Moving into chapter ten we are again reminded that ceremonies and rituals of the Tabernacle under the law of Moses were indeed but parable of the true tabernacle, true high priest, and true sacrifices which were to come. We have the privilege of living under the New Testament and to experience the true and real and not the false and copy. It behoves us therefore to realise that the calendar date does not ensure our blessings of being under the New. For unless we know what it is to "see" by faith, then we are still under the old agreement, and we will still be party to the natural and earthly. On page 48 page we have a picture, which has the title "Hebrews tells us what was really going on". It is easy to read the bible and accept it as History and believe it to be true history. We can imagine and indeed re-enact the garden scene, the betrayal, the trial, the crucifixion and indeed the revelation, but to "see" what was really going on, then we need to have our eyes opened to what the Holy Spirit may teach us from Hebrews. The final chapters have a strong emphasis upon Faith. For faith sees the invisible. Throughout the epistle we are continually exhorted to look to those things the human eye cannot see; such things as are going on at the moment in the heavenlies and all the things that the future holds for the children of God. Without Faith it is impossible to please God (ch. 11:6), because Faith is the life of God. This is what God looks for in his offspring. It is true to say that the child of God can see more with his or her eyes closed than with their eyes open. For there is vastly more to see in the eternal everlasting Kingdom than this earthly kingdom which we now inhabit, fascinating and complex as it may be. So as we approach the deeper and richer mines of truth in this epistle we need to dedicate our minds and hearts fully concentrating on the text, and meditating thereon until the full truth and impact of the scriptures springs to life within our souls. A scant reading of chapter ten will avail little of all the wealth that is within. So are you ready to parachute into the dark caves below to discover the eternal treasures therein. Very few have seen these gems. The first truth we are reminded of is that the sacrifices made under the Law never made anyone perfect. And God only accepts perfection. He knows no other standard of Holiness. The proof that such sacrifices never took away sin lies in the fact that the priests continued year in, and year out, to offer a sacrifice for sin, so obviously it never went away. Nor is it possible for the blood of an animal to take away sins. (v 4.) I trust we have made that point quite clear previously, almost to the point where it is almost laughable to consider the possibility that it might. Verse 5. brings another of the many quotes from Psalms in the epistle, to point out that all the sacrifices throughout the thousands of years that they were offered never gave God any pleasure. Within this quote written below is the reason why God didn't particularly want to see all those animals slain. See if you can find the reason; Ps 40:6-11 6. Sacrifice and offering you did not desire; burnt offering and sin offering have you not required, but a body you have prepared me 7 Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, 8 I delight to do your will, O my God: yea, your law is within my heart.
Before we examine the text more carefully let's establish that what God really wanted was a man to do his will. Not one person who had ever lived had failed to do their own will rather than the Lord's. People often say of machinery that isn't functioning as they would want it to, "It has a mind of its own". So it was with man. He didn't function as God created him to do. So the scripture is therefore prophesying of the Messiah/Christ, that he would be the One human being who would do God's will, in a human body. (We spoke of this earlier in our passage on the New Covenant.) For now we need to keep in mind the link between the body and the will, for these are the vital items which are paramount in the real message of this chapter. However, we can divert for a moment to comment on the fact that this passage in Psalm 40 v 6, doesn't actually say "a body you have prepared me" but rather it says "my ear have you opened". [This is one of those delightful truths, hidden in the bible which when you study and ponder with the rest of scripture, it bursts open like a beautiful rose and smells accordingly.] The primary reason is that Paul is quoting from the Septuagint ( the Greek version of the Old Testament) which most of the early christians used. There are a few reasons offered for the discrepancy but the one I prefer is that the word "opened" can be translated "digged". So the verse reads "my ear you have digged"- or dug a hole in. Those familiar with the Old Testament will immediately be reminded that when a slave desired to offer his body for a further seven years to his master, he would have him nail his ear to the doorpost, and the slave would say "I love my master, I will not go out free" This scenario needs no explanation to a true christian, who has surrendered his or her body to the Lord as a living sacrifice in accordance with Romans 12:1. Ears, obedience and