Can You Breathe Under Water?

Written on 12/27/2021
Christian Dunn

Verse: Hebrews 9:8-10

8 The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still functioning. 9 This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. 10 They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings—external regulations applying until the time of the new order.

It's hard for us to appreciate the meaning of these words since (most of us) aren't Jewish and (all of us) aren't 1st century Jews. It's hard to appreciate how important the religious rites of purification and atonement were. But all along they were just foreshadowing. It was never about the blood of animals, or a building, or priests. It was a picture through which the Holy Spirit was speaking to humanity about Jesus.

The issues, however, are still the same. We still need to be purified from our sins. And we still need a representative to go on our behalf, someone who has already been purified, into the presence of God as a mediator. 

Think about it this way: We need oxygen to breathe, right? If we go under water, we can't breathe. It's impossible. Try all you want, and you won't be able to do it on your own. You need something else like Scuba gear or a snorkel. Then, magically, you CAN breathe while you are underwater. 

In the same way, we are sinful beings, and we can't come into the presence of the perfect God. And there's nothing we can do to fix that. We can't erase our sins or forgive our own sins, we simply don't have the power to do that no matter how badly we want to. I think possibly this is why God says to Moses that no person can see his face and live (Exodus 33:20). However, Jesus enters the story and changes everything.

He becomes both the sacrifice for our sins AND the high priest who goes before us. In other words, since he was sinless he COULD enter the presence of God. And instead of keeping that to himself, he gave it to us. Like a scuba diver giving you his gear so you too can breathe under water.

2 Corinthians 5:21 says it like this: "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."

Jesus took our sin on him (our inability to breathe underwater - aka - be in God's presence) and gave us his righteousness (the ability to breathe - or be in God's presence). He gifted us his perfection and made a brand new reality for us. 

It would be like if all people who chose to follow Jesus could suddenly breathe under water. It would be a miracle! But a lesser one than this. Now, all people who follow Jesus and trust him for their salvation can "come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16).

Jesus gave us the ability to come into God's presence again and again, anytime we want, and receive his love, forgiveness, grace, power, mercy, strength, and more. That's what Jesus has done for you and me. Take a moment today to thank him for that amazing miracle.

(Sidenote - don't try to breathe under water - it was only an example. LOL)

Thank you Jesus that you paid the price to gift me the miraculous ability to live in your presence both now and forever more!