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Christ Superior Priesthood – Part 5

Hebrews 10:1-18 • May 10, 2023 • w1401

Pastor John Miller continues our survey through the book of Hebrews with a message titled “Christ Superior Priesthood” through Hebrews 10:1-18.

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Pastor John Miller

May 10, 2023

Sermon Scripture Reference

In our passage tonight there won’t be any notes on the screen, so listen carefully and keep an eye on your Bible. There are two main sections. What we have first is the insufficiency of the old covenant sacrificial system, verses 1-4. Secondly, verses 5-18, which is what we’re covering tonight, we see the sufficiency of Christ’s work on the cross and six ways Christ’s priesthood and Christ’s sacrifice, specifically, is greater than the old covenant.

In verses 1-4, we first of all have the insufficiency or inadequacy of the old sacrificial system. Begin with me at verse 1. The writer of Hebrews says, “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices,”—there’s our subject—“which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect,”—or mature or complete. Verse 2, “For then would they not have ceased to be offered?” Notice that’s the question that’s asked. “…because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. 3 But in those sacrifices,”—that is, in the old sacrificial system of the old covenant—“there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.”

As I said, there’s really just a continuous hammering over from the writer of Hebrews this sufficiency of Christ as compared to the insufficiency of the old covenant. Again, the reason why is these Jewish Christians, these Hebrews who had accepted and were following Christ and had now been persecuted for their faith, were starting to turn back to Judaism and the old sacrificial system. They thought they didn’t have a priest or a temple or a sacrifice, and they were getting discouraged and basically going back. The whole book of Hebrews is written to encourage them not to go back but to go forward by showing them the superiority of Christ over the old covenant. It’s pretty simple, and you need to keep that constantly in your mind, that’s why he warns them of the danger of not going back that there remains no sacrifice for our sins. It’s a warning section.

In verses 1-4 we have the inadequacy and insufficiency of the old sacrificial system. It’s called, in verse 1, the law. That word “law” there is used in terms of the old covenant or the old sacrificial system in which God ordained that these sacrifices would be offered, but he goes on to say that they’re a, “shadow of good things to come,” verse 1. We find that phrase repeated all through the book of Hebrews, so the old covenant is, “…a shadow of good things to come,” notice that clear statement. The old covenant with all of its sacrifices—its rites, rituals, and all of its works—were just a shadow of what was to come and the substance is Christ. In Colossians 2:17, Paul talks about the old things of the old covenant, how that they were a picture or type, that they were a shadow, he used that same expression, but Christ is the substance. We don’t want to look to the shadows, we want to look to the substance which is Jesus Christ.

It’d be like looking in a cookbook and reading the recipes and thinking that you could have your appetite satisfied. Have you ever looked through a cookbook and seen all these recipes? Whenever I look at one of these cookbooks or one of these magazines with all these famous recipes, I’m thinking, That looks good! That looks good. Oh, that looks good! Oh that really looks good! That looks super good! Looking at pictures of food in a magazine doesn’t really satisfy, so when we’re in the old covenant, when we’re in the Old Testament, it’s like looking through a picture book of recipes and food, but when we come to the New Testament, Christ comes and fulfills all that which had prefigured. The Old Testament was the type, and the New Testament is the antitype or the fulfillment of that which had prefigured or looked forward to. It was looking forward to, “…good things to come.” Another way to approach all these verses is basically that you have a contrast between the shadow and the substance, between the old sacrificial system.

A lot of people today are in danger of thinking that they can be right before God by sacrificial system—by penitence, by doing works, by doing baptism, by doing all kinds of different works and righteous deeds or by rites and rituals or other religious things. The same principle applies that those things are just a shadow of things to come. Some people think that the Communion service or the Lord’s Supper or the Sacraments is actually going to make you righteous or give you a better standing before God, or water baptism will make you more righteous before God. Those things are all just pictures or shadows of something that is the substance, which is a reference to Jesus Christ, so he says these are, “…a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image,”—which would be the substance—“of the things, can never,”—all through this passage again tonight we’re going to find a familiar phrase that they “can never,” or verse 4, “it is not possible.” He’s showing how under the old sacrificial system that it’s inadequate and insufficient—that it’s not possible, they can never—with these sacrifices of the Old Testament, “…which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.” They were only ceremonial and had no real spiritual substance. They pointed to something—that something was Christ—in the new covenant.

