“For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, Who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
In verses 13 and 14 we have a contrast between ritual cleansing and real cleansing. We have seen the sacrifices of goats and bulls as representative analogies of salvation and the Rebound Technique, but what about the heifer offering? In Numbers 19:9 the heifer offering was related to ceremonial or ritual uncleanness. The Jews were “unclean” by touching a corpse, by touching a tomb, by entering a house where there was a dead body and were not allowed to enter the Tabernacle until they had been cleansed following God’s instructions. Remember we are talking about the Age of Israel and the Mosaic Law. Part of the Law was sanitary laws to protect God’s client nation, Israel from disease, etc. Sprinkling a person with the ashes of a red heifer mixed in water was a ritual of purification representing the Rebound Technique for a believer who had been defiled by Satan’s world system. Every ritual or ceremony was used as a teaching aid for Israel. Therefore, we have a ritual or ceremonial cleansing in verse 13.
In verse 14 we have the real cleansing. Forgiveness of sin is, and always will be on the basis of what Christ did on the Cross. Therefore, the real cleansing took place on the Cross and on that basis alone the believer who confesses his sin is forgiven. So the contrast is simple. If ceremonially the washing of the flesh with water and ashes cleanses, how much more cleansing is accomplished by means of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross.
Who through the eternal Spirit comes from the Greek words “pneuma” plus “aionios,” whichmean eternal when applied to God because God has no beginning and no ending. Jesus Christ was an “eternal Spirit,” as deity. In eternity past He volunteered to become humanity and die on the Cross for our sins. And, He went to the Cross as a perfect human being without any category of sin: Adam’s original sin, a sin nature or personal sin. (Matthew 26:39, 42; Mark 14:35, 36; Luke 22:42)
This cleansing portrayed by the sacrifice of goats and bulls had the effect of removing the guilt of the person who placed their faith in the reality, Jesus Christ. The conscience was immediately freed from guilt and a new creation emerged as God imputed to the one believing a human spirit. The dead works of human effort for salvation or spirituality were ineffective. And, as we are told in Ephesians 2:10, we are created unto works of intrinsic value after salvation, which we call divine production (service). We are told in Romans 12:2 to be transformed by the renewing of our minds so we will be able to discover God’s will for us as believers. How are we transformed? Believers are transformed, positionally, by faith in Christ and experientially, by the study and application of God’s Word (Bible doctrine).
“For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.”
The reason we have a new covenant is that the old one, which authorized all the types and priestly functions, the Mosaic Law, was replaced by a new covenant. So we now have a new covenant for the Royal Family — the New Covenant to the Church. And, when Christ returns after the Tribulation, He is going to regather Israel, so there is a new covenant to Israel. Israel can’t operate under the Mosaic Law during the Millennium because it was abolished at the Cross. Yet, there will be a temple in the Millennium, and there will be a priesthood, but it calls for a new covenant. So there is the New Covenant to the Church and the New Covenant to Israel.
The earliest and most basic concept of a mediator is found in Job 9:2, 32, 33. A mediator is someone who resolves a disagreement between two parties and brings them to a common goal and purpose. Christ’s mediatorship results in the reconciliation of God and man. God the Father is propitiated by the Mediator and man is reconciled to God by the Mediator. So the Mediator is not only equal with God because He is God and equal with man, but He propitiates God and He reconciles man as an act of mediation. And all of this is accomplished by the spiritual death of Christ.
The mechanics of mediatorship are found in 1Timothy 2:5,6. In verse 5 the two parties are God and man. The Mediator is Jesus Christ who is equal with both parties: the God-Man. In verse 6 the basis of reconciliation is Christ’s redemptive work of the Cross. The mediator of the New Covenant is identified as the Lord Jesus Christ — Hebrews 9:15-17. His mediation was accomplished through three things, redemption, reconciliation and propitiation. The blood of the animal sacrifices portrayed redemption, reconciliation, and propitiation. Christ our High Priest is the Mediator of a better covenant which deals with realities rather than types. The covenant of types and images anticipated the coming of Christ. The New Covenant required the spiritual death of Christ on the Cross, so that God the Father could put into action this New Covenant.
The Cross redeemed us from all sin and also redeemed those who were under the Mosaic Law (the first covenant). Redemption carries with it the doctrinal concept of atonement. The word atonement in the Old Testament meant a covering for sin until that sin and its accompanying penalty could be paid for at the Cross. In the New Testament the word atonement takes on a new meaning. It no longer means a covering for sin since sin and its penalty was taken of care by Jesus Christ on the Cross. Therefore, sin is no longer merely covered; sin and its penalty were removed. The result of this payment for sin is an eternal inheritance for those who believe in Christ.
The word in Greek for atonement is “katallage,” a word closely associated with propitiation and reconciliation (same root word). Propitiation is the principle of satisfying the righteousness of God and atonement is the function of satisfying the righteousness of God. Together they reconcile us to God. The word atonement is used in the New Testament only once. (Romans 5:11) Similar to the meaning of reconciliation, atonement means to exchange, to adjust, or to restore to favor. Caught up in the doctrine of atonement is the substitutionary spiritual death of Christ, a person’s adjustment to God’s standard of righteousness and the restoration of God’s favor towards that person.
The phrase “at-one-ment” describes, in a simple way, the effect of the Atonement. Because of the Atonement, those who choose to believe in Christ become one with Him. The Atonement was the single act that satisfied (propitiated) the righteousness of God. Atonement is the just act of God in pouring out the sins of the entire human race (past, present and future) upon Jesus Christ and judging Him in our place. Atonement accomplishes for us that which we could not do for ourselves. The barrier of sin is removed, thus creating the potential for peace with God (Reconciliation). The righteousness of God is imputed to the believer at salvation and God’s justice declares the believer to be righteous as a result.
