…and the law lost.
When I was at school the headmaster tried to keep the number of rules to a minimum. Rules were for a reason, so with 700 students and several teachers changing classrooms at the same time there was a rule, you walk down corridors on the left, It made changing lessons so much smoother. He once remarked that rules get broken, remarking that if he ruled that pupils will walk down corridors on their feet it would only be a matter of time before someone walked on their hands.
The next stage in the book of Hebrews, now that we have got past the frankly weird Melchizedek episode, is about Jesus and the law.
Again this is not black and white, good versus evil. Like all the analogies it is about the very, very good. So the biblical law is brilliant, it is God’s law after all, but Jesus is even better. The problem with laws is they get broken.
That’s why Jesus came.
The Jewish law with its sacrifices cannot fully deal with sin. This is how Hebrews puts it:
For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshippers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,
“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
but a body have you prepared for me;
in burnt offerings and sin offerings
you have taken no pleasure.
Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,
as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’”
Hebrews 10:1-7 ESV
The thing that makes us disobey, the spirit of rebellion that is strong in human nature, cannot be taken away by sacrifices of bulls and goats. Before too long we are off again doing the same things again. Laws and punishments can only go so far as a deterrent. We put ourselves above the law, and when, as I said earlier, the law is a very,very good thing, that is a problem. What is needed is to deal with human nature itself.
What Jesus has done, according to verses 12 to 14, is offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. It is done. It is finished. It might not feel like it some of the time, or even most of the time, but the time when we are perfected will come, at that same time that God’s enemies are finally defeated.
Come Lord Jesus, do not delay.
It is in the power of Jesus that we are clean in God’s eyes and can enter into his presence. We don’t have to wait for God to make us perfect.