In chapter 1, we saw that because God’s Son was a better everything, it gave Him a name better than the angels (especially one angel in particular that has designs of his own on how things will go). That Son mad propitiation, or atonement for us, and then sat down because that work was finished. As a result, we read in chapter 2 that we need to pay closer attention to the things we have heard about Jesus and the truth that He is God’s chosen method of communicating with us today so that we would not drift away from it. The picture used was that of a safe harbour, and a navigator that was not paying due attention, slipped past the harbour entrance and shipwrecked on the rocks.
Then we are treated by the author to an exposition on Psalm 8, and it is hinted that God has some grand design for humans to be His universal administrators in the age to come. There was a definite statement of how for a short period of time, humans were made lower than the angels, but that in the end we would be at least equal to the angels in status and power. This is a definite thing, according to the author, although for now we do not see that – but we DO see HIM. The Son. We see Jesus, made like a man – one who tasted death for everyone that would ever believe in Him, and who incidentally made everything, including the angels – and He is a kind of forerunner and leader of those coming administrators, the coming priest-kings of the universe that will have sovereignty of, for, and by God.
This makes Jesus our high priest, it says at the end, one who now because he was made like us in that he suffered death, can have mercy on us, and who is faithful to extend to us grace as we are sanctified, that is made holy, like He is holy. Now in chapter 3, the book turns to who this Son Jesus is, and it begins by telling us to consider Him, and compares Him to Moses. Moses gave the Law, the old Covenant. By comparison, Jesus gave the New Covenant. Both were written by the will and hand of God. Both required obedience. As a result, it compares the two covenants and what obedience and disobedience looked like and warranted under each.
Chapter 4 was a basic gospel presentation aimed at those who were intellectually attuned to the message, but had not yet made a commitment to follow the Lord into the redemption He secured by his high priestly sacrifice. The author of Hebrews very clearly showed that Jesus sacrificed Himself so that we could enter His rest for us, and that to enter, we needed to believe Him and what He said. The basic problem that people seem to have when we consider this is is that they all claim to be servants of the Master. But think about this what does it look like from the outside when people either do what they are told so they can be saved or believe and obey so that they are saved and then do the work to please the Master? It’s difficult to tell, because the work completed looks exactly the same, does it not? And yet only faith by grace will save us, not works, so that we can’t brag about how good we are – but if we truly are redeemed, then we can be bold in our approach to His throne and find mercy when we need it.
Chapter 5 went on to talk more about the eternal Son and how he received a new, different, and better priesthood than the Levitical priesthood because He offered a better sacrifice (it was a once-for-all sacrifice) because it was permanent and unlike Levitical sacrifices, was not offered by a sinful priest, but instead the sinless Son, and unlike the animal that was a mere picture or shadow of the sacrifice that Christ would offer, He offered His own life, which was good and acceptable in the eyes of God the Father. As a result, God raised Christ from the dead, and made Him to be high priest of a different, better, and more ancient priesthood, the order of Melchizedek. We looked briefly at the man Melchizedek, and then took a look at what maturity looked at how those who were developing maturity in Christ were engaged in discernment actively at all times, testing whether things were from the Lord or not.
Chapter 6 says some very hard things to hear, and it even sounds like some of those “you can lose your salvation if you aren’t careful” people that I disagree with. You MUST remember that there are three groups of people that would be the target of this sermon. Believers, who I do NOT believe were the target of the harder remarks, those who were intellectually convinced but who had not yet made a life commitment to the Messiah (who the comments ARE aimed at), and finally the basic unbeliever, so just like a standard church congregation today. I think verse 9 said it all – “We are convinced of better things concerning you, things that accompany salvation, even though we are speaking this way.”
