Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews. More specifically today’s passage is found in the ninth chapter of this epistle. “Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary. And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rode that budded, and the tables of the covenant; and over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly. Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; which stood only in meats and drinks, and diver washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation” (Hebrews 9:1-10).
“But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (Hebrews 9:11-14).
“And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; for them must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Hebrews 9:15-28).
When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews continuing their discussion concerning the heavenly tabernacle, the heavenly ministry and even the Lord Jesus as the merciful and faithful high priest being far superior and better than that which was earthly. You cannot read the words found in this epistle and not encounter the awesome and wonderful reality of the Lord Jesus as being so much better than that which came before and even that which presently still is. In the opening chapter of this epistle we learn that the Lord Jesus as the eternal and only begotten Son of the Father who was set down at the right hand Majesty on high was made so much better than the angels in heaven. As such the Lord Jesus hath obtained a better inheritance and a better name than the angels who worship round about and before the throne of God in heaven. It is absolutely impossible to read the words which are found in the first chapter without encountering the divine glory and eternal nature of the Lord Jesus Christ which He had with the Father who was in heaven. The words which we find in the first chapter of this epistle are absolutely and incredibly remarkable and astounding when you take the time to consider them for they bring us face to face with the awesome and wonderful truth surrounding the Lord Jesus as being divine and possessing within Himself eternal glory and holiness with and before the Father. Oh how absolutely incredible this truly is when you take the time to think about it for it brings us face to face with the truth of the Lord Jesus as being made so much better and so much greater than the angels which were in heaven.
In all reality it was necessary to highlight and underscore the reality of the Lord Jesus being far greater than the angels which were in heaven for when you come to the second chapter you will find something that almost doesn’t seem to make any sense. It is in the second chapter of this epistle you are brought face to face with the wonderful truth surrounding the Lord Jesus as being made a little lower than the angels—this despite the fact that He was far superior and far better than the angels which were in heaven. The first chapter of this epistle brings us face to face with the wonderful truth surrounding the Lord Jesus being greater, better and far superior to the angels which were in heaven and yet in the second chapter of this epistle we discover the truly awesome reality of the Lord Jesus being made lower than the angels which were in heaven having taken upon Himself the form of flesh and blood. We know that man—when he was created—was made a little lower than the angels being crowned with glory by and from the eternal Father. When, however, we think about the Lord Jesus we must needs recognize and understand that He was indeed made a little lower than the angels for the purpose of suffering in the flesh. It was absolutely necessary that the Lord Jesus be made lower than the angels for the only way He was truly able to suffer was to suffer in the flesh. This is something we have great need of recognizing and understanding when we consider the Lord Jesus and His ministry as the faithful and merciful high priest for the Lord Jesus needed to be made lower than the angels which were in heaven that He might not only suffer in the flesh but might also taste and experience death as a man.
Within the epistle written unto the Hebrews we are brought face to face with the awesome and wonderful truth that the Lord Jesus was in fact made lower than the angels which were in heaven for the purpose of death that He might taste and experience death as a man. It was only in the flesh the Lord Jesus was truly able to learn obedience as a man through suffering as one would in this earthly tabernacle of flesh and blood. The epistle written by this author unto the Hebrews sought to call and draw their attention to the incredibly awesome and wonderful truth surrounding the Lord Jesus as being a merciful and faithful high priest—one who needed to lay aside and set apart His divinity that he might take upon Himself humanity. Oh there is something truly awesome and wonderful about the words which are found in the epistle written unto the Hebrews for within it we are brought face to face with the awesome truth concerning the Lord Jesus and His being willing to take upon Himself the form of flesh and blood that He might be made a merciful and faithful high priest. In all reality we must needs understand that in the role and office of high priest both the divinity and the humanity of Jesus meet and are united together. It was because Jesus took upon Himself the form of flesh and blood as a man and tasted and experienced humanity that He is able to serve as our faithful and merciful high priest. With this being said it is also because the Lord Jesus was also divine as the eternal and only begotten Son of the living God that He was able to sit down at the right hand of Majesty on High as our faithful and merciful High Priest. Once the Lord Jesus made atonement and sacrifice for the sins of humanity He passed through the veil that separated the heavens from the earth and entered into the Holy of Holies.