the will are all linked throughout scripture. But another reason for delight in the translation from the Septuagint is that it gives weight to the argument that the Authorised Version offers far more divine inspiration than the many other versions around today, which were published for commercial reasons. There can be little doubt that this chapter emphasises the necessity for Christ to have offered his body as well as his blood to make the sacrifice perfect. (references to the body in verses 5,10,22 and ch. 13.11- all carry this import.) His ear was nailed firmly to God's doorpost, and Jesus was pleased to let it happen. Let's consider the fact that bread in the bible is a symbol of the word of God, and the unleavened bread is a symbol of the Body of Jesus. In ch 2 we read that he "took the seed of Abraham". He did not come as an angel or a ghost, he came as a man and he took a body. When feeding the five thousand. it is significant what Jesus did with the bread. a, He took the bread, b, He blessed it. c, He broke it and d, he gave it.. At the last supper, as he took the bread, Jesus said "this is my body". After the feeding of the five thousand he said "I am the bread come down from heaven" So the parable is clear. As he took bread so he took a body. The body he took, was a blessed body. When God blesses something, he puts himself into it and the ordinary becomes extra-ordinary. Thirdly the body was broken (at the cross) and fourthly it has been given for us to eat, in terms of believing in. By believing, his body and blood has become our life. So we should be sufficiently illuminated now to recognise what this prophesy is about and the general context of it. Verse nine tells us that the offering of the body of Jesus has resulted in our Sanctification. v. 14 says specifically; For by ONE offering He has perfected FOREVER, them that are sanctified. We have been made perfect forever- Justified we receive His righteousness, Sanctified we receive His Holiness. We have contemplated the blessing of Justification through the blood, now we are told that we are sanctified, (made Holy) by the offering of his body to do the will of God. This shows us that his body was as a spotless lamb. Though tempted in all points like any other man in a human body he did not sin. He did not come to do his own will as He said in John ch. 5:30.
His sacrifice of blood would not have been accepted for us, had his perfect life not been lived first. He would have been dying for his own sins, but being sanctified, Holy, his offering was accepted. So, just as we have been justified without works, by exercising our faith so we see that we are sanctified also by faith and not by any works of righteousness. V 16 refers again to the new covenant which Christ has mediated on our behalf. Without apology I will take the liberty to repeat a few paragraphs previously written along these thoughts. Now that we are his children we have His Holy Spirit in us. We now have a source of life which by nature is Holy. Granted we still have our old flesh life but God has no interest in that. That will perish. His interest lies only in the things which are for Eternity. He sees only Christ his son and if we continue to believe then we are accepted IN HIM. Our response (for faith will always produce works) is truly up to us. Our delight at being justified and feeling free from guilt within will surely be obvious when compared to those who don’t believe and also our behaviour will also be different from those who have no sense of being Holy. It is like being clothed like the high priest in spotless white robes. We have an inner feeling that we would like to keep them clean because we love Jesus for all he has negotiated for us and the cost he paid to do so. We are eternally indebted to Him and to Him alone. So our love stimulates our obedience and just as he died and was resurrected so we also are able now (willingly) to experience dying to our own will and coming to know the wonderful spiritual experience of resurrection life. (end of quote)
v 19. We are called to come to God boldly by this new and living way which Christ has made for us. It is a blood-sprinkled way. It is a living way. We need not try to climb the staircase of the Law to Heaven, for there is an escalator named Jesus Christ. Then we have a verse that sums up the whole chapter, indeed the whole purpose of the work of Jesus Christ as preached in a full Gospel. We come to God with a full assurance of faith, when we know that 1. Our hearts have been sprinkled from an evil conscience and 2. Our bodies have been washed in pure water.
Here we see two types of cleansing. Both are clearly illustrated in the tabernacle These refer to the tabernacle where the priest who served the Lord, first came to the Brass altar and sacrificed an animal for his own or the people's sins. The blood from the sacrifice was sprinkled over the person and the altar and courtyard curtains. Then the priest would move on to the Laver, (or Lava) which was a washing bowl made of shiny brass mirrors,, where the priests ceremoniously washed their bodies in water. If the law and the tabernacle are illustrations of our salvation in Christ then these two washings must have their counterpart in our experience of salvation.