Chapter 7 begins the explanation of the harder things that the author was speaking of earlier in the letter, beginning with an individual that has in our study become very important – the person of Melchizedek. Melchizedek is unique in Scripture as a gentile priest, who was the ancient king of the ancient city of Jerusalem, before it was ever called Jerusalem. The author of Hebrews tells us that the Messiah, our Lord Jesus, is a priest forever after the order of this man Melchizedek. He has a great deal to say about him, and why this other and better priesthood is necessary. Chapter 8 speaks in detail about how the New Covenant was seen in the old covenant, and fulfilled in Jesus, our Messiah who died in our place to save those who will believe in Him. In the closing verses of Chapter 8, it talks about how the New Covenant has replaced the old, and the Old covenant, though it has not quite disappeared yet, is now ready to disappear. This continues into chapter 9, where we directly compare the old types and shadows with the new heavenly realities in Christ, and determine why, according to the author and the Author, the new is much – well – better!
That brings us today to chapter 10, which for ease of handling the longer chapter in the time allotted, we have divided roughly in half. Today, we are examining verses 1-18, and we will handle the rest in the next study.
I broke the passage down this way:
KV: 14 – One sacrifice for sins for all time
1-10: There is NO salvation in the Mosaic Law
11-18: Sanctification comes from the offering of Jesus’ body
KV: 14 – One sacrifice for sins for all time
Remembering that the target audience of the author and the Author here are HEBREWS (and I get that from the title of the letter), the reasons that the New Covenant in Christ is a BETTER covenant. Here, the Holy Spirit is listing off and giving His reasons for the…BETTERNESS of the New Covenant. The standard of Homiletics that seems to be coming into play here is one of repetition for emphasis and explanation. In my own Preaching course in the version of Bible College I went through, It was explained this way – Tell them what you are going to say, then say in detail what you have to say, and then explain to them what you said. If the Holy Spirit uses that, I think we can also safely partake in that procedure.
I took verse 14 as my own key verse to my understanding of this passage, and it reads, “For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are [being; margin] sanctified.” This verse relates to the idea of the salvation of those God the Father has chosen and presented as a gift to God the Son, and it unpacks as an explanation of not just our simple justification (we are forgiven and made right before God), but also to the sanctification of that group of chosen, or “elect” individuals, to use the theological word here. This relates to what is known as the doctrine of Sovereign Election. And make no mistake, this is not simply God looking through the tunnels of time to see who would respond positively to Christ’s offer. It indeed cannot logically be, because it weakens God in His own attribute of omniscience to say the least. Think about it. There has never been a day where God did not know something so that He had to “look it up.” This is what the word “foreknowledge” was used for in Ephesians chapter 1 and Romans chapter 8. We won’t take the time to look up those verses here, but you can do it on your own to see the context in which that word is used and see for yourself I am not simply making this up.
Indeed, God chose His own elect in eternity past, and gifted them to the Son, who sacrificed His own body on a Roman cross to make certain that they were redeemed. In that “golden chain” of salvation in Romans 8:29-30, it tells us that those He foreknew, He predestined, then He called, then He justified, and then He glorified – all in the past tense, meaning it is a done deal for His redeemed. He WILL take them all the way to Glory. What seems conspicuous by its absence is sanctification, and we might just see in this chapter some of the reasons why. But to see this, we must understand that the Mosaic Law was full of types and shadows of this New Covenant reality, and that’s where we will break into the scriptures this morning.
1-10: There is NO salvation in the Mosaic Law
Why is there no salvation in this God-given law? I think the shortest answer I could give is that no religious ritual or set of rules that govern behaviour can possibly save us. If you think about this honestly, this is really just a salvation we could gain by our own works, something that has become very popular of late, particularly among the extreme charismatics. I consider these people to be modern-day Montanists – the same group of Gnostics that entrapped the church father Tertullian. (I know, nothing new under the sun.) The most extreme of these people believe that you are not saved unless you “speak in tongues,” an ecstatic babbling of nonsense syllables said to be the language of angels in Heaven. I think the song writer Paul Gerhardt has it right – “What language shall I borrow to thank the, dearest Friend?” (from the song “O Sacred Head Now Wounded”) What language is possibly enough to describe what He has done for us, let alone THANK Him for it? Also, whenever Angels are seen in Heaven speaking to each other, the hearer has NEVER reported some kind of simultaneous translation or closed captions. Take for example, Isaiah 6:1-3 – Isaiah tells us that the Seraphim that flew around the Throne of Glory where the Ancient of Days was seated, calling to ONE ANOTHER, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory.” He clearly understood them because they were speaking his language. There is never a recorded case in Scripture where they speak anything other than the language of men. To insist on this “Heavenly language” is actually extra-Biblical making stuff up – and that’s called HERESY and FALSE PROPHECY. That’s dangerous territory to be in, my friends. I won’t get into how that ecstatic gibberish began in Corinth, and is a result of the Oracle of Delphi being right across the bay from Corinth. Maybe when we get to 1 Corinthians 14 or so we can have a look at the details of how that Oracle worked and why it influenced the church there so much. Anyway, back to topic. Works, including the speaking of some nonsense language, religious ritual (like blood sacrifice), memorized, repetitive, or printed prayer, a walk to the front of the church to be prayed over, circumcision, special diet, or even baptism (a sacred cow for many Baptists) CANNOT save you. No work of Man CAN save you. Only GOD can save you.
