Hebrews 9:23 - 28
In order to understand this passage, we are to remind ourselves that people of the Old Testament often offer sacrifices to temporarily atone for their sins, they were not perfect. They did not purify anything and never truly dealt with sin and judgment. Hebrews 9:23-28 tells us that Jesus’ sacrifice was perfect.
Jesus’ perfect sacrifice
In the Old Testament, every year the high priest had to return year after year into the Holy of Holies to represent the people before God with the blood of the sacrificial animals on Yom Kippur. The blood of animals was never going to permanently atone for sin which is why the high priest had to repeat it year after year. Jesus’s sacrifice did not need to be repeated. He did not have to suffer and die over again. On the cross, judgment for our sins was taken away. Legally, this means that our sins were annulled or cancelled. It was a perfect sacrifice because it took away judgment for all those who placed their faith in Him once and for all. We have been clothed with the righteousness of Christ. Because of Jesus’s perfect sacrifice, Christians can live and should live out a victorious live. This is why Paul can write with such triumph in Romans 8: There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus. We have been forgiven and redeemed. Because of this perfect sacrifice, we can look forward to an eternal life with God.
No second chances
Apart from certain exceptions in the Bible, everyone will die once and when that person dies, there is no opportunity to redeem or repay his sins. There will be no second chance for salvation. It may be a hard truth for many to swallow. Some belief systems believe that a person will die over and over again and each time he has a chance to ‘rise’ into a better realm or life, i.e. reincarnation. Whereas some may offer prayers and sacrifices after death with the hope that the deceased will be forgiven. The Bible is clear, the account of our lives when we are on earth is the only thing that matters. It all boils down to this sobering reminder heaven or hell will based on their acceptance or rejection of Jesus Christ. This passage serves as a reminder to us all as to why the Bible commands us to make disciples of all nations. We are commanded to tell people about the Gospel, the good news that salvation is in Christ alone and no other.
We are also to reflect on our own lives because all of us will be called to account to God. There will be no second chances to what God has placed in our hands: our gifts or our talents. As Pastor Palan shared powerfully few weeks ago, will you be joyful or fearful when we meet God? Let’s all strive to focus on things of God, grow deeper in our relationship with Him and be faithful to Him in this race of faith. At the finish line, we want to hear the words, well done, good and faithful servant.
Thank you Jesus for being our living hope and thank you for the cross that has taken away judgment from us. Convict us and remind us to never take what you have done for us on the cross lightly. Help us to continue to be faithful with our talents that you have gifted us with. We pray that we can multiply it to Your Glory. Amen.