In Hebrews 7 and 8, you learn the difference between following a set of rules that was required to appease God which was how believers lived in the Old Testament, versus, God’s Son becoming the final sacrifice that ushered in the New Testament. A believer simply has to believe Jesus and receive the gift of salvation. The Holy Spirit enters in which means God resides within your repentant heart and you live God’s way from this moment on.
Hebrews 9 is a continuation of understanding the difference between the first covenant God made with His people in the Old Testament and the new covenant that is rooted in unconditional love. Jesus Christ willingly gave His life to save you and me. Because of Christ’s sacrifice, you and I can enter into God’s Presence freely anytime.
Read Hebrews 9. You will notice that the first 10 verses describe what life was like for priests who spoke to God on behalf of sinful believers. They made an atonement for everyone’s sins, including their own, reread Hebrews 5:1-3.
In verse 1, the first covenant was between God and Israel. Israel represents believers. You become His chosen child when you believe in Christ. God had regulations in how to worship and it had to be in a certain place. It was called the Tabernacle. What do you learn about the Tabernacle in verses 2-5? You read about a curtain that separated man from God. God resided in the Most Holy Place. Check out Matthew 27:51, Mark 15:38, and Luke 23:45 to see what happened to the curtain when Jesus died on the cross. It’s a great illustration of the new covenant!
Everything had to be followed in detail by God’s standards. What do you learn about the priests job from verses 6-10? Why was this first covenant unable to be an eternal one? From verse 9, you get a better understanding of how works cannot saves you. Gifts and sacrifices can’t cleanse your conscience. This is because sin warped your heart. Check out James 1:14-15, Ephesians 4:18-19, and Romans 2:5-8 for insight into the darkness that resides within every human heart.
The rest of Hebrews 9 teaches you how Christ is the perfect sacrifice. He has the ability to acquit you from sin. He desires to save you from yourself and the evilness that surrounds you. Unfortunately, you and I don’t take what Romans 5:8 says seriously, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Jerry Bridges spoke of this in his book, “Trusting God.” “It is sometimes difficult for those of us who grew up in morally upright or Christian homes to appreciate the force of Paul’s statement, ‘while we were still sinners.” Because we were generally upright and morally decent people in the eyes of society around us and in our own eyes, it is difficult for us to see ourselves as God saw us, as wretched, miserable, rebellious sinners.” (Page 135)
Satan does not have to work very hard at keeping people blinded by their nice lives, especially in Western culture.
Are you willing to look at your heart in all it’s darkness? Your parents were unable to keep sin from entering in, no matter how well they raised you. Being brutally honest is the first step in fully embracing Jesus Christ as your Redeemer, Savior and Lord. Then, are you willing to confess your sins that separate you from God? My friend, when you come clean before the Lord, He will receive you with open arms, and begin the sanctification process. I liken it to open-heart surgery. The Holy Spirit leads you where you can say, “He must become greater and greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30) So, if you are willing to follow Christ, move ahead with verses 11-28.
“Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come.”11
What do you learn about the perfect Tabernacle that is eternal, see verses 11-12? What is the difference between the earthly Tabernacle and heaven’s Tabernacle? Which one would you prefer?
While under the old system, the blood of animals only cleaned on the surface, what does the blood of Christ do for you, see verse 14? Christ is the One who brings people back to God. He goes with you into God’s presence and fights for you and helps you to be filled with spiritual fruit. What do you receive because of Christ, see verse 15? What do you also learn from this verse that should put a kick in your step?
In verses 16-23, you read about the tediousness of the first covenant. Many things had to be performed to appease God. What do you learn about wills from verses 16-17? What are some things that Moses had to do on behalf of believers? For God to forgive sin, what had to be done, see verses 22-23?
You learn that in heaven, things had to be purified with something greater than the blood from animals, see verse 23. It is vital to know and understand that Christ did not enter into the man-made Tabernacle, see verse 24, He entered into heaven. Why did He do this, see verse 24?
What makes earthly priests and pastors unfit to cleanse you from sin, according to verses 25-26? If Christ entered into something man-made, then He would have to die over and over and over again. He had to die and resurrect into something eternal like heaven where God sits upon His throne.
What do you learn about yourself from verse 27? What do you learn about Christ, see verse 28?
Are you eagerly waiting for Him as the final verse says? God is waiting with open arms ready to smother you with His amazing grace and unconditional love.