So it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be cleansed with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things had to be cleansed with better sacrifices than these. Christ didn’t enter the holy place (which is a copy of the true holy place) made by human hands, but into heaven itself, so that he now appears in God’s presence for us. He didn’t enter to offer himself over and over again, like the high priest enters the earthly holy place every year with blood that isn’t his. If that were so, then Jesus would have to suffer many times since the foundation of the world. Instead, he has now appeared once at the end of the ages to get rid of sin by sacrificing himself. People are destined to die once and then face judgment. In the same way, Christ was also offered once to take on himself the sins of many people. He will appear a second time, not to take away sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
Jesus’ death provides us a means for handling sin once and for all. The event happened at a particular time and place but it has ongoing implications for us today. It does not mean that sin no longer exists, it means that we have a way to deal with it when it happens. Essentially, this passage shows us step 7 in ancient, biblical language. Step 7, the month’s theme, teaches that we humbly ask God to remove our shortcomings. Now, this passage is obviously not telling us to ask God to remove our shortcomings, but it is telling us that he has made provisions for getting rid of our shortcomings through sending his son as a sacrifice that cleanses us, and washes away our sin, providing us with a fresh start. And this is a process in which we can continue to partake. We don’t take advantage of it, by continually living poorly and then trusting that Jesus’ sacrifice covers our wrongs. We seek to live a Godly life while using the provisions God has given when we slip up. I basically said the same kind of thing yesterday.
I don’t always do a good job of articulating why I make certain points, so I’m going to try. I bring this up as a way of illustrating why doing a step 7 is even worth it in the first place. Why should we have any confidence that God will remove shortcomings? How do we know that he will do that? If we’re uncertain, should we even bother? After all, working through the steps isn’t exactly simple or easy. But here we see that not only is God willing to remove our shortcomings, or sin, we’ll say, but he’s already been at work in history to make that removal an immediately accessible reality. In other words, the major action necessary for “shortcoming removal” to take place has already been done. Good news? I think so.