Once for All Time
I titled this message ‘Once for All Time.’ This phrase is repeated 3 times in his passage (verses 12, 26 and 28). In the original language it is ‘ephapax’, lit. one time for ever, or once for all time. I believe this is the main theme from this chapter. Jesus offered His sacrifice once for all time. He is saying that the High Priest had to offer sacrifices every year, Jesus sacrificed Himself, ‘Once for all time.’
And the Main Point comes from the verse 28,
28 So also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. Hebrews 9:28
The Author of Hebrews uses 26 verses to set up the point that Jesus is our Once for All Time Savior. The Author starts by speaking of the First or the Old Covenant and all that went into the Tabernacle preparation and sacrifices (1-10), then He focuses on the much greater sacrifice of Jesus the High Priest in verses 11-26. He then closes the chapter with clarity about what Jesus did for us in verses 27-28. If you don’t mind I am going to spend a majority of my time on these two verses because they really bring home the idea that the Author of Hebrews is teaching us today.
Let’s Pray together. Will you say that Lord’s prayer with me from Matthew 6. The words are on the screen. I am using the traditional version:
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
I. The First Covenant
1 That first covenant between God and Israel had regulations for worship and a place of worship here on earth. Hebrews 9:1
A. Tabernacle and Everything In It. (1-10)
1. The Old Rules and Places of Worship
2 There were two rooms in that Tabernacle. In the first room were a lampstand, a table, and sacred loaves of bread on the table. This room was called the Holy Place. 3 Then there was a curtain, and behind the curtain was the second room called the Most Holy Place. 4 In that room were a gold incense altar and a wooden chest called the Ark of the Covenant, which was covered with gold on all sides. Inside the Ark were a gold jar containing manna, Aaron’s staff that sprouted leaves, and the stone tablets of the covenant. 5 Above the Ark were the cherubim of divine glory, whose wings stretched out over the Ark’s cover, the place of atonement. But we cannot explain these things in detail now.
6 When these things were all in place, the priests regularly entered the first room as they performed their religious duties. 7 But only the high priest ever entered the Most Holy Place, and only once a year. And he always offered blood for his own sins and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. 8 By these regulations the Holy Spirit revealed that the entrance to the Most Holy Place was not freely open as long as the Tabernacle and the system it represented were still in use.
9 This is an illustration pointing to the present time. For the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them. 10 For that old system deals only with food and drink and various cleansing ceremonies—physical regulations that were in effect only until a better system could be established. Hebrews 9:1-10
a. The Place of Worship
6 When these things were all in place, the priests regularly entered the first room as they performed their religious duties.
b. They ‘performed their religious duties’ every year.
c. Pointing to the Present Time
9 This is an illustration pointing to the present time.
i. The Rules and Place were all pictures of what was to come.
ii. This System proved, ‘a better system’ needed to be established.
B. Real Things in Heaven
23 That is why the Tabernacle and everything in it, which were copies of things in heaven, had to be purified by the blood of animals. But the real things in heaven had to be purified with far better sacrifices than the blood of animals. Hebrews 9:23
1. The Old Rules were ‘copies of things in Heaven.’
2. The Real Things were purified in Heaven.
II. THe Last Priest (11-26)
11 So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world.
12 With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever.
A. Jesus’ Blood Purified ‘our Consciences from Sinful Deeds’
13 Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer could cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity.
14 Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God.
1. We can now Worship God
2. We can now Have a Relationship with God
15 That is why he is the one who mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them.
3. Jesus > The Old System
24 For Christ did not enter into a holy place made with human hands, which was only a copy of the true one in heaven. He entered into heaven itself to appear now before God on our behalf. 25 And he did not enter heaven to offer himself again and again, like the high priest here on earth who enters the Most Holy Place year after year with the blood of an animal. 26 If that had been necessary, Christ would have had to die again and again, ever since the world began. But now, once for all time, he has appeared at the end of the age to remove sin by his own death as a sacrifice. Hebrews 9:24-26
a. Jesus is in God’s Place, Made by God!
b. He is making intercession for Us!
c. He did this ‘Once for all time’!
III. The ‘Once for all Time’ Sacrifice (27-28)
27 And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, 28 so also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him. Hebrews 9:27-28
A. So Also Christ
The point of these two verses is to get us to think of the big issues of our lives, like death and judgment, and then to help us see that Christ has gone before us in these experiences. We have discussed the Old Ways, the First Covenant and how Christ became our High Priest. But now we are talking about how this plays out in our lives and in Christ’s sacrifice for us.
