When you take a look at the old covenant you will see that it was really good in pointing out the errors in one’s ways. If you were mistreating your neighbors, those around you, the Law did a great job of pointing out just how wrong that was. If you did not honor your father and mother, the Law did a great job of pointing out just how much of a sin that was. If you did not honor the Lord, and was putting others above Him, the Law did a great job of pointing out that was a sin. However, there were a couple of issues one could bring up about the old covenant which we see covered in our scripture.
The first issue that many of the people likely faced under the first covenant was that they could never really clear the consciousness over their sins. They were giving over their sacrifices to the priests and would have to hope that God received their offering. When it came to that Day of Atonement, the people were left wondering if that one high priest did everything correctly or else they’d be messed up! You have to imagine that some of the people probably still felt a bit of guilt.
Let’s fast forward to our time and you will see that there are many people who still argue for the Law and wish that we would go back to the ways of the Law. In some of the Christian denominations you will see that there are many members who still turn to their priest or to their pastor for confession. Some ask for their pastors and ministers to pray for them. Others will fast or participate in other traditions with all of this being an effort to release believers from the guilt of their consciousness. Is there anything wrong with this? Honestly, that is not for me to judge, but I can speak to the fact that there are many people who try out some of these ways and it does them little to nothing. May I offer to you the idea that Jesus has already paid it all through the shedding of His blood? What if I was to tell you that Jesus has already washed you in His blood, and the only thing you need to do is to seek Him for atoning and redemption?
Washed in His blood
Through Jesus came a new covenant (testament and promise). Jesus, at the Feast of Passover, sat with His disciples and broke the bread and told them that the bread represented His body which was given for those that believed on Him. Jesus then took the cup, filled with the fruit of the vine, and told the disciples that it represented His shed blood which was a new testament and was shed for the remission of sins (Matthew 22:26-28). Jesus is the new covenant and through the shedding of His blood we are guilt free in God’s eyesight!
Our writer in Hebrews so eloquently lays out a brilliant question for us in our key text for this sermon. He asks, if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean could sanctify and purify the flesh, how much more could the blood of Christ? The old testament sacrifices that were given to God in atonement did sanctify and redeem the people but their atoning and sanctification was only temporary; these people had to perform these tasks continuously. Imagine what the blood of Jesus can do for those that believe.
Jesus died, and His shed blood served as a sacrifice for mankind. Jesus’ shed blood is an eternally serves as a sacrifice in the Father’s eyes, and it is His shed blood that is an eternal cleanser of believers. Jesus’ shed blood covers us and it washes away all of our iniquity, unrighteousness, and sin. Jesus’ shed blood will purge your conscience and allow you to be guilt free!
We are washed in Jesus’ blood, therefore we do not have to worry about being burdened by our sins because Jesus is the bearer of our sins. Forgiveness and salvation over sin is the promise of the new covenant, and it is through the Father’s grace, of giving us His only begotten Son, that we are saved. I have come across many people who don’t understand or really like the idea of living under the grace; It is odd because there some who feel so guilty over the lives that they have lived that they feel the punishment of the law should be their reward. Some feel that they need the law to stay in order. Is there anything wrong with this? Again, I am not the judge but I once again will offer a better way of living through Jesus Christ.
Jesus walked into the Holy of Holies, not in the tabernacle of this world, one time and obtained eternal redemption of all of us in God’s eyes (v.13). So why would you go seeking other means to gain atonement and redemption in God’s eyesight? I know we go around the world to try and get redemption in the eyes of our peers but God tells us that it is unnecessary to do so in His eyes! You no longer have to perform the sacrifices required by the old covenant (though we rarely hear about anybody performing sacrifices nowadays, do we?) There are no loopholes, no rituals, or traditions that you have to follow to have a guilt free conscience. You do not have to seek anybody else to confess to because you can now go directly to the Heavenly Father and confess to Him! We are washed in Jesus’ blood! @e now live under grace, but it does not give us an excuse to go on living in sin.
Living under the new covenant, under grace, means we have that direct line for a one on one talk with the Father at any time and any day. You see, we do not have to wait for one special day to go to the Father to seek atoning and redemption from what may be weighing us down. When you try to live any other way, outside of the new covenant, you take Jesus away from serving His role as mediator and savior. Let’s take a look at verse 15 as we come to a close:
for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
You will recall that I mentioned earlier that there were two issues with the old covenant. The first issue I noted was that the people would never fully have that guilt free conscious under the old covenant; they had to continue performing the sacrifices and waiting for the Day of Atonement. You will notice that I have not mentioned the second issue with the old covenant until now. The second issue we find with the old covenant is that there was no true redemption/salvation through the old covenant.
Jesus, the new covenant, brings about true redemption of our transgressions. There was no way into heaven under the old covenant, but through Jesus, the new testament and promise, is eternal inheritance. Redemption comes through Christ and there is nothing outside of Christ that will give you that true redemption. We have allowed some trends and fads to come along that has believers thinking it will clean them even more; I can not allow you to be fooled. Jesus told Peter, in John 13:10, “who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean.” Sin will dirty up our feet a bit and in those cases we only need our feet to be washed off. In that day we should turn to nobody but God.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9 NKJV
Why turn to anything or anybody else when you have been washed and sanctified by the blood of Jesus Christ?