August 06, 2012
A Ritual Fulfilled and a System Replaced
“By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice.”
These two small words virtually summarize the entire message of the epistle: “By Him.” Christ replacing everything that the religious Israelite would cling to and prize in his relationship with God. “By Him” we are to offer. He replaces the altar which Israel had. We no longer need an altar upon which offerings rise to God. He has replaced the altar.
But He has also replaced the sacrifice. We now offer the “sacrifice of praise” to God. No longer are we occupied with lambs, bullocks, rams, and birds. They all pointed forward. The Lord Jesus came. He did not abolish the sacrifice; He fulfilled them all in His one once-for-all sacrifice on the cross.
He has displaced the Temple as well. We now have a sanctuary which is above where He is. His presence there gives us free and full access and we can move in the very presence of God. But what of the priesthood which Israel needed to secure and maintain their relationship with God? That also is replaced. No longer do they, or we, need an earthly priest to offer our sacrifice for us.
Counted among the great items of inventory that the Hebrew epistle catalogues, “we have.a high priest Who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.” (Heb 8:1). As our High Priest, He presents our worship in all the fragrance of His person. In the old ritual, the ‘clothes made the man’ as garments passed from man to man, investing him with the office. But with Christ all is different. Not the vestments, but the Person, is what qualifies Him as our High Priest.
In the epistle which places firm and unwavering emphasis on the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ which will never be repeated, we are told to be offering the sacrifice of praise to God continually – a non-stop and repeated offering! Here is something which delights God. May we be marked by sacrifices of praise to God continually … by Him.
1. Trace all the things “we have” in Hebrews and note the wealth of our inventory.
2. The sacrifice of praise which we offer is termed, “the fruit of our lips.” does the use of the word “fruit” by the Spirit of God suggest something that has been developed and nurtured?
3. Does the use of the word “sacrifice” suggest that preparation for worship should cost something?