Notice verse 2, “For then would they not have ceased to be offered?” Notice the question mark. He’s asking a question. If those old sacrifices in the old sacrificial system could have cleansed a person from sin, then the conclusion is, “For then would they not have ceased to be offered,”—once you’ve been forgiven, once you’ve been cleansed, there’s no need to go through that act again. He’s going to contrast the idea that in the old covenant, the sacrificial system, they had to be continually over and over and over repeated indicating that they were never really forgiven or cleansed or they weren’t perfected or as the text uses the concept of sanctified, so it never would have made them clean and they would have been able to stop. “…because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.”

If you’ve been forgiven and you are a Christian, you don’t have any sense of being guilty still before God. You’ve been justified, you’ve been forgiven, and you are cleansed. You might remember your sins, and if we were to talk about that tonight, we could all stand up and talk about the things we sinned before we became believers. We remember them, but we know they’re under the blood of Jesus Christ. Amen? We don’t have a guilty conscience anymore because the blood of Christ has cleansed us from all sins, so we have a clean conscience.

In the old system, it was reminding them constantly of their sinfulness every time they had to re-offer these sacrifices, so they never really had a clear conscience before God. The contrast in verse 3, “But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year,” so that’s the thing in the old covenant, it reminds them that they are sinners. They don’t have a clear conscience. Verse 4, “For it is not possible,”—notice that statement there. In verse 1 we read the words, “can never,” and now we read, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.”

In the Greek, this actually starts with the phrase, “not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins,” which means it is there in the beginning of the sentence for emphasis. The emphasis there is that it’s not possible—there’s just no way, Jose,—that the blood of bulls or goats, or the sacrificial system, could actually take away sins, verse 4. Notice that phrase “take away.” It’s repeated several times in the passage that we cover tonight. The concept means to be forgiven, and forgiveness is actually the lifting up of your sins and the carrying it away or taking it away. They even had, as we’ve seen, the scapegoat where they would pronounce their sins on the goat and then let the goat go, release the goat, and as the goat ran off in the distant hills, it was a picture of their sins being taken away, carried away, but it only took place every year. They would do it again and again and again reminding them that their sins really…if they were taken away with the last scapegoat, why are we doing this again? Obviously the logic is they weren’t really taken away, they were only covered temporarily.

Even though the old covenant sacrificial system was just a shadow, it was ordained by God to remind them they were sinners, to remind them there was need of a substitute, and to point them to the coming fulfillment in Jesus Christ. It wasn’t that God didn’t establish that system, but He established it for a purpose—to point them to their need of sacrifice and to their need of a Savior.

Remember when John the Baptist saw Jesus coming to the Jordan River to be baptized and pointed at Jesus and said, “Behold the Lamb of God,”—that does what?—“which taketh away,”—caries away—“the sin of the world.” What a beautiful picture. Jesus is the Lamb of God, and He, once and for all—finished work—carries away our sin, and we have a clear conscience and right standing before God, but “…it is not possible,” that water baptism or Communion or by doing some rites and rituals that you can be right before God, “that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.”

Beginning in verse 5, we see the sufficiency of Christ. In verses 1-4 we see the insufficiency of the sacrificial system, and verses 5-18 we see the sufficiency of Christ. I want you to take notes because I’m going to give you six ways, verses 5-18, that Christ is sufficient in the new covenant. First, Jesus came and did the will of God the Father. The reason why the new covenant is better than the old is because Jesus came, the Son of God incarnate, and fulfilled the will of God the Father who planned salvation, Jesus came to die for our sins, and so Jesus is doing the will of the Father. Verse 5, “Wherefore when he cometh into the world,”—and this is what some have called, and I like the concept, Christmas in the book of Hebrews. This is actually a great Christmas text. I’ve never preached it at Christmas, but maybe I’ll do that sometime. “Wherefore when he cometh into the world,”—referring to Jesus when He would come into the world in the incarnation—“he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. 7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. 8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;”—notice the first part of verse 9—“Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God.” Stop right there.

