The God Who Reconciles Sinners – Gospel in Life

The God Who Reconciles Sinners

Tim Keller |  April 17, 2011

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  • Sin
  • Atonement
  • Redemption
Hebrews 9:11-14, 22-26
RS 329-06


We’re looking at the characteristics—also known as the “attributes”—of God according to the Bible. This sermon looks at God as the God who reconciles sinners—we have to be reconciled to God, and God has to be reconciled to us. We’ll notice: 1) The more visible but lesser problem; 2) The less visible but greater problem; and 3) The great solution to it all.

Hebrews 9:11–14

Jesus is like a high priest, but instead of using animal blood, He uses His own to promise us eternal life. As we approach Good Friday and Maundy Thursday, it’s important to grasp how Jesus’ sacrifice shows us God’s love and His desire to bring us closer to Him. Verses 11-14 lay out a simple but deep explanation, outlining a problem we can see, a problem we can’t see, and the ultimate resolution.

1. The problem we can see

We all feel the need to clear our conscience from bad things we’ve done, useless activities, and religious actions we’ve done just to feel less guilty. Guilt, which arises from our self-focused nature, serves to keep society in check but also causes us continuous discomfort, dissatisfaction, and worry. Even if our culture tries to ignore guilt, it’s always there, affecting how we act and see ourselves. This drives home the need for a conscience that’s not tainted.

2. The problem we can’t see

The rules in Leviticus about cleanliness and worship, like avoiding dead things and certain foods, are symbols of spiritual cleanliness and show how much God hates sin. The Bible’s view of guilt, which calls for reconciliation, is different from Freud’s view which separates guilt from morality, focusing on conscience as a sort of internal police. In our culture where everything is relative, aligning our conscience with the Bible frees us from guilt, helps us distinguish between real and imagined guilt, and encourages us to take responsibility, repent, make up for our wrongs, and seek forgiveness.

3. The solution to everything

Jesus’ role as the go-between for God and us is the key to making things right. He secured eternal life for us by entering God’s presence with His own blood. The rituals of the high priest on the day of atonement, and the vision given to Zechariah, show how important it is to be clean and predict Jesus’ role in removing sin. Realizing and accepting Jesus’ sacrifice can deeply change us, like it did for Peter and Judas, and it shows how guilt can affect our conscience.



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