how does God speak to us through Jesus? (part 2)

I’m still reading Hebrews and pondering how God speaks to us through Jesus.

What’s come home to me with some force — especially as I’ve reflected on Hebrews 8-10 — is the way the atonement functions as the premise for revelation in the book.

By this I mean that the question, “How does God reveal himself to us such that we’re brought to know him?” is answered first and foremost in Hebrews by an account of God’s achievement in the cross of Jesus:

For if the blood of goats and bulls, with the sprinkling of the ashes of a heifer, sanctifies those who have been defiled so that their flesh is purified, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our consciences from dead works to worship the living God. (Hebrews 9.13-14)

I find I have so much to say about this that the thoughts are jostling with each other to come tumbling out.

The trinitarian shape of the description of Christ’s atoning work is so beautiful — hinting at the integration of Jesus’ entire incarnate career with his priestly self-offering (assuming it’s not only the moment of crucifixion that’s carried out ‘through the eternal Spirit’).

As is the carefully nuanced rendering of the relationship between the old and new covenants captured in the ‘how much more’ — upholding the decisiveness of the cross without denying at least some reality to the relationship with God sustained through the sacrificial system.

But best of all is the broad charter given to the outcome of atonement: a full-orbed relationship with God, in which we know him in the way Israel always longed to. This means not only thorough cleansing such that we’re now confident to stand before the living God. But it opens out to worship and service!

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