The problem of guilt

The law of Moses was only a shadow of the good things that were to come, not the actual things themselves. Because of that, the sacrifices under that system had to be repeated again and again, year after year, as they could never provide perfect forgiveness for those who came to worship. If they could have provided perfect forgiveness, wouldn’t the sacrifices have stopped? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once and for all, and they would no longer have felt their guilt. Instead, those sacrifices were a reminder of their sins, year after year.

It isn’t possible for the blood of bulls and goats to actually take away sin. That is why, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you have prepared for me. With burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, ‘Here I am – it is written about me in the scroll – I have come to do your will, my God.'”

First, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them,” (though they are required by the law of Moses). Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” So he sets aside the first to establish the second. And but that will, we have been made pure through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all.

Under the old covenant, the priest stood and performed his duties day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which could never take away sins. But when our high priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at God’s right hand. And there he waits for his enemies to be made a footstool under his feet. For by that sacrifice he has made forever perfect those who are being cleansed.

The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says, “This is the covenant I will make them on that day, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”

Then he says, “I will never again remember their sins and lawless behaviour.”

And when sins have been forgiven, there is no more need to offer sacrifice.

And so, dear brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by that new and life-giving way through the curtain – that is, his body – and since we have a great high priest who rules over God’s household, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and the full assurance of faith. For our guilty consciences have been cleansed by the sprinkling of Christ’s blood, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.

So, let’s cling tightly to the hope we profess, for the one who promised is faithful. And let’s make plans to spur each other on in love and right living. Also, don’t neglect to meet together, as some people do, but encourage each other, especially now you can see the great day approaching.



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