Beloved, in the latter part of chapter 9 of Hebrews the writer is contrasting the “atoning works” or “heavenly appearances” of Christ with one another. One is then looked at as the “first” work or appearance, and the other is then looked at as the “second.” So verse 28 of Hebrews 9 is not describing a “second coming” of Christ, as that is taught traditionally, but it is describing the second or intercessoral/judgmental side of the two works of the atonement. With this in mind, take a look at verse 24 which describes the “first” of these …
“For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.”
In order to “get this,” one needs to understand how in Old Testament type the atonement for sin was not accomplished with the killing of the animal and the sprinkling of blood on the altar, the people and the tabernacle, it was accomplished when the High Priest presented himself in the Most Holy Place in the presence of God with the blood sacrifice. Thus, in the first part of the spiritual fulfillment of this Day of Atonement ritual, Christ had to “appear” in the Most Holy Place in heaven (“in the presence of God for us”), and by His own blood then make atonement for our sins (forgiveness). This is PART ONE of a two-part work. There are TWO works or “appearances,” and verse 28 of Hebrews chapter 9 speaks of THE SECOND of these which essentially is the (heavenly) process by which we shall come into full deliverance from sin and death.
In order to better understand the two appearances that are described here, you may want to study the patterns for this which are found in Leviticus chapter 14 and chapter 16. These are the two birds used in cleansing the leper, and the two goats of the Day of Atonement. These two passages of scripture embody the laws regarding the two works of Christ’s Atonement.
In brief; the two birds depict for us the two stages by which we are cleansed of our MORTALITY. The first bird was killed to provide a blood covering for the second bird. In this it is shown that Christ’s death IMPUTED life to us until the time when we can be infused with inherent IMMORTALITY and LIFE. The goats of Leviticus 16 reveal something very similar, but they deal not with the DEATH question but the SIN question. Again, as revealed in Hebrews chapter 9, there are TWO stages by which our sin is eradicated. The first goat covered our sin and the second goat will then remove it. This is saying that Christ’s first “appearance” (for us in heaven) covered our sin, and His second “appearance” (an intercessoral work) will then remove it altogether! This is that “salvation without reference to sin” that is mentioned in Hebrews 9:28, beloved.
Even though we are yet sinners saved by God’s grace and covered by the blood of Jesus whereby we have been imputed righteousness, God has made provision by His first work for a second work which leads men to actual HOLINESS and RIGHTEOUSNESS. This second work is a work wherein Christ “appears” again for us in THE MOST HOLY PLACE IN THE SPIRIT WORLD for the purpose of removing sin and death from us completely, and as I have shared, this intercessoral/judgmental work of Christ directly relates to the laws of action and reaction, and to the grace that is imparted to us that we might attain to “the resurrection out from the dead.”
(Thanks to S. Jones for his input )