Epistle to the Hebrews (10:4-10)   Leave a comment

Epistle to the HebrewsFor it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.That is why, when Christ came into the world, he said to God, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings.But you have given me a body to offer.You were not pleased with burnt offerings or other offerings for sin.Then I said, ‘Look, I have come to do your will, O God—as is written about me in the Scriptures.’”First, Christ said, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings or burnt offerings or other offerings for sin, nor were you pleased with them” (though they are required by the law of Moses). Then he said, “Look, I have come to do your will.” He cancels the first covenant in order to put the second into effect. For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.” Hebrews 10:4-10

Our author demonstrates once again his mastership on the subject at hand. He quotes from Psalm 40 and he does again well in putting his arguments on the table.

The Son and the Father both knew there was only one way to bring justice. By judgement, we mean that the culprit will have to pay a penalty for his wrong doings. A judge who does not exercise justice is a corrupted judge. Sin has to be judged and there is no appeal to it.

Let’s imagine this scene: The sentence of guilty has rightfully been pronounced on a poor criminal – $25000. This criminal does not have even a single coin, everyone knows it and no one can help. No one can help because it happens that all in the same situation.  This thief should perpetually be sent to jail for he cannot pay.

Heaven, earth and the culprit all agree that this was a righteous judgement to send to hell.

As David said in Psalm 51: “Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; have done what is evil in your sight.You will be proved right in what you say,and your judgment against me is just.For I was born a sinner—yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.”

“But you have given me a body to offer”

It is no longer an animal who will have to be sacrificed for what people did wrong. Sacrifices could never removed sins anyway. 2000 years ago, God Himself came, He  took a body and paid what was required.

The righteous Judge knew that men would not be able to pay for their gross sins so the Son looks at the Judge and says  ‘Look, I have come to do your will, O God‘.

The Judge has been impartial, He applied justice but also demonstrated grace by paying Himself the debt in full.  This is why we also call Him the Redeemer. As per Oxford dictionary, the redeemer is someone who buys the freedom of someone else. He regains possession in exchange of payment.

This is exactly what Jesus did. No one could meet the requirements of God’s justice in heaven and earth, except God Himself. So God Himself in the person of Jesus paid for it. This is why we call it amazing grace. No one forced Jesus to do that for He said: “The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.” John 10:17,18

We have seen earlier that blood of animals could not remove sins. To redeem man, God became man to demonstrate the gravity of our sins and the depth of His love. In the book of Malachi, we see the reproach made by God to the priests who were offering defiled sacrifices on the altar. The priests did not offer the best because they failed to understand the gravity of sins. They mechanically did their duties and did not do it with all their hearts. They offered crippled, stolen and diseased animals because it cost them nothing and this reflected the state of their hearts.

You defile them by saying the altar of the Lord deserves no respect. When you give blind animals as sacrifices, isn’t that wrong? And isn’t it wrong to offer animals that are crippled and diseased? Try giving gifts like that to your governor, and see how pleased he is!” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies…Cursed is the cheat who promises to give a fine ram from his flock but then sacrifices a defective one to the Lord. For I am a great king,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “and my name is feared among the nations!” Malachi 1

God was exasperated with these defiled sacrifices brought to Him. These sacrifices dishonored God but Jesus’ sacrifice gave glory to the Lord of Heaven. In essence, it was Jesus’ obedience which was the sacrifice. His sufferings are results of His obedience. Many times ministers stress upon Jesus’ sufferings as demonstration of His love.It is rather the obedience of Jesus which we should contemplate. It is obedience which led Jesus to the Cross.The cross is the visible proof of His obedience.  As we read in 1 Samuel 15:22 “To obey is better than sacrifice“. The priest in Malachi did not obey the law when they offered defiled sacrifice. Jesus surrendered His will to the Father while on earth and it was what made His sacrifice holy and perfect. If Jesus did not obey throughout His life, His offering on the cross would not have had its value. So let us again look at these beautiful words “Look, I have come to do your will, O God“. To do God’s will – to obey was the reason Jesus came. He presented Himself before the Lord God Almighty and said He will do what was required to satisfy God’s wrath and justice. To obey God was His food. He said: ““My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” John 4:34

He obeyed till death and cried out “It is finished”.

“He cancels the first covenant in order to put the second into effect.”

The first covenant proved that man could not do anything to become righteous and the second covenant basically proved that only God could make us right with Him.

The new covenant far supersedes the old one.  As Spurgeon puts it, “Candles are of no estimation when the sun has arisen”. Why did Jesus have to come to earth and die like a criminal on a cross? Was not there another way to be reconciled? No, because “God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.”

A criminal is not the one who decides what kind of penalty he wants to pay, this is the sole decision of the judge. The penalty of our sins was as such serious that it required God Almighty Himself to intervene and die on a cross like a criminal. This sounds absurd to many but to others it gives a clear proof of the gravity of sins.

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Posted March 30, 2013 by Cedric in Theology

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