Let’s dig in.
1: For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near.
- I’m going to focus on what I think of as a key phrase of the chapter: “make perfect.” All serious commentators I have read agree that is a phrase that is synonymous with salvation, but not simply speaking of only justification. To “make perfect” in this sense includes justification to be sure, but also includes later in the chapter the idea of sanctification (the idea of being made holy by what we experience in terms of suffering usually), and in other parts of scripture it talks about our glorification, that final and eternal change where all of us are made in character and possibly in substance like Christ, to worship and serve Him forever.
- This verse is flat-out saying that the Mosaic Law (context from chapter 9 and previous to that) has no salvific value. There is no mere shadow that can give anything but a shadow of salvation. Interestingly, by my observation this salvation has always been the gift of God (grace) by faith in a Messiah (anointed, or Gk. Christos). In this one simple, sweeping statement, both the author and the Author declare that the Law cannot save anyone.
- Those who draw near is a reference to the elect. I know, I know, it does seem like drawing near is an act of the will – full marks – it is a choice, but it can only happen AFTER God gives that irresistible gift of His grace in the regeneration of your spirit that will allow you to call on Him. As I said, it is GOD that saves you, nothing you do. God is the sole actor in His election of those who will follow Him. Who are they? I do not know. This is why it is not my job to save people, it is His. MY job is to preach the gospel ot EVERYONE so that His chosen might hear it.
- Okay, I see your hand up there in the nosebleed section. I can hear your “question” already. You want to know how “God could be such a monster” as to overlook a soul and allow them to be eternally damned. My friend, you do not truly understand the holiness nor the justice of our sovereign God. Think of it this way – a convicted criminal stands there for sentencing, and the only possible penalty is death. He is already convicted by the judge. Is the judge now obligated to show mercy to that convicted criminal? Yes or no? Of course he is not.
- Here is where we need to consider two verses in Romans. The first of these is Romans 3:23, which tells us that ALL have sinned. In fact the point of that chapter seems to be a sermon from the Old Testament Psalms (specifically Psalms 10, 14, and 53) that tells us that this shuts up all men under sin. The second verse that needs to be considered here from Romans is 6:23 – which tells us that the “wages” [what we earn] for our sin is death. All that considered, I have to point out that if you are angry with God about passing over some and only saving some, you are looking at this the wrong way. We should not consider that He will only save some, contrary to what universalist think and cannot support from Scripture. We should instead marvel that He will save anyone at all. And yet, for His own undisclosed reasons, He has. And we have already dealt with the view of how He could have looked down the tunnels of time by explaining that there has never been a day when God had to learn anything. To suggest otherwise is to deny the omniscient character of God. Moving on.
2: Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins?
- This verse continues the argument that the Law and its sacrifices specifically cannot save anyone, or “make perfect those who draw near” by actions that spring from that Old Covenant. It is saying that if the Old Covenant of the Mosaic Law could save anyone, then why did the sacrifices continue? Once a person had been “saved” or cleansed by such an offering, wouldn’t that person be able then to stop sacrificing every year? Their very conscience would no longer require it, because it would have been effective in their lives. But that didn’t happen – they kept on sacrificing year after year.
3: But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year.
