SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- The ninth chapter of Hebrews picks up the same theme as the previous one; that the new covenant is superior to the old. (Remember the people who received this letter were Jews who had become Christians, and were feeling tempted to go back.)
- The old covenant had an elaborate tabernacle (place of worship) and special ceremonies and animals sacrifices, but all of that didn't really change the person who sinned. It was all based on externals. In the new covenant we are cleansed from our sins by the blood Jesus shed as he died on the cross. It was all based on love, and it has the power to radically change the person who has been cleansed from their sin.
- In the old and new covenants God requires blood to be shed for the forgiveness of sin. It's not that God is obsessed with blood or sacrifice. Sin leads to death -- our death. In order for us to be saved from God’s wrath, the debt of our sin must be paid. And since the result of sin is death, something has to die in our place. Jesus took our place, and that sacrifice changes everything for us.
- Verse 27 says that, “man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” After death comes judgment.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- After death comes judgment. Sin must be judged and punished. We don't like that when it's our sin, but we agree with it in general. If you knew someone committed a horrific crime and got away with it, you would think that is wrong. So ... there will be death, and then judgment and punishment of sin. Unless you have said yes to Jesus as your substitute. If so, then your sin has already been judged and punished, in Jesus, on the cross.
- Verse 28 says that Jesus is coming a second time, to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. Those who have chosen him can know that he will come for us (whether it be before or after we die) and will "bring" our salvation.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Have you trusted Jesus as the substitute who, through his death, takes away your sin? If not, what you have to look forward to is judgment and punishment. That sounds really bad, because it is. But God loves you so much he gave you a way out. Why haven't you taken it?
- If you have trusted Jesus as your substitute, what you have to look forward to is him coming for you. How awesome is that?! No matter what happens in this life you know Jesus is going to come for you, and that he will make everything right. How should that knowledge change the way you live today?