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), 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. (Heb. 9:11-12)
Think of a time when you made your final car payment (or house payment, student loan payment, credit car payment, etc.). Relieving, right?
You don’t owe anything to the loan company anymore. You finally own your car for good, forever. It’s yours. It’s not theirs. You don’t have to worry about them ever again.
Dear saints, Jesus has secured your eternal redemption. Not by means of the blood of goats and calves which had to keep being paid. By means of His own blood, the final payment has been made. God’s wrath against our sin has been appeased forever. You now belong to Jesus and His goodness and will belong to Jesus and His goodness forever and ever.
There’s a lot of “forever’s” today in the readings – Jesus says, “Before Abraham was, I AM,” “If anyone keeps my words, he will never taste death,” “eternal redemption,” “eternal Spirit,” “eternal inheritance,”
And there’s really lots of “eternals,” “forever’s,” and “everlastings” every Sunday.
It’s too easy to overlook. But let’s not do that today. Our Jesus Your Jesus, the One who says, “Before Abraham was, I AM,” promises you eternal life, with continual joy, and never ending peace. By His blood, the good things have come and they’re going to get better for an eternity when life is over. You have a beginning, but you do not have an end. After this very short life, your body and soul will be living in these wonderful promises forever and ever. Amen.
Let these beautiful, freeing promises sink in.
And then compare them with what we deserve – eternal death and eternally living in a kingdom where the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched (Mark 9:48).
When you hear this, are you offended? Most of the time, I am.
And before we consider the most important point regarding this which is, “It doesn’t matter if you’re offended by this, sweetheart. It’s true,” it’s good for us to begin to consider why this often offends us.
When visiting many sick and shut-ins and desiring them to hears the Lord’s goodness and kindness in His forgiveness and absolution, I’ll begin asking a series of “yes” or “no” questions.
“Do you confess that you are by nature sinful and unclean?”
“Do you confess that you have sinned in thought, word, and deed?”
“Do you confess that you have not loved God with your whole heart?”
“Do you confess that you have not loved your neighbor and yourself?”
But then, “Do you confess that you deserve God’s wrath and temporal and eternal punishment because of all this?”
And there’s a pause. And it’s a good pause. It’s a pause that recognizes we’re not just going through the motions, we’re not just saying words. They are confessing something that has a huge impact upon them now and forevermore.
The Christian confession of sin and the Christian confession of what we deserve because of those sins go hand and hand. But it’s not a confession that we would come up with on our own.
“I’ve made some mistakes. I’ve done some bad stuff. I’ve hurt some people and I don’t really do that again. I’m sorry and help me, God. Amen.”
We owed God for our sin, who we are by nature and what we have done. God is the judge and jury, He’s the justice system, and it doesn’t matter if we’re offended.
What matters is that He’s right.
What matters is that we can’t pay Him.
What matters is that we have offended Him.
And what matters most is that we know eternal death is not what we get because Jesus, who says, “Before Abraham was, I AM, says, “If anyone keeps my words, he will never taste death,” because He paid the price of eternal death for us and it’s been paid.
Christ entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and bulls, but by means of His own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 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, 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 (Heb. 9:12-14).
These eternal promises give us something much needed for our daily life – perspective. Or as the text says:
A conscience purified from dead works to serve the living God.
The petty conflict with the one you love, the grudge you’re holding with the one you don’t like, your gossip about others, your worry about the future, and all the really silly stuff you get worked up about – when considering eternity, what’s the point? These are dead works, we serve the living God.
The tests God gives you to see if you fear Him or you fear money, health, the honor the world or even death more – that’s not going to last forever. What lasts forever is God’s favor.
The words of the nightly newscasts, the anxieties of the day, the words from others that hurt you, the sicknesses you face even the ones that will kill you, and the threats of the devil that God hates your or won’t provide for you – these won’t last.
They come to an end. You won’t. Because you’re in the Christ, who doesn’t have end or a beginning is the Son of God.
Before Abraham was, I AM.
His Word’s don’t have a death.
The Word of the Lord endures forever.
And His promises extend to you.
Truly, truly I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.
Before cancer, racism and hatred, Jesus says, Before Abraham was, I AM.
Before the lies and murdering of the devil, the hatred of the Church by the world, and the mocking of Christians for hearing and defending the truth of God’s Word, Jesus says, Before Abraham was, I AM.
Before you were any plagued by guilt and shame, before you even gave yourself over to dead works, Jesus says, Before Abraham was, I AM had in mind to take on your dead works and purify your conscience to serve the living God.
The very Son of God who is eternal, through the eternal Spirit, has eternally paid for your redemption by means of His own blood and gives you an eternal inheritance, an eternal cleansing of conscience to serve the living God, and Words of eternal life preached to you.
Keep stirring up one another to hear these words, to keep these words, and to love these Words. They will bring us eternal joys, because they come from the eternal joy giver, the One who purchased us so that we belong to Him, now and forevermore. Amen.