What does Hebrews 9:14 mean?
ESV: how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
NIV: How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
NASB: how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
CSB: how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works so that we can serve the living God?
NLT: Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins.
KJV: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Verse Commentary:
The old covenant sacrifices were not completely useless. They were flawed, and the writer of Hebrews makes this clear (Hebrews 8:7). However, they did serve a purpose. They served as symbols of the future ministry of Jesus Christ. And, they were able to provide a measure of purity. Of course, that purity was entirely external, ceremonial, and temporary. Animal blood, and sacrifices by sinful priests, could never permanently change the inner nature of a man. In verse 13, the author introduced the point that the blood shed by these animals had some power.

Here, the blood shed by Christ is said to have the kind of power missing from that of animal sacrifices. Interestingly, the writer invokes all three persons of the Trinity when explaining how this sacrifice fulfills the entire purpose of the new covenant. God the Father can receive our service, because God the Son offers Himself as sacrifice, as guided by God the Holy Spirit. Mention is made, once again, that Jesus' life is "without blemish," a reference to His sinless life (Hebrews 4:15).

The result of the power of Jesus' sacrifice is dramatic. The "dead works" of rituals and laws left something un-resolved in our spirits. Christ's blood cleans us, spiritually, in a way those animal sacrifices never could. This is the same idea echoed in Hebrews 6:1, where attempts to be reconciled to God through deeds and rituals are also described as "dead works."
Verse Context:
Hebrews 9:11–28 continues to explain how the new covenant in Jesus Christ is superior to the old covenant. This passage focuses on two main advantages of this arrangement: that Christ serves in a better temple, and that Christ offers a superior sacrifice. The physical temple, and its implements, were meant to be symbols of Christ's ''true'' place of service in heaven. Unlike limited sacrifices of animals, Jesus' single death was able to completely save us from sin.
Chapter Summary:
Hebrews chapter 9 explains how the old covenant included various physical locations and physical rituals. These, according to the writer of Hebrews, were always intended as symbols. Their details, and the drawbacks which they suffered from, were meant to point towards the ''true'' means of our redemption, which is Christ. Unlike animal sacrifices, which must be repeated, and which cannot change man on the inside, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is a once for all, permanent, and completely effective solution to sin. The fact that Christ died for sin only once also means that His next arrival, in the future, will not be as a sacrifice, but as the final fulfillment of God's plan.
Chapter Context:
Chapter 9 continues the writer's explanation of the superiority of Christ. In chapter 8, this focused on the idea that God had promised a new covenant, even as the old covenant was still in effect. This not only means that the new covenant must be different, but that the old covenant must be flawed. Here in chapter 9, the writer focuses on the fact that the old covenant featured aspects which were meant only as symbols of the ''true'' high priesthood of Christ. Since Christ's sacrifice is more powerful, and performed in a better place, it is more effective in securing our salvation than the sacrifices of animals. Chapter 10 will continue this discussion by wrapping up these various ideas about the superiority of the new covenant.
Book Summary:
The book of Hebrews is meant to challenge, encourage, and empower Christian believers. According to this letter, Jesus Christ is superior to all other prophets and all other claims to truth. Since God has given us Christ, we ought to listen to what He says and not move backwards. The consequences of ignoring God are dire. Hebrews is important for drawing on many portions of the Old Testament in making a case that Christ is the ultimate and perfect expression of God's plan for mankind. This book presents some tough ideas about the Christian faith, a fact the author makes specific note of.
Accessed 4/22/2024 3:45:49 PM
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