Hebrews 9:13 says, "The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean."
In the Old Covenant, God put the sins of the people under the blood of sacrificed goats and bulls. This was necessary so that, when the person entered God's presence, he would not be judged with his sins. Although sins were covered, they were never removed. The blood of the sacrificed animals only made the person outwardly clean. As a result, the sin offering had to be made over and over again and, each time it was made, he was reminded of his sin. He was never freed from the guilt and condemnation regarding that sin.
Imagine having an argument with your husband or wife and, in the heat of the argument, you say things that you didn't really mean. As soon as you calm down, you realize how foolish you've been and you immediately apologize. Your spouse tells you that you are forgiven but, every month on the anniversary of the argument, what you said is brought up again and again. Month after month, you're reminded of your sin. The guilt is never removed because you were never really forgiven. It was only put on the back burner, or covered over, until the following month. The constant reminder of your sins results in confusion, guilt and discouragement. In this environment, true intimacy is never possible.
This is a picture of the Old Covenant. It's also, a picture of the believer who today who is really under the New Covenant but lives his life like an Old Covenant believer because he doesn't understand grace. The truth is that because of Christ's death and resurrection, our sins are no longer just covered over. They were put on Christ and nailed to the cross with him, never to be remembered again. God has dealt with our sins once and for all and he doesn't bring them up again.
Hebrews 10:12 says that after Jesus "had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God." He sat down. In other words, the work was finished. No more sacrifices were needed "because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy." (Hebrews 10:14)
I can hear everybody who doesn't understand this grace walk saying, "What! Me perfect! You've got to be kidding!" It may be too good to be true but it is true. That's what makes this gift from God so amazing! We can stand before him with all of our shortcomings and imperfections and he still declares us perfect.
Now, you may be wondering how this could be. So . . . let me tell you. The problem is with our definition of the word "perfect." When we think of something as perfect, we think of it as being without flaws, defects or shortcomings. However, that is not what Father means when he says we are perfect. His definition of perfection is to be complete.
I think this is a good place to stop for now and I'll continue with some additional thoughts in another post.