Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at The Finality of The Cross P15 (09-08-21)
The Forgiveness of Sins Has Been Done Once and For All and In Him You have Forgiveness of Sins and Are Made Complete in Christ Jesus
How is that two people can both hear the same message concerning Christ, and one will become born again and another not? Recall what Jesus told in the parable of the farmer who sowed his seed (Mark 4:1-25). As you read the scriptures, such as Hebrews, what is your attitude of heart? Do you read it with a filter on, as if only a priest can explain the meaning of it to you? Or are you reading it for answers to the meaning and purpose of life, that if I do not understand what this means, I will not be made alive or able to live? Are you reading it that if God Himself does not explain the meaning to me, I will not know what it means? Where is the condition of your heart, is it hard towards God or is it soft and pliable? Are you a child of God, having the Spirit of God living in you, so that you can be taught of the Lord? As a child of God, are you relying not on your own knowledge but acknowledging and relying on Him?
As you read Hebrews, you will learn about a New Covenant we are under today, how it was ushered in and what is in that New Covenant, as to what promises it holds out for all mankind. You will learn the contrast between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant, of how the new will replaced the old will in regard to the Israelites. From other scriptures, such as Ephesians and Colossians, you will also be able to discern that the New Covenant is also new to the Gentile. To an Israelite, it is like taking off old filthy clothes as shown when under the Law and putting on new clothes of the Spirit. To a Gentile, it is like putting on new clothes of the Spirit for he was never under the Old Covenant Law.
As you ponder this New Covenant, let your focus be on Christ Jesus, in regard to what He accomplished by His death, burial and resurrection. Ponder also that the Holy Spirit of God is a living person, the same Spirit of Christ Jesus, raised from the dead, alive living in you, if you are a child of God, born again, having the Spirit of God placed in you at new spiritual birth. Focus in on understanding two major concepts, of the totality of the cross and of being made complete in Christ. What does it mean that there are no more sacrifices, and how that allows you to worship in Spirit and in truth? What is worship? Have you understood that eternal redemption and eternal forgiveness is yours in Christ Jesus? Do you understand why you have eternal security? What does it mean to be sanctified, set apart, and made holy? Does that mean you never sin again or does it mean you have been made complete? What does it mean to be made complete? What does it mean to be made alive in Christ? What is the difference between atonement and propitiation? How is redemption and forgiveness tied to the life of Christ, alive living in you? What is this expression “once and for all” so often used in Hebrews so important to understand, as in Christ Jesus died once and for all and, in Christ Jesus, you have been made holy once and for all? So follow along in the lesson, Chapter 7: No More Sacrifices in A Closer Look at the Finality of the Cross.
We have been studying a lot in the book of Hebrews because in Hebrews is the contrast between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. Many times people do not realize we are under a brand New Covenant from God. In Hebrews 9, we read how the sacrifices in the Old Covenant were not able to clear the conscience of the worshipper. Last week, we talked about how worship is not what you do in a service. Worship is making your body available to the living God who lives in you to live through you.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.
We do not make ourselves holy and acceptable. He makes us holy and acceptable. As He has done that, present yourself as who you are, holy and acceptable in the sight of God, as your reasonable act of worship. Worship is not what you do in an hour or two in a service but what you have the privilege to do 24 hours a day, at least when you are not sleeping. The act of worship is to make yourself available to Christ living in you to live His life in and through you. Only a born again believer, indwelt by the Spirit of God, can make Himself available to the Spirit of God. Any one can clap, raise hands, praise God, pray, read scripture, get goosebumps with organ playing. A heathen can do every one of those things. Only a born again Christian can worship God in true worship.
24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
As Romans says, if the Spirit of God is not living in you, you do not belong to Him.
9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.
So how can you worship God in Spirit unless you are indwelt by the Spirit, born again of the Spirit and worship Him in truth? Who alone is truth? Christ. There is not truth apart from Christ so if you are going to worship God, you must worship Him in Spirit and in truth and He alone is truth and He alone is indwelling Spirit. Worship is making yourself available to the living God.
1 Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. 2 A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand and the table with its consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. 3 Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, 4 which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. 5 Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover. But we cannot discuss these things in detail now.
6 When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. 7 But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. 8 The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still functioning. 9 This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. 10 They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings – external regulations applying until the time of the new order.
