The Superiority of Christ's Sacrifice.
Christ ministers in the heavenly sanctuary. Hebrews 10:1-13.
Here the writer shows the contrast between the Levitical priesthood and the priesthood of Christ. Tabernacle was an earthly sanctuary but Christ ministers in a heavenly sanctuary. He ministers under the new covenant of grace rather than one of works. The sacrifice on the Day of Atonement could not provide fellowship with God. For it was impossible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away our sins or cleanse our conscience (10:2-4). In the old covenant sacrifices were repeated. This reminded people of their sins year after year (10:11). They could not take away their sins but only cover until Christ by His own sacrifice made us holy. The author quotes Psalms 40:6-7 here to show the inadequacy of the old covenant sacrifices. Christ came to fulfill the Father's will. He took away the old and established the new covenant. Thus God made us holy by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ once for all (10:10). The finality of Christ's sacrifice is evident from the fact that He no longer stands and ministers but is now seated at the right hand of God. He is our royal high priest. Here the author quotes Jeremiah 31:33-34, to show that the sacrifice of Christ has fulfilled the promise of the new covenant. So by his perfect sacrifice Christ has removed the need for any further sacrifices for sin (10:18). Now we can find forgiveness and assurance of salvation in the finished work of Christ on the cross (John 19:30). Christ "sat down at the right hand of God" indicates that the work of salvation is completed (10:12). What a great Savior!
Our confidence rests upon the saving work of Christ. Hebrews 10:14-22.
In light of Christ's finished work of salvation and His high priestly ministry, the author exhorts believers to draw confidently into the presence of God. By his perfect sacrifice Jesus has removed the need for any further sacrifice for sin. Only the high priest could enter the most holy place under the old covenant. This privilege now belongs to every believer. By His death and resurrection Christ has opened a new and living way for us. When Christ died, the veil that separated us from God was rented from top to bottom (Mark 15:38). Christ is our living way to Holy God. His offering was final, permanent and effective. In view of such privileges, the writer encourages his readers to draw near to God, with true hearts in full assurance of faith. Christ has cleansed our hearts and conscience by His blood (1 Peter 1:2). We are encouraged to continue in faith because God is faithful and He will never fail us. Because of Christ's priestly ministry, we are confident to draw near to God in worship, prayer and fellowship.
Christ is faithful in His promises. Hebrews 10:23-25.
The author encourages the readers to hold fast to their faith without wavering in their discouragements and doubts. Because God is faithful in His promises. Also they were exhorted to show their love towards fellow believers by encouraging one another to abound in good works (Hebrews 10:24). In times of difficulty, believers are to show practical concern for one another, regardless of the cost. They should meet together for worship, fellowship and mutual encouragement. They should not forsake the assembling of believers. They were encouraged to be faithful in the attendance of these meetings for their own good and the blessing of others because the Lord's return is at hand (10:25). Fellowship provides encouragement in Christian life. It gives us a sense of belonging and acceptance we don't find in the world. Fellowship helps us to learn from matured believers and gain spiritual wisdom. Also fellowship helps us to discern false teachings. Young believers are susceptible to false teachings. Healthy teaching is necessary to discern truth from error. Fellowship prepares us to face Christ confidently at His return (1 John 2:28). It encourages us to live a holy life and serve Christ faithfully. Those who neglect the gathering of believers are in danger of drifting away from Christ.
The just shall live by faith. Hebrews 10:26-39.
Once again , this section calls for endurance in the faith. Hebrew believers have been through hard times but they have faced it courageously (Hebrews 10:32-33). They joyfully accepted the plundering of their property, knowing that their eternal reward will be far greater (Hebrews 10:34). The author gives the fourth warning against apostasy in verse 26. This refers to apostates who knew the truth about Christ but never got saved. Knowledge alone will not save anyone (2 Peter 2:20, 21). They consider the blood of Christ as common and despise the Spirit of grace. Their life is characterized by sin. Their punishment will be greater. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hand of the living God. The writer recalls how they remained faithful even though it meant terrible suffering. They have patiently endured great suffering along with those who were in prison for their faith. They endured all these with unwavering faith in hope of eternal inheritance. The author here quotes Habakkuk 2:3, 4. He reassured the readers of the return of Christ. The life that pleases God is the life of faith. But the just shall live by faith. It is a warning against turning away from Christ. This chapter ends with reassurance to readers who are genuine believers. The readers are encouraged not to throw away their confidence that had sustained them in their trials but patiently endure to the end to receive the promise. Those who draw back are the apostates and will perish in their sin. Following Christ requires faith in Christ. They will find strength to resist temptation. The writer is convinced that the readers are truly saved people and they will be preserved by God. "But we are not those who shrink back but have faith in Christ" (Hebrews 10:39). Do you have this assurance?