The doctrine of atonement is found throughout the Old Testament to describe the Mercy Seat that covered the Ark of the Covenant. The Mercy Seat of solid gold was the lid (covering) for the Ark of the Covenant. Two cherubim angels “guarded” either end of the Mercy Seat, symbolizing God’s presence and judgment against any illegitimate approach to God. This was God’s throne upon which He sat symbolically and it pictured His grace and mercy toward His people. The one time a year that the high priest was allowed into the Holy of Holies where the Mercy Seat was located, he was to sprinkle blood on it to signify that atonement had been made for the sins of the nation of Israel. It was above the Mercy Seat that the Shekinah Glory of God resided. Christ became our Mercy Seat having satisfied the righteousness and justice of God by His substitutionary spiritual death on the Cross (Doctrine of Propitiation). The Greek word for Mercy Seat is “hilasterion” and means a lid or a covering. According to Romans 3:25, Christ is our Mercy Seat (our covering for sin). In the same manner that an animal as a type of Christ was judged for sin, Christ Himself was the reality of that type. (Exodus 25:17-22; Numbers 7:89; Hebrews 9:1-28)
Those who are called is a reference to all believers in the Church Age. The doctrine of election explains the meaning of the word, called. Election is the plan of God for believers only, whereby He chooses or selects certain things to be true. The Greek word for election is “eklektos” and means picked out, selected, or chosen for privilege. The question that must be answered in order to clearly understand this doctrine is “What are these things that God chooses for the believer?” Please notice that it is not God choosing a person for salvation as some teach; rather it is God choosing certain things to be true of the believer. An unbeliever must still use his volition to choose to believe in Christ or to reject Christ. (Ephesians 1:4)
Church Age believers have been chosen by God for a service. This service is to be Royal Family of God and Royal Ambassadors for the Lord Jesus Christ. Every person who believes in Christ during this dispensation becomes Royal Family of God and a Royal Ambassador for Christ. As royalty, it is the responsibility of each believer to fulfill his election by the execution of the Christian Way of Life. (II Thessalonians 2:13-14)
The Christian Way of Life involves a life of discipline in order to learn God’s grace system for success. There is no shortcut when it comes to learning Bible doctrine and applying it to daily experience. Even Jesus had to learn Bible doctrine by studying and He also had to use His volition to apply it. At the age of twelve, He confounded the Hebrew scholars with His knowledge of God’s Word and later, when tempted by Satan, He applied what He had learned in order to overcome the legitimate, but flawed offers of Satan. (Luke 2:41-52, 4:1-13)
If we are to make our election to God’s service certain, as Peter tells us to do in II Peter 1:10, we must become knowledgeable of the doctrines of God’s Word and how they apply to our lives. This requires a life of consistent and persistent intake of accurate Bible teaching. In order to fully understand spiritual information from the Word of God, a believer must rely on the teaching ministry of God the Holy Spirit. Spiritual things are revealed by the Holy Spirit only to “spiritual believers” (those who are in fellowship with God and controlled by the Holy Spirit). (1 Corinthians 2:12-16)
God elected you for a service. We know that this service is a “reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1-2) We know from the study of His Word what this service is and we know how to accomplish it. We also know from Scripture the alternative to fulfilling God’s plan. Therefore, it is still a matter of personal volition (free will). Some will and some will not choose to fulfill this service for God. For believers who choose to fulfill this service, there awaits a life of peace, joy and contentment. Royalty has privilege, but it also has great responsibility. The privileges that are available to us as Royal Family of God are innumerable and beyond human comprehension. Therefore, the responsibility is huge. (Colossians 3:12-17)
Inheritance implies a family relationship and eternal is a permanent, everlasting relationship. This is certainly the case for every Christian. At salvation, every believer becomes a child of God. One of the amazing things is that as children of God, we also become heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. This means that we share in Christ’s inheritance. The Bible declares that it has not even entered into the mind of man what God has prepared for him. So the questions are, “What is this inheritance and how do we get it?” (Galatians 3:26; 4:26; Romans 8:17)
In eternity past, when God was designing a plan for your life, He included as part of His plan an inheritance. God was thinking of you in eternity past and predesigned a magnificent plan for your life on earth (therefore you could not have worked for it, earned it or deserved it). He has also designed a plan for you for the eternal state (also, you cannot work for it, earn it or deserve it). God’s plans are always a matter of His grace. (Ephesians 1:11)
For the believer in Christ, God has become your Father, not merely your Creator. This family relationship is entered into by faith in Christ at salvation. Therefore, it is not something for which we have worked, nor is it something that we deserved. In other words, this family relationship is based on the grace of God. Therefore, our inheritance is also based on God’s grace. As our Father, God desires only the best for His children. It is a divine decree from our Heavenly Father that we have an inheritance, and His decrees must be carried out. (Galatians 4:4-7)
Inheritance implies a family relationship even in the case of Jesus Christ. As the second Person of the Trinity, Jesus is the Son of God. It is this family relationship that Jesus has with God the Father that guarantees that He will have an inheritance. As a matter of fact, Christ is the inheritor of all things according to Hebrews 1:2. It is this inheritance that the believer, as a child of God, shares with Christ because we are in union with Him.
Eternal inheritance means exactly that – it lasts for all eternity. Our inheritance begins at salvation but will not be fully realized until we enter the eternal state. After the believer is evaluated at the Judgment Seat of Christ, his “escrow blessings” (those kept in his escrow account) will be conveyed to him to enjoy for all eternity. It is the realization of these greater blessings in eternity that should be a motivating factor in the life of every believer. This knowledge becomes part of our personal sense of destiny and the hope (full confidence) of a future filled only with peace and happiness.