No Through Road
Holy Father of love, forgive my small faith and narrow vision, blindness to Your guiding hand, insensitivity to Your call.
Read Hebrews 9:1-10
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Christ died … to procure for us our salvation; in order to procure it he had to deal with our sins; in dying for them it was our death that he died” (John Stott).
If the worship of God in the tabernacle and temple foreshadowed worship in the heavenly sanctuary, it also demonstrated the incompleteness of that way of worship. Something further needed to be revealed (8). The layout of the tabernacle, as revealed to Moses, is described in some detail, but the detail is not the main point (5). The key point is the barrier between the first or outer room and the inner room, behind a second curtain, called the Most Holy Place. This is a clear reference to the Day of Atonement and the unique role of the high priest, at the greatest festival in the Jewish year (Lev. 16). At the same time, it is an enacted parable of the barrier between God and sinful humans.
The very fact that the high priest could only enter once per year was evidence that the old covenant was provisional. Aaron was warned that he would die if he came any other time. He could only come with sacrifice for his own sins and those of the people. If the promise was that “they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest” (Heb. 8:11), then the way through the barrier “had not yet been disclosed” (8). Worse still, the gifts and sacrifices were largely about ceremonial failings and breaches of external regulations. The heart remained unchanged and the conscience could not be cleansed (9).
Sin is a real barrier. The state of the human heart is its source. External displays of penitence only have meaning if they flow from the heart. Under the old covenant, God granted forgiveness through the sacrifices required by the Law because those sacrifices anticipated the self-offering of his Son. In this passage the stage has been set for what is to follow about Jesus, without whom there is no atonement.
How seriously do you take sin in your life? Why can you say that? Confess any sin you are aware of.
Lord, I am glad I don’t worship a distant God. You are beyond me, but dwell in me by Your Spirit. Help me to truly abide in You each day.