- The very fact that these sacrifices continued is the evidence that their sins remained. They were reminded of this by the sacrifice. In those days, under that covenant, they would have kept to the shadow of the animal offering and looked forward to the day when God would in fact save them.
4: For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
- Remember how we started this study today with a thought along this line? Animal sacrifice cannot save anyone. The only thing it can really do is serve as a symbolic reminder that there is no forgiveness of sins or making right of people before God without the shedding of human blood. That human blood would further have to come from an individual that had lived a perfect life of obedience under the Law of God, that is the Mosaic Law, specifically the 10 Commandments, which are also collectively called the Decalogue by theologians. And the only individual to have EVER done that is the Son of God, that is God the Son, who became a man for that very purpose. And that means that He willingly gave Himself up as a sacrifice to atone for all the sins ever committed for all those who would believe on Him.
- There is a further application here that can be inferred from the text for those who want to follow Christ. This animal sacrifice is but a religious ritual. No religious ritual like the lighting of candles can save you. No so-called “sacrament” can save you, because they are mere religious rituals, and some of those practiced by a certain Roman religion are not even Christian, like infant sprinkling (they say it is baptism, and it isn’t). No recorded sinner’s prayer can save you – the salvific value does not come from the prayer or the words. No walk down the aisle of the church at an “altar call” can save you. The salvific value is not in the walking forward, even if you meant it. No BAPTISM can save you. I am aware that there is a great deal of controversy here. But the immersion in the water is a symbol (albeit an important one for Christians), and does not convey salvation to the individual. There are heretical denominations that teach that you cannot be saved until you are fully immersed in water. My own uncle was a pastor in one of those heretical cults. You should hear the combination of Amillennialism and Dispensationalism HE believes…it is a real mess of self-contradiction…and none of THAT conveyed salvation to him. My Systematic Theology professor taught that you are not fully saved until you are water-baptized, though he allowed for exceptions like the thief on the cross. Friends, those views are heretical.
- The bottom line is that no ritual or action we can take CAN save a person. ONLY GOD CAN SAVE A PERSON. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
5: Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, “Sacrifice and offering You have not desired, But A body You have prepared for ME;
- The author is now bringing in the arguments from what he would have called “the Scriptures,” but we call the Old Testament as support for what he is teaching, beginning in Psalm 40, which we will compare with the text the author uses here in Hebrews 10.
- Psalm 40 Hebrews 10 6: Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired; My ears You have opened; 5: Sacrifice and offering You have not desired, But A body You have prepared for ME; 6b: Burnt offering and sin offering You have not required. 6: IN whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have taken no pleasure. 7, 8: Then I said, “Behold, I come; In the scroll of the book it is written of me. I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart.” 7: Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come (IN the scroll of the book it is written of ME) TO do Your will, O God.
- It reads quite a bit differently, doesn’t it? This is an occasion where I can point out that the Holy Spirit can guide the author of the New Testament to an understanding and application of the passage that is not always there at first reading in the original passage. The Holy Spirit, who interprets Scripture for us, being God Himself, can express new meanings that are within the text to make certain points, as He has done here.
- The first difference in comparing the two can be seen in the very first verse. The original talks about “sacrifice and meal offering,” while the passage in Hebrews generalizes the passage and opens up the field of things included in the meaning of the text by saying “sacrifice and offering and not specifying the type of offering involved. By the rules of English grammar, this is more inclusive, and means “any offering.” What is this phrase saying? That Sacrifice and offerings are not what God wants.
- The next phrase in Psalm 40 says “My ears you have opened.” That is a bit different, and Hebrews 10:5b says, “but a body You have prepared for Me.” I will not speculate on all the meanings such a difference might involve, but I will say an ear is a part of the body, so the meaning is there in the Psalm, and the Holy Spirit, the real Author of Hebrews, is making His meaning plain.
- The next phrase is 40:6b vs. 10:6, which again moves from burnt offering to “whole burnt offering” and sin offering to “sacrifices for sin” which amount to about the same thing in my thinking. These things do not please God, according to the Hebrews 10 reference, and they were not the original requirement according to the Psalm 40 reference. Different words, and really the same point.
