We’ve read earlier that Jesus has ascended to the heavenly throne and is seated at the right hand of God where he makes intercession for us. The heavenly city, and the heavenly role Jesus plays is a permanent one! The role played by the sacrificial system on Earth along with the whole law were simply temporary. This fact is again emphasized in Hebrews 13:14. It says, “For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.” The religious system of the Jews was a temporary system. Jesus is the permanent way to the Father. Richards explains this, “Nothing in Hebrews suggests that the old way was wrong. As a system instituted by God, it was good. But the old was temporary. It foreshadowed only. When the new that it mirrored came, reality replaced shadows. The old priesthood faded away as a single High Priest took His stand in the heavens. A single sacrifice replaced the endless repetition. And the promise of perfection became a present possibility.”[1]

But there is a sacrifice that we offer to God. It’s our praise, our worship, all in the name of Jesus. That’s what the writer says in Hebrews 13:15, “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.” Fleming argues that you cannot blend religion with Jesus. It’s always only one or the other. They are contradictory systems. One focuses on the works of man and the other focuses on the works of God in His one and only Son, Jesus Christ. He writes, “Those Jews who still wish to be members of the earthly Jerusalem (i.e. the old Jewish religion) cannot belong to Christ and his heavenly kingdom. They must come out of the ‘camp’ of Judaism and share the shame of Christ through being insulted by their fellow Jews as Christ was (13–14). The sacrifices they then offer will not be dead animals, but sincere praise to God and practical kindness to their fellows (15–16).”[2]

It won’t be praise and worship to gain or earn God’s acceptance. No, it will be praise and worship and caring for others because of our complete acceptance by God through our faith in the one and only fully sufficient sacrifice. Believers in the complete sufficiency of Christ are set free from offering sacrifices and doing deeds to earn God’s favor and now respond to God’s love and acceptance by living in love. This seems to be the basis for verse 16. It says, “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”

[1] Lawrence O. Richards, The Teacher’s Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1987), 1015.

[2] Donald C. Fleming, Concise Bible Commentary (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1994), 569.