Why is the blood of Jesus so important?
Until we get that Jesus has already spilled all the blood that needs to be spilled, and that our offerings/sacrifices mean nothing in terms of our salvation, we will never fully enter into the rest and freedom of the grace of God.
Only when we grasp the centrality of the blood of Jesus will we begin to cultivate in our own being the true heart of a sacrificer, the true heart of a worshiper.
SYMBOLS & RITUALS
Hebrews 9:1-10 – “Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly place of holiness. For a tent was prepared, the first section, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence. It is called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a second section called the Most Holy Place, having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant. Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.
These preparations having thus be made, the priests go regularly into the first section, performing their ritual duties, but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood, which he offers of himself and for the unintentional sins of the people. By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the holy places is not yet opened as long as the first section is still standing (which is symbolic for the present age). According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, but deal only with food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation.”
The author is explaining to us the ritual of the temple and its offerings and sacrifices, highlighting the business of the temple and its rituals.
“…the priests go regularly into the first section, performing their ritual duties…” because they were continually offering sacrifices. In fact, the priests were not allowed to sit because it was to symbolize that their work was never finished. Constant failures of keeping the law meant people would continue to bring offerings. That’s why the temple was filled with such business.
While the sacrifices of the temple system did bring some sense of cleanliness, they “…cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper…”
These offerings only dealt with the external ritual, not the internal being. They were never meant to work, but to show us our need for a greater sacrifice.
What do these rituals look like for us today? Going to church, reading our Bible, offering a quick prayer…And when we wonder why the symbol is not making our conscience clean, we either multiply the symbols or sacrifices, or we give up altogether. But these practices are not what save us or perfect our conscience.
So often we settle for the symbol and miss the REAL THING. We make the symbol sacred rather than that which the symbol is meant to illuminate. Do we make the form of worship more important than the worship itself? This misplaced focus is what leads us to miss out on God’s grace.
GOD IS AFTER OUR HEART
This was a persistent problem in ancient Israel. They missed that the tabernacle and the sacrificial system were given by God to uncover a greater spiritual reality…to uncover for them their need for a better sacrifice, a sacrifice that didn’t need to be performed day after day after day, but that was full and forever.
Psalm 51:16-17 –
“For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”
King David was recognizing that God didn’t need a person’s goat or bull or grain. Is He not the God of everything? God wants a person’s HEART.
When we elevate the ritual to sacred, we give God our bull and not our heart. We miss out on the whole point of the ritual. God is not pleased when we pour all of ourselves into the practice and care nothing for its purpose.
THE BLOOD OF CHRIST
Hebrews 9:11-14 – “But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defied persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.”
- “but by means of his own blood, thus securing eternal redemption” – His sacrifice is the one that saves, that provides us with eternal redemption. He has paid the price.
- Hebrews 10:4 – “For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.”
Hebrews 10:12-18 – “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified…then [the Lord] adds, ‘I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.’ Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.”
- “he sat down” – The work of sacrifice and offering is finished. Jesus sat down. There is no more business in the temple.
- “there is no longer any offering for sin” – Because the altar is already covered with the blood of the Son, God is no longer taking offerings.
Is this clicking yet?
> Because of the blood of Christ, because of this sacrifice once for all, God does not need our blood. We are free of the old way sacrifices and offerings were done in the temple. God is not interested in our symbols and rituals, HE WANTS OUR HEART.
How often does the enemy remind us of our brokenness, our guilt, all the ways we’ve fallen short?
If all we’re holding on to are the symbols and rituals, our pride and illusion that we are the ones to clean ourselves…Satan will always win. But when we understand the magnitude of Jesus’ once for all sacrifice, the power of his blood, the way it covers us and delivers us, GRACE will win.
Satan’s accusations can actually become the greatest of blessings, because they remind us of God’s mercy and love for us. “Yes, you’re right…I am guilty, I am a sinner…but the blood of Jesus covers me! BECAUSE I am a sinner, his blood is the most precious gift in my life.”
No more shame or hiding our junk, which is how the world tries to cleanse their conscience. Instead of hiding, we can step into the light and claim the blood of Christ for ourselves. THAT is how our conscience is actually cleansed.
We are no longer a slaves to the dead works of rituals. It is Jesus’ blood, already spilled, that cleanses us, that gives us the freedom to live into God’s grace. To give him our heart.
May we be free of the pride to try to clean ourselves.
1. Apply these keys to living into the grace that Jesus’ sacrifice provides:
- ZOOM OUT – In the midst of a crisis. Look at the constant message God has delivered over thousands of years through the prophets, the apostles and Jesus.
- APPLY THE JESUS FILTER – Look at everything God has done and said through the lens of Jesus. Being the ultimate revelation of God, Jesus sheds light on all of God’s other communication. God never contradicts himself. Read the Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John to learn more about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
- TURN IT DOWN – Turn down the metabolism of your heart, realize that the temple is no longer busy. Get into the right posture of hearing — clear the distractions. Turn down the music, give yourself space and time to hear from God, whether that is by prayer, reading the Scriptures, or by creating time in your schedule to worship and discuss Jesus in community. Join a Fellowship Group. We need to teach each other and practice together softening our hearts to the voice of God.
2. Converse about this topic with others:
- Are you caught up in the business of the rituals of Christianity?
- What does it take to view the enemy’s accusations as the greatest of blessings?
3. Reflect personally on the condition of your heart:
- What is holding you back from giving your heart to God?
- Are you still trying to cleanse yourself?
4. Listen to this week’s sermon on our website.