"A Reminder of Our Redemption"
One of my favorite things to do in the weeks leading up to Christmas is purchase and decorate a Christmas tree. I love going to the tree lot in search of a tree that has just the right size and shape. I love hauling it home in the back of my truck, and I love hanging ornaments on the tree. Many of the ornaments bring back great memories of past Christmas celebrations.
The yearly sacrifices prescribed under the Old Covenant also served as a reminder to God’s people. They reminded them of the truth that they would never be able to fully satisfy the demands of the Law. A new year would bring new sins and the need for new sacrifices. The sacrificial system could never perfect the conscious of the worshiper. The New Covenant established by Jesus was different in this regard. Rather than leaving us with a guilty conscience, the forgiveness Christ has secured on our behalf totally purifies us so we can be freed from trying to earn God’s approval through dead works. This freedom makes it possible for us to serve the living God. Spend some time today in prayer thanking God for the complete forgiveness that is ours through faith in Christ. Celebrate the truth that we have been freed from dead works so that we might serve God from a heart of love and gratitude.
11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. 16 For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. 17 For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. 18 Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. 19 For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” 21 And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. 22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.