The expression “skin in the game,” often encountered in the world of business and finance, is used when people have a personal stake in reaching a goal. They see their work as much more than “just a job.” They’re risking their own resources or reputation. Their commitment might be emotional, financial, or even physical.
As the Mediator between God and humanity, Jesus most certainly had “skin in the game” because He was and is fully God and fully man. But why was such a mediator needed? Because sin made us enemies of God. We were at war, with no hope of winning, and no offering a sacrifice represented the people before the Lord. But when Jesus came, He became both the priest and the sacrifice.
Christ is the superior Mediator of a superior covenant (Heb. 8:6). He did what He did in the heavenly tabernacle (God’s presence), not its earthly shadow (9:11). His atonement is once-for-all, not repeated. His blood is effectual for forgiveness, unlike the blood of animal sacrifices (v. 12). Those sacrifices made people outwardly clean, but Christ makes us inwardly clean and holy, free to serve God (vv. 13–14). Jesus not only mediates the new covenant but also guarantees it (v. 15). How does this work?
Like a will. Just as a will takes effect only when the one who made it dies, so our inheritance of eternal life took effect because of Jesus’ death (vv. 16–17). While the blood of animal sacrifices only symbolized purification, Jesus’ blood actually accomplished our forgiveness and redemption (vv. 18–22). And while formerly we were set apart for death, now through Christ’s mediation we’re set apart for life. We were God’s enemies but now can be His friends!
We often think more about what we have freedom from than what we have freedom to do. We think in terms of our own independence, being able to do whatever we want. Within a biblical worldview, however, freedom runs the other way. We’ve been released from sin’s bondage in order to “serve the living God” (v. 14). Obedience is true freedom!