Oh there is a great need to recognize and understand the words which are found in the epistle written unto the Hebrews for the words we find here bring us face to face with the truly awesome and powerful truth concerning the Lord Jesus as having taken upon Himself the form of human flesh that He be able to taste both suffering and death as a man. What’s more is that in His taking upon Himself flesh and blood He was able to be tempted in all points as we are and yet while on the earth He was without sin. The author of this epistle calls and draws our attention to the wonderful and beautiful truth surrounding the Lord Jesus and His being able to succor, strengthen and support as the saints of the most high God. In fact the author goes on to declare that we do not have a high priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities but was in all ways tempted as we are. Moreover the author of this epistle calls and draws our attention to the powerful truth that since Jesus is our faithful High Priest who has passed into the heavens He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God by Him since He ever lives to make intercession for them. What a truly awesome and powerful reality this is when we read the epistle written unto the Hebrews for at the very heart and core of this epistle is not only Jesus being better and Jesus being superior but also the Lord Jesus being a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God. At the very center of this epistle is the Lord Jesus which is why the author chose to begin it with the declaration that God in these Last Days has chosen to speak unto us by and through His Son—His Son who is far greater and far better than anything we could think or imagine.
I absolutely love the epistle written unto the Hebrews for within it we encounter perhaps one of the greatest truths surrounding the person of the Lord Jesus. It is when we read the words which are found in the epistle written unto the Hebrews we are brought face to face with the fact that the Lord Jesus is simply put—better. The Lord Jesus Christ is indeed superior and vastly better than anything we could even think or imagine in this life and is a reality which we must needs recognize within our own hearts and lives. We have a great need in this life in the flesh to recognize—and not only recognize but live our lives and conduct ourselves according to the reality that the Lord Jesus is indeed better than anything. We know that the living God can do exceedingly abundantly above all that we could ask or think and yet when we come to this epistle we are brought face to face with the wonderful and powerful reality of the Lord Jesus being far greater and far superior than anything we could ever think or imagine. This reality of the Lord Jesus would indeed begin with a discussion that He was better than the angels having been given a better name and a better inheritance than they were. The Lord Jesus was indeed made better than the angels for as the apostle Paul wrote in the epistle written unto the Philippians He was given a name higher than all others—a name at which every knee which is in heaven or on earth shall bow and at which every tongue which is in heaven or in the earth shall confess that He is Lord. Oh we must needs recognize and understand the tremendous truth of the Lord Jesus as being so much better in this life than anything we could ever think of or imagine. There is a great need within our hearts and lives to truly recognize the awesome and powerful truth surrounding the Lord Jesus and how He is indeed vastly better than anything we can experience and/or lay hold of within this life.
I feel there is a great need here to pause and ask you if as you read this particular epistle written by the author you are brought face to face within your own heart and soul whether or not Jesus is indeed better. Can you without hesitation and without reservation declare that Jesus is so much better than anything this world or this life has to offer? Can you emphatically declare and do you indeed hold within your heart that the Lord Jesus is supremely better than anything or anyone in this world? The more I read the words which are found in this epistle the more I am brought face to face with the incredible necessity within my own heart to not only make but also to acknowledge the Lord Jesus as being so much greater and so much better than anything this world has to offer. Not only this but I am reminded of the words of the song that emphatically speaks of taking the world but giving only Jesus. What’s more is I can’t help but think about and consider the awesome truth surrounding Jesus minus the world and all it has to offer is indeed everything. This also falls in alignment with the undeniable reality that Jesus must needs be the greatest joy, the greatest treasure and indeed the treasure hidden in the field and the pearl of great price which was spoken of in the parables. If there is one thing the epistle written unto the Hebrews demonstrates it’s just how vastly superior and better the Lord Jesus truly is. The author begins this epistle with emphatically declaring and demonstrating that the Lord Jesus is indeed better than the angels in heaven having not only set down at the right hand of Majesty on High but also having obtained a more excellent name and inheritance than they. Moreover the words and language we find in the opening chapter of this epistle highlights and underscores the Lord Jesus as being the eternal and only begotten Son and that His unique relationship to God as Father is at the very core and foundation of His being superior, supreme and better than the angels who are in heaven.
