An Interpretation of Christ as the Sacrifice in Hebrews 9:26 to a Holistic Relationship with God

Honore Sewakpo


The sacrifice of Christ, which provides forgiveness of sins and the hope of being perfected, forms the foundation of Christian faith in the letter to the Hebrews. Hebrews reflects the continuity between the old and the new covenants, interest in the earthly life of Christ, and the realisation that his sacrifice needs to be interpreted. Existing studies on issues in the interpretation of Hebrews have focused, primarily, on apparent internal tension of the document; while some scholars see Hebrews to be centred in a group of migrant Jewish Christians who await the fulfilment of the promise of Abraham in Jerusalem, others view the document as a polemic grounded in a Philonic-type milieu. A literal significance to the cultic language of Hebrews, especially Christ as the sacrifice and its contribution to the success of loving relationship in the contemporary society, has not been given adequate attention. The study, therefore, examines an interpretation of Christ as the sacrifice in Hebrews 9:26 with a view to establishing a holistic relationship with God. Using Saussure’s approach to New Testament interpretation, the paper reveals that an interpretation of Christ as the sacrifice ultimately brings to bear a world of relationships. The richness and diversity of these relationships are experienced in human religious history through the vehicle of sacrifice. These relationships are identified between relations of persons to persons in a society and relations of a society to God. Christ’s sacrifice of himself rather than a substitute stresses the superiority of his sacrifice to the Old Testament ritual and any other human rituals. Consequently, Christ as the sacrifice informs that he is the source of the relationship with God. The paper recommends that humanity could live sacrificially, although no person could offer the same sacrifice as Christ did, they can follow his example and offer their lives entirely to God as enshrined in Hebrews 9:26.

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International Journal of Social Science Studies   ISSN 2324-8033 (Print)   ISSN 2324-8041 (Online)

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