Christs Blood Makes Perfect

After contrasting the earthly priesthood with the heavenly in the first nine chapters of Hebrews, we now enter the tenth chapter where Paul explains the greatest advantage of the one over the other. All along, he has emphasized that the Old Covenant rituals of animal sacrifices could not make people stop sinning. In Hebrews 9:9 he wrote that these things "could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience." In contrast, he declared that the blood of Christ, because of His spotless life, could "purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God."Verse 14.

Now chapter ten opens on the very same note. "For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? Because that the worshipers once purged should have had no more

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conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year." Hebrews 10:1-3.

Here Paul exposes the greatest weakness of the Levitical priesthood with its constant round of sin offerings. There was never an end to the process, because people were never empowered to stop sinning. Each Day of Atonement the sanctuary had to be cleansed, and there was a "remembrance again made of sins every year." Verse 3. Had there been any true purging and perfecting of the worshiper, there would have been an end of bringing sin offerings also. "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins.Wherefore " Hebrews 10:4, 5. That word "wherefore" indicates "for this reason."

For what reason? For the reason that sin offerings could not take sin out of people's lives. "Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me." Verse 5.

These verses contain the most crucial message of the book of Hebrews. They assure us that Jesus came into this world because He never sinned. He would do what no animal sacrifice could accomplish. He would "take away sin" by living a perfect life of obedience in the body of flesh prepared for His entrance into the human family. His life was characterized by total submission to the will of His Father, and the psalmist defines that will to be the law of God written on the heart. By that will (obedience to the law), Christ was able to offer Himself as a perfect sin offering to the Father, thus securing sanctification for us."Offering for sin thou wouldest not ... which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will,O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified."Verses 8-10.

Let us ask, what is the "first" that was taken away? It was the sacrifices offered "by (or according to) the law"—the ceremonial law of shadows and types. What is the "second" that He establishes? According to our verse, the will of God."Lo, I come to do thy will, O God."What is that will? "I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart." Psalm 40:8. His will is the law, written in the heart. In contrast to the never-ending cycle of sinning and confessing, Jesus came to do away with sin. In His body of flesh He rendered perfect obedience to His Father, opening a way, through the veil of His flesh, for us to obtain total victory over sin also.

Paul continues,"By the which will (the law in our hearts) we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are (being) sanctified." Hebrews 10:10-14.

Here the great superiority of the New Covenant is dramatically asserted. By means of the atoning death of Jesus the law of God is written on the fleshly tables of the heart, making a perfect sanctification accessible to all. The contrast is between the continual yearly sacrifices that could never take away sin or make the worshipers perfect, and "the offering" of the body of Jesus "once for all" which can indeed take away sin and make us perfect. "For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God." Hebrews 7:19. That "better hope," of course, is the atoning efficacy of the better sacrifice—the blood of Jesus. And what or whom did it make perfect? "By the which we draw nigh unto God."

The clinching argument on perfection is presented in Hebrews 13:20, 21. "Now the God of peace ... through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ."And what is His will? "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification." 1 Thessalonians 4:3.

Some people are afraid of that word "perfect,"but Paul did not hesitate to declare the mighty power of the gospel to save to the uttermost. No one can read the book of Hebrews intelligently without hearing it repeatedly. Sometimes it is referred to as "perfecting" the believer; at other times, as "purging the conscience," or "sanctifying" the worshiper. Some Christians reject the idea that the death of Jesus provided sanctification. They believe sanctification to be a totally different work, accomplished by the Holy Spirit following justification. However, the writer of Hebrews certainly had no such view of righteousness by faith. He constantly connected the blood atonement to the work of sanctification. "Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate." Hebrews 13:12. Again in Hebrews 10:10, "By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." Then in Hebrews 10:29 Paul referred to "the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified." In Hebrews 6:1 he wrote, "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works."

Lest anyone should relate this doctrine of total victory over sin to some kind of "holy flesh" doctrine, we should hasten to add this footnote: all the

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sanctifying and perfecting available to sinful human beings is received as a gift from God and is made possible only through the life and death of Jesus. His sinless life and atoning death is imputed to the believer to justify him for sins committed, but His victorious life is also imparted to the Christian to keep him from falling into sin. The work of our great High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary is to minister both of these glorious requirements through His mediatorial office.

