The Sacrifice of Jesus

10 1-10 The old plan was only a hint of the good things in the new plan. Since that old “law plan” wasn’t complete in itself, it couldn’t complete those who followed it. No matter how many sacrifices were offered year after year, they never added up to a complete solution. If they had, the worshipers would have gone merrily on their way, no longer dragged down by their sins. But instead of removing awareness of sin, when those animal sacrifices were repeated over and over they actually heightened awareness and guilt. The plain fact is that bull and goat blood can’t get rid of sin. That is what is meant by this prophecy, put in the mouth of Christ:

You don’t want sacrifices and offerings year after year;
    you’ve prepared a body for me for a sacrifice.
It’s not fragrance and smoke from the altar
    that whet your appetite.
So I said, “I’m here to do it your way, O God,
    the way it’s described in your Book.”

When he said, “You don’t want sacrifices and offerings,” he was referring to practices according to the old plan. When he added, “I’m here to do it your way,” he set aside the first in order to enact the new plan—God’s way—by which we are made fit for God by the once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus.

11-18 Every priest goes to work at the altar each day, offers the same old sacrifices year in, year out, and never makes a dent in the sin problem. As a priest, Christ made a single sacrifice for sins, and that was it! Then he sat down right beside God and waited for his enemies to cave in. It was a perfect sacrifice by a perfect person to perfect some very imperfect people. By that single offering, he did everything that needed to be done for everyone who takes part in the purifying process. The Holy Spirit confirms this:

This new plan I’m making with Israel
    isn’t going to be written on paper,
    isn’t going to be chiseled in stone;
This time “I’m writing out the plan in them,
    carving it on the lining of their hearts.”

He concludes,

I’ll forever wipe the slate clean of their sins.

Once sins are taken care of for good, there’s no longer any need to offer sacrifices for them.

Don’t Throw It All Away

19-21 So, friends, we can now—without hesitation—walk right up to God, into “the Holy Place.” Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifice, acting as our priest before God. The “curtain” into God’s presence is his body.

22-25 So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.

26-31 If we give up and turn our backs on all we’ve learned, all we’ve been given, all the truth we now know, we repudiate Christ’s sacrifice and are left on our own to face the Judgment—and a mighty fierce judgment it will be! If the penalty for breaking the law of Moses is physical death, what do you think will happen if you turn on God’s Son, spit on the sacrifice that made you whole, and insult this most gracious Spirit? This is no light matter. God has warned us that he’ll hold us to account and make us pay. He was quite explicit: “Vengeance is mine, and I won’t overlook a thing” and “God will judge his people.” Nobody’s getting by with anything, believe me.

32-39 Remember those early days after you first saw the light? Those were the hard times! Kicked around in public, targets of every kind of abuse—some days it was you, other days your friends. If some friends went to prison, you stuck by them. If some enemies broke in and seized your goods, you let them go with a smile, knowing they couldn’t touch your real treasure. Nothing they did bothered you, nothing set you back. So don’t throw it all away now. You were sure of yourselves then. It’s still a sure thing! But you need to stick it out, staying with God’s plan so you’ll be there for the promised completion.

It won’t be long now, he’s on the way;
    he’ll show up most any minute.
But anyone who is right with me thrives on loyal trust;
    if he cuts and runs, I won’t be very happy.

But we’re not quitters who lose out. Oh, no! We’ll stay with it and survive, trusting all the way.

Christ’s Sacrifice Once for All

10 The law is only a shadow(A) of the good things(B) that are coming—not the realities themselves.(C) For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect(D) those who draw near to worship.(E) Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins.(F) But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins.(G) It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats(H) to take away sins.(I)

Therefore, when Christ came into the world,(J) he said:

“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
    but a body you prepared for me;(K)
with burnt offerings and sin offerings
    you were not pleased.
Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll(L)
    I have come to do your will, my God.’”[a](M)

First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”(N)—though they were offered in accordance with the law. Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.”(O) He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10 And by that will, we have been made holy(P) through the sacrifice of the body(Q) of Jesus Christ once for all.(R)

11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices,(S) which can never take away sins.(T) 12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins,(U) he sat down at the right hand of God,(V) 13 and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool.(W) 14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect(X) forever those who are being made holy.(Y)

15 The Holy Spirit also testifies(Z) to us about this. First he says:

16 “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.”[b](AA)

17 Then he adds:

“Their sins and lawless acts
    I will remember no more.”[c](AB)

18 And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.

A Call to Persevere in Faith

19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence(AC) to enter the Most Holy Place(AD) by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way(AE) opened for us through the curtain,(AF) that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest(AG) over the house of God,(AH) 22 let us draw near to God(AI) with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings,(AJ) having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience(AK) and having our bodies washed with pure water.(AL) 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope(AM) we profess,(AN) for he who promised is faithful.(AO) 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,(AP) 25 not giving up meeting together,(AQ) as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another(AR)—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.(AS)

26 If we deliberately keep on sinning(AT) after we have received the knowledge of the truth,(AU) no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire(AV) that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.(AW) 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God(AX) underfoot,(AY) who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant(AZ) that sanctified them,(BA) and who has insulted the Spirit(BB) of grace?(BC) 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[d](BD) and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”[e](BE) 31 It is a dreadful thing(BF) to fall into the hands(BG) of the living God.(BH)

32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light,(BI) when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering.(BJ) 33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution;(BK) at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated.(BL) 34 You suffered along with those in prison(BM) and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.(BN) 35 So do not throw away your confidence;(BO) it will be richly rewarded.

36 You need to persevere(BP) so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.(BQ) 37 For,

“In just a little while,
    he who is coming(BR) will come
    and will not delay.”[f](BS)

38 And,

“But my righteous[g] one will live by faith.(BT)
    And I take no pleasure
    in the one who shrinks back.”[h](BU)

39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.

Footnotes

  1. Hebrews 10:7 Psalm 40:6-8 (see Septuagint)
  2. Hebrews 10:16 Jer. 31:33
  3. Hebrews 10:17 Jer. 31:34
  4. Hebrews 10:30 Deut. 32:35
  5. Hebrews 10:30 Deut. 32:36; Psalm 135:14
  6. Hebrews 10:37 Isaiah 26:20; Hab. 2:3
  7. Hebrews 10:38 Some early manuscripts But the righteous
  8. Hebrews 10:38 Hab. 2:4 (see Septuagint)

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