Today: [Hebrews 10:] Breaking the Endless Cycle: In Hebrews 10 the writer insists that the sacrifice of Christ was never intended to serve only to feed into the believers endless experience of sinning and being forgiven. The work of redemption was a once and for all provision not just for forgiveness but for the transformation of our hearts that we might live out our lives as God-carriers reflecting His holy and perfect nature in our walk and testimony.
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[Heb 10:1-20 KJV] 1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, [and] not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. 2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. 3 But in those [sacrifices there is] a remembrance again [made] of sins every year. 4 For [it is] not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. 5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 6 In burnt offerings and [sacrifices] for sin thou hast had no pleasure. 7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. 8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and [offering] for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure [therein]; which are offered by the law; 9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. 10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once [for all]. 11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. 15 [Whereof] the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, 16 This [is] the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; 17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. 18 Now where remission of these [is, there is] no more offering for sin. 19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
In chapter 10 the writer of Hebrews continues contrasting the Levitical priesthood under Moses and the New Covenant priesthood of Jesus in the life of a believer directed explicitly at converted Jews. The law (v. 1) only foreshadowed the good things to come in Christ and did not represent or constitute the end of that which God intended to bring about. This is exemplified in the fact that Levitical sacrifices had to be offered continually because they were incapable of rendering the worshiper perfect or sin-cleansed before God. This shows us (v. 2) that God intends that those who come to Him might be purged from sin and have no more sin consciousness. Christian teaching today does accept the idea of not being sin conscious, but the idea of being free from sin is not embraced. This constitutes a de facto doctrine that God forgives sin when we are born again and then somehow winks at sin from that point on allegedly giving the believer a measure of grace regarding transgression that would otherwise condemn the non-Christian. Is this the case? God never intended for life in Christ to be an endless cycle of sinning and being forgiven. The blood of bulls and goats had no power to extinguish sin in men’s hearts but is not the blood of Christ so capable?
When Jesus came into the world (v. 5) his messianic declaration is referenced from Psalm 40:7 that Jesus came to do the will of God in a human body as a spotless sacrifice laid down to accomplish what animal sacrifice could never bring about. Thus we see that animal sacrifice only foreshadowed the substance of the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. Having accomplished this great redemptive act the first priesthood originating in the Levitical order is taken away to establish the second order of Melchizedek with Jesus Christ and not Aaron at its head. Unlike Aaronic priesthood that only brought about cyclical cleansing in a shadow, the offering of the blood and body of Jesus cleanses once and for all constituting us new creatures in Christ that we should not serve in the deadness of the letter but in spirit truth being raised up before God, cleansed of sin to walk in true righteousness. This message of redemptive transformation has been wholly muddied and obscured in popular Christian teaching today.
The writer goes on to observe that Levitical priests serve at the altar of Moses day after day, but Jesus (v. 12) offered himself one sacrifice for sin forever and then sat down at the right hand of God waiting for His enemies to be made His footstool. In other words, the finished work of the cross was made available and the making of His enemies His footstool is left to be implemented by others – specifically the believer – drawing upon the grace available in the work of the Cross to overcome sin in themselves and Satan in the world. Thus you see that the inner conquest must be brought about if you ever hope to have outward victory in any area of your life.
This great work of redemption was covenantally declared (v. 16) in the Old Covenant when God promised that He would by the work of the Cross put His laws in our hearts and write them in our minds that we might obey by nature and not ordinance. This was done in addition to the remembrance (v. 17) not more of our sins and iniquities. Again we preach the forgiveness of sins and iniquities but the forsaking of sin and taking on a new nature is not taught because it is not in evidence in the lives of the teachers (they don’t want to live up to it) and the people being taught have little interest in the message (that of sanctification in Christ) either. Christian culture wants to use the message of the clemency of God as a means of mollifying the fear, guilt, and condemnation for lives of disobedience that they have no intention or faith believing to ever see being done any different (regardless of what the Bible declares to the opposite).
The writer declares not only the clemency of God but the consecration of the believer (v. 19) not by religious adherence to outward conformity to holy law but by virtue of coming boldly into the Holiest presence of God available to man, not by righteousness secured by good works but but a new and living way consecrated by Christ Himself and made available to us in the blood that was shed on the cross. We know consecration is God’s demand and requirement of all those who approach Him. What we need to understand and what is expressed here is that it is the consecration of Jesus and not we ourselves that provides the opening of the way to God and His shed blood that makes it possible for our unconsecrated feet to tread the Father’s courts where the actual transformation of our hearts takes place.
[Heb 10:21–39 KJV]
21 And [having] an high priest over the house of God; 22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the profession of [our] faith without wavering; (for he [is] faithful that promised;) 24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. 26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance [belongeth] unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31 [It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. 32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; 33 Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used. 34 For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. 35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. 36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. 37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. 38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if [any man] draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. 39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.
The admonition for us then is that we draw near with pure hearts in full assurance of faith in Christ (and not in ourselves) that we might have our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience (excusing ourselves with false teachings of God’s alleged lenience toward sin in us that found in others condemns them to hell)… let us have the blood of Christ to be sprinkled on our hearts to cleanse all such thinking and our bodies – our actions and outward conduct washed with the pure water of the word of God. Holding fast (v. 23) the profession of our faith (even when we occasionally falter and fail) knowing that God is faithful that promised that we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed. Thus let us provoke one another and assemble (connect) to one another in true fellowship – locking arms together in communion in Christ pressing in together, forsaking sin and embracing true holiness as a community in Christ leaning into His presence believing for real transformation and change to be brought about.
If we sin (v. 26) after glimpsing by the preaching of the gospel what the heart of God is toward us what more can be done to bring us back from our errors? There remains no sacrifice for sin in the lives of those who accept the lie that sin is unavoidable, and all God was interested in doing was providing the blood of Christ as a resource of cleansing for a people with no expectation of ever truly living above transgression? There is no resource available in God at the altar in the heavens to address those who desire or accept that that is all the plan of God consists of. The only thing left for this false profession and those who believe it is judgment (v. 27) and fiery indignation. Under Moses law (the shadow of things to come) the offender died without mercy. The law is the shadow of things to come – what does punishment under the law foreshadow to the New Covenant believer? If those who despised ritual blood of animals were so punished (v. 29) of how much sorer punishment will those who despise the sacrifice of the son of God be even more greatly held accountable and punished? If we believe that habitual sin is a constant state unavoidable in the believer, then the writer of Hebrews insists that we have done despite to the Spirit of grace and trodden down the sacrifice of Christ. This thoroughly debunks the false doctrine of “once saved always saved…” Falling away is possible. It is possible to taste of the good things of God in Christ and become so cold as to exclude ourselves from the clemency of God by ongoing disobedience.
The writer so cautions the reader and exhorts them (and us) to remember the times past when we paid such a price in coming to Christ and willingly accepted rejection of our friends and persecution and reproach without yielding our faith – in hopes of attaining (v. 34) in heaven a better and enduring substance of anything we gave up to follow Jesus. Here we see that following Christ is not intended to be seen as an augmentation of a life lived in self-interest but an abandonment of the past life and embrace of new life in Christ. We are not to cast away (v. 35) our confidence, but we need patience to continually seek to see the will of God done in our lives that we might receive the promise. What is the will of God (even our sanctification as is written elsewhere)? We are called to live by faith (v. 38) for God has no pleasure in those who come to Christ and then turn aside once more to lives of tepid transgression and carnality.
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