In the ancient temple in Jerusalem, there was a place called the Most Holy Place. This was a place that only the high priest could enter because God's presence was there. This is where the high priest would give offerings for the people. This was a place where the high priest had to be made clean before entering because he had to be clean before God. No one else had access to the Most Holy Place. The priest actually bore the sins of the people when he presented the consecrated gifts to God (Exodus 28:36-38). But, when Jesus came and sacrificed Himself on the cross, we are told that He became our high priest and we could enter God's presence with confidence. Please use the link and read Hebrews 4:14 - 5:10.
Hebrews isn't the easiest text to read; however, there are such powerful truths found in it and I just want to point out something that is on my heart this morning. In these verses, we are reminded that Jesus is our high priest, but then we see how someone became a high priest. They were appointed by God-the priesthood was their calling. The author then shows us how Jesus is now the appointed high priest; there is no need to have any other high priest anymore. His appointment came through His obedience to the cross. Remember that we learn in Exodus 28 that the high priest bears the sins of the people when offering the sacrifices to God? Jesus did exactly that for us when He offered Himself up on the cross as a sacrifice for us all. The difference is that Jesus was faultless and conquered the shame of death. These verses tell us that His obedience is why He is our high priest.
Look at verses 8 and 9: "Son though He was, He learned obedience from what He suffered and, once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him..." Okay, when reading these verses, it is important to remember that we are told in several places in the New Testament that it is by grace through faith in Jesus that we receive salvation. In fact, we are told very clearly that it isn't through any thing we've done that we receive salvation: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesians 2:8-10). We can see through both Hebrews and Ephesians that it is through our faith in Jesus that we receive eternal life; however, that faith is evident through our obedience to Him. We were created to do good works but those works do not save us, they are the evidence of our faith. Do you see the difference? We do good works not to receive salvation, but we do good works out of obedience to the One who is our high priest because of His obedience. How else can I put it other than it is a heart issue. Are we doing good works for salvation or are we doing good works because of our faith and love for Jesus?
Why are you doing good works? Do you believe that Jesus is our high priest - our source of salvation?
This post is linked with Thought Provoking Thursday.