Commentary by Walter Albritton


June 15, 2008


Christ’s Sacrifice Has Secured the Forgiveness of Our Sins


Hebrews 9:11 – 10:18


Key Verse: He [Christ] entered once for all into the Holy Place, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.  – Hebrews 9:12


Many of the great old songs of the church are known as “gospel music.” Sing these songs and you sing the gospel. The refrain of one old favorite is the gospel in a nutshell:

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.


          Gospel songs at their best teach us to sing biblical truth or what the Bible says about salvation. The Bible says all have sinned. Our sin is like a huge debt we cannot pay, a debt we owe to God. But God loved us so much that he sent his only son to pay our debt. He paid our debt in full by dying on the cross. His sacrificial death made possible the forgiveness of our sins and our reconciliation with God. So we owe everything to Jesus because he “paid it all.”

The writer of Hebrews, sometimes called “the preacher,” explains the gospel beautifully. Sin is a barrier between us and God. Sin blocked our entrance to God’s presence in heaven. For centuries the High Priests had offered repeated sacrifices taking the blood of animals into the Holy Place. Now Christ has come as the perfect High Priest to enter the heavenly Holy of Holies and offer not the blood of animals but his own blood. He offers himself in complete obedience to God “once for all.” His sacrifice will never have to be repeated. By sacrificing his own blood, Jesus dealt with our sin problem and secured our eternal redemption. He redeemed us so that we could be free from sin and guilt. That is why we call him our Redeemer.

It is crucial that we understand God’s role in the sacrificial death of Jesus.  The Father and the Son were one in the plan of redemption. Saint Paul said it best: “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting their transgressions against them” (2 Corinthians 5:19). The death of Jesus was not an after thought; it was not Plan B. The cross was a part of God’s plan of redemption from the beginning of the world.

Christ’s sacrifice established the new covenant by atoning for our sins. That new covenant offers us forgiveness and cleansing for our sins. Sin makes us dirty and guilty before God. But the blood of Jesus can “cleanse us from all sin,” making us holy and worthy of fellowship with God. Jesus’ blood washes the “crimson stain” of sin from our lives and makes it “white as snow.” Non-believers who trust Christ for the forgiveness of their sins typically feel “clean” within. Indeed they are clean! Their sins have been “washed away” by the precious blood of Jesus.

Another favorite gospel song, written by Fanny Crosby, expresses this same truth: “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” Isaiah 1:18 inspired the blind songwriter to summarize the gospel in this lovely song. However, the writer of Hebrews influenced her as well. His influence is clearly evident in the beautiful phrase, “He’ll forgive your transgressions and remember them no more.”

So significant was the sacrifice of Jesus that when he had completed the mission God sent him to do, he could “sit down at the right hand of God.” The New Living Translation translates Hebrews 10:12 like this:

But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand.

That Christ did “sit down” at God’s right hand was verified for the preacher by the Psalmist (Psalm 110:1). In contrast with the priests, who could not sit down because they had to make repeated sacrifices, Christ could sit down in the Father’s Presence with a sense of fulfillment. His work was done. The perfect plan of redemption had been finished by the Redeemer!

Christ’s work of redemption has inspired many gospel hymns but none more beautiful than the one composed by Philip P. Bliss, “I Will Sing of My Redeemer.” The hymn was found in a piece of baggage rescued from a fiery train wreck on December 20, 1876. Bliss was traveling with his wife to Chicago to work with evangelist D. L. Moody when a bridge collapsed. The train plunged into an icy river bed. Bliss and his wife died in the flaming wreckage. Christians around the world still enjoy singing Bliss’ marvelous tribute to our Blessed Redeemer:

I will sing of my Redeemer and his wondrous love to me;

On the cruel cross He suffered, from the curse to set me free.

I will tell the wondrous story, how my lost estate to save,

In His boundless love and mercy, He the ransom freely gave.

I will praise my dear Redeemer, His triumphant power I’ll tell,

How the victory He giveth over sin, and death, and hell.

I will sing of my Redeemer and His heavenly love for me;

He from death to life hath brought me, Son of God, with Him to   be.

            Sing, oh, sing of my Redeemer, with His blood He purchased me,

On the cross He sealed my pardon, paid the debt, and made me free.

          Surely the writer of Hebrews would agree that this song captures the essence of his own beautiful tribute to our Redeemer!

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