Hebrews 7 … Consider the Perfecting Power of His Priesthood

Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the people received the Law), what further need was there for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be designated according to the order of Aaron? (7:11).

This chapter reads almost like a courtroom drama; and the case against the Judaizers continues with the evidence of  “the better things” in Christ and the Perfecting Power of Priesthood.

The futility of returning to the Law is presented, in what may have very well been perceived as blasphemy to the Jew. For their entire religious system prescribed in the Law of Moses had been established through the priesthood. Without the priesthood there would be no atonement for sin; without the priesthood there would be no way to approach Holy God; and without the priesthood they would be left without hope.

But there was a fatal flaw in the priesthood; it was imperfect because those who were appointed to carry out the role of priest were themselves imperfect. And before the high priest could act as mediator to offer a sacrifice for the sins of the people, it was required that he first offer the sacrifice to make atonement for himself.

“Then Aaron shall offer the bull of the sin offering which is for himself and make atonement for himself and for his household, and he shall slaughter the bull of the sin offering which is for himself…15 Then he shall slaughter the goat of the sin offering which is for the people, and bring its blood inside the veil and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat, (Leviticus 16:11, 15 emphasis added).

For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins;… and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself, (Hebrews 5:1, 3).

The place of His Perfect Presence was not to be defiled; not only the sacrifice offered, but also the priest who entered into the Holy of Holies, must be without defect.

“No man among the descendants of Aaron the priest who has a defect is to come near to offer the Lord’s offerings by fire; since he has a defect, he shall not come near to offer the food of his God… 23 only he shall not go in to the veil or come near the altar because he has a defect, so that he will not profane My sanctuaries. For I am the Lord who sanctifies them,”  (Leviticus 21:21, 23).

But there was no hope in the Law’s power to perfect any man as is clearly demonstrated in the life of every man, and explicitly taught in His God-Breathed Word.

For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness 19 (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. (7:18-19).

The Law was weak and useless to perfect anyone so as to be without defect and thereby fit to approach Holy God. So did the Law miss the mark of God? Never!

What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.” (Romans 7:7).

So why the Law? God gave the Law to show us our sin and our need for what only Christ could accomplish through the Perfecting Power of His Priesthood.

Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions… 24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith, (Galatians 3:19, 24).

Justified: 88.16 δικαιόωb: to demonstrate that something is morally right—‘to show to be right, to prove to be right.’ Louw- Nida Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament.

When we are justified in the sight of Holy God we are proven to be morally right. In other words, we have been Perfected through the completed work of Christ in redeeming and declaring His people righteous through faith.

From Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance:
Perfect(ed) (7:19,28): 5048. τελειόωteleióō; contracted teleiṓ, fut. teleiṓsō, from téleios (5046), complete, mature. To complete, make perfect by reaching the intended goal.
Perfection (7:11): 5050. τελείωσιςteleíōsis; gen. teleiṓseōs, fem. noun from teleióō (5048), to complete. The act of completion, successful effort or fulfillment (Luke 1:45). Also the state or attainment of perfection (Heb. 7:11).

And if the jury in this courtroom drama listens and pays attention as the defending attorney rises to make his case, only one verdict will be determined as plausible; it is not the Law that has any power to perfect the sin nature of man. It is only “the better things” in Christ, it is only the Perfecting Power of His Priesthood that is able to present a people justified and Perfected before Holy God.

Consider the Perfecting Power of His Priesthood

  • The Perfecting Power of His Priesthood through His Kingship
    • to whom also Abraham apportioned a tenth part of all the spoils, was first of all, by the translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then also king of Salem, which is king of peace, (7:2).
  • The Perfecting Power of His Priesthood through His Eternality
    • Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually, (7:3).
  • The Perfecting Power of His Priesthood through His Greatness
    • But without any dispute the lesser is blessed by the greater. (7:7).
  • The Perfecting Power of His Priesthood through His Indestructible Life
    • who has become such not on the basis of a law of physical requirement, but according to the power of an indestructible life. (7:16).
  • The Perfecting Power of His Priesthood through His Oath
    • And inasmuch as it was not without an oath 21 (for they indeed became priests without an oath, but He with an oath through the One who said to Him,
      “The Lord has sworn
      And will not change His mind,
      ‘You are a priest forever’”),
      (7:20-21).
  • The Perfecting Power of His Priesthood through His Guarantee
    • so much the more also Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant, (7:22).
  • The Perfecting Power of His Priesthood through His Continuing Life
    • The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing, 24 but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently, (7:23-24).
  • The Perfecting Power of His Priesthood through His Sinlessness
    • For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; (7:26).
  • The Perfecting Power of His Priesthood through His Sacrifice
    • who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself, (7:27).
  • The Perfecting Power of His Priesthood through His Sonship
    • For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever, (7:28).

How do we respond to the Perfecting Power of His Priesthood?

Have you ever had one of those days when you started out emboldened by your time in His Word, convinced today would be the day? Today you would have victory in that struggle that seems to creep into your life on a regular basis. And then life hits, and the next thing you know… splat, flat on your face… again!

I had one of those days yesterday. I felt strengthened by our time shared together in His Word, committed to walk in what He had revealed. At the end of the day, I found myself feeling as far away from perfect as any human could possibly be. And I heard an all too familiar prayer rise up within my cries for help.

Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? (Romans 7:24).

Perfection; synonymous with impossible! For as sure as the sun rises, we will contend with the wretched man as long as we have breath in our lungs. The Power of His Perfecting Priesthood does not mean that we will never sin; because the truth is, we will. So let’s not deceive ourselves with visions of grandeur that we will somehow attain what we think of as perfection here on earth.

If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us, (1 John 1:8).

It is only through our faith in Christ that we are presented as holy and blameless, Perfected before Him in the heavenly places.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him… (Ephesians 1:3-5).

But as we all know, His spiritual blessings do not equal perfection here on earth. The evidence undeniably proves that there is only One Man Who has ever lived on earth in Perfect Holiness, the Man Christ Jesus.

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin, (Hebrews 4:15).

Because of His Perfect Life, He is qualified to be our Perfect High Priest Who mediates on our behalf with the Perfecting Power of His Priesthood.

For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time, (1 Timothy 2:5-6).

One Mediator. Only One. And through faith in Christ, we know there is no need for anyone else; for none but Jesus can mediate, forgive us of our sins, and enable us to approach Holy God. And by faith, “the better things” in Christ are manifested; and through the Perfecting Power of His Priesthood, He brings us a better hope than the demands of the Law.

(for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God,(7:18-19).

For every demand of the Law has been placed solely on Christ. So, let’s not put demands on ourselves that are utterly impossible to maintain. Only One has ever lived a sinless and Perfect life. And it is only as we live our life by faith in Him and the Perfecting Power of His Priesthood that we will be set free from this body of death.

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me, (Galatians 2:20).

Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:24-25).

But what we can do, actually what we shouldn’t be able to help but do, is live in ceaseless gratitude. As we consider His merciful sacrifice in the Perfecting Power of His Priesthood, how can we not offer Him all that we are?

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship, (Romans 12:1).

But even in our offering, He is there to empower us. For today, and all the days of our life, He lives to make intercession for us that we would live in absolute faith and dependence in the better hope we have in the Perfecting Power of His Priesthood.

Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them, (7:25).

Let’s Grow Together!

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