Salvation isn’t the ticket to the good life; it’s the ticket to eternal life. We are taken from a hopeless state of corruption to one acceptable before God by faith in Christ Jesus, “whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood” (Romans 3:25).
Used two other times in the New Testament (I John 2:2 and 4:10), the word propitiation refers to Jesus’ blood appeasing God, satisfying the penalty our sins deserve, and atoning for our wrongdoing. The same Greek root is used in Hebrews 9:5, but in English it refers to the mercy seat, which is “the cover of the ark of the covenant in the Holy of Holies, which was sprinkled with the blood of the expiatory victim on the annual day of atonement (this rite signifying that the life of the people, the loss of which they had merited by their sins, was offered to God in the blood as the life of the victim, and that God by this ceremony was appeased and their sins expiated)” (www.blueletterbible.org, Strong’s G2435, hilastērion).
In order to meet with God this one day a year, the high priest had to follow God’s exact instructions. If he passed the veil into the Holy of Holies any other time or any other way, he would die. After a detailed process of purification, the high priest sprinkled the blood of his own sin offering before the mercy seat to atone for himself, his family, and the Holy Place “because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions, for all their sins; and so he shall do for the tabernacle of meeting which remains among them in the midst of their uncleanness” (Leviticus 16:16). He then repeated the process for the altar of sacrifice.
Next, he would he take from the Israelites two kids of goats as a sin offering and a ram as a burnt offering. Casting lots for the goats, one would be sacrificed and the other would be “presented alive before the Lord, to make atonement upon it, and to let it go as the scapegoat into the wilderness” (Leviticus 16:10). He would “lay both hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man. The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness” (Leviticus 16:21-22).
Not only is Jesus the final sacrifice for our sin, doing away with the law, He is our scapegoat! Our sin was upon Him on the cross, and like the scapegoat, Jesus took it all away (I John 3:5). Not only that, but at the moment Jesus breathed His last, the veil of the temple was supernaturally “torn in two from top to bottom” (Mark 15:38). The most Holy Place is no longer a physical location accessible only to a high priest; through THE High Priest, Jesus, we have uninhibited access!
“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:19-22).
And the temple? It is now the place where Jesus dwells in us! First Corinthians 6:9 asks, “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” In fact, we “have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
Thus, “what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.’ Therefore ‘Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord almighty’” (2 Corinthians 6:16-18).
We still breathe the same air, drive the same streets, live in the same country, abide by the same legal system, are affected by the same politics and markets, are vulnerable to the same natural, political and health disasters, but WE are no longer the same. We must now think, believe, hope, talk, and live different. And that requires sacrifice of the New Testament kind.
Lord, thank You that Jesus is now our High Priest and in Him we are Your most Holy Place. Open the eyes of our understanding and strengthen us for the sacrifices You require of us now in order to live more wholly Yours today.