Agonizomai: Heb 9:16-21 - Christ - Testator of Eternal Life in God

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Heb 9:16-21 - Christ - Testator of Eternal Life in God

Heb 9:16-21 - Christ - Testator of Eternal Life in God

Heb 9:16-21 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.

This "for" is connected to the fact that there is an inheritance - an eternal inheritance - resulting from the death of the perfect sacrifice. The death itself was the price paid for the redemption of sinners. The death was, in fact, a necessary antecedent to the benefits that derive from it. The new covenant, or testament, is language associated with wills. The "testator" and the "beneficiary" are "will" language.

It was always the way, even under the Old Testament - that the life given in the sacrifice (through the faith and obedience of the sinner, and in the symbolic form of an animal without spot or blemish) established that without the shedding of blood there would be no remission of sins. Not that the animal itself was worth anything, nor even the blood of the animal - but that, through the obedience of faith in the God of all grace and mercy, the symbols served as a sort of place-keeper until God Himself would provide.

Note that it was "under the law" that these symbols were given and required to be rigorously observed. Under the old covenant. As "law" there was a duty to observe them. But we are no longer under law, but under grace. This does not in any way make the law a bad thing. The law is good. But under grace, we are free to fail, even though we strive not to. That is to say, we are free to fall short of God’s perfect righteousness because it has been fulfilled on our behalf by God the Son. But, in being free to fall short, we have been given new hearts that do not desire to fall short. No one who belongs to God has the attitude that they are free to deliberately sin - to sin the more that grace may abound. Such an attitude is almost perfect proof that the opposite is true – that they never belonged to Him.

Under the law blood was required (commanded) by God for the purification of all sorts of things. Underlying this was the non-negotiable requirement of God that sin always led to death and that a death was necessary in order for the offence against Him to be paid. Ultimately, eternal death would pay for the eternal offense against an infinite God. In the meantime, the idea of substitution was introduced through the sacrifice. The animals never could be real substitutes, their blood being only symbolic of the real thing - the life of God the Son, as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Jesus is the real substitute, upon Whom all the sins of the redeemed are laid. God did not overlook the sins of the redeemed; Jesus paid the price for them. This is substitutionary atonement. And this was the whole point of the Mosaic Levitical codex pointing to the One and only True Substitute, to be received by faith.



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