Hebrews 10


Hebrews 10:10

By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Once for all. For the third time the “once for all” phrase appears emphasizing that Christ’s sacrifice was a perfect sacrifice that needs no sequel (Heb. 7:27, 9:12). Anything we might add to his finished work only detracts from its sublime perfection.


Hebrews 10:13

waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET.

Waiting. At present, Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father waiting. But when the Father gives the word, he will return speedily to earth in glory (see Heb. 10:37).


Hebrews 10:14

For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.

(a) Perfected for all time. Sanctification is not an ongoing process requiring years of laborious self-improvement. Just as you are either married or unmarried, you are either holy or unholy, and in Christ, you are 100% holy. You will never be more holy than the day you were placed into the Holy One. You are the holy temple of the Holy Spirit.

(b) Those who are sanctified. Christ was numbered among the transgressors so that you might be numbered among the holy.

In all history only one person ever succeeded in sanctifying himself, and he did it on your behalf. “I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified” (John 17:19).

Further reading: “How to be holy


Hebrews 10:17

“AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS
I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE.”

I will remember no more. If the old covenant was characterized by the marking of sins (Jer. 14:10, Hos. 7:2, 8:13, 9:9), the new covenant is characterized by the remission or dismissal of sins. Unconditional love implies unconditional forgiveness. Because of his great love for us, God remembers our sins no more, just as the prophets foretold (Is. 43:25, Jer. 31:34).


Hebrews 10:18

Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.

(a) Forgiveness. Because of his great love, God chooses to remember your sins no more (Heb. 8:12, 10:17), and he is no longer holding your sins and trespasses against you (2 Cor. 5:19).

The original word for forgiveness (aphesis) is sometimes translated as remission. It means a letting go or dismissal. On the night he rose from the dead, Jesus told the disciples to preach the remission of sins or the good news of unconditional forgiveness (see entry for Luke 24:47).

(b) No longer any offering for sin. As far as God is concerned, there is nothing you need to do to deal with your sins. You don’t need to review them, confess them, or atone for them, because all your sins – past, present and future – were dealt with once and for all at the cross (Heb. 9:26). Sin surely has destructive consequences, but your sin cannot keep you from God’s throne of grace.


Hebrews 10:22

let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Full assurance of faith. You can be fully convinced that your Father loves you and wants you to draw near.

You can be weak in faith (Rom. 14:1) or you can be strengthened in the faith (Acts 16:5, 1 Th. 3:2) and grow strong in faith (Rom. 4:20). You can waver in unbelief or you can be established and standing firm in your faith (1 Cor. 16:13). You can be lacking in faith (1 Th. 3:10) or you can build yourself up in the most holy faith (Jude 1:20) until you are rich in faith (Jas. 2:5) and full of faith (Acts 11:24). One of the ways we strengthen our faith is by growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus (2 Pet. 3:18). As our understanding of God’s love deepens, our trust in him is strengthened.


Hebrews 10:26

For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,

(a) For if we go on sinning wilfully. In other words, if we continue to rely on our own remedies for sin.

Some use this passage to keep Christians in line. “If you sin on purpose, you’re out of the kingdom.” But that is not remotely Biblical. When you stumble in sin, Jesus speaks in your defence; he doesn’t condemn you (see entry for 1 John 2:1). The author is not talking about Christians who sin, but those who refuse to recognize Jesus as the once and for all solution to their sin.

The Jews had a sophisticated sin-management program. When you sinned, you relied on the blood of bulls and goats to atone for your sin. Although this system did not actually remove your sin (Heb. 10:4), it kept you going until the final solution for sin was revealed, namely Jesus, the Lamb of God who carried the sin of the whole world.

When Jesus appeared to do away with sin once and for all (Heb. 10:12), that old system of bulls and goats was rendered obsolete. Yet some Jews, refusing to recognize the Lamb of God, continued relying on the old system of animal sacrifice. They preferred the altar to the cross.

(b) After receiving the knowledge of the truth. The only way to deal with our sin is to rely on the once and for all sacrificial death of Jesus Christ.

(c) There no longer remains a sacrifice for sins. If you reject the finished work of Christ, there is nothing you can do to deal with your sins. A lifetime of good works and sacrificial service cannot clear the slate. Only the Son of God can save us from our sins.

A preference for the altar over the cross persists whenever we think we have to bring sacrifices to get God to forgive us. This reliance on the altar comes straight out of the old covenant. The new covenant reveals a better way. See the cross; your sins are there.


Hebrews 10:27

but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES.