1. Christ’s Experience Prepares the Way
So let’s look at these things one at a time as they come in these verses of Scripture. Verse 27, “And just as each person is destined (or appointed) to die once . . .” God has been very merciful to say this to us. Listen to two things God means for us to hear in this word.
a. One is that all of us have an appointment with death.
“It is appointed for men to die…”
b. Who made this appointment with death? I surely didn’t.
I make some appointments that I don’t like to make, like with the dentist or with the car mechanic. But I would never make this appointment if it were up to me. Who made it for me?
The answer is, God made it. When Adam and Eve sinned, human death entered the world. And God appointed the curse of death for everyone of their ancestors.
Romans 5:12 gives us the background. It says,
“When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.”
God had warned this is what would happen. And he brought it to pass.
B. ‘And After This Comes Judgment’
The next phrase is what gives death its greatest seriousness.
27 And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, Hebrews 9:27
1. Death is not the end of our existence.
That is what is so awesome about it. We are not mere material beings that simply go out of consciousness and decompose in the ground. This word from God stands over against the common evolutionary idea expressed, for example, by William Provine, the historian of science at Cornell. He says that evolution finds no intelligent design operating in nature and “no such thing as immortality or life after death.”
According to him “we’re produced by a process that gives not one damn about us” (First Things, February, 1997, p. 32).
2. God does give damnation after death.
And it is the most terrifying prospect in the universe, that we might be met after death with a holy and angry and omnipotent God holding us accountable for whether we trusted him and worshipped him and followed his ways in this life.
C. What about Christ?
28 So also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him. Hebrews 9:28
1. Christ Joins Us in Death
Notice for your great encouragement here how Christ joins us in death and judgment. There is a parallel, he dies and he comes to the judgement. But the difference is infinite.
Verse 28a says that his death is “offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people.”
This is the very heart of Christianity and the heart of the Gospel and the heart of God’s great work of redemption in the world. When Christ died he bore sins. He took sins not his own. He suffered for sins that others had done, so that they could be free from sins.
This is the answer to the greatest problem in your life, whether you feel it as the main problem or not. There is an answer to how we can get right with God in spite of being sinners. And the answer is that Christ’s death is “an offering to bear the sins of many.” He lifted our sins and carried them to the cross and died there the death that I deserved to die. Now what does this mean for my dying? “It is appointed [to me] once to die.” It means that my death is no longer punitive. My death is no longer a punishment for sin. My sin has been borne away. My sin is “put away” by the death of Christ. Christ took the punishment.
2. Christ Saves us from Judgment
He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him. Hebrews 9:28b
This is the second great truth. We had to face the issue of death, and so Christ faced death and bore the guilt and punishment of it for us. Now, we must face judgment, so Christ comes a second time for us, this time not to deal with sin, but to save us from judgment.
a. We have been saved from the Condemnation and Wrath
This is exactly what Paul said in… Romans 5:9
9 And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation.
3. Who are the ‘Many People’?
Now finally, the utterly crucial personal question: who are the “many people” in verse 28a? “to take away the sins of many people . . .” And for whom is he bringing salvation at his second coming? The answer is given at the end of verse 28. He is coming for those “who are eagerly waiting for him..”
1. Faith That is Eager for Him to Come
If you ask right now, and you should, What must I do so that I may know that my sins are taken away by the blood of Christ”
. . the answer is this: trust Christ in a way that makes you eager for him to come. He is coming to save those who are “eagerly waiting for him.” So how do you get ready? How do you experience the forgiveness of God in Christ and prepare to meet him? By trusting him in a way that makes you eager for him to come.
2. Eager expectation for Christ is simply a sign that we love Him and Believe in Him Authentically.
This eager expectation for Christ is simply a sign that we love him and believe in him authentically. There is a phony faith that wants only escape from hell, but has no desire for Christ. That does not save. And it does not produces an eager expectation for Christ to come. But the faith that really holds on to Christ as treasure and hope and joy is the faith that makes us long for Christ to come, and that is the faith that saves.
So I urge you, turn from the world and from sin and to Christ. Take him not just as your fire insurance policy, but as your eagerly awaited bridegroom and friend and Lord.