Two washings; 1. A washing of the soul within, by the blood of Jesus: This is what God sees. The blood was expressly shed for God’s eyes. 2. The outer washing of the body: This is what men see; Water is a symbol of the Word and the Spirit in scripture. These two are as Siamese twins throughout. One does not function without the other. There is certainly a cleansing quality in the word of God for those who obey it. It is a washing that we do ourselves, as opposed to the blood which is sprinkled over us. Likewise in our Christian life there is a cleansing in the blood of Jesus that causes us to be justified; (Romans ch. 3 v 24-25.) and there is an outer cleansing, not in blood but in water that brings about our Sanctification. This water that washes us, is the Word of God and the Spirit. The priests of old would ceremonially see themselves in the mirrors of the Lava and then wash. Likewise in reading God's word we see our own waywardness. By obeying and changing our behaviour to be in line with God's word and will, then we are outwardly cleansed. It is a cleansing which others should see. In many scriptures we see the word of God referred to directly and by inference as water; Eph. ch. 5 v 24 tells us that the bride of Christ, his church) is being prepared for His coming, by the Holy Spirit ‘‘by the washing of water through the word.’’ Jesus said to His disciples in John ch. 15 ‘‘Now you are clean through the word that I have spoken unto you"; In Psalm 119 we read that a young man can ‘‘cleanse his way’’ by taking heed to the word of God. This cleansing has to do with behaviour. The word tells us how to live and when we walk in the light of its instruction then we can be sure that we are living clean lives. For this purpose we were ordained. In reading the opening lines of many epistles we are told that we have been destined unto holiness and sanctification, and most of the epistles are addressed to the ‘‘saints’’ which means ‘‘holy men’’. There can be no question that to know only an inner cleansing, is to know only part of the salvation in Christ. There was once a man who was pondering in prayer this question of outer cleansing. After seeking God in the early hours of one spring morning, he decided to wash out a few peanut butter jars, in which he used to store various sizes of nails. As he washed them out, a little divine voice spoke in his mind. “And they are only to keep nails in.” In that moment the Spirit revealed the necessity for full cleansing, in the body. For the body is the temple or vessel of the Holy Ghost; Scripture declares ‘‘if a man cleanse himself from these (sinful things) he will be a vessel unto honour, fit for the Master’s use’’ So if we believe and accept that there must be a cleansing unto sanctification, beside the cleansing unto justification, then we might be tempted to believe that the first cleansing God does and the second cleansing is left to us, in obedience to the Holy Spirit. Did we not read "If man purge Himself..." But to see sanctification as our own personal fleshly fight against sin, is not really the whole truth. Note especially verse 10 and verse 14; Verse 10 tells us we have been sanctified and verse 14 tells us we are being sanctified. This tells us that Christ did a work on the cross that is both past and present in its effect. We have already seen that the word ‘‘saved,’’ sometimes means we have been saved and sometimes means we are being saved. We should by now understand the truth of these two statements. If we understand concerning the word ‘‘saved’’ then perhaps we can conceive the meaning of the word ‘‘Sanctified,’’ as something done in the past and also being done in the present. We have been made Holy and we are being made Holy; but however way we look at it we must recognise that we are not doing it ourselves, we are ‘‘being made’’ holy. The Spirit uses the Word to cleanse us. The work of Christ becomes effective in our lives as we exercise our faith. For example when we believe He paid for our sins by His blood we have peace with God because we are justified. Similarly when we recognise that we have already been sanctified and are being sanctified by Christ, it should alter our behaviour. If when we believe we are justified we have peace, then if we really believe we are sanctified we will turn from sin. If you really believe you are wearing a white suit you will hardly be unconcerned if there is dirt around. Indeed you will take special precautions to keep away from the dirt. So any one who fully believes that he or she is sanctified, and is being sanctified by the word and the Spirit, will live a holy life. Just as the faith in the blood of Christ produces peace so the faith in the sanctifying work of Christ (verse 10) will produce in our bodies the motive, desire and practice to be holy. The power comes by faith. It therefore is a work of God on two counts. He sanctifies us and if it is of faith then it cannot be of works. One final point concerning the Law and the Spirit should seal our understanding of the need to experience Sanctification. Notice that once again the writer refers to the quotation concerning God’s promise to ‘‘write His laws on their hearts’’ (v. 16) under this new covenant. In earlier notes we spoke of the link between the Law and the Spirit. In fact we emphasised that what the Law was to the Old Testament or covenant, the Spirit is to the New Covenant. The word Spirit means life. So we conclude that under this new covenant God gives us the life or power to be his Holy Children. If we respond to the Spirit, we will live according to God’s laws, not forcibly but because we have a preference of will within us to do so. This is all God’s work. We will never sanctify our flesh, no matter how hard or how long we try. Whether he accomplishes this in five minutes or fifty years, if you are His child He will accomplish it. Believe Him to do it and he will.
