A high priest’s empathy with people’s weaknesses did not mean that sins could be overlooked. On the contrary, the amount of blood involved in sacrifices for sin was quite gruesome. And it could not just be any blood. “He said to Aaron, ‘Take a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering, both without defects, and present them to the Lord’” (Leviticus 9:2, NLT). The price paid for sin can still not be stained with imperfection.

Before Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, the high priest and his sacrifices were both imperfect. It meant that sin could only be repeatedly pacified but not conquered. There would always be some loophole for evil. But thank God for choosing his Son to be both perfect High Priest and sacrifice! “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” (Hebrews 9:14, NLT).

In the same way that Aaron and the Israelites could not worship God in the tabernacle unless they purified themselves from sin (Leviticus 9:5-6), we cannot worship God without purification through Jesus’ blood. As long as there is any sin left in our lives, it stands between us and God. We cannot worship Him as long as there is sin. Any imperfection takes us from God’s side to that of the world. “Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief” (James 4:8-9, NLT).

Do you believe that it is impossible to worship God together with sin? How does society view the seriousness of sin? Do you sometimes sweep sin under the rug while claiming to worship God?

Let us stop pacifying sin by overlooking it according to our own inferior standards. Let us repent and purify ourselves by Christ’s blood to experience true worship of God. “And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:21-22, NLT).

Scripture readings:

Leviticus 9:1-6

Hebrews 9:11-15

James 4:1-10

Hebrews 10:1-29