If the Levitical priests or the Old Testament Law could provide a means by which we could be made acceptable to God once and for all, there would have been no need for a new priest after the order of Melchizedek. But Jesus was necessary for our salvation. Hebrews 7:11 says, “Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron?” This verse might be compared to Paul’s statement in Galatians 2:21. The Living Bible translates that verse like this: “I am not one of those who treats Christ’s death as meaningless. For if we could be saved by keeping Jewish laws, then there was no need for Christ to die.” It’s saying that to fall back to the religious systems of dos and don’ts, rituals and ceremonies, is to make Jesus’ sacrifice meaningless.

If you study any religion, you will find that they all have one thing in common. They all teach their adherents to behave in a certain way. They all have rituals to follow, prayers to recite, restrictions to observe, and sacrifices to make. Jesus, our great high priest, brings something different. The Old Testament laws and rituals represented by the Levitical priesthood were unable to make a person acceptable to God. That is true with any religious behavior or ritual observation. Christianity is not a religion. It’s about our relationship with God established once and for all by something entirely different than a religion. God sees us through the filter of Jesus and that’s the only way we can become acceptable to God. Looking again at Galatians, consider the broader context of Paul’s statements. Galatians 2:20-21 says, “I have been crucified with Christ: and I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the real life I now have within this body is a result of my trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not one of those who treats Christ’s death as meaningless. For if we could be saved by keeping Jewish laws, then there was no need for Christ to die.”

Saving faith has nothing to do with what we do for God. It’s all about what He has done for us through His son our great high priest. It’s the only unique thing about true Biblical Christianity and it is the central thing. It is completely different. It is “another” path to being made right with God. In Hebrews 7:11 the Priesthood of the order of Melchizedek, Jesus’ priesthood is said to be “another” Priesthood. In Greek there are two words both of which are translated “another.” One is “allos.” It means another of the same kind. I might like the pen I’m using because it meets all my needs so I would want “another one” like it, another one of the same kind. However, if it didn’t do what I needed or expected I’d still say “I want another one” but I’d use the word “heteros” which means another of a different kind. Jesus’ priesthood is another of a different kind. It’s not like all other religions. Jesus is both the offeror of the sacrifice and the sacrifice itself. Salvation by grace through faith alone is a way to God of a “different” kind.