Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
Hebrews 1 presents the Son as Priest and King. What qualifies him to fulfill these Old Testament offices? His identity. He is the beginning and the end of all things: God’s agent in creation and his heir (v. 2). And that is because he is almighty God. He shares the divine glory and is the “exact imprint of [God’s] nature” (v. 3). He is of the very nature of God himself. He also performs works that only God performs, such as creating the universe (v. 10) and upholding it “by the word of his power” (v. 3).
All this introduces Hebrews’ main message—that Jesus with divine power and prerogative has made “purification for sins” and has sat down at God’s right hand. His sitting indicates that, unlike Old Testament priests who never sat when making sacrifices, Jesus has finished his work. There is no other sacrifice for sin besides Jesus’ offering of himself to God on the cross. And because of where he sat—at God’s right hand, the place of greatest honor and authority in the universe—his work is perfect. It cannot be improved upon. And because his work is finished and perfect, it is effective to forgive sins.
Even sinners who think they are beyond redemption can find forgiveness if they sincerely repent and believe in Jesus as their substitute. Christians sometimes do not act as if Christ’s sacrifice were finished, perfect, and effective. When they sin, they sometimes beat themselves up spiritually and do a form of evangelical “penance,” as if their extra prayers, promises, and tears can somehow atone for their sins. It is right to be displeased with ourselves when we sin. But there is no other antidote to the poison of sin than Christ’s sacrifice. We dishonor him and his death if we act otherwise. Let us sincerely confess our sins and take forgiveness and cleansing from God’s hand (1 John 1:9) based on the unique accomplishment of God’s Son, our Savior.
This series of posts pairs a brief passage of Scripture with associated study notes drawn from the Gospel Transformation Bible. For more information about the Gospel Transformation Bible, please visit GospelTransformationBible.org.