As you continue in this New Testament epistle you will encounter reference after reference concerning the Lord Jesus and how He is indeed better in every facet and area of the Christian walk. What’s more is that the more you delve into this epistle the more you will be brought face to face with the tremendous truth that the Lord Jesus is better than the Old Covenant with everything that was comprised within it. You cannot read the words found in this epistle without understanding and recognizing the tremendous truth that the Lord Jesus is indeed the eternal and only begotten Son of the living God and as such played a unique role in the salvation of men. Not only this but Jesus as the Son was the faithful minister over the house as well as the mediator of the New Covenant. Upon reading the words which are found in this epistle you will encounter the reality that if the Old Covenant could in fact do everything we would need there would have been no need for a new testament and a new covenant to be introduced and brought into existence. The author of this epistle seeks to demonstrate and how the Lord Jesus as the faithful and merciful high priest of our profession and aptly demonstrates this wonderful reality throughout the epistle. The author makes it very clear that it was absolutely necessary for the Lord Jesus to take upon Himself the form of flesh and blood as a man for the purpose of suffering and death. Despite the fact that the Lord Jesus was indeed the eternal and only begotten Son of God and was clothed with glory from the beginning He would lay aside that glory that He might take upon Himself the form of a man. What’s more is that it would and could only be as a man that Jesus could indeed taste and experience temptation and in all ways be tempted as we are. The only way for Jesus to truly serve in the office and role of high priest there was a great need for Him to lay aside His divinity and take up the form of human flesh and walk among us.
I have to admit the more I read the words which are found in this epistle the more I am brought face to face with the fact that the Lord Jesus was and is indeed the eternal and only begotten Son. With this being said it is important to note that when the eternal Father wanted to accomplish His greatest work in the earth He did not send prophets, He did not send priests, He did not send righteous men, He did not send kings or judges or those whom we saw and witnessed in the Old Testament. When the eternal Father wanted to accomplish His greatest work in the earth He sent His eternal and only begotten Son—a reality which was first manifested and expressed openly and publicly at His baptism by John the Baptist in the waters of the Jordan River. It was there at the Jordan River as Jesus came up and emerged from the waters that the heavens were opened, the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form as a dove and lighted upon Him and the voice of the Father spoke from heaven declaring this to be His only begotten Son in whom He was well pleased. We must needs recognize and understand this for when we consider the words found in the epistle written unto the Hebrews we are brought face to face with the awesome reality of the Lord Jesus coming in the form and fashion of a man—and not only as a man but even as the Son of God. What adds even more weight to this is when you consider the New Testament gospel narrative written by Luke and how when rehearsing the genealogy of the Lord Jesus Christ he traced it all the way back to Adam to demonstrate how Adam was formed and created as the Son of God. In the gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew he traced the lineage and genealogy of Jesus back to Abraham and David to demonstrate how He was not only a son of Abraham but also the Son of David. In the gospel written by Luke, however, the beloved physician sought to demonstrate that just as Adam was formed and fashioned as the son of God outside the garden of Eden so would Jesus be the eternal and only begotten Son of the Father. This reality is aptly displayed and demonstrated throughout the four gospels as Jesus would continually declare unto the Jews, religious leaders, and men alike that the living God was indeed His Father.
Within the epistle written unto the Hebrews the author clearly demonstrates and declares of the Lord Jesus that He took upon Himself the form of flesh and blood and became a man for the purpose of suffering and death. The underlying and ultimate reason for this suffering and death was not merely that He might be able to strengthen, support and succor those who are tempted, those who are struggling and those who suffering. The ultimate and underlying reason for the Lord Jesus to take upon Himself the form and fashion of a man was that he Himself might suffer and experience death that he might be a propitiation and offering for the sins of the world. John the Baptist was right when he exclaimed concerning Jesus that He was indeed the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world. John knew and understood that this Jesus of Nazareth was indeed the Lamb of God that would be responsible for taking away the sins of the world which would ultimately be done by and through His sacrificial death upon the cross of Calvary. It is with this being said I can’t help but be reminded of the words which are found in the fifty-third chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah. It is in the fifty-third chapter of this prophetic book we are brought face to face with the coming Messiah who would also be “the suffering servant.” We might very well say that the Hebrew prophet Isaiah was perhaps the one prophet who most clearly saw a vision of the coming Messiah who we know to be the Lord Jesus Christ. If the apostle Paul could be known by man as “the apostle of Christ” then it might very well be said that the prophet Isaiah could be known as “the prophet of Christ.” No Old Testament prophet saw more concerning the Lord Jesus Christ than did the prophet Isaiah and the words he wrote concerning this suffering Servant must needs be understood in light of that which we find in the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews. Having said this I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the fifty-third chapter of this Old Testament prophetic book beginning with the first verse:
“Who hath believed our resport? And to whom is the arm of the LORD revealeld? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; He was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: Yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: The chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his tripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: And who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:1-12).
