Hebrews 9:26-28. 26 But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
Every single word of these three verses is meant to bring you the greatest of encouragements. Each phrase is meant to quicken your spirit and bolster your soul. If you are in Christ, these three verses serve to fill you with so much relief, excitement, and joy that nothing in this world can steal away from you.
How does the author of Hebrews accomplish this heart healing work? By reminding us of the great work of Christ our savior. By pointing us to his two glorious appearings. The first as the sacrifice, and the second as the sacrificer. The first as the lamb, and the second as the High Priest.
And now it is up to us, the believers, the sons and daughters of God, to step back and behold, once again, the beauty of our Christ. The glory of his gospel. The triumph of his grace.
So let’s soak it in together:
He has appeared – The eternal Son chose to come to us as one of us. Appearing in the flesh and taking our sin and suffering upon himself.
Once for all – Everything Jesus did for us worked the first time. It. Is. Finished. No repeats. No do-overs. Christ’s life and death were completely supreme in nature, sufficient in scope, and satisfying in effect.
At the end of the ages – Or literally, “at the completion of the ages.” Jesus’ death ended the old age of law and inaugurated the new, and final, age of grace. And we live in the eternal blessings of that grace.
To put away sin – With the age of law over, every penalty for sin, and all the power of sin has legally been annulled. Cancelled. Abolished. Void. Forever. Each of your sins, past, present, and future has been buried in the sea of forgetfulness, and removed as far east is from west.
By the sacrifice of himself – Jesus gave his own life. He shed his own blood. The High Priest was his own sacrificial lamb. The blood of God was offered by God to God. This is the central tenant of our faith – Jesus is enough! There is absolutely nothing left for you to add on to his sacrifice. So stop trying.
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment – Yes, even Jesus, like every other human, will only die once and be judged once. In him, our entire eternity hinges on his one-time death and his one-time judgment. So…
Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many – The dying once and judged once Jesus has born the sins of the “many.” Taken from Isaiah 53, “many” and “all” are used interchangeably – “he has born the sins of many” (53:12), and “the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (53:6). Christ has not only experienced the temptation to sin as one of us, our fellowship of suffering, but he has also born all the sins of all the world. What unimaginable horror. What incomprehensible love. So let us do nothing to try to limit the efficacy of Christ’s work. Let us do nothing to limit who may or may not be saved. Let us do nothing to cast doubts on the genuine offer of God in Christ – whosoever will call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Rom. 10:13)!
Will appear a second time not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. – When the High Priest returned from inside the tabernacle on the Day of Atonement the hearts of the people leapt for joy inside them. Why? Because their High Priestly sacrifice had been accepted by God in the Holy of Holies. And as their priest reappeared, they knew they had been saved from their sin, at least for another year.
How much more should we love the reappearing of Christ, our final sacrifice for sin. His promised second coming means his blood sacrifice has been accepted in the heavenly sanctuary. His life has atoned for ours forever. His love has satisfied all holy wrath. His death has put death to death.
But how many Christians are secretly dreading the return of Jesus, because they haven’t grasped what “to live is Christ” really means? They don’t eagerly wait for Christ because they fear that he will return to deal with sin. Their sin.
But perfect love has cast out all fear. Our perfect propitiation will come with perfect peace. Our perfect savior has only to return to save us. Not condemn. Not shame. Not punish. His return brings only rescue. Only reward. Only rejoicing.
Are you eagerly awaiting Christ’s return? Why or why not?
You in Christ
In Christ every sin has been “put away.” What does this mean to you personally?
Christ in you
How does this great truth free you to love and serve others today?
Playlist: No More Sin