Please turn to Hebrews 10:1-18. Scripture is clear that you and I were created for communion with God. However, we lost that communion in the fall of our first parents, Adam and Eve. Therefore, we need to be brought back into a relationship of being declared right with God. We also need to have restored to us the desire to treasure God above everything else. God does that work in us by His grace through the Lord Jesus Christ. As sinners, we need forgiveness and renovation which only Jesus can provide. In this passage, the author of Hebrews provides a three-part argument for the superiority of Jesus’ sacrifice. First, in verses 1-4, he argues that the Old Testament ceremonial system of sacrifices did not result in the cleansing of sinners. Then, in verses 5-10, he says that the obedient, atoning sacrifice of Jesus is the real sacrifice that offers forgiveness for sins. Finally, in verses 11-18, he explains how forgiveness and transformation were accomplished by the obedient sacrifice of Jesus.    

I. Jesus is the Foreshadowed Sacrifice.

In Hebrews 10:1-4, the author of Hebrews explains that the old covenant sacrifices could not atone for sin or reconcile people to God. But the real sacrifice that they foreshadowed could. Specifically, in verse 1, he says, “For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities...” He is saying that the law did not have the reality in it to which it pointed. It was just a shadow of the things to come. And so consequently, at the end of verse 1, he says, “it can never … make perfect those who draw near.”  Therefore, the author of Hebrews categorically says the ceremonial law could not bring a person back into communion with God. Then, in verse 2, he explains why. Specifically, he says, “Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshippers, having been once cleansed would no longer have any consciousness of sins?” The argument is that the Old Testament ceremonial sacrifices did not accomplish forgiveness because they were repeated. If those sacrifices had worked, they would not have needed to be repeated. The very fact that they were repeated shows that they did not bring about forgiveness. Next, in verse 3, he says, “But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.”  The author of Hebrews is telling us that the Old Testament worshipers would have been subjectively reminded of their sin in the very act of having to repeat the annual atonement ritual. And so he says the old covenant ceremonial system was not able to forgive sins. Now if the Old Testament ceremonial system could not offer forgiveness for sins, then where do we find forgiveness? The author of Hebrews answers that question is verses 5-10 of this passage.

II. Jesus is the Real Sacrifice.

In Hebrews 10:5-10, the author says that we need the forgiveness for sins that God promised to us in Jeremiah 31:34. He wants us to understand that Christ came into the world as the real sacrifice in obedience to the Father’s will. In referencing Psalm 40:6-8, he says, “when Christ came into the world, he said, ‘Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure.’ Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written in the scroll of the book.’” The author of Hebrews explains that, in Psalm 40, Jesus is saying, “All of those ceremonial sacrifices pointed to My sacrifice. My giving of My body as a sacrifice for you is the will of God that saves you. The Old Testament ceremonial system pointed to My obedient atoning sacrifice.” The reason that Old Testament saints were forgiven is because Jesus died. In other words, Jesus’ death worked backwards and forwards to forgive all those who trust in Him. In this passage, the author of Hebrews is reminding us that Jesus’ sacrifice is the only real and effective sacrifice for sin.  

III. Jesus is the Fulfillment of New Covenant Promises.  

In Hebrews 10:11-18, the author of Hebrews explains that Christ’s work brings about the fulfillment of the new covenant promises. Christ’s obedience to the will of God effectively and perfectly reconciles us to Him. The author of Hebrews draws attention to the fact the when Old Testament priests were in the tabernacle or temple ministering for God’s chosen people as their representative before God, they did so by standing on their behalf every day. Then, he contrasts the sacrifices of Old Testament priests to Jesus’ sacrifice in verse 12 when he says, “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God.” The author’s point is that we can see that Jesus’ work is finished. Christ’s work is perfect and it is complete. Therefore, you and I are forgiven once for all because Jesus is not standing. Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. The author of Hebrews wants us to see that Christ’s work is done and His reign has begun. 

What work has Jesus finished? In verse 14, the author of Hebrews says, “For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” Thus, Jesus has provided for our forgiveness, and He is providing for our transformation. Specifically, in verse 15, he ways, “And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, ‘This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord.’” And what will be involved in that covenant?  First he says, “I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds.” In other words, author of Hebrews is telling us that the Lord is going to renew and transform us. He is going to change us from the inside out. He is going to renovate us so that instead of treasuring something else other than God, we treasure God. Instead of loving something else other than God, we will love God. Instead of being totally focused on ourselves, we will love others. And, in verse 17, “then he adds, ‘I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.’” So, in this passage, the author of Hebrews is telling us that Christ brought about the realization of the promises of the new covenant providing both sanctification and justification. Jesus provides both renovation and forgiveness. If you want to commune with God, if you want to glorify and enjoy Him forever, if you want to have fellowship with God, and if you want to live forever in His presence, nothing but the blood of Jesus will provide what you need. May we give thanks to God for the obedient, atoning work of Jesus Christ.