Posted by: Aaron McCarter | July 28, 2007

…so, I felt like preaching a bit…

Heb 10:11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.


The writer of Hebrews is talking about the imperfect temple system of atonement. In the Bible ‘sacrifice’ means something alive being brought to an altar and killed. Sacrifices were made to atone for sins committed. But that system is broken…it can never take away sins. Now, we don’t still have temples where we pour out the blood of animals, but we still often try to enact the same broken system. We bring ‘sacrifices’ or ‘offerings’ in the form of good behavior or religious fervency, with the hope that we’ll make up for our sins with obedience. It’s more subtle, harder to spot…but it’s the same broken system. The writer of Hebrews is pleading with us, “It doesn’t work!” But there is an atonement that does work…


Heb 10:12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,

Heb 10:13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet.


In the broken system found in the Old Testament, a priest would offer the sacrifice to God. The writer of Hebrews has told us that Jesus is the Great High Priest (Heb 4:14), and that when He sacrificed Himself it was a single perfect sacrifice for all the sins of all time. All time. Past, present, future! And then, He went and sat down. He sat down, quite simply, because He was done. It was over. There were no chairs in the temple were the priest offered their sacrifices…because the work of the priest was never done, it was partial, it was only a shadow (Heb 10:1) of the true atonement that was coming with Jesus. But when Jesus offered His sacrifice He went and did what the priests in temple could never do…He sat down. He was finished.


Heb 10:14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.


Once again, His sacrifice covered our sin, for all time. All time, period.

The challenge in this verse is that it seems to contradict itself. If we have already been “perfected”, how can it be that we are “being sanctified”? The two are synonymous ideas, so how can it be done…but not yet complete? This is the nature of the Kingdom of God. We clearly are not yet perfect or sinless in this life…but we are striving to be more like Jesus, and empowered by the Holy Spirit to do so. And so we are being sanctified, or perfected. However, as we stumble along the way to be more like our Savior, we have the constant assurance that through the power of the cross we have been sanctified already (Heb 10:10) the perfect of Christ has been applied to us.


“You may have assurance of your perfect standing with God because by faith in God’s promises, you are moving away from your lingering imperfections toward more and more holiness. Our remaining imperfection is not a sign of our disqualification, but a mark of all whom God ‘has perfected for all time’–in we are in the process of ‘being changed’ (2 Cor. 3:18)”

-John Piper


Heb 10:15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,

Heb 10:16 “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,”

Heb 10:17 then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”


There is a new covenant. Through the cross the nature of the law changed forever…it’s no longer a matter of religious or legal adherence, it is instead a law that is written on our hearts and minds. Then comes an unbelievably meaningful promise: the all-knowing God of the universe will choose to forget our sins forever! Don’t miss the implications of this. When we return back to remember our past sins, and cry out to God once again for forgiveness…He doesn’t know what you’re talking about! He’s chosen to forget, that’s the perfection of the new covenant (Jer. 31:31-34). God means exactly what he said…He’s forgotten your sins!


Heb 10:18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

Jesus proclaims, in dramatic fashion, that the old temple system has been shut down…and He is no longer accepting offerings! As stated earlier, it is our tendency to try to bring offerings to God to make up for our sins…but to do so is an offense to the finality of the cross. Here’s why: when we try to earn our way to God it flies in the face of His absolute sacrifice, as if to say that it was incomplete, that his payment was insufficient and so we must add to it with our filthy rags…but remember, it is finished at the cross. Jesus went and sat down next to His Father because He was DONE!


From the book of Common Prayer:

O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: look favorably on you whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery, carry our in tranquility the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by Him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


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