(a) A terrifying expectation of judgment. Those who reject the Son make themselves enemies of the Father. Those who think they can save themselves only condemn themselves.

(b) The fury of a fire. Our God is a consuming fire (Heb. 12:29, see also Is. 26:11).


Hebrews 10:28

Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.

The consequence for rejecting the Law of Moses was death (see Deu.17:2-6; Heb. 2:2).


Hebrews 10:29

How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?

(a) How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve. If rejecting the Law of Moses was serious, you can be sure that rejecting God’s Son is far worse (see Heb. 10:31).

(b) Trampled under foot. In the new covenant, faith is described as a rest (Rom. 4:5, Heb. 4:3), while unbelief is described as in terms of action words like trampling and hardening your heart. See entry for Heb. 3:8.

(c) The Son of God. In rejecting Jesus, the religious leaders thought they had rejected a false messiah. In reality, they had rejected the only begotten Son of God. God himself will have something to say about that (Heb. 10:31).

(d) Has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant. To continue trusting in the blood of bulls and goats is to dismiss the superior sacrifice of God’s Son as unclean or worthless.

(e) By which he was sanctified. The blood of Jesus not only deals with our sins once and for all (Heb. 10:12), but it sanctifies us (Heb. 10:10).

Some say this passage is referring to sanctified Christians, but the context indicates it is referring to unbelievers who insult the Spirit of grace by rejecting Christ’s sacrifice (Heb. 10:26). Yet even the worst unbeliever is precious to God. God does not look at anyone as an unholy sinner. Instead, he sees lost people who are worth dying for. Jesus died for everyone and that makes everyone valuable to God.

When Moses sprinkled the blood of the bulls to confirm the old covenant (Ex. 24:6-8) he did it on behalf of the whole camp including those who would reject the covenant and be cut off. Similarly, when Jesus made a covenant with the Father, he did it on behalf of the whole world including those who would reject the covenant through unbelief.

Jesus is like the faithful husband who sanctifies the unbelieving wife (1 Cor. 7:14). We all need to receive by faith the sanctification that Christ has provided (Acts 26:18). But it is Jesus, not our faith, that makes us holy.

(f) Insulted the Spirit of grace. We insult the Spirit of grace by refusing to believe what he says about Jesus and by trusting in our own works and sacrifices. We may call it “proving our salvation” or “appropriating what God has given,” but it is really unbelief. It is like saying, “Forget the cross, I’m clinging to the altar of my sacrifices.”

(g) The Spirit of grace. The Holy Spirit will always point you to the One who is full of grace; he will never point you to the law or condemn you as a law-breaker. See entry for John 16:10.


Hebrews 10:30

For we know Him who said, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.” And again, “THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.”

(a) Vengeance is mine. The writer quotes a pair of promises from the Song of Moses (Deut. 32:35-36). The vengeance-is-mine promise is directed towards God’s enemies, while the Lord-will-judge-his-people promise is for the church.

(b) The Lord will judge his people with compassion, not punishment. “For the Lord will vindicate his people, and will have compassion on his servants” (Deut. 32:36; see also Ps. 135:14).

On Judgment Day, the Lord will separate the wheat from the chaff (Matt. 13:30). Those who trust in the Lord will be vindicated and not put to shame.


Hebrews 10:31

It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

(a) It is a terrifying thing. Since those in Christ has nothing to fear from Judgment Day (1 John 4:17), this passage is referring to those who have hardened their hearts to the grace of God.

(b) To fall into the hands of the living God. In the parable of the vineyard workers, the rejection and murder of the son aroused the wrath of the father. “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end” (Matt. 21:41). Similarly, those who trample underfoot the Son of God will reap the wrath of God the Father.


Hebrews 10:37

FOR YET IN A VERY LITTLE WHILE,
HE WHO IS COMING WILL COME, AND WILL NOT DELAY.

No one apart from the Father knows the hour or day of the Lord’s return (Mark 13:32). Jesus does not know when he will return but he knows how he will return. “I will come quickly. When my Father gives the word, I will come without delay” (see entry for Rev. 3:11).


Hebrews 10:39

But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.

(a) Shrink back. Some people hear the good news of God’s grace and draw back thinking, “It’s too good to be true. I’d better take out a little works insurance.” They insult the Spirit of grace by trying to pay for what God has freely provided.

(b) Those who have faith. In the end there are two kinds of people; those who don’t enter God’s rest because of their unbelief and those who believe and are saved. The distinguishing characteristic is not sin, which has been done away with, but faith. It is faith which enables us to draw near to God and receive the grace that preserves or saves the soul.


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