Hebrews 10:1–4, 8–18 comment (0)
October 26, 2006
By Dale Younce
Related Scripture: Hebrews 10:1–4, 8–18
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Professor of Christian Studies, School of Christian Studies, University of Mobile
Hebrews 10:1–4, 8–18
All Christians should be grateful to God for the sacrifice Jesus made of His life for their sins. They should understand that without His sacrifice in their stead, they would not be part of God’s people, they would not have a personal relationship with God and they would not be forgiven. At the very least, they can tell God about their gratitude in their prayers. Unhappily many who profess to be Christians do not pray very often, and thus they miss an opportunity to say thank you to God. The sacrifice of Jesus and the resulting benefits certainly deserve more attention. If Christians do as God wants, they will discover and use many ways, including frequent prayer, to express gratitude for Jesus’ sacrifice.
Once We Were Unforgiven (1–4)
One of the most important features of the Mosaic covenant was the Levitical sacrificial system of worship with its repeated sacrifices. But it was impossible for the blood of those sacrificial animals to take away sins. The Mosaic law, although God-given, was only “a shadow of good things to come,” an acted-out picture of the work Jesus would accomplish on the cross.
This meant that the Old Testament system was temporary and could accomplish nothing permanently. The law and its sacrifices continually reminded people of their sins but could not permanently remove those sins or the defilement those sins created. The Mosaic system could never provide a once-for-all redemption. Only the perfect sacrifice of Christ could do that. Today people are still in their sins as long as they depend, for their salvation, on something other than the sacrifice of Christ.
Now We Are Set Apart (8–10)
It was God, not man, who provided the permanent (“once-for-all”) sacrifice for sin. The quotation from Psalm 40 makes it clear that the Lord Jesus is the fulfillment of the Mosaic covenant sacrifices.
By doing His Father’s will, Jesus took away the old covenant and established the new covenant. As a result of Christ’s offering His body once-for-all, believers become new covenant saints, set apart completely and finally for God, completely righteous before God.
Today, as a result of Jesus’ willing sacrifice of Himself on the cross, all who trust Him for salvation are set apart for guilt-free worship and service to God.
Now We Are Perfected (11–16)
The fact that Jesus “sat down” after He ascended to the Father is proof that His work was finished. The Levitical priests could never sit down in their work since their sacrifices were never completed and never different.
They offered the same sacrifices day after day, year after year. Such constant repetition demonstrated that their sacrifices never took away sins. However, Jesus’ one sacrifice on the cross was more than enough for all time to make believers “perfect.” This perfection does not refer to sinlessness, but it means that believers now approach God fit for His presence and with full acceptance gained through Jesus’ death. They are as acceptable in heaven as Jesus is.
Now We Are Forgiven (17–18)
This kind of perfection is what is promised in the new covenant. When a sinner trusts Christ, his sins are all forgiven; his guilt is gone; the matter is settled completely forever. A person who turns away from the one sufficient sacrifice of Jesus finds no genuine sacrifice to which he can turn.
For the original readers of the Epistle to the Hebrews, the temptation was for them to leave Christianity and to return to Judaism. The writer of this Epistle pointed out the inadequacy of the old system of worship. Why go back to a covenant that has been fulfilled, and why return to sacrifices that do not satisfy? Why go back to a method of approach to God that God Himself has made no longer valid? Jesus provides all that is necessary for a sinner to stand before God righteous and acceptable. Trust Him.