He’s quoting in our text in verses 6-8 from Psalm 40:6-8, if you want to make a note of that. He’s quoting from the Old Testament book of Psalms 40:6-8. It’s a psalm of David, a Davidic psalm. Go back with me to verse 5, when he says, “Wherefore when he cometh into the world,”—that’s a reference to Christ leaving heaven, He becomes the incarnate Son of God, Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Triune Godhead, leaves heaven, comes to earth when He comes into the world. In John 1:11 it says, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” “His own” is a reference to His own creation. Jesus the Creator, came into His own world, His own creation. In verse 5, when He came, “he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me.” Jesus didn’t come to offer up lambs, goats, bullocks, or turtledoves, He came to give His own life and to die and to sacrifice His own body, “…a body hast thou prepared me.” This is a reference to what is called the incarnation, meaning God became flesh; and He didn’t just take on a body, He actually took on humanity. Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man in one Person called the incarnation. It’s also called the hypostatic union—two natures, one Person, Jesus Christ; fully divine, fully God, one Man, Jesus Christ in this, “…body hast thou prepared me.”

Read Philippians 2 along with this passage. When it says there, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God,”—not something to hold on to but He emptied Himself—“…and took upon him the form of a servant…and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” In Philippians 2:6, “Who, being in the form of God,” is the word morphe, essence, that He was in the very essence God, thought equality with God not something to hold on to, but He emptied Himself, which means He voluntarily, temporarily laid aside the use of His divine attributes in order to submit to the purpose and plan and the will of God the Father in the redemptive plan—God drew salvation’s plan, God the Son brought it down to man. It’s interesting to see the Trinity, all three Persons of the Godhead, involved in our salvation. God the Father planned it out, God the Son implemented it, and God the Holy Spirit activated it by convicting us and saving us and indwelling us. This is a marvelous passage in which we get the doctrine of the incarnation for, “…a body hast thou prepared me.” This is why Jesus is sufficient as our sacrifice because He came from heaven and had a body in obedience to the will of God.

Real quickly, before I forget, when we talk in terms of the Father sending the Son, that’s totally biblical and accurate, but we also need to remember the Son voluntarily, willingly came to do the will of the Father. God the Father didn’t force His Son to go on this rescue mission. This is not cosmic child abuse, as some say. Jesus was willing and wanted to do His part of the will of God.

By the way, just a little footnote, this is the first time that the phrase “will of God,” or “the will of the Lord,” or “will of the Lord,” appears in the book of Hebrews, God’s will, and it’s found several times again as well in this passage. He says, “…but a body hast thou prepared me: 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.” What that means is in the old sacrificial system, they could not satisfy the justice of God. When you read that statement in verse 6, “thou hast had no pleasure,” in these sacrifices, you would almost conclude that it wasn’t something that God had established or set up, He had. But it could not satisfy the righteous demands of God’s law that had been broken. It was impossible “…that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” When it says, “In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure,” it’s just the idea that He was not satisfied. When we talk about what’s called propitiation, that’s the satisfying of God the Father through the finished work on the cross of Jesus Christ and that our sins are paid for and God is satisfied, the law has been taken care of.

It says in verse 6, “In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. 7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.” Again, he’s quoting from Psalm 40:6-8, and He’s speaking, the Lord Jesus Himself, “Lo, I come,”—and what does He come?—“in the volume of the book.” When David wrote that in the context of Psalm 40, he was talking about the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible. In light of the New Testament, we understand that it’s a whole of Scripture—Jesus came to fulfill all of Scripture—and He calls it here, “the volume of the book.”

It’s interesting in Luke 24, when Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, they were actually discouraged thinking that Jesus had failed, He wasn’t the Messiah, and that He was gone and dead and their hopes were dashed. Remember Jesus gave them a Bible study and went from the law of Moses and all the prophets showing that the Messiah must suffer and die and rise again from the dead. As they walked along the road to Emmaus, Jesus opened up the Scriptures to them, so “their eyes were holden,” He opened up the Scriptures, then He opened up their hearts, and then He opened up their eyes and they realized who He is. When they finally get to their destination, they say, “Would You like to come in and eat with us?” When He went in to eat, they said, “Why don’t You pray, You’re such a great Bible teacher, we just thought You should pray,” So He started to pray, and some feel that when Jesus took the bread and started to pray, that their eyes were opened immediately and they saw the scars in His hands and realized it was Him. The minute they realized who He was, He vanished out of their sight. And they’re thinking, Oh, I knew that Guy knew His Bible well! Wow! I thought He knew His Bible pretty well! “Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?”

