CHRIST FINISHED THE WORK IN ONE SACRIFICE FOREVER (Hebrews 10:11-14)
There is a deep pathos in the description which the writer to the Hebrews gives of the hopelessness of many centuries of sacrifices, as these culminated in the great day of atonement annually. The verb used here by the writer is such that it pictures us these Old Testament high priests as ever standing to minister. They are standing in their assigned place at the altar of blood and altar of incense without ever coming to a conclusion. The very best attempt of the law fails on the great day of atonement in the seventh month, the tenth day. The purification and cleansing effected was such that it did not cleanse from sins. Yes, the most holy place was sprinkled, the high priest brought a sacrifice, for himself, the people were sprinkled, and the sins were ceremonially placed upon the head of the scape goat, who was a picture of Him who bore our sins without the camp.
But nothing was effected!
It was ever a repetition of the same sacrifices, endless repetition from generation to generation and from age to age.
But Christ comes in the end of the ages; He dies on the Cross and cries out: it is finished! (John 19:30). That is what Jesus does through one sacrifice on the Cross. It is a sacrifice which has power forever; its efficacy is ever undiminished now and in the endless ages to come. It has the power to cleanse from sin.
The evidence that Christ paid for our sins, once for all, is in this, that after he finished the work of the Cross, he gave up the ghost, bowed his head and went to Paradise. He arose the third day from the dead because we were justified by God in Christ’s work on the Cross. And after three days he was raised from the dead, and, forty days later, he ascended to heaven in the sight of His disciples from the Mount of Olives, and passed through the heavens and sat down on the right hand of God according to the prophetic word of God in Psalm 110:1. He no longer stands at the altar to serve; He will never again need to be crucified. The next thing on the agenda of God as it is written of Him in the volume of the book is: to place all his enemies under His feet. Fact is, that that is what Christ is doing now. From the time of his crucifixion we see the Son of man coming with the clouds of heaven, as this is shown to John on Patmos in the apocalyptic visions. From that point on, the church stands with her face expecting till He comes.
Here the text in Hebrews 10 says of this Christ: expecting in joyful hope to place the enemies under His feet, and to perfect the saints. He will perfectly crush and destroy the head of the Serpent and the Serpent’s seed as promised in the Protevangel! (Genesis 3:15). When that point is attained then the work is perfected!
The writer singles out theperfection of those who are being sanctified. The concept and idea of perfection in the book of Hebrews is very singular. Perfection is mentioned quite often. Ever the term and concept refer to the consummation of God’s work in Christ through His death and ascension and sitting at God’s right hand. When the many sons are brought to glory—then the work is perfected; and when Christ sits down; on the right hand of God, crowned with honor and glory, then He is perfected. He is perfected when He takes His rightful throne, far above all principality and power and might, and every name that is named not only in this world, but also in, the world to come (Hebrews 2:10; Heb. 5:9; Heb. 7:19; Heb. 9:9.; Heb. 10:14; Heb. 11:40). In all of these passages the idea of perfection is not that of holiness, but the end attained in Christ which God purposed in the Son before all worlds. And the entire church shall be perfected, set in a new heaven and in a new earth in glory, at the time when the enemies are fully subjected to the feet of the Mediator who sitteth on the throne at God’s right hand.
When this point arrives all is finished, perfected in glory; then shall the tabernacle of God be with men. The many beautiful eschatological glimpses are here multiplied by one more by the writer. This perfection of the work of Christ pertains to those who are being sanctified. The Greek text uses the present passive participle: tous hagiazomenous. These sanctified ones are here indicated as those well-known, who are under the cleansing power of Christ’s blood and Spirit. They form a definite class in distinction from those who are not sanctified. They are the holy church, the communion of those who are being sanctified. They are not yet wholly pure; are daily in need of cleansing by the blood and Spirit of Christ. That is indicated in the present tense. And they are not at all able to purify themselves. This is indicated in the passive voice. Even these must be cleansed in their conscience from the guilt of sin. They must be forgiven, justified. That is included in the book of Hebrews in “being sanctified.” The book of Hebrews does not distinguish justification from sanctification, except that it speaks of the forgiveness of sins. And we must not overlook that to be sanctified implies to be cleansed from the filth and corruption of our evil nature and to be clothed with the holiness and purity of Christ.
