Hebrews 10:11-18 – What the sacrifice has done!
By Pastor Lee Hemen
November 11, 2012 AM
Up to ten Libyans were killed as well as Glen Doherty, a former Navy SEAL, who was one of the four Americans who died thinking that help was coming after defending their position for several hours. They were eventually overrun and slaughtered and the ambassador taken and killed. All of this occurred while the President and his Administration knew it was going to happen because they had been forewarned. The defenders reflected self-sacrifice, loyalty, and honor. What do you ascribe to the actions of those who could have done something but did nothing? They later claimed it was due to a protest of a video, when they knew it was actuality a planned terror attack by Ansar al-Shariah, an established offshoot of al-Qaeda, watched it live, and then told those who wanted to help to “stand down”. What would anyone call that? Certainly not, “sacrifice.”
What would call the actions of someone who knew the outcome of his actions and yet went ahead and stayed the course in order to benefit those who did not care, would not care, or who did not know? Jesus willingly went to the cross as our ultimate sacrifice. The author of Hebrews describes for us the perfect nature of the sacrifice of Jesus by contrasting him with the old order sacrifices. We learned before that Jesus’ sacrifice was so perfect that it was “Once for all.” Now we begin to learn just what the sacrifice has done.
READ: Hebrews 10:11-18
God had told Moses long ago, “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” (Exodus 19:5-6 NIV) However, because of the Israelite’s sin, this would not fully occur until the sacrifice of Jesus when his followers would become “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God.” (1 Peter 2:9) Jesus would be…
I. The sacrifice sanctifies! (Vv. 11-14)
1. The writer teaches his audience some truths concerning the differences between the earthly priests and God’s holy priest, Jesus. He relates that “Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices”! And in fact no matter how many times the priest stood and did the same sacrifice repeatedly, it “can never take away sins”! However, “when this priest (Jesus) had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.” Jesus did not have to stand and then offer himself repeatedly, as his earthly counterparts had to do! How marvelous to learn that one can depend upon the work of Jesus “once for all”! Interestingly, the writer then ominously makes reference to the fact that “Since that time” of his sacrifice, Jesus “waits for his enemies to be made his footstool.” Least they forget, and thereby us as well, those who do not trust in Jesus’ sacrifice remain God’s enemies! (More about that in a moment.) Notice that Hebrews is referring back to the prophetic writing of David in Psalm 110. Paul would say that our ultimate “enemy” death would be subject to Jesus: “For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” (1 Corinthians 15:25-26 NIV) In fact, we know that “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.” We are dying daily because we are in sin and we know it to be true because God tells us through his law, “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:56-57 NIV) Hebrews knew that “by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy”, those who are sanctified! Jesus told his disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18 NIV) He also said, “Because I live, you also will live.” (John 14:19 NIV) “And by that will,” referring back to what we learned before, “we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10 NIV) The sacrifice sanctifies!
EXAMPLE: Brother Percy Manuel, a friend and pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Portland, Oregon for many years, once told me something I have passed on to others concerning our faith in Christ. He related that when someone comes to Christ, “Their ‘wanter’ is changed.” What they used to do, they no longer want to do and they now want to live for the Lord. He knew that those who truly come to Christ want to live holy lives for him. Those who were trying to fake it would not. Percy continued by relating, “Lee, in the 50 plus years I have pastored, I have never met a brother that deliberately lives in sin. I have learned those who do are liars.” You know what, he was correct. This is why John wrote, “If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:6-8 NIV) I am so glad that the sacrifice sanctifies us completely!
One of the most profound spiritual truths I learned as a new Christian was that no matter how I feel, God forgives me. My salvation is not dependent upon my emotions, but upon the work of Christ. Either the sacrifice of Jesus covers us completely or it does not. Praise God that it most profoundly does cover us completely! The author of Hebrews was having a tough time convincing his listeners that Jesus did what the priests could never do. He tells them that…
II. The sacrifice is sufficient! (Vv. 15-18)
1. Jesus told his disciples that the Holy Spirit would come and “he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.” (John 16:8 NIV) In fact, “when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:13 NIV) This is why the author of Hebrews would tell his listeners, “The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this.” The Holy Spirit testifies to the fact that “by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy!” (v. 14) Jeremiah, through the Spirit, prophesied, “‘This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,’ declares the LORD. ‘I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.’” (Jeremiah 31:33 NIV) Hebrews reminds them, “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” But more importantly, “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more!” In fact, Jeremiah states that God would “forgive” completely our “wickedness.” The sacrifice of Jesus ended our enmity, our hostility, with God because of our wickedness, our sin. Yet, notice that because of the sufficiency of Jesus’ sacrifice, we are completely and utterly forgiven! Paul would teach that we are “to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.” (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 NIV) God, through the prophet Isaiah, reminds us, “Come now, let us reason together… Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18 NIV) Hebrews continues by saying, “And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin!” The reason is simple: the sacrifice is sufficient!
EXAMPLE: Many believe that the wrath of God was revealed in disasters like 9-11, hurricane Katrina hitting New Orleans, and the super storm Sandy hitting New York and New Jersey. Perhaps, but the real outcome is occurring when God’s people live ungodly lifestyles thinking God does not care. It is reflected in our unruly families, fatherless children, violent crime, gangs, acceptance of perversion such as homosexuality, and the wonton race for quick happiness through things, drugs, or relationships. I believe the wrath of God comes when God’s people disdain his Son’s sacrifice and forget its sufficiency. Christians need to change society not through government or acquiescence of our faith, but through reminding people around us that the sacrifice of Jesus is sufficient!
The sacrifice of Jesus both sanctifies us and is completely sufficient for us as well!
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
Pastor Lee Hemen has been the outspoken pastor of the same church for 27 years in Vancouver, WA. He writes regularly on spirituality and conservative causes and maintains several web blogs. This article is copyrighted © 2012 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.