And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. (Hebrews 10:11-14 ESV)This description of Christ sitting at the right hand of God makes us think first of his exalted position. He sits beside the Father, coequal with him. He is Lord of All, and every creature is obligated to bow to him and confess this.
But it's not Christ’s placement I'm focusing on in this post; it's his posture.
An old covenant priest stood daily in his priestly work. He was always standing in God’s presence because his ministry was never done. Every day, over and over again, he offered the same sacrifices. His sacrifices needed to be repeated because they were ineffectual: They didn’t actually take away sins. They were, in a way, a stop-gap measure instead of a solution. The old covenant priest’s sacrifices never cleansed completely, and the outward cleansing they provided was only temporary.
There’s a pathetic quality to this picture, isn’t there? I sometimes complain that “a woman’s work is never done,” but I’ve got nothing on the old order priests. Day in and day out they stood to do exactly the same job, and that they needed to keep repeating only served as a reminder that their work was ineffective.
Not so with Christ’s priestly work: He offered one sacrifice of himself and then he sat down at the right hand of God. One sacrifice and his work was done. His work was was effectual — a solution that took care of the whole problem all at once. It “perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” His work never has to be repeated because it cleanses completely and forever. It is finished.
Christ is right now sitting, waiting for his enemies to become his footstool. He can take a resting position because he has already offered the once-for-all-time sacrifice. His enemies are not yet lying beneath his feet, but the work that will bring him certain victory over them is completed.
And because Christ sits, the believer can rest. Our status before God does not depend on our work—past or future—but Christ's already finished work, which has "perfected [us] for all time." This doesn't mean that we don't sin, but that in Christ, we have a permanent good standing before God. Christ's work is completed; we are forgiven; we can rest.
But there's more: Because Christ sits, the believer can come. His sacrifice was completely effective, so
we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water (Hebrews 10:19-22 ESV).Our full assurance and bold approach are grounded in Christ's finished work. There is a dedicated access road just for us. That our Priest is a sitting Priest is confirmatioon that our hearts have been sprinkled clean, our bodies have been washed, we are fully and finally forgiven, and the way to God is opened for us.
He came, he died, he rose, and now he sits, so we can rest from our work and enter his presence. Let us draw near!