Hebrews 9:23-28 has so much to say as it starts with the reminder that the Old Covenant pointed towards the New and that all of the sacrificial systems offerings were shadows, or copies, of the reality that is Christ. How often do we turn to shadows and copies rather than reality? We latch onto things we can get our hands around such as traditions and practices that seem so important. The problem is not in the tradition or practice, per say, but in the value we put on it. The writer of Hebrews never says the sacrificial system was a mistake but is revealing that it was always meant to lead the people to seek after something more and that something more is the savior that the whole system pointed to. They should have seen the futility of continual sacrifices and from that feeling of futility cry out for a better way, the better way that was promised in the New Covenant (Jer 31-31-34). Unfortunately like many they had a hard time leaving the comfort of the old ways they were used to and the persecution the true way would lead to.
But what was so striking was how Chapter 9 ended in that God did not simply want the people to think the author had a better apologetic for his position and then decide to follow Christ instead of continuing in the sacrificial system. No, God puts before them the heart of those that are truly His. The heart that He Himself had changed (Jer 31-31-34) so as to even have the attitude He calls for. And what is that attitude: so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. (Heb 9:28). It is not a heart eager to avoid conflict, pain, suffering or even hell but one that simply has an eager anticipation for Him so that one can serve Him (Heb 9:14).
I know I need to more and more realize that kind of heart, the heart that only God can provide. I need to be eager in a manner that is reflected in my actions. How often, if I was to stop and think about it, I would not be so eager for Christ to return in the midst of some action or attitude that is not glorifying to Him. Part of the eagerness that we are to have is in realizing the sanctification that God promises and provides.
So I would encourage you, if you have been cleansed by the blood of Christ and have experienced the forgiveness He provides in the sacrifice of Himself, to seek through the power of the Holy Spirit to foster a heart that eagerly awaits His return. A heart that actively is realizing the sanctifying power of God in your life.
If you would like to hear this last Lord’s Day sermon on Hebrews 9:23-28 you can access it through the Sovereign Grace Christian Fellowship web site or directly through Sermon Cloud here: Christ Will Return: For Those Who Eagerly Await Him