In previous articles we laid out the importance of the priesthood, the history of the priesthood, the nature of Christ’s priesthood, and the operation of Christ’s priesthood. We want to conclude this series by laying out some important implications of the ministry of Christ.
Due to the great work of Christ as our High Priest, we can be confident in at least five areas:
The Law of Moses Is Abrogated
We are no longer under any of the Old Law. Jesus came to fulfill all the law, both ceremonial and moral (Matthew 5:17). With the fulfillment of the old law, a new law must be enacted. Jesus’ work as High Priest guarantees that change. “For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well” (Hebrews 7:12 ESV). Why would we desire to cling to any of the law that came through Moses, when Jesus’ ministry and covenant is better in every way? “But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises (Hebrews 8:6). Therefore, it is clear that Jesus is the mediator of a new covenant (Hebrews 9:15), which is better in every way. We can be confident that the law given through Moses is no longer normative today.
Sins Can Be Forgiven
It is true that God promised forgiveness to the people of Israel. Over and over in Leviticus the phrase, “and he shall be forgiven” can be found (see Leviticus 4:20, 26, 31, 35, et al.). But we find in the book of Hebrews a further light shed on that forgiveness. God says, “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4). Rather, the continual offerings for sin foreshadow something greater. Consequently, “we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:10). God could forgive sins under the law because Jesus was the lamb, “who has been slaughtered from the conception of the world” (Revelation 13:8 MLV). Forgiveness was a reality for people under the old law only because of Jesus’ death and priesthood. Because of his ministry we can be confident our sins can be forgiven.
We Can Live with Courage and Comfort
Having the greatest High Priest in our corner, working for us, should inspire and reassure us. His work should inspire us to have confidence (Hebrews 10:19) and to “hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering (Hebrews 10:23). Because of Jesus’ ministry we can boldly “draw near to the throne of mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). What a tremendous blessing to be able to approach the throne of the Creator of the universe and ask for help!
Intercession Will Cease
Currently Jesus makes intercession for us (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25). But one day Jesus will come again (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). On that great day of Jesus’ return, he will not come to take care of sin or to intercede for sinners, but “to save those who are eagerly waiting for him” (Hebrews 9:28). We live with confidence in the intercession of our great High Priest, but we eagerly await his return, when he will take us to be with him.
Christ Is Our Forerunner
We can eagerly await Jesus’ return, because he has opened up heaven for us. The priests who entered the Most Holy Place did not open it up for others to follow. But Jesus entered into the true tent (Hebrews 8:2), went behind the veil (Hebrews 6:19), sat down at the right hand of the throne (Hebrews 8:1), and is our forerunner (Hebrews 6:20). A forerunner is one who opens up a path for others to follow. Not only did Jesus open up access to the throne, but he opened up access to heaven itself. The hope of an eternal home with the God who loves us so, serves as a “sure and steadfast anchor of the soul” (Hebrews 6:19).
Because of Christ’s priesthood we can have forgiveness, live with courage in our convictions, and look to heaven as our home! Praise God!