Scripture reading – Hebrews 10
Our study of the Epistle to the Hebrews continues with chapter 10. The writer of the letter appealed to his brethren to consider the superiority of Christ’s sacrifice to the sacrifices required by the law. After warning his brethren, “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (9:27), the author declared the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice, writing: “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (9:28).
The Insufficiency of Animal Sacrifices (10:1-4)
Perhaps some who professed to be followers of Christ, were considering returning to the sacrifices of the Temple. The writer reminded his readers, “the law …can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect” (10:1).
Why offer animal sacrifices year after year, when they could not “make the comers [sinners] thereunto perfect” (whole or guiltless in God’s judgment)? (10:1) Answer—the sacrifices were “a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things” (10:1a). In other words, animal sacrifices were a type, a picture of Christ, and served as a constant reminder of man’s need to be forgiven and restored to God (10:3-4).
God’s Plan – Christ Offered His Body for Man’s Sin (10:5-10)
Why did Christ come “into the world?” (10:5) To answer that question, the writer of Hebrews quoted a psalm of David that read, “Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 6In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure” (10:5-6; Psalm 40:6). The words recorded by David in Psalm 40:6-8 were the words of Christ, placed in the heart of the king, and penned under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
David acknowledged, and the writer of Hebrews confirmed, only the sacrifice of Christ, whose body the Lord had prepared for Him (10:5b), was sufficient to atone for man’s sin. Therefore, Christ declared, “Lo, I come to do thy will, O God” (10:8; Psalm 40:8). To what end did Christ come? That He might take “away the first [the pattern of animal sacrifices], that he may establish the second. 10By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (10:9b-10).
Christ Sat Down (10:11-14)
The priests were continually standing and offering sacrifices for sins, which could “never take away sins” (10:11). Christ, however, “offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God” (10:12). In an earlier devotion I explained what it meant when Christ “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3). Sitting down beside the throne of God the Father implied Christ’s sacrifice and death satisfied God’s judgment and demand for justice. Understanding “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a), only one thing could satisfy God’s judgment…the shedding of blood and death (9:22, 28).
After His resurrection, Jesus Christ sits enthroned in heaven, and awaits the day His enemies will be defeated and “made His footstool” (10:13; Psalm 110:1; Hebrews 1:13; 2:8). For believers, there is nothing lacking in our salvation, “for by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified” (10:14).
Closing thoughts – Our redemption and forgiveness of sins is “perfect,” complete, finished, and lacks for nothing. There is nothing we can add to Christ’s sacrifice and grace…our sins are forgiven, our sin debt to God has been marked, “Paid in Full,” by the blood of Christ. We are in the sight of God, “sanctified,” and we are to be holy, and righteous. What the sacrifices of the Old Testament could not do, Christ completed because He took upon Him the guilt of our sin, and bore God’s judgment.
A closing observation: When the Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). Have you made that decision? Won’t you believe, and trust Christ as your Savior?
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