This passage is educational for spiritual explorers in that it provides a brief essay on the mechanics of the Jewish sacrificial system. The writer uses these images, which were very familiar to his original readers, to describe why Jesus’ sacrifice for sin on the cross eliminates the need for such sacrifices.
The old Jewish sacrificial system was unable to cleanse the human conscience (verses 8–10). For one thing, under that system the way into God’s presence was barred to his people. Only the high priest could enter the Most Holy Place in the temple, and then only once a year. Something more than ritual was required to unite the people with their God.
That something was the blood of Christ. Jesus offered his own blood as the sacrifice for sin (verse 12). When we accept Jesus’ actions on our behalf, our sins are washed away and our consciences are cleared. When we’ve experienced true forgiveness, we’re free from the weight of guilt in our lives and ready to serve God.