So, this is a Messianic prophetic psalm of David anticipating God’s plan to send the Redeemer, the Messiah Jesus Christ, and that He would come and have a body, and give His body in the will of God to redeem mankind. Now, there’s an interesting part to Psalm 40:6, that is, it says, and it’s not quoted in the Hebrews passage, “…mine ears hast thou opened.” The idea in that statement, the word in Hebrew means to bore, is the idea of a doulos or what is called a bondslave. When a person would buy a slave, the owner of the slave could choose out of love to let the slave have its freedom and be released or go, a person that could be free. If the slave loved the master and wanted to stay with the master and voluntarily become their slave for life, they would actually put a hole through their ear and put an earring in and actually then become a doulos or a bondslave. It was different than just a regular slave, it was a free choice they would make to be a slave. The picture is that Jesus became a slave to the Father, He was the doulos, voluntarily coming to do the will of the Father. That’s why we see the Father sent the Son, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,” but the Son volunteered, came willingly and also came joyfully, to do the will of God the Father.

By the way, you have the Trinity in this Messianic prophetic Psalm, the Father sending the Son and preparing a body for Him, “…to do thy will, O God. 8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law,” so He came to do and fulfill the will of God.

The second reason Christ’s death in the new covenant is sufficient is Jesus established the new covenant. Look at the very end of verse 9. It says, “He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.” Don’t miss that clear statement that in the cross of Jesus Christ, and all of this passage from here out just centers around the cross of Christ, that He does two things: “He taketh away the first,”—that’s the old covenant—“that he may establish the second.” That is very clear and very specific that God, through the cross of Christ, has taken away or done away with the old covenant and that He’s established the new covenant. So, don’t look back, don’t go back. The cross has done two things: It’s taken away the old, and it’s established the new.

Let me give you the third reason that Christ’s sacrifice is sufficient: Jesus sanctified those who believe, verse 10. Jesus sanctifies, in the cross of Christ, the new covenant, those who believe. “By the which,”—he just finished mentioning in verse 9—“establish the second,”—which is the new covenant, and then says—“By the which,”—that is, with the new covenant—“will,”—the will of God the Father—“we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ,”—and notice the statement there—“once for all.” This is a clear statement that the death of Jesus Christ sanctified those who believe, once and for all, those who have trusted Christ.

The word “sanctified” in this context is referring to positional righteousness, that those who are in Christ are positionally, legally declared righteous. The doctrine in the New Testament for this is what’s called justification. This Sunday is Mother’s Day, and normally I preach a Mother’s Day sermon, but for the first time in 49 years of preaching, I’m not going to preach a Mother’s Day sermon, I’m going to stick with my doctrinal series and teach the subject of justification by faith, how God saves sinners. What that means is that God declares the believing sinner to be righteous based on the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. This term here “sanctified,” by the way the word “saint,” “sanctified,” and “holy,” huios, all come from the same root word. It means to be set apart and designated as holy.

I don’t want to confuse you. You often hear me talk about salvation’s past, present, and future tense—I’ve been saved, I’m being saved, and I will be saved, three categories—but there’s four categories technically of this sanctification, and sanctification can be used to describe the whole umbrella term of being saved, “I’m sanctified.” That’s how it’s used. 1) It’s used when the Holy Spirit convicts and convinces a sinner of their need of a Savior. That pre-conversion work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of an individual is a sanctifying work. When Paul talks about the unsaved husband is sanctified by the faith of the wife in the home, it’s because God uses that influence of that Christian wife to convict and to draw that unsaved husband. Even before you’re born again or regenerated by the Spirit, you are being sanctified by the Spirit in that He’s drawing you to Jesus Christ.

Then, 2) the moment you believe in Christ, you are regenerated, you’re given new life, which is the same as being born again. 3) He lives inside of you to make you more like Christ. He starts a lifelong process of making you holy, that’s a lifelong process of the Spirit of God using the Word of God to transform you into the image of Jesus Christ the Son of God. 4) The fourth and final stage is glorification, when we are totally set apart in heaven and we no longer have any sin. So, He convicts us, sanctification; He converts us, sanctification; He transforms us, sanctification; He glorifies us, sanctification. All those aspects or stages come under that umbrella of sanctification.

