Tomorrow is the Lord’s Day. As you prepare to gather with other Christians—for worship, instruction, fellowship, and prayer—remember that your only basis for access to God and for fellowship with other believers is the same—the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
As High Priest, Jesus entered the holy place to offer a one-time sacrifice for His people (Heb. 9:24-26). He offered Himself as the perfect payment for man’s sin and thus God’s holy standard was satisfied and His wrath propitiated (Rom. 3:25). Now, all who approach God by faith in Christ may enter with assurance because we enter through His merit alone.
According to Hebrews 10:1–14, the old system was inadequate because it could “never, by the same sacrifices … year by year, make perfect those who draw near” (v. 1). There was no way for man to fully remedy his sin problem by means of animal sacrifice. If the offerings had really done the job, they would have “ceased to be offered” (v. 2). But they were not complete. Instead, they pointed to the one true altar on the hill called Calvary. God’s promise of a Redeemer that demonstrates His righteousness by making full atonement for sin is the reason why He “passed over the sins previously committed” (Rom. 3:25). Therefore, the Son of God said to the Father, “Sacrifice and offering You have not desired, but a body You have prepared for Me” (Heb. 10:5). He alone is the fulfillment of every one of the millions of animals that were slain for the progress of redemption.
In Christ, believers have the privilege of entering into the presence of God by a “new and living way” (10:20). “Thus the sacrifice of Jesus is forever regarded as having just been made. It shall never lose its power.” [Hobbs] “The word indicates ‘fresh,’ not only in the sense that it is a way which was before unknown, but also as one that retains its freshness and cannot grow old.” [Linguistic Key] Therefore, Jesus remains the newly slain one who is able to free us from sin’s penalty and power by giving us His spiritual freedom and life. This new way came through “the veil, that is, His flesh.” As the veil in the tabernacle of Israel barred man’s access into the Holy of Holies as long as it remained intact, so the humanity of Christ prevented the sinner’s access to God until it was torn at the cross. Jesus had to suffer a physical death as well as endure spiritual separation from the Father (Matt. 27:46). He had to be a perfect sacrifice to appease the wrath of God and satisfy His justice. During the crucifixion, “the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Matt 27:51). By removing this barrier, God declared to the world that sinners can now come to Him anytime through His Son. In Him, we possess the right to immediate and bold entrance into the holiest of places—the very presence of God.
A community of faith that is a favorable environment for biblical counseling will never lose its sense of wonder over the greatness of the sacrifice of Jesus, which freely purchased immediate and continual access into the presence of God for repentant sinners. This is surely one of the reasons why Jesus instructs us to frequently remember His sacrifice by means of the visual object lesson called the Lord’s Table (Luke 22:19–20; 1 Cor. 11:24–25). While participating, we identify ourselves with the slain body and spilled blood of our Savior. Our sin has been atoned for by Jesus Christ. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God” (Rom. 5:1–2).