IF THE FIRST WAS BETTER THERE WOULD BE NO NEED FOR A SECOND! When we read the words which are found in the prophetic book of Isaiah we encounter the Messiah who was indeed the suffering servant and who gave His life as a ransom for many. When the Lord Jesus Christ came unto the earth in the form of a man in human flesh He did so that He might taste and experience suffering and death. While clothed with the glory which He had with the Father from the beginning He could neither taste suffering nor experience death and it was therefore necessary that He both took upon Himself the form of human flesh as well as the seed of Abraham. What’s more is that the author of this epistle emphatically declares that in taking upon Himself the form of human flesh and blood Jesus would indeed become like His brethren—the same ones whom the author previously mentioned He was not ashamed to call brethren. We must needs recognize and realize the Lord Jesus Christ took upon Himself the form of a servant and not only became obedient unto death but also learned obedience through the things He suffered. I have previously mentioned that the Lord Jesus didn’t need to learn how to obey in the same way that we need to be taught how to obey the Father. What the author of this epistle is stating and declaring is that the Lord Jesus learned obedience and learned what it was like to obey the Father fully and completely while upon this earth. We know that the meat of Jesus was to do the will of the Father and yet I would dare say that He could not have learned obedience in any better or greater way than through suffering and death. It is absolutely necessary and imperative we recognize and understand this tremendous truth within our hearts and souls for what we find concerning the Lord Jesus is that He learned what it was like to walk in obedience to the Father in all things.
The more I speak about this concept of the obedience of Christ the more I am brought face to face with the awesome and powerful truth surrounding His learning full and complete obedience unto the Father through the things He suffered and ultimately through death. We know that from Jesus’ own mouth He could do nothing without and apart from hearing and seeing the Father doing it. Moreover the Lord Jesus would also declare that He could in and of Himself do nothing except for what He was authorized by the Father to do. We know that throughout those three and a half years Jesus walked in obedience to the divine will of the Father and we know that during the first thirty years of His earthly life He subjected Himself to Mary and Joseph as His earthly and natural parents. Mary and Joseph were entrusted as stewards over the eternal and only begotten Son of God and from the time He returned with them from the city of Jerusalem at the age of twelve He submitted Himself unto them. For thirty years Jesus lived in obscurity as the Word made flesh in full submission to Mary and Joseph. Eventually, however, the time would come when the Lord Jesus would need to be manifested and revealed unto the world. It would be at the Jordan River where the heavens would be opened, the Holy Spirit would descend upon Him in the bodily form of a dove and the voice of the Father would speak unto Him declaring that He was His beloved Son in whom He was well pleased. This was before He had even performed a single miracle or taught a single thing unto the masses.
I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and am brought face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding the Lord Jesus and how during those first thirty years of His earthly life—despite the fact that He was the Word made flesh which dwelt among us—He submitted Himself unto Mary and Joseph. For thirty years the Lord Jesus submitted Himself and obeyed His earthly parents, however, the time would come when He would be manifested and revealed as the eternal and only begotten Son of the Father in heaven. During that three and a half year period of time His primary focus and ambition would become submitting Himself to the divine will of the Father in heaven. Those three and a half years would indeed be spent devoting Himself to doing only that which He saw the Father do and speaking what He heard the Father say. This is something we must needs recognize and understand for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the obedience of the Son while He was present among us in the form of flesh and blood. The author of this epistle emphatically declared concerning the Lord Jesus that He learned obedience through the things He suffered while the apostle Paul declared that Jesus humbled Himself and became like as unto a servant who was obedient even unto death. We ought not and must not miss and lose sight of this for within it we are brought face to face with the unbelievable truth that while He walked upon the earth in flesh and blood and as the manifested Son of the living God He learned obedience through the things He suffered. Thus it would be through suffering in the flesh and even death upon the cross Jesus would not only learn what it was like to obey as a man but also understand what the end of that obedience was indeed like.
