Summary: From the restricted worship of the Old Covenant to the all encompassing love and universal saving grace of Jesus, the writer to the Hebrews shows why Jesus is able to offer Limitless Love to a lost and dying world.
LIMITLESS LOVE LASTS LONGEST
I. LIMITED ATONEMENT: Hebrews 9:18-23
II. LATTER ATONEMENT: Hebrews 9:23-27
III. LIMITLESS ATONEMENT: Hebrews 9:27, 28
Better Sacrifices. The writer to the Hebrews continues to draw our attention to the fact that everything involved with Jesus is “Better.” He continues to point to the newer as a comparison to the former to show just how much things are better in the sacrifice of Christ and His bringing in a new way for man to reach and worship God. Here he deals with the idea of sacrifices and then relates that these were a fore shadow of things to come when Christ made His sacrifice for mankind on Calvary.
In verse 23 of the text, he goes a bit further when he states that Christ’s sacrifice was meant not only for the purifying of man’s sins but also of purifying of Heaven. This may seem strange at first glimpse, but when we stop and think of who is invited to Heaven-sinful man, the necessary thing which had to be resolved was man’s sin. Heaven had to be purchased by the Blood of Christ in order for sinful/redeemed man to be able to enter into a place which knew no sin. Viewed in the light of Christ’s actions, it becomes clearer to see that the Holy Blood of our Redeemer reached to sinful man in his lost estate and also to the highest portals of Heaven in order for man to be admitted, free of sin, into a place which knew no sin-Heaven.
The idea of Redemption then has been God’s idea to purchase sinful man’s life from the time He created man and put him in the Garden. As one looks at history, one can begin to see that God had put a plan in action to redeem man and it has been slowly developed over the centuries until the Perfect Sacrifice-the Better Sacrifice was made. Redemption, redemption, redemption: God has been setting the stages for the ultimate plan of action until Christ came to shed His blood to purify the entire universe-Heaven included-in God’s plan of Atonement.
The first part of God’s plan of Atonement was LIMITED and restrictive. Then there was the LATTER plan of Atonement set in motion by Christ’s coming who has ushered in a LIMITLESS plan of Atonement for mankind. The first plan of God’s Atonement was filled full of rules; the continuous plan of Atonement was filled full of God’s unconditional Love and this Love, will last for ever. Note how the writer deals with the developing plan of God’s Atonement as he discusses the aspect of Christ giving the Better Sacrifice for all of man and indeed for all the Universe-including Heaven.
I. LIMITED ATONEMENT: When one speaks of this term, one might think the speaker is referring to John Calvin and his doctrine of the same name. However, in the case of my sermon, I use this term to refer not to what Calvin meant but to reflect what the writer of the Hebrews implied as he discussed the disadvantages of the former ways of serving God under the Old Covenant as compared to the newer way which brought Jesus to this Earth to die for man’s sin.
The Limited Atonement of which is referred to in the book of Hebrews for our study, had do with the specific nation of Israel and its role in bringing God to mankind-it was limited.
The Old Covenant was Limited because it was for one nation and it was Legalistic. The Atonement which was in vogue under the Old Covenant was without love and very legalistic. The Old Covenant way of bringing about Atonement was through the many rules and rituals of the old Mosaic Covenant. It certainly did not have the Love that Christ brought with Him when He came to reveal God to mankind. Indeed, the Atonement was so narrow and so confining that it was bound up in forms, patterns and types which were to be later fulfilled by Christ’s coming.
The Atonement which God wanted to bring to man had to start with the Jewish people and was to spread to the world but they failed in their mission to be missionaries for God. In place of bringing Atonement to mankind, the old way degenerated into rules and a system filled full of “Dos and Don’ts.” The daily, yearly and special sacrifices were all for a Limited locale and for a specific people.
The second part of the LIMITED ATONEMENT was so full of legalism that it became Laborious for any person to adequately complete. Jesus referred to the many rules that were in vogue when He was on this Earth and refused to embrace them as a means to make one spotless before God. These rules with their intricate details which covered every aspect of life were so heavy and so meaningless that the real purpose for their institution was lost by the Jews when Jesus arrived on the scene. These many laws robed the very heart of Love from those who wanted to be made right with God. It was just too hard to keep up with all the laws which were meant to make men holy, but instead it weighed mankind down to despair.