Permanent Perfection

Hebrews  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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As Christians, we can have total confidence in God’s promises, since Jesus is perfect forever.

We often speak of the perfect outfit, the perfect vehicle, the perfect job, etc. Yet, that perfect outfit often gets replaced by another, newer, more perfect outfit. That perfect vehicle often will have a breakdown or simply wear out and it gets replaced. That perfect job doesn’t always stay perfect. Is there anything which is perfect that will always be perfect? Absolutely.
We continue to be reminded that Jesus is lacking in nothing. Being God, He is complete and He is perfect, with no improvement needed. Plus, Jesus Christ is the alpha and omega; the beginning and the end. He is not only perfection, but He is forever, He is permanent.
In Hebrews, we’ve been talking about the reality that Jesus is greater than anything else. That includes anything or anyone which a person might want to follow in an attempt to gain eternal life. We know that all that was in the law and all the rites and rituals and ceremonies were merely a type of that which would be fulfilled and perfected in Jesus Christ.
As Christians, we can have total confidence in God’s promises, since Jesus is perfect forever.

Jesus Guarantees a Better Covenant. - 7.20-22

Hebrews 7:20–22 NASB95
And inasmuch as it was not without an oath (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’ ”); so much the more also Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.
It is helpful to remember that of all the priests from Aaron onward, all were called into service without an oath given by God. The only requirements were that they were of the tribe of Levi and that they had to pass all the physical requirements, as well as to be willing to follow the ceremonial procedures. Interestingly, their morality and spirituality was not even an official requirement. The idea that the Jewish priesthood would go on forever is not even supported anywhere in the Bible.
Contrast that with Jesus’ priesthood. His priesthood was not at all on the basis of his lineage, nor his physical appearance. Instead, it was based on Who He was (the sinless Son of God) and what He did (purchased our salvation on the cross), plus God’s oath as seen in Hebrews 7.21, quoting from Psalm 110.4, that Jesus would be a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek; that was what qualified Jesus to be a priest.
But what makes Jesus’ priesthood so much better or even perfect? Verse 21b states: The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind, You are a priest forever. In other words, nobody has need to look for anything else. God has stated this to be the way it is and He is not going to change His mind. And if God’s mind will not be changed, we can be assured that His covenant was guaranteed. Plus, the idea that when God makes an oath in the covenants of any kind, they were permanent.
So what’s so important about this? After all, many of the readers were tempted to go back to the old ways in a futile attempt for salvation? Verse 22 reminds us that Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant. Jesus is the guarantee that what God has promised will be completed. The reason that He can be that guarantee is that He met all of the qualifications which were necessary for our salvation to be complete. Jesus guarantees God’s promises; in particular, the good news that our sins have been forgiven and are forgiven forever.
We’ve noted that the priesthood could no longer rest with Aaron and his offspring, but had to follow the order of Melchizedek, which Christ fulfilled. The former ways were imperfect. Logically, since they were imperfect, they had to cease continuing. That being the case, there had to be a perfect replacement, which is found in Jesus Christ. The next section gives more insight into the supremacy of Jesus.