WILFUL SIN Verse 26 of the chapter is difficult for many to understand, mainly because of their own sense of guilt and responsibility for their sins. We are usually sorry afterwards, but when faced with temptation, or desire to fulfil our own will rather than His, we so easily fall to the former. Is this verse saying that if we sin after we are saved then there is no hope for us and no forgiveness? If this is so then 1 John Ch. 1 contradicts it. ‘‘If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves... if we walk in the light as He is in the light we have fellowship with him and the blood of Jesus continues to cleanse us from all sin’’ So if there is to be a cleansing, while we are walking with the Lord it must presuppose that sin is being committed while walking with the Lord. Most Christians will agree that that is the case. Those who walk closest are oft more conscious of their shortcomings than those who follow afar off. What then is the correct way to read these verses? Well if you read the last verse in Romans ch 6, it says the wages of sin is death. In order to explain how our sin no longer separates us from God if we live by faith in Christ, Paul writes Romans ch. 7, and the beginning of chapter 8. A clear understanding of these verses will answer the problem completely. Notes on Romans can be found on the THIS SITE. If you truly understand a passage of scripture you should be able to take two verses which are a distance apart and united them in your own words. Those words should be equal in truth to the passage in between. For example the last verse in any Romans ch. 6, is linked with the first verse in chapter 8. by chapter 7. Similarly this passage is bracketed between the exhortations in verses 19-25 and the verse 35. In both passages there is an exhortation to endure or to hold fast to their faith and not let it slip. Indeed in verse 35 we read the word ‘‘Therefore’’ which clearly shows that the point of saying verses 26 -34 is that they should be encouraged to endure and not give up. So within this context and pattern of thought, we are surely dealing again with the danger of backsliding. Other severe warnings are given in this book to the Hebrews concerning their present or imminent state of backsliding. In ch. 2 we read ‘‘How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation.” Escape what? The obvious answer is the wrath of God. In chapter two we see what happened to people who neglected the words of angels in the past, so how much more punishment will come to those who reject the living word Himself. In this passage we are reminded of those who suffered under the old covenant. If to neglect that covenant brought such condemnation, then how much more worthy of punishment are those who reject the salvation in Christ under the New. So the bottom line is, there is no salvation possible if we deliberately refuse to put our faith in Christ. The only sin that will bar a man's way to heaven is unbelief.
Now here is the main point: The writer is pressing home the truth as hard as he can. If they had let it slip by accident, or had simply by neglect rejected the value of their salvation, then so be it. For he had now written to them to change their thinking and renew their hold on their salvation in Christ. BUT IF THEY CONTINUED IN THEIR OLD WAYS of unbelief, even after his warnings to them then their action would be wilful. Consider the true implications here. We get into problems with these verses because we immediately apply them to our own lives. But firstly you must see it from the Hebrews point of view to whom it was originally addressed. The word ‘‘wilful’’ would ring many clear bells to the Jews in terms of forgiveness. Turn back to chapter 9 and verse 7. There we read of a little remembered fact concerning the sacrifices for sin in the Old Testament. All the offerings for sin were for the sins committed IN IGNORANCE. Anyone who deliberately broke the law was put to death, or at least should have been. There was no forgiveness for deliberate, wilful sin under the law. In this chapter we are reminded of what happened to them. Wonderfully significant therefore are the words of our Saviour on the cross; ‘‘Father forgive them, for they know not what they do’’. It is difficult for us to imagine that the people who organised and carried out his death did not know what they were doing. They were adult mature men and cried emphatically ‘‘let his blood be on our heads.’’ But Jesus interceded on the grounds of their ignorance just as the High priest did as recorded in chapter 9 v 7. Truly we are ignorant of what sin is and what sin does to the Lord. If we really saw sin from God’s viewpoint and character we would repel even the thought of it. However, to crucify the Lord is one thing, but to reject the Holy Spirit’s offer of forgiveness by faith is truly the final curtain. There can be no part of the sacrifice of Christ for those who reject it. The only sin that Christ’s death, will not pay for is that very rejection of the Holy Spirit, who reveals our sin and the offer of forgiveness through the death of Jesus. There is no other sacrifice for sin other than the death of Christ. The blood of bulls, goats, or whatever a religion demands, will never cleanse away one sin. To deliberately reject