The more we read and consider the words and language that is found in the epistle written unto the Hebrews the more we encounter and come face to face with the incredible truth surrounding the Lord Jesus being the eternal and only begotten Son of the living God and the high priest of our profession and confession. At the very heart of both His relationship to the Father as the only begotten Son and His role before the Father on behalf of humanity as the great high priest we find the reality that Jesus was indeed better than anything else. The Old Covenant was filled with pictures, types and shadows which would ultimately allude and point to the reality of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus, the blood that would be shed, the suffering He would experience and ultimately His death upon the cross. You cannot read the words found in the Old Testament without encountering the wonderful truth surrounding the Lord Jesus as being a High Priest who is indeed a mediator of a covenant which was better than the previous covenant. The author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews declared that if the Old Covenant and Old Testament were perfect there would have been absolutely no need for a new covenant to be enacted. It is in the ninth chapter of this epistle we find the author writing and speaking of the first covenant having ordinances of divine service and a worldly sanctuary. Within this earthly tabernacle there was the first part wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread which was called the sanctuary.
It is quite remarkable to read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for within the author proceeds to describe the makeup of the Tabernacle which was given unto Moses by the living God atop the mountain of God in the wilderness of Sinai. The author of this epistle describes how there was in the first covenant a worldly sanctuary which contained within it a tabernacle housing the candlestick, the table and the shewbread. Immediately beyond these vessels within the sanctuary there would be a veil that would separate the sanctuary from the most sacred and innermost part of the tabernacle. Beginning with the third verse of the ninth chapter we discover that after the second veil there was the tabernacle which was called “The Holiest of All” which had the golden censer where the Ark of the Covenant was. This Ark of the covenant was overlaid round about with gold and which housed the golden pot that had manna, Aaron’s rod that budded and the tables of the covenant. Over the Ark of the Covenant would be the cherubims of glory which overshadowed the mercy seat. It was when these things were ordained the priest would always go into the first tabernacle accomplishing the service of God. There was, however, only one time a year when a certain priest could go beyond the second veil into the Holiest of all to offer atonement for the sins of the people. In fact the author speaks to this in the seventh verse they write how into the second went the high priest alone once every year, however, he would not do so without blood which he offered for himself and for the errors of the people.
We must needs recognize and understand the words and language which is found in this passage of Scripture for within it we encounter the fact that the Holy Ghost signified that the way into the holiest was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was yet standing. It was in this earthly sanctuary which stood a figure for the time which was then present in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices. What is unique about the words and language found in this passage of scripture is that the author of this epistle goes on to describe how the Old Covenant was limited and restricted in its effectiveness in that it could not make him that did the service perfect as pertaining to the conscience which stood only in meats and drinks, in divers washings, in carnal ordinances which were imposed upon them until the time of reformation. This is something which must needs be considered for even when the high priest entered into the Holiest of all once a year with blood to make atonement for the people it was limited in that it could not do anything for the conscience of the sinner or that one who had transgressed against the commandment of the living God. In fact this is precisely why the words which are found in the eighth chapter of the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Romans—and not only the words which are found in the fifth chapter of the second epistle written unto the saints which were at Corinth. It is within these epistles which we are brought face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that not only is there no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus and do not live according to the flesh but we also find that those who are in Christ are new creations as old things have passed away and all things are become new. Having said this I invite you to consider the following words which are found in each of these passages beginning with the epistle written unto the saints at Rome:
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you” (Romans 8:1-11).
These words are found in the opening verses of the eighth chapter of the epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome and bring us face to face with the tremendous truth that there is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus—those who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. There is still more which is found in this chapter which must needs be considered before coming to the fifth chapter of the second epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Corinthian saints. With this being said I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the eighth chapter of the epistle written unto the saints of Rome beginning with the twenty-sixth verse:
“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with graonings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according ot the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:26-39).
