The Effectiveness of Christ’s Sacrifice – Hebrews 10:1-18

Today we will only briefly look at the given passage in the epistle of Hebrews. This passage brings the discussion of the superiority of the New Covenant (9:1-10:18) to an end. Further, there are a lot of similarities between 10:1-18 and 9:1-28 (or even 8:1-9:28)  

Verses 1-4: This entire section is one of the passages we will just briefly summarize. The author is putting forth the argument that since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. If they could they would not have to be offered every year anew. These sacrifices are but a reminder of sins. This is interesting in light of the language of Jeremiah 31 where we read that God will remember the sins of His people no more (Hebr 8:12; 10:17). The blood of bulls and goats are not capable of taking away sin, as already stated, they were not meant to (at least not in a decisive manner). They were but a type, a shadow, a symbol of the true sacrifice and peace through the ultimate sacrifice of the Son of God.
Verses 5-10: But then Christ (the antitype, the substance) came to did away with the first in order to establish the second (i.e., the new covenant spoken of in ch.8; cf. Jer. 31) and we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. He did this – once for all – in contrast to the priests who offer sacrifices daily, and sat down at the right hand of God (verse 11). This sitting down signifies the accomplishment of the once for all sacrifice (he is not standing daily at his service like those priests of the old covenant) and a ruling aspect of that high priestly king!
Verses 11-18: Why could he sit down at God’s right hand? Because by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. There is now no need for further sacrifices. As the Holy Spirit also bears witness to, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,” and further, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” Thus the writer of Hebrews can conclude that where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin. Or as our Lord Himself on the cross of Calvary put it, “It is finished!”
The perfection talked of here is “not only the decisive forgiveness of sins or cleansing of the conscience” two very crucial aspects, but all the more the “obedience of the heart  which is expressive of a positive consecration to God” (O’Brien, Peter T. The Letter to the Hebrews [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans; 2010], 359).

These statements made in 10:1-18 have implications for our lives which will be expounded in the next post. 

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