Do you see the contrast between the old and the new?
11 But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. 13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
How long have you been redeemed? Eternally, as we talked about in Hebrews 7.
23 Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
By His own blood He obtained for us eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12). The case of eternal security is not a doctrinal issue. It is truth. It cuts at the very heartbeat of Christ Himself. Your salvation never depended on you and it never will. The maintenance of it does not depend on you. It never has and it never will. It depends on the one who is able to save completely.
22 Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant.
A covenant that says their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.
13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance – now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
I believe that settles the issue of eternal security.
The Old Testament sacrifices were not able to clear the conscience of the worshipper. They were merely external things. But through the blood of Christ, the eternal Spirit, He offered Himself unblemished to God. That act is what cleanses our conscience from acts that lead to death so we may serve a living God. If you are going to serve a living God, then you have to realize that you had to be made alive. That is what salvation is, being made alive in Christ.
13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins
We have read passage after passage stating that Christ died for all of our sins, and He has provided total forgiveness, and He has taken away guilt and punishment of our sins. But is this sacrifice enough? Is there something more we need to do? Or is there a sacrifice we need to offer to obtain more forgiveness? Look at Hebrews 10:17-18 for the answer.
17 Then he adds:
“Their sins and lawless acts
I will remember no more.”[Jeremiah 31:34]
18 And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.
What has God done with our sins and lawless acts? He will remember them for how long? No more. If God is not going to remember our sins and lawless acts any more then we can conclude that either Christ decided not to pay attention to them any more or He dealt with them once and for all. The latter is true. Since our sins have been forgiven, is there a need for an other sacrifice for sins, and if there was, what would have to occur? It would have to be by the shedding of blood.
22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
When Jesus said these have been forgiven there is no longer any sacrifice for sins, and a sacrifice was the shedding of the blood of innocent bulls and goats, or a lamb, and the shedding of that blood is called atonement, a covering for sin. Jesus said He did not come to cover sin. He came to take away sin.
29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
An annual sacrifice where you have to repeat that animal sacrifice over again could never make anyone complete who drew near to worship. The reason you could not be made complete is because the work was never done. You had to keep coming back to get forgiven, and those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, and a reminder that you are not made complete. You have not given life yet. If there was any further sacrifice to be executed on your behalf by God, what would He have to do? He would have to die again. Is He going to do that? Is He going to come back and die again? No.
Do you want Him to? In order for Him to die again, someone is going to have to kill him and torture him and trip him down again and beat him beyond measure and place another crown of thorns on his head and drive stakes through his hands and feet and suffocate him to death. Do you want to do that? So you have people who say, “It makes me feel good to continually ask God and beg Him to forgive me.” If you really believed what you were saying, and you are really asking Him with expectation of an answer, then there are two things. He could say “No”. You know better than that. So you are just asking Him what you know what He would say yes to. But before He would say yes, what also would He also have to do? I am going to die again because without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
In order to feel good, would you want to hang Christ back on a cross again, and let Him shed His blood again for you so you could feel good? What is wrong with feeling good through the knowledge that Christ did it all, once and for all? What is wrong with that? To know it has been done. What is wrong with that feeling is the fact that you have been programmed into putting God into the position of being the response to you rather than the initiator to you. Therefore you are in control of what God does for you instead of God being in control of what He did for you. In other words, you are the initiator that brings about a response from God rather than you being a responder to the initiation of God. You put God in the position of the wizard of Oz whereby if you can punch the right buttons, say the right words, come up with the right formula, moan enough, cry enough, be mournful enough, then maybe this reluctant God might respond to your pleas and might begrudgingly forgive you of your sins once again. You do not realize the heresy of that thinking. God does not sit in heaven saying, “Oh I forgive you.” He is not someone in a confession booth saying “I forgive you.” Or He is not like you and me saying, “Oh, I forgive you.” He said that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. If something needs forgiven then something must be paid, and that is the shedding of blood. It is not the flippant forgiveness that we come up with. Man is always bringing God down to our level. You will hear it on the radio and a number of times. “If my son did this then he would need to come to me. Surely that is the way it must be with God.” So instead of us being elevated to God’s form of forgiveness, we drag Him down to our feeble form of forgiveness. If the renewal of your mind is not bringing God down to us, the renewal of mind is lifting ourselves up to Him, seeing things from His vantage point and not from ours.
