Monday, December 21, 2009

Hebrews 10: Christ Is A Better Sacrifice

Theme: Remain Confident in Christ 

A) Reasons 

2) Because He is a better Priest (4:14 - 10:39) 

D) Priest of a better sacrifice (10:1-39) 

This passage shows several reasons Christ's sacrifice is better than that of the Levitical priests, and several ways to apply this truth. 

1) Reasons Christ's Sacrifice Is Better 
   a) Because it is the form (1a). 

Animal sacrifices were only a shadow, or type of Christ. They pictured a sinless substitute bearing man's guilt for sin. Christ, however, is the form. He is the substance which casts the shadow. The sacrifice of His own body for man's sin is the substantive payment which the OT sacrifices pointed to. 

   b) Because it removes guilt (1-4). 

That animal sacrifices were unable to cleanse a believers' conscience is evident from the fact that they had to be offered repeatedly (2). Rather than remove sin, they only reminded the believer of it (3). In fact, "It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins." (4 NAS). Since Christ's sacrifice removes sin once for all, it cleanses the believer's conscience. 

   c) Because it pleases God (5-9). 

God said He was not pleased with the animal sacrifices and offerings (5-6; cf. Ps. 40:6ff.). God was, however, pleased with the human body Christ took on and offered as a sacrifice for man's sin (7-9). 1 John 2:2 and Romans 3:25 say Christ's death satisfied all God's righteous demands against sin. 

   d) Because it sanctifies forever (10-18). 

The animal sacrifices had to be offered again and again, but Christ's death removes sin once and for all. This is evident from the fact that after He rose, He ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. Christ's sacrifice of His own body for our sin, permanently cleanses believers of sin with regard to their positional standing before God. 

   e) Because there is no other sacrifice (26-31) 

The statement in verse 26 that "if we go on sinning willfully" seems to refer to those who "throw away" their confidence in Christ. For these, "there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment". This seems to mean there is no other sacrifice, than that which Christ has already made, which can pay for sin. To reject this sacrifice would expose the believer to the fury of God. 

As stated in previous chapters, though, this letter is written to believers, and believers cannot loose their salvation. The only interpretation which seems to survive cross examination from other passages of Scripture and the context of Hebrews is that this apostasy refers to those who were saved but departed from their confidence in Christ to the extent that God severely chastened them. 

B) How To Show Confidence In Christ's Sacrifice 
   6) By drawing near to God (19-22) 

Guilt made Adam shrink away from God and hide (Gen. 3:8-11) Knowing Christ has effectively cleansed you from guilt once for all, should give you confidence to enter God's presence and wait for Christ's appearing. 

7) By holding fast our confession (23) 

God is faithful. After He saves you from the penalty of sin, He also saves from the power of sin (including guilt) in your daily life, and then from the very presence of sin in glory.  The believer should remain confident in Christ the High Priest for deliverance from daily sin, in hope of final deliverance from the presence of sin in his inheritance rest in glory (cf. Rom. 8). 

8) By provoking love in others (24-25) 

The word "stimulate" (24), comes from roots which mean to be sharp, irritate, or provoke. This word is used to describe the "sharp" contention between Paul and Apollos (Acts 15:39).  Believers should consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds. 

9) By assembling with other believers (25) 

Simply showing up at worship meetings is a way to be encouraged and encourage others in the faith. 

10) By exhorting one another (25b) 

This word means to "call to one's side". It involves speaking to them in such a way as to comfort, instruct, and encourage them. 

11) By remembering former good works (32-34) 

Hebrews 6:10 says God remembers the past good works He has wrought in us (cf. Eph. 2:8-10). Verse 32 refers to the Hebrews' "former days", when they endured great conflicts, sufferings, reproaches, and tribulations for their faith in Christ, as well as their sympathy for those who endured the same. Remembering God's past fruit and deliverance in our lives should also encourage us to endure in hope of Christ's appearing (37-39).

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