Dealing with sin
For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made by human hands, a mere copy of the true one, but he entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself again and again, as the high priest enters the Holy Place year after year with blood that is not his own; for then he would have had to suffer again and again since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to remove sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for mortals to die once, and after that the judgment, 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. ~ Hebrews 9:24-28
The thing about the book of Hebrews is that it begins to sound fairly repetitive after a while.
So what's so important that the author needs to keep repeating?
It seems as it it is this idea of sacrifice is repeated over and over so it's important to remember that most early first century Christians had been Jewish, and so were used to the annual rites of atonement in the temple. Language of sacrifice was something they were familiar with.
It is something that happened every year. Over and over. It was part of the rhythm of their lives.
And yet the writer reminds us that the sin problem is one dealt with by Christ once and for all time. He isn't talking about my sins and your sins - all of our mess-ups. But SIN! Big-S sin.
Sin has been dealt with.
Now, this book gets into some highly elevated language about that, again, using the language of sacrifice and temple rites that his readers would have known.
But the essence for those of us who don't live in the Jewish temple system is that Christ works on our behalf. That that one time event of the cross has implications that stretch out beyond our years or even our understanding.
And that is something to eagerly wait for.
Holy One, I'm not sure how you did it, or why you did it, but I am grateful for the freedom from sin that you bring to us. Help me to live into that freedom with wisdom and integrity and life. Amen