Unfulfilled Desires Achieved
Read: Hebrews 10:1-18
God has had unfulfilled desires. His desire since the fall of Adam was unhindered nearness with men. The any animal sacrifice, even in the law, couldn’t accommodate this. Only the blood of Christ can bring people into a relationship with God, as Chapter 9 shows. Chapter 10 relates how God’s wish was fulfilled by the surpassing value of Christ’s sacrifice. This wish is that men would be set apart to Him and made perfect so that they could approach Him. God’s desire is to be near to you.
Hebrews 10 – The Better Sacrifice
V1-4 – The Wish of God Unfulfilled
The wish of God was unfulfilled in the law because the law was a mere shadow. A shadow gives an impression of shape, yet can be distorted. The law was only the shadow of good things to come. Though it resembled good things, it couldn’t meet the need of fallen man.
The law could never make its adherents sinless: sacrifices had to be offered year in and year out. God demands perfection. The sacrifices failed to purge sin once and for all, and the Day of Atonement was an annual reminder of the people’s sin. Thus the blood of animals could not take away sin, and God’s wish to fellowship with man went unfulfilled.
V5-14 – The Work of Christ Sees the Wish of God Realized
Would the wish of God be left unfulfilled? The will of God could not be realized in the law, but in the incarnation of God as man in the womb of Mary. Therefore, Christ witnessing that the will of God was not being accomplished speaks the words in v5-7, “Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God.” His coming was to see God’s wish completed.
The restatement of the quotation in v8 prove v1-4 true. The Lord Jesus Christ “took away the first [covenant], that He may establish the second [covenant].” There was no remaining value in the first Covenant because it has been taken away. He established the second Covenant because it would accomplish the will of God. Therefore, as v10 states, by the will and desire of God we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. God is fully satisfied in the One whose sole purpose as a man on earth was to do the will of God.
You and I are sanctified according to the will of God. Sanctification is required for anyone to serve God. Exodus 19 shows the people were in need of sanctification if they were to approach God. Leviticus 8:30, among other references shows that the priests needed to be sanctified to serve God. Am I living a life matching my sanctified status before God?
Verses 5-10 expand on the thought of sanctification through Christ’s offering of His body, but now verses 11-14 dwell on Christ’s sacrifice for our perfection. The offering of this man stands in contrast with the priests of old. They made offerings daily and He made His once. They stood continually, but He sat down once for all time. Their offerings could never take away sins, while His could. And lastly, to contrast v1 of the chapter, those sacrifices could never “make the comers thereunto perfect,” but “by one offering He hath perfected for even them that are sanctified.” What a blessed privilege for all believers, young and old, new or old in the faith: perfected forever – free to approach the presence of God based on the better offering of Christ. Let us liberally exercise our privilege.
V15-18 – The Witness of the Spirit Testifies to the Work of Christ
The Holy Spirit is a witness to the fact that the will of God has been accomplished. If Christ has accomplished the will of God, then there is no longer any requirement for a sacrifice for sin. A relationship has been forged by God, endowed to the blessed partakers: mankind.
The Holy Spirit tells us in the Scriptures that Christ would accomplish the wish of God. He guides David in Psalm 40 to predict One who would come to do the will of God in His body. He leads Jeremiah to write of a New Covenant (ch31). When the Lord Jesus came to fulfill Psalm 40, the result would be the ability for the fulfillment of Jeremiah 31.
Notice the select portion of Jeremiah 31:31-34 quoted in our chapter. There is much omitted to serve the writer’s purpose, as inspired by God. The things written in v16-17 are the things which we enjoy presently as the people of God in the New Covenant. These promises are a witness by the Holy Spirit that the will of God has been realized by the work of Christ. Now instead of an annual remembrance of sin with the first covenant (v3), God says, “their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” There is no longer offering for sin.
God’s wish, realized in Christ’s work which is witnessed to us by the Holy Spirit resulted in your positional sanctification and perfection – doesn’t this elicit praise? May we respond by doing the will of the One who showed us such wondrous love.
- Why would God introduce the First Covenant if by it His wishes were not going to be fulfilled?
- What would have been the purpose of sacrifices and offerings if “it is not possible” for their blood to take away sins?
- Compare the differences between what is said about our sanctification (v10) and what is involved in the perfection of the sanctified ones (v11-14).