It is within this passage we not only encounter the beautiful truth of the Holy Spirit making intercession for us but also the powerful declaration that all things work together for good to them that love God and to those who are the called according ot his purpose. Moreover we also find in this passage the wonderful reality that it was the living God who foreknew His saints and predestinated them that they might be among the brethren of the eternal and only begotten Son. Not only this but those whom He predestinated He called, and those he called he justified, and those whom he justified he glorified. These words would be immediately followed by the apostle Paul declaring that if God be for us who can be against us. Directly linked and connected to this reality is the truth concerning God choosing not to spare His own Son but delivered Him up for us all. It is precisely because the living God did not spare His own Son but freely gave Him for us that there are none who can lay any charge to God’s elect. It is God that justifies—this regardless of who might try to condemn us in this life in the flesh. Moreover it is within this passage where the apostle Paul also describes the Lord Jesus as the One who suffered and died and was raised from death to life and was seated at the right hand of God who makes intercession for us. Oh please don’t miss this powerful truth for within the epistle written unto the Romans we find both the Holy Spirit and the only begotten Son making intercession for us. It is because they make intercession for us that we are able to live our lives without condemnation as it is the living and eternal God who justifies us.
With this being said I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw our attention to the words which are found in the fifth chapter of the second epistle written by the apostle Paul. It is in this particular chapter where we encounter and come face to face with the reality of those who are in Christ—those who have allowed themselves to be found in Christ not having a righteousness of their own making or doing. The apostle Paul emphatically declared unto the Corinthian saints that if any man was in Christ they were a new creation and then went on to speak of old things passing away and all things becoming new. Oh before we return to the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews I am absolutely convinced we must needs consider the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the fifth chapter of this epistle written unto the Corinthian saints as well as the words which are found in the third chapter of the epistle written unto the Philippian saints:
“For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause. For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which should live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:13-21).
Consider now the words which are found in the third chapter of the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints of Philippi beginning with the seventh verse:
“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, noting having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: that I may know Him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Now as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing” (Philippians 3:7-16).
The words which we find here are absolutely necessary to recognize and understand—particularly when we consider the words written by the author of the epistle unto the Hebrews concerning the Old Covenant. The author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews declared that the Old Covenant was weak in the flesh in that it could not cleanse and purify the conscience of man. Even when the high priest entered into the Holiest of all once a year to make atonement for the sins of himself and the people it would and could not cleanse the conscience. The fulness of the reality of there being no condemnation did not and would not come until the Lord Jesus and those who are found in Him. What’s more is that in order for us to truly understand this we must needs recognize that Christ is our justification—and not only our justification but our justification which comes by faith in Him alone. This is precisely what the apostle Paul was writing unto the Philippians when he wrote of not having his own righteousness which was of the law but that righteousness which came by faith through the Lord Jesus Christ. What’s more is that this reality is expressed all the more when we consider the following words which are found in the tenth chapter of the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome. Consider if you will the following words which are found in this chapter beginning to read with and from the first verse:
“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (That is, to bring Christ down from above) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (That is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things” (Romans 10:1-15).
It is absolutely necessary for us to recognize and understand the words which are found here in this passage of Scripture for it helps us to understand that which the Lord Jesus Christ purchased for us with His blood which He shed upon the cross of Calvary. One of the core tenants of the gospel which the apostle Paul preached was justification by faith alone in the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ according to the free gift of the living God. This reality must needs be understood when reading the words found in the epistle written unto the Hebrews for when you come to the eleventh chapter of this epistle you will find the author emphatically declaring how Christ has become a high priest of good things to come by a greater and more perfect tabernacle which was not made with hands and not of the earthly building that was present in the wilderness and even in the Promised Land. Moreover this greater and more perfect tabernacle which the Lord Jesus Christ became the high priest of was not founded upon the blood of goats and calves but by His own blood which He brought with Him when He entered in once into the holy place having obtained eternal redemption for us. What’s more is that when you read the words found in this passage of Scripture you will find the author going on to declare that if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean sanctified to the purification of the flesh then how. Much more would and could the blood of Christ who through the eternal spirit offered Himself without spot to God purge our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Oh how absolutely incredible this reality truly is for it demonstrates the reality that although the earthly tabernacle during the days of Moses with the sacrifice of bulls, goats, lambs and the shedding of blood served its purpose during those days it was only a shadow of things to come—things which were eternal in nature and secured in the heavens.