- In the next two verses in Psalm 40 and verse 7 in Hebrews 10, we begin to see the meanings come together. Both of these passages are clearly talking about the Messiah. David said things in Psalm 40 that now can be clearly seen to refer to the Messiah, though David was writing about himself and his own experiences in Psalm 40. The Holy Spirit, who is Author of ALL Scripture, tells us that this passage by type, shadow, and example was about Messiah Jesus. And what does it say that Jesus was here to do? He was here to do the will of God the Father. Jesus even stated as much in John 5:19, which reads, “Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.”” This is not a proof text, this can be seen throughout the book of John particularly, and in other places in the Gospel and New Testament writings as well, at least in concept. See also John 8. 10, 14, and 17 for example. The theme to note is that Christ is doing what the Father is doing because He and the Father are the same individual, though they are separate entities. (I know, it sounds like modalism, but it isn’t; English breaks down at a certain point. It becomes difficult to express the concept and not get into word meanings. To me this is an important point, and I am trying to be precise, but at a certain point I either admit that my English fails, or I have to start making up words. Moving on.
8: After saying above, “Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have not desired, nor have You taken pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the Law),
- The author is drawing out a point from the above set of verses, and it will become evident in the next verse or two.
9: then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will.” He takes away the first in order to establish the second.
- He is still drawing out the point a bit, but he starts to make application to the argument here. He (whoever He is, we will see Who in the next verse) takes away the first [covenant] so that He may establish the second [covenant]. Friends, do you see the implication of the statement? The first covenant is “taken away.” Present continuing tense. It is gone, as no longer in effect. Beloved, there are people today that exploit the patent misunderstanding of this. They think we need to follow the Jewish dietary “law.” Or that we still meet on the Jewish Sabbath (Saturday). Or that we aren’t supposed to eat Shellfish, Venison, or Bacon Cheese Burgers. Nonsense like that. Dear ones, the first is GONE! We now live under the second, the New Covenant in Christ’s blood. Where the meaning of Sabbath is changed and expanded (as we have seen earlier in this book). Where all foods have been made clean by Christ (Mark 7:19). I’m not aiming that at any group in particular, because I have known Baptists with these basic misunderstandings.
10: By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
- Here is the rest of the point. Our Messiah, Jesus, God the Son, came to do the will of God the Father. And it is by that sacrifice, we have been sanctified, that is made holy. How? By the offering of the physical body of Jesus Christ, the anointed one of God (Heb., Messiah; Gk., Christ). For those of you that like or follow that great Canadian sport of hockey a little, you might say this was a one-timer from the cross to score the winning goal. That sacrifice was offered ONE TIME on behalf of all.
- Who is “all?” In the context of our discussion, we have been talking (from verse 1) about those who would be made perfect, or those that would draw near. It is NOT a universalist “all” that means everyone in the world – or else monsters like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Attila, and Genghis are all saved and in heaven at this moment. Dear ones, I cannot believe that – it is for men like this that eternal punishment was most designed. This passage is instead speaking of all the chosen – the elect of God – those who will turn to Him in Faith according to the irresistible grace of His gift to us – as it says in the Scriptures, for the glory of God.
11-18: Sanctification comes from the offering of Jesus’ body
Now we come to the main point of this passage. It is about so great salvation. It is about more than simple justification, or the making right of our sins before a holy God, it is about even more than the sanctification that is spoken of in verse 10. It is about “being made perfect,” which is a future part of salvation that can be equated with glorification, that is we mortals put on immortality like Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:53-57, “For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” God will grace all believers with a body that is fit for our new heavenly reality. That body will be like the Lord Jesus, according to John in 1 John 3:2 – “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” However, in getting there, we must first be sanctified, or made holy. John indicates that in his next sentence in fact: “And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
It seems clear at least to me and to others that have studied the idea of sanctification in Scripture that it is what we would call synergistic, or a combined effort of God and man. I will not be dogmatic on this point, but for all Christians, those who have had their wills restored and are now able to choose to serve the Lord, the desire to want to please Him should be coming to the fore, and we will make an effort to cooperate with the process of becoming holy that He initiates. This is not a “salvation of works” per se, but is more of a submission to Him, beginning with baptism and moving on from there to wherever the Lord takes you to go.
