“But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.”(Hebrews 10:12-14, ESV)
The author continues to expound upon the inferior nature of the Old Covenant and its ritual offerings. The very fact that they had to be offered over and over again shows how inadequate they were. They could never take away guilt or sin or its consequences or even hold them in check. On the other hand, Jesus had to offer only one sacrifice to satisfy the demands of God’s Law and His justice. When the author says Jesus sat down at the right hand of the Father, he means that the work of atonement was finished. He had completely obeyed the will of the Father. There is no need for further offerings: they are useless and ineffective. In fact, any further offerings are a denial of the efficacy of what Jesus did and an insult to the Father. Those who accept the offering of Christ, however, find that He no longer remembers their sins. They have been dealt with at cross and He will never bring them up again.
When I first read this passage when I was in my early twenties, I was stunned. It was the first time that I heard that Christ had to be offered only once for all sin. It was the first time I heard that God had dispensed grace, forgiveness and mercy unto all those who accepted His offering for sin, Jesus. Yet in the Roman Catholic Church in which I was raised, Christ was sacrificed daily (in the form of bread and wine) as a means of obtaining grace. In addition, I had always been taught that I had to earn God’s grace and mercy by performing good works. Maybe if I earned enough I could make it to heaven. Yet here we see clearly that it is by Christ’s work, His obedience unto death that we are made holy.