So, you still 'trying'?

So now we have a high priest who perfectly fits our needs: completely holy, uncompromised by sin, with authority extending as high as God’s presence in heaven itself. Unlike the other high priests, he doesn’t have to offer sacrifices for his own sins every day before he can get around to us and our sins. He’s done it, once and for all: offered up himself as the sacrifice. The law appoints as high priests men who are never able to get the job done right. But this intervening command of God, which came later, appoints the Son, who is absolutely, eternally perfect. (Hebrews 7:26-28)

In the Old Testament (OT), there were religious leaders called "priests". The most important thing about the OT priest was that he was "set aside" from the rest of the community in which he dwelt for the specific purpose of all the duties associated with worship and sacrifice. They didn't hold down 'outside work', such as farming or carpentry. There was also this office of "High Priest". He was over all the other priests and saw to it they all knew their duties, but he had some duties of his own that the other priests could not perform. He had the important duty of being the one to offer the sin offering for the people - on the Day of Atonement. It is this role as High Priest that "foreshadowed" the work of Christ on our behalf as our one true High Priest.

Jesus perfectly fulfilled all the duties and requirements of the High Priest, but as our perfect sacrificial lamb, without spot or blemish, he also performed the role of the perfect sacrifice. Once and for all, the sacrifice was offered - leaving no need for further sacrifice. His role in dying for mankind's sin made all the OT required sacrifices no longer necessary. His role as High Priest also did away with the need for the priest as the one to be the "intercessor" between God and man. Two "systems" of known religious occurrences were done away with in his life, death, burial and resurrection - the role of the priesthood on earth as a kind of "mediator", and the need for sacrificial offerings to continue.

As the perfect offering, his blood was shed - making full and complete atonement for our sins (covered over, never to be remembered again, removed as far as the east is from the west). He is the only one now who stands making intercession for us before the heavenly Father, having opened the door of full access to God for those who will believe in him as their Savior. No longer needing a mediator, we enter into God's presence with boldness and confidence. Even the High Priest of the OT times didn't have a boldness or confidence, for if there was any impurity in his life, he could be struck dead in the presence of God in the Holy of Holies.

No other confidence is as great as what we enjoy because of our position IN Christ Jesus. No other position gives us such boldness. In ourselves, we could never get the "job done right" - that is why the OT Law of Moses included the provision for the yearly sin offering during the feast known as the Day of Atonement. It was offered over and over again each year - because the sacrifice of the young bull could never accomplish the forgiveness of our sin. It was a "type" or "symbol" of what Christ would accomplish as he was lifted up on that cross so many years ago. It "foreshadowed" his shedding of blood on our behalf. The perfect given for the imperfect.

He makes a way for us to enter into God's holy presence and ends all need for "works" on our part as a means of making us righteous. Here is the challenge for many of us - we don't fully comprehend the magnitude of Christ's finished work on our behalf, nor do we trust it as enough to give us such boldness and free access to the Holy God. It is tough to give up on a "system" which seemed to be so ingrained for so many years, so maybe that is one of the reasons Israel had a tough time embracing Jesus as Messiah when he came. They became very anchored to the way things had been done for all those years and forgot that the "type" could be set aside once the "real deal" was in their midst. Because we are "fully righteous" in Christ Jesus, we walk in the position we are placed into. If we want to continue in the old way of "trying" to live righteous when we are freely given "full righteousness" already, we probably don't fully understand the completed work of our High Priest. Just sayin!


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