This can ONLY happen if we have come to Jesus under His New Covenant. For those that wish to modify their own behaviour and be “saved” that way, they will find themselves on Jesus’ left on that day with the goats. And that’s where we will hop into the next thought unit or paragraph I have selected.
11: Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins;
- This should be clear by now. The Levitical priests that stand and daily offer a multitude of sacrifices for a multitude of different things, day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year can NEVER cleanse ANYONE of sin. They are only earthly types and shadows of heavenly realities. The repeated offerings do nothing but remind the one sacrificing that they still have a sinful nature and are not right before God. And most days, these priests were standing all day. They never got to sit down until their day was over.
12: but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God,
- “But He.” Who is “He” in this instance? It is the one doing the offering and acting as both priest and sacrifice. THAT, we have already identified in very detailed fashion as our Lord Jesus Christ.
- What did He offer? Here it tells us that He “offered one sacrifice for sins for all time…” We have already discussed what that means, but it is too glorious to me not to explain again – God the Son entered time and space as a human and lived a perfect life under God the Father’s prescribed Law, and then at the right time gave up that life as a sacrifice for sins for all time. All of those who had ever turned to YHWH to that point and all those who ever would from that point on had their sins paid for and forgiven by that sacrifice – even those not yet born. That sacrifice pleased God the Father and so He raised the Son from the dead. As a handful on purpose, I find it interesting that after His resurrection, He was only seen by loving eyes and touched by loving hands over that 40-day period between His resurrection and ascension to Heaven.
- After His ascension, He sat down at God the Father’s right hand according to this verse, and now shares the throne of the universe with His Father. Ten days later, He sent the third and final person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit, the One that comes alongside to help and gave Him to all the believers that were gathered in an upper room hiding and fearing for their life prior to that. After that, the church began, and history progressed up to today.
- He SAT DOWN. A priest only gets to sit down when the work is completed. We have said many times before that if you grew up in farm country, you get this. I should tell you that He has not for all this time remained seated. Stephen, our first martyr, died at the hands of a demonically inspired mob as they stoned him – but as He was about to die, He announced that He saw the Son of God standing at the right hand of the Father – indicating that Jesus may in fact stand at the death of His people. I won’t be dogmatic on that.
- The point here is that He died once for all those that have ever or would ever turn to Him in faith.
13: waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made A footstool for His feet.
- One may ask, “What has Jesus been doing since then?” Friends, whether He is seated or standing, He is waiting for a time where His enemies will be made a “footstool for His feet.” He will probably be involved personally in that. The footstool is a reference to Psalm 110:1. “The Lord [YHWH] said to my Lord [Heb. Adonai]: “Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for your feet.” Let me unfold that a bit. This is God the Father speaking to God the Son. The first use of the word Lord is the Tetragammon, YHWH, the name of God. The second use is the Hebrew word Adonai, or the Greek word Kurios. We translate that into English as the word Lord, but what it really means is Master of the Earth and Sky, to quote a Petra song from the 1980s. It is the expression of His supreme authority and power.
- THAT Lord waits for Almighty God to give the command to end things as they currently are on Earth. This time is referred to in this verse as these enemies, those who are hostile and opposed to Him, will be made a footstool for Him. That image is the victorious Lord putting His foot down on His opponents like a conquering King would symbolically do to the ruler of the conquered nation. I mention this because I have heard those who are less carful with their exegesis here describe this as a footstool where the king may take His ease. I don’t know that isn’t the case, but I think the picture of the foot on the prone foe is a more accurate one.
14: For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.
- Okay. We have talked a bit about how the Lord Jesus’ sacrifice has justified us by paying the price and forgiving us our sins, this verse mentions two additional aspects of overall salvation: Sanctification and perfection. I take perfection to mean glorification like I discussed a bit earlier – it is our transition to our immortal forms where we will be like Jesus. The important point here is that it is the very same sacrifice that accomplishes our complete salvation.
