The following article is an excerpt from the book Jesus Now by Frank Viola Author
Unlike the Old Testament high priest, who had to enter the Most Holy Place each year to atone for the nation through the shedding of animal blood, Jesus Christ entered the Most Holy Place in heaven once and for all with His own blood.
By this sacrificial act, Jesus obtained eternal redemption for us (Heb. 9:12–28).
But that’s not all.
Not only did Jesus forgive all of our sins through His shed blood—past, present, and future transgressions—but on the cross He also destroyed the power of sin.
Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. (Rom. 6:6–7)
Beyond that, the blood of Christ—having satisfied God’s holiness—cleanses our conscience, removes our guilt, annihilates our shame, and takes away our sense of condemnation.
All of these things make the new covenant much more powerful than the old covenant.
A Better Covenant
It is my observation that many Christians today live like old-covenant people rather than like new-covenant people. According to Hebrews, the new covenant is far superior to the old (Heb. 7:19–21). This is because Jesus is greater than any other priest. Thus He is called “great high priest” (4:14).
Consider the tight relationship that Abraham, Moses, and David had with God. The author of Hebrews made a pretty remarkable statement in this regard. The author said that those who are under the new covenant have a closer relationship with God than our spiritual forefathers:
And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect. (Heb. 11:39–40)
Is your relationship to the Lord closer and more glorious than that of Abraham, Moses, and David? If not, then you—like many other believers—are living like an Old Testament Israelite when God has given you His new covenant sealed with the blood of His precious Son.
In other words, you are living far below your potential and what God desires for you.
A Cleansed Conscience
It is the presence of sin in our conscience that hinders the unrestricted communion that we can enjoy with God. But the high-priestly ministry of Jesus cleanses our conscience. This means that the blood of Christ removes our guilt, shame, and condemnation that so often debilitates us.
The author of Hebrews argued that the blood of bulls and goats could never remove “the consciousness of sins” from God’s people. This means that even though the Old Testament high priest shed the blood of goats and bulls to cover the sins of the people, the people were always conscious of their own sinfulness. Their guilt remained. Their consciences still condemned them.
By contrast, the blood of Jesus removes the sin consciousness from our minds, giving us a pure and clean conscience, making us feel as though we’ve never sinned (Heb. 9:1–14; 10:1–22).
How can this be? It’s because the blood of Christ was enough to satisfy God. It was enough to forgive you. And when God forgives, He forgets. The author of Hebrews stated twice that part of the new covenant is that God “will remember their sins no more” (8:12; 10:17).
Consequently, the only people on this earth who should never feel guilty are Christians.
Accepted in the Beloved
I think it’s important that we be constantly reminded that Jesus Christ accepts us as we are–fully and completely. Therefore, it is a mistake to measure God’s acceptance by your circumstances or even your deeds. So many Christians are stuck on the treadmill of religious performance. They set their conduct up as the basis for their standing with God.
If you tune into Christian television or radio, a large percentage of modern-day preachers are presenting a gospel of condemnation. Their message can be boiled down to the following: “You have to do better to make God happy.” In our own strength, from our own energies, we must “work out our salvation” with a great deal of fear and trembling. It’s a backbreaking kind of labor that’s called for.
This gives birth to what I call the Phantom Christian Syndrome. The Phantom Christian is the imaginary self to which you compare yourself. You look at the Phantom Christian and think to yourself, Someday I’ll be this way. I’m going to try harder to be a good Christian.
Get clear on this. We approach Christ daily the same way we did on the first day of our faith journey; totally helpless in our own efforts, in need of a Savior to be the One to heal and carry us. Colossians 2:6 says it best, “Just as you received Jesus Christ, so also you must follow Him.” Because of the truth that He is the same yesterday, today and forever, we are always in the same posture—in absolute need of His grace and work in our hearts. We never move beyond that point. It is only by the shed blood of Christ that you stand in the absolute sinless perfection of Christ Himself. Through the blood, the perfections of Jesus are afforded to you.
The blood of Christ was enough to satisfy God’s holy justice, wasn’t it? It was enough to satisfy His demands, right? The issue, then, is settled forever. The perfection of the Lord flows on your behalf. Jesus stands as the spotless Lamb of God for you to God and for God to you.
So if you have repented and trusted in Christ, right now you stand in His perfection.
This is a gift. You’ve done nothing to earn it. If you choose to stand in yourself, you will continue to have a condemned conscience. The Phantom Christian will emerge to accuse you, and you’ll crawl right back on the religious performance treadmill.
Your acceptance before a holy God is not a question of effort or attainment. It’s a question of what Christ has done. By Christ’s blood that was shed for you, you have made peace with God.
Thus approaching God should never be based on your attainments or on your works—whether good or bad. It is always based solely on the blood of Christ.
Put another way, your righteousness is not based on your work, but on the work of Another. For this reason, you can do nothing to make yourself more acceptable to God over and above what Jesus, your high priest, has already done for you at Calvary.
You cannot add to it, and you cannot take away from it.
The Way into the Holiest
Our acceptance is never based on our works or our outward condition. It’s always and forever based on the finished work of Christ. And that work is final and complete.
Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (Heb. 10:19–22)
Consequently, you and I have perpetual access to the throne of God on the basis of the blood. Jesus Christ is your acceptance. God has accepted you in the Beloved (Eph. 1:6 KJV). He has placed you in Christ.
The favor of God rests exclusively upon His own Son. But the good news of the gospel is that you have been placed in Christ.
Satan’s chief attack, then, is to unseat your position in Christ. It’s to get you to question your acceptance and your right standing with God. It’s to accuse you and put you back under guilt and condemnation.
The idea that you must do something in yourself to obtain God’s love and acceptance bears all the hallmarks of the Devil.
His major weapon is accusation. His name—Devil—means “slanderer or accuser.” The nature of our Enemy is to slander, defame, and accuse us and other believers.
The remedy for his spiritual assault is to arm yourself with a clean conscience through the blood of Christ. The blood is the divine weapon against the fiery accusation of Satan.
But there must come a point in your Christian life where you believe and accept the value and meaning of the blood as God sees it. You must come to a point where you believe that Christ’s blood completely satisfies God’s requirements. Through the finished work of Jesus on the cross, your acceptance by God is absolute and unconditional.
Spiritual maturity and pleasing God is a different matter, however, and we will get to that subject in another chapter. But please understand. You don’t serve God to get God’s favor and acceptance. You serve God from the basis of having His favor and acceptance. And there’s a world of difference between those two things.
Consequently, the basis of our acceptance is the finished work of Christ (Heb. 10:19; 1 John 1:7); the sphere of our acceptance is our being in Christ (Eph. 1:6–7; 2 Cor. 5:21); and the peace of our acceptance is our standing in God’s grace by faith (Rom. 3:25; 5:2; Eph. 6:13–14).
The greatest weapon we can wield against the Devil is a fresh apprehension of the absolute satisfaction of God the Father in His Son on our behalf. This is the way of deliverance from condemnation (Rom. 8:31–34).
So the ultimate question is, who will you side with—your accuser or your advocate?
God answers the accuser by the blood of His Son. So look away from yourself and look to your high priest. Your victory over the Enemy lies there.