Jesus Grants Better Intercession. - 7.23-25

Hebrews 7:23–25 NASB95
The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing, but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. 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.
At the very start of this section, it is made clear why the old ways were not perfect, in that death was a part of every priest’s life. That was why it was necessary for a succession of multiple high priests over the years. All of them experienced death, besides the fact that their duties ceased at a certain age. This obviously disqualified them for an eternal priesthood. We’ve even talked about this idea in Sunday School as we’re doing an overview of the Old Testament while showing all the types and shadows of the reality found in the New Testament. We know that the law, which Moses represents, could not bring the people into the promised land. We also know that the multiple sacrifices which Aaron and all the priests after him offered was incapable of removing the sins from the people.
Verse 24 shows us the contrast in that Jesus lives forever. He will not ever be replaced or succeeded by anyone. Thus, all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation have only one high priest, namely Jesus Christ. There will be no changing of the guard, so to speak. So, if the priest never changes and remains the same forever, we have another example of security for the believer in Jesus Christ. Plus, the word for permanently found in verse 24, carries the idea that this is something which simply cannot be changed in any fashion. In other words, to think of Jesus’ priesthood as being temporary doesn’t even fit into the picture. There is then no need whatsoever of going back to something which is imperfect and especially is only temporary.
But what difference does that make in our daily lives? What about those times when I feel like I’m going through life with this giant weight on my shoulders? What about when I feel as if nobody can possibly understand what I’m experiencing right now? The Bible says He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
We know that Jesus is able to save the most vile person, as well as the nicest person. It doesn’t matter what an individual’s spiritual condition is, Jesus is able to save. Yet, that isn’t even what is so amazing about verse 25. The writer states that Jesus is able . . . to save forever. Some translations use the word completely. There are a couple of translation or paraphrases that leave out this word, which is unfortunate, as it is key to the understanding of this passage. Folks, Jesus doesn’t just save someone for a short period of time, or even until we do something stupid. Jesus saves forever. The salvation which Jesus provides isn’t a temporary or partial salvation. It is complete. That could not happen with the Old Testament sacrifices made by the priests.
But what is the guarantee that this is possible, you ask? The answer is found in the fact that He is our high priest forever, so he always lives to make intercession for them. It has been stated before that Jesus not only has the power to save a sinner, but He also has the power to keep us.
Please don’t misunderstand that phrase in the last part of verse 25, and think that Jesus is forever having to remake the case for us that we are God’s children. That was all completely done at the cross when Jesus died for us and it does not need repeating. Plus, if Jesus were required to plead with the Father over and over on our behalf because of our daily foibles, that would be symptomatic of the Father changing His mind about our eternal destiny. We know from the Bible that God doesn’t change.
What the writer of Hebrews is reminding the readers is that Jesus is always representing us to the Father as we draw near to God through Him. Here is where the sinner places his or her faith in Jesus Christ and what has been done by Him on the cross, as the Son of God. This leads us into the next area of Jesus’ superiority to the law and the old priesthood.

Jesus Guarantees Our Salvation. - 7.26-28

Hebrews 7:26–28 NASB95
For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; 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. 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.
Our salvation is guaranteed. How exciting that is to know! You see, Aaron and all those who came after him in the priesthood were human and could not possibly take care of all that the people needed. In their humanity, they were liable to the same sins as the people. Plus, they were to minister to the nation of Israel, not to the world. However, Jesus could meet all our needs, plus He came for the whole world. The priests also had to offer sacrifices for themselves before they could even think of offering up sacrifices for the people.
Jesus was completely different, without sin. Look at verse 26: holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens. In other words, Jesus was and always will be righteous and holy. Jesus was also totally harmless against humanity, only doing that which was good. Jesus was completely free from any moral or spiritual failures. Jesus was completely different from all humanity in that there wasn’t even a hint of sin in his life. Then we see that He is exalted above the heavens as a result of all that I have just mentioned. Warren Wiersbe gives a great word picture of the contrast between Jesus and the priests in how Jesus ministered to sinful humanity. There was contact without contamination. He was not isolated; He was separated.
Talk about a contrast with the Levitical priesthood! Jesus was as opposite from them as could be imagined. So why in the world would anyone want to go back to the law and the ways of the Levitical priesthood, which was doomed for failure in its imperfections, when they could have the perfect in Jesus?
Verse 27 continues to show us how Jesus is completely superior or greater. Jesus never had to offer sacrifices for His sins, since He had no sin. Instead, Jesus offered a sacrifice for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. This was a once and done deal.


Isn’t this the kind of High Priest we want and need? We know how often we fall into sin. Isn’t it comforting to know that I can go to Jesus at any time whenever I need help, knowing that Jesus will continually restore us.
My friends, our temptation may not be to go back to the law and the Old Testament system. However, there is a prevalent temptation to try other ways to attain heaven or a form of spirituality other than through Jesus. But why? Why would we even search among all that is temporary or imperfect?
Instead, let’s keep our eyes on Jesus and rejoice in His permanent perfection as our Great High Priest. Then, we can have total confidence in God’s promises, since Jesus is perfect forever.
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