10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
27 Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.
Do you wonder just how much more clear does this need to be. Why is the Christian world so confused and so adamant over the teaching of the finality of the cross? He offered this sacrifice one time, for all, by the sacrifice of Himself, the blood of Jesus, of God Himself.
12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
According to this passage in Hebrews 9:12 what do we have? Eternal redemption. Eternal means we have been bought back forever. In Him we have eternal redemption, the forgiveness of sins. How many of you ask God to be redeemed every day? No one said a word. How come? It has been done. How many of you ask God to forgive you every day? A number of hands go up. In Him, what do you have? Redemption. What else do you have? Forgiveness. If you have something, how much sense does it mean to ask for something? It did not make sense to ask for redemption because you already have it. The same passage that says you already have redemption says you have forgiveness. So why is it unthinkable to ask God to redeem you every day yet thinkable to ask God to forgive you every day? Does that make sense? No, outside the fact you have been taught the other way.
When you are talking about eternal redemption, you are also talking about eternal forgiveness. It is something that was done once and forever. That is eternal forgiveness. For who? For those who are in Christ. In His resurrected life, in Him, you have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. In Adam, we have not been bought back yet. We do not have as our possession redemption and forgiveness because those things are in the life of Christ.
26 Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.
10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
We have been sanctified, set apart, made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus. How many times? Once and for all.
How much sense is it to ask God to make you holy if you are in Christ? In Christ you have already been made holy. “Oh, Lord please set me apart.” You already are. “Oh, Lord please sanctify me.” You already are. It has already been done. All of it by Jesus Christ.
Through this all who come to Christ by His grace, come to Christ by exercising faith in the grace of God who has done it all. The moment that occurs, when we have been set apart, made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus once and for all. You see “once and for all in many passages. It means that if you and I have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus once and for all. If God was not satisfied, do you think He could have described that sacrifice in that way? Could Christ made us holy, set apart, if that sacrifice was not totally satisfied by God? He already had a system established for the covering of sin. The problem of sin covering is you had to do a sacrifice over and over again. That made you sin conscious, and therefore, could never be made perfect, or complete those who draw near to God. You could never experience completeness because you have not been made complete when it has not been finished yet. When God wanted you and me to be made perfect in His sight, complete in His sight, given Christ’ life and you standing before God predicated upon what Christ sacrificially did for us instead of us doing for him. That is what satisfied Him. It could never have been stated we have been made perfect, made holy, had not the sacrifice fully satisfied God.
That brings us then to a word called propitiation. That is mistranslated many times and in the NIV unfortunately is certainly the case as atonement. But it is not atonement but propitiation. The word propitiation is in 1 John 2:2.
1 John 2:2 (NASB)
2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
Therefore, who is this propitiation, or satisfaction for our sins? It is Christ. How many of our sins is Jesus propitiation for? All of them. What does that really mean? He is the one who turns aside God’s wrath, taking away our sins, not only ours but the sins of the whole world. So, atonement covered sin. Propitiation took sin away. Christ came to take it away. I think that was an agreement between the godhead. At the godhead, the goal was to restore man to true humanity, to give man new life, a life that could not be lost as to the life that was given to Adam, and the life given to Jesus through virgin birth. It was a life called eternal life. In order to give us that kind of a life, which made us perfect. That is what perfected us and made us complete, being alive again.
I was incomplete, imperfect, because I was only 2/3 whole. I had a body and a soul but no life in my spirit. In order to be made whole, perfect, God had to give me life, a spiritual life that had been lost in Adam, but not a life that could be lost again, but a life that was permanent, a new kind of life called eternal life, that would enable us from that day forth regardless of what Satan did, for you and me to be able to walk in total confidence that we are His forever. We possess eternal life with a promise of God that He will never leave me or forsake me, with a realization that one of these days I will be absent from the body and immediately present with the Lord, not based on what I have done but only on what He has done. Yet to be able to look at life and death very soberly. To me to live is Christ and to die as gain. Those kinds of attitudes can be generated only through being made complete, being made perfect. There is no one who can ever make those claims based on their own good life. It would have to be based only in His good life.