As I bring this writing to a close it is absolutely necessary we draw our attention to the final verses of the ninth chapter for when we begin reading with the fifteenth verse we find the author going on to describe how it was for this cause—the cause of purging our conscience from dead works to serve the living God—Christ is the mediator of the new testament that by means of death for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament those who were called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. There seems to be this incredibly strong and powerful truth found within this passage of Scripture that by and through the death of the Lord Jesus and the shedding of His blood He not only made propitiation and an offering for our sins but His blood and His death was able to cleanse and purge our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this reality for it is at the very heart of that which the author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews is writing at this particular juncture. The author earnestly wanted their readers to know and understand that the Old Testament was a shadow and type of those things which were to come—things which were more perfect, more sure and were vastly greater and better in nature and scope.
The author of this epistle goes on to write and declare that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins and it was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these things represented in the Old Testament and under the old covenant. With this being said, however, it was necessary that the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices were made greater than these. Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands which are the figures of the true but into heaven itself now to appear in the presence of God for us. Pause for a moment and consider just how incredible these words truly are for with and through them the author of this epistle brings us face to face with the tremendous reality that Christ was neither the mediator of earthly things nor did He enter into the earthly tabernacle and sanctuary. Instead the Lord Jesus Christ as a mediator and high priest of a new and living covenant entered into the heavens with His own blood which He shed for our sins for the purchasing of our hearts, minds and souls for and unto the living God. How absolutely incredible it is to read the epistle written unto the Hebrews and encounter the awesome and wonderful truth surrounding the death of the Lord Jesus Christ and how He was so much more than just the Lamb which was sacrificed upon the cross for the remission of sins. It is indeed true the Lord Jesus was the Lamb which was without spot or wrinkle and offered as a sacrifice upon the altar of God and yet we must needs recognize that the Lamb was also the High Priest. In fact, I would dare say that by and through His resurrection—and not only His resurrection but also His ascension unto the right hand of the Father—He was able to enter into the role of high priest in the heavens in the heavenly tabernacle which was not made with human hands.
Oh how absolutely wonderful and beautiful it is to read the words found in this passage of Scripture and come face to face with the tremendous truth that when we think about the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus which he made upon the cross of Calvary for our sins there was not a need for Him to make many sacrifices and to be crucified again and again. The author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews emphatically declared that Christ died once and for all for the propitiation and remission of our sins that He might make atonement for us who by and through faith put our trust in the finished work of His sacrifice. What’s more is that while it was true the priests needed to offer multiple sacrifices throughout the day and even throughout the entire year the Lord Jesus Christ needed to offer but one sacrifice and one sacrifice only. Moreover just as the high priest entered into the veil once a year each year throughout his tenure in that role and office the Lord Jesus Christ needed enter into the Holiest of all in the heavens once and for all. There was not a need for the Lord Jesus Christ to enter into the Holiest of all time and time again carrying and bringing His own blood for He entered in once with His own blood which shed for the remission of sins. As it is appointed unto man once to die and then the judgment Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many and unto them that look for Him will He appear the second time without sin unto salvation. What an incredibly awesome and powerful truth is found in this passage of Scripture for it calls and draws our attention—not only to the entrance of Christ into the heavenly places but also the earnest and eager expectation of His coming again that He might gather together unto Himself as one body all those who have believed on Him.
I feel it absolutely necessary to conclude this writing by inviting you into the place where you truly recognize and understand that you and I have been called into the place where we earnestly and eagerly await and expect the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. If there is one thing we must needs understand when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture it’s that we have indeed been called into the place where we eagerly and earnestly await the coming and return of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Scriptures promised and foretold. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it was by and through His own sacrifice and offering we as the saints and people of God have the hope that where Christ is there we might also be if we put our trust, our confidence and our hope in Him. The question we must needs ask ourselves is whether or not we are indeed those who are earnestly and eagerly expecting and waiting the return and coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ for it is indeed true that He is coming again for a church that is without spot or wrinkle. It is indeed true that blessed are those whom He finds watching, waiting and praying and there is a great need within ourselves to be those who are able to live our lives with the eager and earnest expectation of the return and coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh it is with this in mind I leave you with the words which are found in the fifteenth chapter of the first epistle written unto the Corinthian saints as well as the words which are found in the fourth chapter of the first epistle written unto the Thessalonians:
“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:50-58).
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).