this offer, after the Holy spirit has revealed it so clearly, is surely a deliberate wilful act of sin, which fully merits the sinner bearing his own punishment for sin. It is not uncommon for the devil to use these verses to bring the believer into condemnation again. So a clearer understanding of this difficult passage, which is easily misinterpreted, will renew one’s joy and liberty in Christ Jesus. Let’s now look at the closing exhortation of this chapter. Salvation, which is the theme of the book, (indeed the theme of the whole Bible) comes by faith. Salvation under the old system was the same as under the new. The only people who were justified before God were those justified by faith. Paul points this out in Romans and Galatians. People like Abraham and David believed God’s word. They showed their faith by their obedience and such faith pleased God enough to count them righteous even though they were blatantly not. But if God counted them righteous who can gainsay that, for no man is able to judge another man whether he is righteous or not. It is God who counts men unrighteous, so it is surely only Him who can say if they are righteous or not. He sets the standards. ‘‘If God (the judge) be for us, who can be against us’’ Under the old law the people found forgiveness insofar as they placed their faith in the coming future Messiah. The people after Calvary find salvation in so far as they look back and place their faith on the past sacrifice. Christ was crucified in the midst of the two covenants. Bringing the first to fullness and introducing the second. What God looked for in the Old Testament, was folk who continued to believe even though they had been looking forward for thousands of years. One can understand on a human level why most of them gave up. But God was faithful and eventually sent the One, He had promised. However many died in faith without seeing these promises fulfilled, but they endured to the end. This then is used as an encouragement to all present day believers to keep on believing in the fact that our salvation will be fully realised at the coming of Jesus. Hence the scripture, “Now is our salvation nearer than when we first believed.’’ We have already spoken of salvation past, present and future and faith being the same on the ground that Jesus is the same “yesterday, today and forever’’. The whole book has progressed through three stages of salvation; 1. We have been saved, 2. We are being saved and 3. We will be saved. The same can be said of our sanctification. In these verses we are looking at salvation of the future. We will be saved, IF we endure, and maintain our faith. The way of salvation is so clearly set out, and has been so marvellously planned, paid for and carried out that God could have no pleasure in any who reject it. NOT TO BELIEVE, is to reject it. Those who will not come boldly to God, but remain bound in their guilt complex, and the works they do because of it, find no grace from God. Those who draw back are lost, those who come boldly are saved.
SANCTIFICATION. We HAVE BEEN sanctified, made Holy, otherwise we would not be God's children But WE ARE BEING sanctified by the Holy Spirit as he trains us to live and grow up as a child of heaven in this foreign land. Daniel and his friends kept their identity, although the Babylonian king wanted them to act like Babylonians
BOARD SUMMARY ch. 10.: God desires obedience not sacrifices- he wants us perfect- Holy like Himself Two main doctrines- Justification & Sanctification shown here. v. 22 speaks of TWO WASHINGS- Hearts washed in blood and Bodies washed in water. The two washings are typified in Brazen Altar where blood was shed and the Lava where the priest washed their bodies. The two cleansing agents are - blood and the Word. As the lava which was made of mirrors, it revealed the dirt and offered a cleansing. So the word reveals and cleanses. Ps 119:9. How shall a young man cleanse his way?- by taking heed to the word of God John 15:3. Jesus said, "Now you are clean through the word I have spoken to you" Eph 5:24. The Holy Spirit prepares the bride for the bridegroom by the washing in the word. TWO WASHINGS: Inner Outer God sees Man sees Work of Christ Work of Holy spirit. Justification Sanctification Blood sprinkled Body Washed with water Brazen Altar Lava- Mirror:
Note the significance of the link between The BODY, THE WILL, and SANCTIFICATION This is consistent throughout scripture. 2 Tim 2:21. “If a man purge himself from these – he shall be a vessel unto honour, fit for the master’s use” Sanctification involves BODY & WILL Salvation is never fully complete until Mind Heart & Will are committed. The Will is usually the final and most difficult part to commit
Wilful Sin- A severe Warning! The Jews were aware that the sacrifices for sin under the law were for sins of ignorance. Deliberate sin was penalised by death: Note that on the cross Jesus cried - “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” The warning is bracketed between exhortations. V. 19-25 and v. 35. It is really saying “Therefore, If they had let slip by accident or failed to realise true value of their salvation (in ignorance)……….. But to reject wilfully” – A severe warning – “wilfully-” would ring bells to the Jews who knew the Law.