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Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

July 18, 2012

Hebrews 10:1-25

  1. Verse 1-7. As we have seen in the last few weeks, the sacrifice, the temple, and the priesthood are all to be seen as a symbol of the real thing. Christ is the reality of those things which were found in the law. He is the real sacrifice, the real high priest and the real sanctuary. This is all articulated in chapter 9. In Chapter 10 the writer refers to these things in the law and calls them a shadow of things to come. This word in the Greek means model, example, design, or pattern. The English word "type" is understood to mean an "outline ... (something) that represents or symbolizes another." (Webster's) Elsewhere Paul writes about features of Jewish worship: "Those things are a shadow of the things to come, but the reality belongs to the Christ." (Colossians 2:17). Because theses earthly symbols (animal sacrifice, the Levitical priesthood, and the temple) are just shadows, they are incapable of actually bringing anyone to salvation. These symbols or shadows are just pictures of what can bring someone to salvation. And since they are only shadows no matter how many times you perform these symbols or shadows the worshipper is never made right or saved by them. If these things in the law actually had power they would only need to be done once. The inefficacy of these rituals was an acknowledgment of the fact that something greater was needed. The writer can sense that someone would ask, well why did God prescribe those things to be done? His answer is in verse 3, the rituals are an annual reminder of sin. The sacrifices year after year reminded the people that they needed a sacrifice greater than the blood of bulls and goats. The writer sees another question coming and so he quotes from the 40th Psalm that the prophet David was inspired to write that God said that animal sacrifices did not satisfy God, but that God had already prepared a sacrifice (the body of Jesus Christ). The writer points out to his Hebrew audience that this Psalm showed that the real sacrifice would be something other than the normal animal sacrifices that they had done year after year. The sacrifice would be a person not an animal.

  2. Verses 8-10. The writer seeks to explain his use of Psalm 40 by pointing out that God desired something more than the animal sacrifices. God created the sacrifice and offered it himself. The Psalm showed that the sacrifice that God desired did not come from his people, but God gave the sacrifice that was the payment for sin. The writer goes on to show that by doing this God put aside the first to establish the second. God satisfied his first covenant with his sacrifice because the law required a sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. Since the sacrifice that was made forgave sins once and for all the first covenant was fulfilled. There would be no need for anymore priest or anymore sacrifices. Since the old covenant was fulfilled it was necessary for a new covenant to be established.

  3. Verses 11-14. The writer compares by using symbols the incomplete work of the old priest to the complete work of the New High Priest Jesus. The old priest had to stand symbolically because their work was never done. Jesus sits down symbolically because his work is complete. The point of these verses is the idea that the sacrifice is complete. The great High Priest doesn’t need to offer anymore sacrifices because his cleansed us once and for all.

  4. Verses 15-18. The writer now turns his attention to another Old Testament scripture Jeremiah 31. The writer uses this scripture to show that God was going to establish a new covenant that was based on putting his law in the hearts of his people as opposed to some sort of outside religious rituals. Secondly the writer uses this passage in Jeremiah to show that God was also going to make a way for the sins of the people to be forgiven. So after quoting this passage the writer concludes that since the sins have been forgiven there is no longer a need for sacrifice. If the sins had been forgiven, and the sacrifice was for sins, what is the need for the old priesthood and the old sacrificial system?

  5. Verses 19-25. With this knowledge of Christ, the writer gives his audience two choices, the first choice is in verses 19-25, and the second is in verses 26-31. In verses 19-25, the writer gives the only real faithful response to this knowledge is to accept Christ as savior and Lord and draw near to God. The other choice is to reject the knowledge of Christ and act as if the sacrifice of Christ was nothing. One choice leads to salvation the other leads to judgment. The author teaches the faithful response in verses 19-25 by reminding us that we have two major benefits in Christ: 1) "We have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus" and 2) "We have a great priest over the house of God" (vs. 19-21). Since we have these two benefits, he says, we should respond in five ways:

    1. "Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith" (v. 22). We should accept the cleansing that Christ has given us, and use it for its purpose: that we draw closer to God. The rituals of the old covenant symbolized separation; the coming of Jesus Christ emphasizes the approachability of God.

    2. "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess" (v. 23). Christ is faithful toward us, so we must be faithful toward him, keeping him central in our thoughts.

    3. "Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds." Notice the focus. It is not that each person should do good. That is true, but the focus here is on encouraging others to do good. And not just exhorting others, but thinking about how we might do it better. The good deeds will be multiplied. Our relationship with God will have results in the way we interact with each other.

    4. "Let us not give up meeting together" (v. 25). It seems that some first-century Jewish Christians were no longer meeting together. Perhaps they were pressured by the Jewish community. Perhaps they were disappointed that Christ had not yet returned. Perhaps they felt that Christianity was a "gentile" religion. They were more interested in their Jewish distinctiveness than they were in Christ. So the author urges, Don't drop out! If you don't meet with one another, you can't show love.

    5. "Let us encourage one another" (v. 25). Repetition emphasizes. The first-century Jewish Christians needed to encourage one another; mutual encouragement helps everyone stay in the faith.

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