Tuesday, 1 January 2019
Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. Hebrews 9:12
Here, the author is describing the requirements of the Day of Atonement for the high priest of Israel. These requirements are minutely described in Leviticus 16. The symbolism of Christ fills the entire passage with picture after picture of His work. It is an astonishing study. First, the high priest had to take the blood of a bull (here called a calf) into the Most Holy Place. This was to atone for his own sins. After this, he took the blood of a goat for the sins of the people.
The superiority of what Christ did is seen in the contrasting word de, translated here as “but.” Unlike the high priest of Israel, who is acknowledged as a sinner because of the need to offer blood for himself, such is not the case with Christ Jesus. Rather, He is the perfect sacrifice which these animals only pictured, and He entered “with His own blood.” The perfection implied in the animals which were sacrificed was due to an inspection of them first. There was to be no defect in them, and thus they represented Christ in His perfect, unblemished state. In His death, He presented Himself as the sacrificial offering. As it literally says in the Greek, “through however the own blood He entered.”
The Greek word dia signifies “through,” “on account of,” or “because of.” It is by the instrumentality of His own blood that He entered the Most Holy Place. It is the same word used in verse 9:11 where Christ went dia, or through, the greater and more perfect tabernacle. Here His entering of the Most Holy Place was through His own blood, proving His sinlessness, and thus demonstrating His ability to fully cleanse those for whom His life was given. As it says, “once for all.”
It is the same Greek word used by Paul in Romans 6:10 which says, “For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all.” Christ died once for all, and He entered the Most Holy Place once for all. Unlike the high priest who used an animal, a type of Christ, and who had to repeat the same sacrifices year after year, Christ died once. His death, validated in His shed blood, is fully sufficient to forever cleanse all those who come to Him. It is, when logically considered, the surest proof of the doctrine of eternal salvation. The icing on the cake is that in acceptance of this atoning sacrifice, one is sealed with the Holy Spirit as a guarantee (Ephesians 1:13, 14). With this understanding of surety, the author finishes with, “having obtained eternal redemption.”
The word translated as “redemption” is found only here and in Luke 1:68 and Luke 2:38. It signifies “the payment of the full ransom-price to free a slave – particularly the redemption of an individual” (HELPS Word Studies). In other words, the individual so redeemed has been ransomed eternally – the price is paid, and freedom is granted. Vincent’s Word Studies explains the meaning –
“Not mere duration is contemplated, but quality; a redemption answering in its quality to that age when all the conditions of time shall be no more: a redemption not ritual, but profoundly ethical and spiritual.”
Again, the entire verse speaks of a one-time for all-time salvation. It is eternal in scope, and it is never to be repeated. Jesus Christ’s blood does not purchase eternal insecurity, but rather eternal security. The thought here takes us back to what was said in Hebrews 5:8, 9 –
“…though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. 9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.”
Eternal redemption equates to eternal salvation. The two are met and obtained through faith in the Person and work of Jesus Christ. To say one can lose what Christ died for is to say that the blood of Christ is a lie. Either the act is sufficient and forever complete, or we have placed our hope in a system which can fail by our own actions, meaning that what we do is greater than what Christ has done. This is impossible.
Life application: The believer in Jesus Christ has no need to worry if he has “lost” his salvation for some heinous sin; it cannot happen. If a person came to Christ by faith and accepted His offer of peace, then he is eternally secure. All people fall, all stumble, all make mistakes, but the blood of Jesus Christ is infinitely more powerful to cleanse than we are to err. He has secured “eternal salvation” and “eternal redemption” for His people. Both Peter and Paul state that we “have” been redeemed. Paul says in Ephesians 4:30 that the Holy Spirit has sealed us for the day of redemption. If the two apostles say we “have” been redeemed and then Paul says we are sealed “for” the day of redemption, and Hebrews says that we have “eternal redemption,” then it logically follows that we are potentially redeemed now and that this will be actualized at a future date. It also means it can never be lost. Praise be to God that Jesus Christ’s blood was presented on our behalf! The perfect for the imperfect – what an honor to be called by the name of Jesus!
Lord Jesus, we have failed you a million times and we loathe our failings, but there is no fear that You have turned from us, nor that You ever will. We are assured of the glorious promise of Your eternal redemption obtained for us on the cross of Calvary. When You said, “It is finished,” we can trust that it is so. Praises belong to You, O Christ! Amen.