When work is done, we sit down. After a long day at the office, after tough yard work, there is nothing that says we’re finished like sitting down and resting. In fact, if you are like me, you might even get a little irritated when you need to get up again because there is something else to do. It seems like the work never ends, doesn’t it? I’ve often reflected on this reality when reading Hebrews 10:12, “But this man, after offering one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.”
In ancient Israel, the work of offering animal sacrifices seemed to have no end. The perpetual sacrifices offered by the priest for the forgiveness of the people’s sins were a continual reminder that more needed to be done. Since the people could not rid themselves of their sinfulness, the need for atoning sacrifices was always before them. There was no finality. There was no rest. There was no end in sight. For this reason, the writer of Hebrews reminds us that Jesus is the true and greater sacrifice for sin. In contrast to the priests who made daily sacrifices, “by one offering he has perfected forever those who are sanctified” (v.14).
After Jesus’s resurrection and ascension, He entered the presence of God and sat down, having completed His work. No more sacrifices are needed. There is nothing else to do for the forgiveness of sin. Jesus sits at the right hand of God reminding us that we are not saved by what we do, but by what He has done. Jesus is the Lamb slain for us. He has made peace between God and us. He has taken our guilt upon Himself. He has conquered sin and death. Jesus didn’t just die for us; He died instead of us—in our place.
If you are a Christian, remember that the shout from the cross, “It is finished” (John 19:30), wasn’t a cry of defeat but a declaration of victory. It is a victory cry because Jesus is seated on the throne, not buried in a tomb. Praise God that in Christ we have a perfect sacrifice for sin, and He is more than sufficient to save. And thus, the salvation offered by Christ is perfect in every way and eternal in its effect. But also remember that while He is seated now, there is coming a day when He will rise from His throne. Jesus will return to judge the living and the dead (2 Timothy 4:1). And on that day, every tongue will confess that He is Lord, either in thankfulness or in terror.
Until He rises to return, the question for all of us is this: Are we resting in the perfect work of Jesus Christ? The alternatives—running from God in rebellion, or working to earn God’s favor by our good behavior and religious activities—are exhausting, futile pursuits. The work is finished. Christ has done it. We can rest.
Written by Matt Capps