With Paul, we concur that "in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing." Romans 7:18. But we also agree with his words a few lines later, "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Romans 8:3, 4.

The word "righteousness" here is the Greek work "dikaima" which means "just requirements." Thus, the requirement of the law can be met in the believer only because Christ lived a perfect life in the same flesh. This is not referring to imputed righteousness but to the actual fulfillment of the law's requirements. This is definitely sanctification, or imparted righteousness.

The author of Hebrews establishes the fundamental necessity of Christian perfection by the statement that if "perfection were (possible) by the Levitical priesthood ... What further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec ... ?" Hebrews 7:11. The need existed because the old system had failed to perfect the worshipers, and if Christ had not provided for perfection, it would have been no improvement over the sacrifice of animals. It is that power of total victory over sin which made the priesthood of Christ superior to that of Aaron. Were sanctification not included in the mediation of Jesus, it would provide exactly what the earthly shadow provided and nothing more.

We have before us now three reasons why the New Covenant can take away sin and make the "comers thereunto perfect."

FIRST: Christ did not come with sin offerings, but with a body in which He lived a life of perfect obedience. By the example of that flesh He has consecrated for us a way of true holiness. His victory over sin in a body like ours assures that we can partake by faith of the same victory. "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh____Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience." Hebrews 10:19-22.

SECOND: His blood ratified the New Covenant by which the law is written on the heart. This spiritualizes the believer, enabling Christ to live out His life of obedience within.

THIRD: Christ's unchanging priesthood makes available every moment the merits of His atoning blood for justification and sanctification. He takes away sin by cleansing the record of sin from the sanctuary through forgiveness, and by cleansing the hearts of the believers through His sanctifying presence. "Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." Hebrews 7:25.

Paul speaks of "boldness" and "full assurance" in following our High Priest into the holiest. Who could not come confidently when the cleansing effects are spelled out by phrases such as these: "hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience,""perfect-ed forever them that are sanctified," "no more conscience of sin," "put away sin,"" purge your conscience from dead works," and saved "to the uttermost"?

If the blood of Christ did not make provision for purging the conscience and perfecting the worshiper, it would have no advantage over the ceremonial law of sacrifices.And if no people could be produced by Christ who would fulfill God's original requirement of obedience, Satan's charges against God would be true. But if it can be proved that obedience is possible through the power of God, then every sinner will finally have to acknowledge the justice of God in requiring obedience as a test of loyalty and love.

Thank God that provision has been made for the past, present, and future. The atoning merits of the once-for-all sacrifice of the true Lamb are still being extended to such as are being sanctified and will continue until our High Priest steps out from the heavenly sanctuary."Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:16. Right now, as you read these words, Jesus is pleading His blood for you. By faith, follow Him through the veil so that He can blot out your sins and deliver you from sin's power!

Library of Sermons

1.

Armageddon

2.

Can a Saved Man Choose to Be Lost?

3.

Does God's Grace Blot Out the Law?

4.

Hidden Eyes and Closed Ears

5.

How Evolution Flunked the Science Test

6.

Is It Easier to Be Saved or to Be Lost?

7.

Man's Flicker or God's Flame

8.

Satan in Chains

9.

Satan's Confusing Counterfeits

10.

Spirits From Other Worlds

11.

Thieves in the Church

12.

Why God Said Remember

13.

Why the Old Covenant Failed

14.

The High Cost of the Cross

15.

Hell-Fire

16.

Is It Possible to Live Without Sinning?

17.

Blood Behind the Veil

18.

Spirits of the Dead

19.

The Brook Dried Up

20.

Death in the Kitchen

21.

The Search for the True Church

22.

Is It a Sin to Be Tempted?

23.

Is Sunday Really Sacred?

24.

Heaven ... Is It for Real?

25.

Rendezvous in Space

26.

Christ's Human Nature

27.

Point of No Return

28.

The Rich Man and Lazarus

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