Here we have the word “sanctified,” and the tense of the word that’s used means that they are positionally in Christ declared holy and righteous. This is the standing that all Christians have equally before God. In this sense, all Christians, everywhere at any time, are all equally sanctified. There’s not one Christian in this room tonight, in this sense, that is more sanctified than anyone else. In positional or practical sanctification, that’s not the case, but we are all positionally declared righteous in Christ, so He sanctifies those who believe. Write that down, number 3.

Here’s the fourth why Jesus’ sacrifice is sufficient and superior because Jesus finished His sacrificial work. He’s finished, it is done, verses 11-13. Let’s read it. “And every priest,”—he goes back to the old sacrificial system of the old covenant—“standeth,”—take note of that, there are no seats or chairs in the Old Testament tabernacle, no place to sit down—“daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins,”—every place we read that, you should highlight it or underline, “…can never take away sins.” The old sacrificial system could never take away sins. “But this man,”—referring to Christ—“after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down,”—there’s a contrast between them standing in verse 11, the old covenant priests, and Jesus sitting—“on the right hand of God;”—the Father—“From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.” We all are aware of the fact that Jesus, on the cross when He was dying, cried, “It is finished.” He cried out, tetelestai, which guides the idea of paid in full or finished or done. When you’ve paid a bill in the ancient world, instead of stamping in red “Paid in Full,” it would say, “tetelestai” on it, and you’d put it in your wallet feeling good that you paid your bill—tetelestai, it is finished.

If you went to jail and you paid a crime, they would post the crime on the jail door. If you paid your debt to society, you would take that bill and then they would stamp in red letters on it, tetelestai, which means paid in full. They couldn’t throw you back in jail. You could show them, “I paid my penalty. I’ve paid my crime.” When a farmer was out in the field plowing and was done with his work, do you know what he would say? He would wipe is brow and say, “Whew! Tetelestai,” it’s finished. When a painter—I like this one—was painting a picture (and if you’re an artist you know that sometimes you just have to stop or you’re going to mess it up and make it worse) and you put that little last paint on or that last little touch of the brush and you know it’s time to stop and not do anything more, you lay down your brush and look at your painting and say, “Tetelestai,” it is finished. Jesus, when He was on the cross, cried, “It is finished,” paid in full, done, complete.

This is what this passage is saying, verses 11-13, but in the old covenant it’s a contrast. These verses contrast the old covenant and the new covenant. First in the old covenant, verse 11, “And every priest,”—they had many different priests, not just One that we have in Christ—“standeth daily,”—in the old covenant they never finished their work, they never sat down. When it says that Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, that is not only just a place of authority and power, but it means its work is finished. When you sit down, your work is done. That’s what it conveys. But the old covenant, verse 11, many different priests, constantly changing, circulating other priests, and standing not sitting, “…ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away,”—there’s that concept to carry away or forgive—“sins.”

Verse 12, “But this man,”—Jesus Christ—“after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God,” that’s one of the clear statements in Hebrews that in the New Testament cross of Christ, the new covenant, we have forever our sins can be forgiven. Verse 13, “From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.” I believe that this will take place at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ; so we have the incarnation of Christ, the crucifixion of Christ, and the Second Coming of Christ in this text when He makes, “… his enemies be made his footstool.” This is the victory of the cross, you might say.

Now, here’s the fifth, verse 14. Why is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ superior to the old sacrificial system? Because Jesus perfected believers. “For by one offering,”—he’s talking about the cross of Christ—“he hath perfected for ever them,”—again, here’s our term—“that are sanctified.” Actually, this time in the Greek it’s the phrase, “being sanctified.” That’s that stage of we are being saved, we’re being transformed or made into the image of Christ. Some feel it’s a reference to evangelizing, that when people get saved, they’re being sanctified or brought to Christ. Either way, it’s in the present tense of being saved or being sanctified.

Notice, “…he hath perfected,” what does that mean? It means that you are given the righteousness of Christ, you are perfectly complete in Him (read the book of Colossians, in Christ we are complete) and there’s no progressional growth in that standing or position. Practical sanctification is a growing process, but positional, that which we all possess the moment we are born again. It doesn’t change. This is the whole concept of Ephesians where Paul says that we’re in Christ. In Christ we have all the blessings of heavenly things in Christ. You need to understand that you are in Christ and that you are perfected, mature, complete in Him. “…for ever them that are sanctified,” or being sanctified.

