Five Minute Devotions: Hebrews 10
Hebrews 10 is the culmination of the four chapter presentation of Christ as the Great High Priest. He continues the discussion of Tabernacle ritual begun in Hebrews 9 with a more in-depth discussion of the sacrificial system, which he says is insufficient and ineffective (Hebrews 10:1-10). He then turns to Christ who, as the better priest, offers an eternal and all-sufficient sacrifice (Hebrews 10:11-14). The conclusion of the chapter is our part. What are we supposed to do as a result? (Hebrews 10:15-39).
Insufficient and Ineffective
There’s no need to belabor this point any longer. The author of Hebrews has made their point painfully clear. The Law and its systems were but shadows of the Son. Now that we have turned from the shadow to the light, we see more clearly what those shadows showed us.
The function of the Old Testament sacrifices was not to forgive sin—it was to be a bloody reminder of its awfulness. He or she appeals to the Old Testament to make this point, quoting Psalms and Jeremiah. The amount of sacrifices did not matter. They were not like tickets at a Chuck E Cheese—get enough and you can redeem them for the grand prize. The purity of the sacrifice did not matter. A good goat is still only a good goat. The whole system fails unless one sees it as culminating in Christ.
An All Time Sacrifice
For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. – Hebrews 10:14
This is one of my favorite passages in all of Scripture. The way the author weaves the past, present, and future together to show the whole story of salvation in one sentence is just a beautiful work of art. All of time coalesces in the salvation story.
For by one sacrifice (in the past)…
Which one? Not the thousands upon thousands of bulls and goats and lambs, but that one sacrifice. That one sacrifice of the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. That Lamb who does what other lambs could not. The one and only effective sacrifice that came on Calvary. The author can look back to the past—to one specific moment in history—and point to it and say There. Right there. It was this sacrifice that did it.
He has made perfect forever (into the future)…
That one-time, all-sufficient sacrifice reverberates throughout history. It explodes into the past and into the future, encompassing the Old Testament saints and the New Testament believers alike. And it’s a salvation that shall never be questioned, shall never expire, and shall never end. They have been made perfect forever.
Those who are being made holy (in the present)…
Despite this future perfection, the author tells us that there is still a present work within us. Perfection is promised in the future, but we are being made holy in the present. The blood of Christ works within us and sanctifies us. It drives us to live out this Kingdom life in our present age.
And thus, the author spends the rest of the chapter teaching us how to live this Kingdom life. In verses 19 and 20, he tells us that we now have access into the presence of God, not just through our priest, but by ourselves. He has torn down the veil.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have boldness to enter the sanctuary through the blood of Jesus—he has inaugurated for us a new and living way through the curtain – Hebrews 10:19-20
This new way of living is to be a drastic change from the old. We are meant to model and follow our living sacrifice as we form ourselves into our own living sacrifices in his service.
Father, thank you for sending your son Jesus as the ultimate and forever-satisfactory sacrifice. We give our lives over to you to live in this new covenant way of life.
What is the importance of the author of Hebrews exhorting us to godliness? What role does our works play in our salvation?
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