The writer of Hebrews reflects upon a prophetic passage from the Psalms where we find a body was prepared for Jesus. Why? Sacrifices and burnt offerings God did not desire and He did not take any pleasure In them. The prophecy looked ahead to Christ coming to do the will of God by the sacrifice of Himself. By this offering, He took away the first covenant made with Israel, including the law, and established a second covenant. This resulted in our eternal salvation and sanctification. It was God’s will to bring an end to the need for further sacrifice.
God has a requirement for all of us: Be perfect as He is perfect. How do we go about this seemingly monumental task? It hardly sounds like a good news gospel if we're going to apply our own works and efforts, because we'll never meet that standard. However, there is another way for us to enter into a state of perfection - believe in the work of Jesus Christ. The Jewish people could not arrive at being perfect through trying to keep rules, commandments or offering repeated animal sacrifices; nor could they escape a sin consciousness that brought them more guilt. With one sacrifice of Himself, Jesus brought an eternal perfection… And it looks really good on you!
Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness. Jesus died once and He isn’t shedding any more blood. This shows the finality of his work at the cross. He was the perfect lamb of God that would bring an end to the previous covenant of law and repeated sacrifices that provided only a temporary forgiveness and could not remove sin. There is no longer the need to seek God’s forgiveness because He gave His all through Christ. Believe it! It was more than enough.
Although religion has encouraged people to keep seeking a renewed forgiveness from God, the gospel shows us a new and different way when it comes to forgiveness. Forgiveness is not offered unless blood is shed. Asking for repeatedly for God to forgive because we're sorry or we confess wrongdoing does not provide us with a newfound forgiveness. This was accomplished through one sacrifice of Christ, once for all. If we're only forgiven up to this moment, that would be bad news for everyone, because Christ isn't shedding any more blood... That's because it isn't needed. He has already completed what was needed, we receive it by simply believing it was enough.
Christ did not enter a place made with human hands, but He entered the more perfect tabernacle, in the Most Holy Place once for all, obtaining eternal redemption with His blood. The writer of Hebrews contrasted this work of Christ with the former ministry of repeated animal sacrifices, and explained how this would be superior to the old way. It would cleanse our conscience from dead works and move us into serving the living God. When did all of this begin? Not with the birth of Christ, but with His death, which would allow for the will or covenant to go into effect.
When it comes to Christianity, religious institutions seem to be unable to resist the temptation to mix Jewish law with the good news message of the gospel. The combination of law and grace embedded in church doctrine has caused many believers to wallow around in sin and guilt. Jesus came to deliver us from the ministry of the letter with its commandments that brought death and condemnation, and He transferred us into the New Covenant ministry of the Spirit.
The ministry of the law from the Old Covenant given to Israel brought a sin consciousness and a constant reminder of sins. The New Covenant would contrast that, with sin being taken away by the blood of Jesus, so that God would remember sins no more. The old way was made obsolete after the sacrifice of Christ, and would begin to disappear in the lives of new Jewish believers as they would grow in their understanding of this finished work.
In reference to the New Covenant, you may have been told that God would put his law, commandments and statutes in our minds and write them on our hearts. However, in the same passage, God declared the New Covenant would not be like the one made with Israel when they were delivered out of Egypt. Since the old law brought death, condemnation and increased sin, why would God choose to write it on our hearts, since it could not provide life or righteousness to us? There was a change of law with the new priesthood of Jesus Christ, and it brought a new heart to us with a new ministry that would far surpass the old way.
The Old Covenant which Israel was under would put the spotlight upon the people and their sin, behavior and dedication in trying to keeping the law. The New Covenant which began after the death of Christ would not be like the first covenant when the Israelites came out of Egypt. Many believers have the erroneous mindset that Christianity has to do with our performance getting better and sinning less in order to become more set apart and accepted by God. Fortunately, the second covenant is something God would make with Himself, because He could swear by no one greater. Whereas fault was found with the people not holding up their end of the agreement with the Old Covenant, it is God who will uphold the New.
Under the Old Covenant, there were many priests who would serve under the law for many years or until they died; other priests would then replace them. They offered many sacrifices for the sins of the people, as well as their own sins. But the New Covenant would usher in a different priesthood with Jesus Christ, who was perfect, holy and undefiled. He would become the one and only mediator between us and God through one sacrifice for all. When did this occur? It came after the law, when the Old Covenant would be put aside and forgiveness would last forever. The shedding of blood is no longer needed.