Nothing that is from this creation is sufficient to stave off death because created things cannot do eternal things on their own.
But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
1 Corinthians 6:20
The writer here is describing the perfect, once-for-all sacrifice that Jesus made for us. He later contrasts this with the system of animal sacrifice which was practiced by the Jews. Jesus made the perfect sacrifice because He did not need to repeat the cleansing over and over again.
We know that in this life, our actions must be repeated day after day in order to maintain the intended results. We need to brush our teeth, shower, clean the house, maintain the car, etc. regularly so that our health and our stuff are maintained and functional. We need to do this because of the temporal nature of our bodies and our stuff. Left to our own natural processes, we will break down, get dirty, fall into disrepair and eventually die. This is one of the laws of nature; according to our physicist friends, “bodies tend to go to a higher level of disorder” on their own. In other words, we decay. We can delay that process for some period of time with regular care and repair, but we need to repeat that maintenance function all the time, and even then, we cannot stave off death forever.
Animal sacrifices needed to be done over and over because they were “of this creation” and insufficient. Nothing that is from this creation is sufficient to stave off death because created things cannot do eternal things on their own.
Jesus however, not being created, (only in the earthly body He took on) could do the eternal thing. He could, and did, take on our sins. Jesus gave up His life once and for all so that we could be forgiven, and that we too could have eternal life. His sacrifice only needed to be done once!
Our lesson about this is to understand that we are bought with a price (1 Cor. 6:20), that we are not our own, and that our only available moral response is to submit to the one who paid the price for us.
By John Jung
From the book Reflections: a Look at God Working in Us