- Sanctification, recall, is the process of our being made holy, usually by the things we suffer for Christ along the way. Let me see if I can put that into understandable language for everyone. Recently, I have been blogging for a Christian News and Polemics site that is NOT BereanNation.com. I always blog using my real name. I have no reason to use a pseudonym, because I have nothing to hide. I am beginning to receive (and learn how to deal with) hate mail that being in the public eye online these days will get you for being a Christian.
- I asked the publisher of the site how I should respond to vocal opponents (and this applies to all kinds of issues). What he told me was that I need to always answer from Scripture, and never to be sorry about standing for the Scripture. This has even now started to change my character as I do so, more into the image of Christ, because it is teaching me when I need to stand for Him and when and how to have compassion on lost and/or angry people. It has also taught me that sometimes there is a need to separate myself from others as a result of either sin or poor doctrine or practice on their part, and that will always involve suffering. This is forming my character to be more like Christ’s character. This is nothing I am really doing, but I am cooperating with the Holy Spirit and learning the lessons He is teaching me. That process is what I believe is properly called sanctification, the process of being made holy.
- Perfected or Glorified is another aspect of our salvation. This is really the end point of sanctification, just as justification is the beginning point. I don’t think we can fully understand it, and neither did the Apostle John. In 1 John 3:2, John tells us that we do not yet know what we will be like. This is because we are not yet capable in our present and mortal, earthly form of understanding things either hypothetically or experientially. Yet we do know that we will be like Jesus, because we shall be able to see Him in His reality. I am not able to explain that because I do not understand it myself – but like other difficult doctrines like the Trinity or the Doctrines of Grace in their full meaning, I am not yet capable of understanding it all – and I may never be – but I will see and know Him, and that will make all of this worth the journey.
15: And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying,
- Here the author is tipping his hand about the real Author of the Scriptures, and is about to give some exposition of Jeremiah 31. Of course, we will look at both the Jeremiah 31 passage and the passage here in Hebrews 10 side by side for comparison, because we have seen how useful that method is being.
- Jeremiah 31 Hebrews 10 33: “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 16: “This is the covenant that I will make with them After those days, says the Lord: I will put MY laws upon their heart, And on their mind I will write them,” He then says, 34: They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” 17: “And their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
- As we can see there are word differences at a minimum. What we must keep in mind here is that the New Testament writer and the Old Testament writer are both inspired by the Holy Spirit, who is said by the author of Hebrews to be the real Author giving the real interpretation of the passage being exegeted here.
- The context for Jeremiah 31:33 really comes from the two verses immediately before it, so we will look at that now. ““Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord.” This is the promise of YHWH to make a new covenant that is not the Mosaic covenant. We covered that a few studies ago as well. This is to say it is different than the Mosaic covenant in that it does not rely, according to Jeremiah 31:33 and Hebrews 10:16, on outward compliance, but instead will be one of willing obedience to an inner reality for which God Himself is responsible. It involves God putting His Law into our hearts and minds, and what occurs in the next verse.
- In Hebrews, the emphasis that the Holy Spirit makes is that He will deal with our sins and lawless deeds permanently. Both os these are plural, and that is an indication that it is referring to specific wrongdoings, and being general in His application, so that means ALL our sins and lawless deeds. I find that encouraging – no matter what those deeds are, He will not remember them anymore.
- Jeremiah 34 says more. The things Jeremiah indicates about there not being a need to teach anyone be it neighbour or brother about the Lord means that there will be a time where all people are believers. He also says that there will still be a difference in rank of some kind, from the least to the greatest, but that same promise is there that our sins will be, as I pointed out in the last study or two, “disremembered.” God will simply choose not to remember them again.
18: Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.
- As if to make the point and drive it home, the Holy Spirit tells us that when sins and lawless deeds are forgiven, it isn’t that there is no offering for sin, it is rather that it is no longer required – that once-for-all sacrifice of the life of Jesus was efficacious – that is, it was good enough for anyone who would believe to pay the price for our sin so that we may be forgiven, it makes us holy and guarantees that process works in our life, and brings us to perfection or glorification where we will be made like Jesus.
That is where we will stop today because I am running out of time for today. Next week we will finish the chapter by looking at verses 19-39 and seeing what they can add to the mix. I won’t say too much by way of summary here because we are only halfway through the chapter. Next week, chapter 10B!