“For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.” (Hebrews 9:24 ESV)
These verses explain why Christ’s High Priestly offering is infinitely superior to any of the offerings made under the old covenant. The reason is that he offered His own blood not the blood of a substitute. And although the altar on which Jesus made His sacrifice was the cross on Golgotha, His actual offering was made in heaven, at the throne of His Father, not in the temple at Jerusalem. The atonement is the result of the obedience of Christ in offering up Himself for our sins, a sacrifice so completer and infinite that it need be offered only once. When he appeared in heaven at His death Jesus demonstrated He had been totally and utterly obedient and submissive to the Father’s will no matter what it had cost Him. It was His obedience that pleased the Father and attained forgiveness of sins.
Contemporary society and even many in the church have great difficulty with the language of sacrifice and blood offerings. These are often dismissed as obsolete vestiges of primitive religious rituals which have no significance for the modern enlightened man. Sin and the need for atonement are also foreign concepts. The gospel the world loves and which many churches preach is a gospel of grace that is not based on obedience and sacrifice but on man’s inherent worthiness. Such a gospel makes people feel good about themselves and comfortable in their chosen lifestyles of sin and immorality or else promises them prosperity and success as their rights as God’s children. Yet the author of Hebrews tells us that God forgives sin because of the sacrifice and obedience of Christ. We cannot receive mercy and grace apart from this.