Here’s the sixth, last but not least, Jesus is sufficient and superior to the old covenant because: 1) Jesus did the will of God the Father; 2) Jesus established a new covenant, He put away the first and established the second; 3) Jesus sanctified those that believe, verse 10; 4) Jesus finished His sacrificial work, verses 11-13; 5) Jesus perfected believers; 6) and last, but not least, verses 15-18, Jesus forgives sin. Let’s read it. The writer of Hebrews says, “Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before.” This is an interesting statement. Here we have the Holy Spirit referred to as a “he” and that He witnesses. When we did our study on the Holy Spirit a few weeks ago on Sunday morning, we talked about that He is a Person, He’s a divine Person. This is one of those support texts for that—He’s a Person, “he” a personal pronoun, ekeinos,—and it tells us what He does, He, “is a witness to us.” How does He witness? Verse 15, in the Scriptures, the Word of God, because he’s quoting what the Holy Spirit said in Jeremiah 31:31, which is a reference to the new covenant.

It’s interesting. In the book of Jeremiah it says that words were spoken by Jehovah, that is, God; but here, in the book of Hebrews, it says that they were spoken by the Holy Spirit who is also God. So, He’s a Person, He’s a divine Person, and He witnesses and speaks through Scripture. How does the Holy Spirit speak? In the Scriptures. “…also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before,” quoting Jeremiah 31:31, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;”—on their hearts—“And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. 18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.”

This is like the third time in the book of Hebrews where we’ve had a reference to the new covenant taken from the book of Jeremiah. This is the statement in the book of Jeremiah where God speaks about the coming new covenant, and it’s kind of an abbreviated form of it here, but notice he says, “I will” three times, “I will make with them after those days,”—this is what God would do—“…saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them.” God says, “I’m going to write My laws not on stone but on your hearts, and I will put them in your minds,” “And their sins and iniquities will I,”—that’s the fourth “I will”—“remember no more.” This is a reference to the new covenant, but the central focus is, “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” “Sins” are a reference to us missing the mark, falling short, “…all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” The word “iniquities” means that we are crooked or bent or twisted. The word “iniquities” actually means bent or twisted. Sometimes we’ll use that phrase, “That guy’s tweaked,” we’ll say, or “That guy’s bent.” It means your iniquities, your willful, deliberate transgressions is another concept of sin. Notice the phrase, “…will I remember no more.”

How does that work? Is not God omniscient? How does God no longer remember our sins and our iniquities? The answer is it means He does not treat us as though they happened, He treats us like they never happened. He knows they happened, but He treats us like they never happened. He drops them, the Bible says, in the sea of forgetfulness never to be remembered. What it literally means is that He doesn’t treat us as though we’ve sinned, He treats us as righteous before Him because the righteousness of Christ has been imputed to us.

What is the greatest blessing of the new covenant? Our sins are forgiven. Amen? Once and for all, forever—no need for Jesus to come back, no need for you to kill a lamb, bullock, or a turtledove, no need for you to get on your knees and walk over broken glass to the church, no need for you to beat your body or to punish yourself. Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe, Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow. Amen?

In the new covenant God writes His laws on our hearts and He puts His law in our minds. This is the description of regeneration, of being born again, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” All the rites, all the rituals, all the washings, all the baptisms, all the ceremonialism, all the religious works, none of that can transform man’s heart. None of that can give new spiritual life. Amen? None of that can forgive sins, only Jesus Christ can do that and He was perfectly suited. So, 1) Jesus came into the world for a purpose. 2) Jesus was the only One who could fulfill that purpose. 3) Jesus fulfilled His purpose with joy. Aren’t you glad? Jesus Christ our perfect sacrifice. Let’s pray.

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About Pastor John Miller

Pastor John Miller is the Senior Pastor of Revival Christian Fellowship in Menifee, California. He began his pastoral ministry in 1973 by leading a Bible study of six people. God eventually grew that study into Calvary Chapel of San Bernardino, and after pastoring there for 39 years, Pastor John became the Senior Pastor of Revival in June of 2012. Learn more about Pastor John

Sermon Summary

Pastor John Miller continues our survey through the book of Hebrews with a message titled “Christ Superior Priesthood” through Hebrews 10:1-18.

Pastor Photo

Pastor John Miller

May 10, 2023