Since the Cross of Calvary and the finished work such is the new status of those who are sanctified: God will perfect them presently in endless glory. They will behold the glory of Christ which he had before the world was!
It is a remarkable fact that the writer of the Hebrews, to reinforce his arguments, more than once appeals directly to the primary author of Scripture, the Holy Ghost! Would that the advocates of the nefarious “Sitz Im Leben” theory would take these passages in Hebrews seriously, and cease corrupting the Scriptures to their own destruction. Meanwhile we shall give heed to the implication of the writer in pointing to the Holy Ghost as speaking to us in Jeremiah 31:33, 34 etc. We notice, first of all, such a passage as Hebrews 2:4. Here the author is ascribing the works which accompanied the preaching of the Word to the personal Holy Spirit, who apportioned to each as He willed when he wrought divers signs and miracles. The same Spirit is the primary Author of Psalm 95:7-11 where we are warned to “hear His voice,” while it is “Today!” And thus also here in this passage. It was not Jeremiah himself who spoke these words concerning the LORD’s making a New Covenant afterwards with Israel, but it was the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Christ which in Jeremiah did testify. (I Peter 1:11, 12). And thus Jeremiah belongs to the holy men, who were carried by the Holy Ghost to speak the Word. They are infallible s inspired. That was their basic earmark; their words and predictions must come to pass. Only then did they bring the oracles of God. (Deuteronomy 18:19-22). That Jeremiah is such a prophet is indicated when the Spirit in the writer to Hebrews explains His own word and work as spoken by the Spirit in the prophecy of Jeremiah!
And then, too, we ought to notice the point of exegetical exactness. This, too, is a point we ought to notice and take to heart for our very comfort and salvation’s sake. The point that the writer here makes is that the Holy Ghost first spoke of the, Covenant which God would make. That was the general revelation concerning the Lord’s faithfulness to fulfill His promise in Christ. But the Holy Ghost adds a few particulars which are said “afterwards.” This is implied in the curious wording of the text! Every word of God is written with exactness and purpose!
Then we ought to notice that what is said afterwards is rather climactic. In the prophecy of Jeremiah the matter of God’s not remembering our sins any more is expressly stated at the end: It is the finishing touch. It is the ultimate in salvation; clinching the “finality” of the covenant in Christ’s blood. And this must be seen with exegetical exactness so that we ascertain the meaning of the primary Author, the Holy Ghost. Only thus shall we detect that exact argument here of the writer to the Hebrews.
And what is said afterwards is very meaningful for a poor sinner. Instead of being under law, the Holy Spirit will put the law in our hearts, and write it in our deepest aspirations and mind (dianoian) and on the other hand he will no longer remember our sins and iniquities. Why? Did God change in his righteousness and just demand? Not at all. Rather the just demand will be satisfied once and for all. No more need to “remember” sins by a sacrificial remembrance as was done in the Old Testament day of atonement (Verse 3). Where there is forgiveness of sins there is no more need of a sacrifice!
This is the only warranted conclusion!
It is not a merely subjective conclusion of a Jeremiah in his “Sitz in Beben.” But it is a canonical rule of faith for all those who are being sanctified. It is the gospel of God proclaimed in the Old Testament prophecy as to its own proper exegetical message. The Biblical message is: no more concerning sins is there sacrifice to be brought ever again! Hallelujah! Hosanna in the highest heavens and glory!
Thus we come to the end of the main argument of the better sacrifice which Christ brought as the greater high priest!
Such a high priest we have!
The writer has come to the end of his unfolding of the many hard things to be uttered concerning Him who is called of God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 5:11). We trust that those who have had their senses exercised and become more skillful in handling the word have benefited by these studies on this section.
Having such an high priest let draw near with a true heart in the full assurance of faith, and let us hold fast the profession of our faith, and let us consider one another to provoke to love and to good works.