Life-Study of Hebrewsby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
The book of Hebrews tells us many times that Christ has dealt with sin once for all (1:3; 2:17; 7:27; 9:26; 10:12). The repeated mention of the fact that Christ, through His sacrifice, has put away sin was necessary because of the strength of the Jewish tradition in the ancient times. The Jews only knew to go to the altar and offer the sacrifice for sin. Daily, the sacrifices for sin were offered; they were also offered yearly on the day of atonement. Thus, the mind of the ancient Jews was occupied with the sin offering. Because of the strength of the Jewish tradition regarding the sin offering, after dealing with the matter of the accomplishment of the sacrifice for sin in chapters seven, eight, and nine, the writer gives us a further conclusion in 10:1-18.
The main point of this supplementary conclusion is that the Hebrew Christians had to realize that none of the sacrifices offered by the Levitical priests could put away sin or perfect the worshippers. Even their Old Testament predicted in Isaiah 53:10 and 12 that Christ would come to be the sacrifice for sin, that is, to replace and terminate the Levitical sacrifices. Since Christ, the unique sacrifice, has done this, it would have been foolish for the Hebrew believers to go back to the temple and offer the sacrifice for sin again. Sin has been put away and has become a history. Therefore, 10:18, speaking of sins and lawlessnesses, says, “where forgiveness of these is, there is no longer an offering for sin.” This is a logical conclusion.
In God’s economy, Christ did two main things: He put away sin, which had come in to frustrate God’s eternal purpose, and He imparted Himself into us as the divine life which is working within us and spreading into all the inward parts of our being. The main thought in 10:1-18 is that Christ has put away sin, accomplishing what all the Levitical sacrifices were unable to do. Having put away sin once for all, Christ has now imparted Himself into us as the divine life, so that through the working of this divine life we may become the corporate reproduction of Himself.
The law of the Old Testament was not the reality; it was a shadow of the coming good things (v. 1). These coming good things are what Christ is and does. What the law had could not accomplish anything. It is Christ, the reality of all the shadows in the Old Testament, who has accomplished everything for God’s economy.
The law, by its continual and yearly sacrifices, was unable to perfect those who drew near to God (vv. 1-2). The sacrifices offered according to the law could not purify the offerers’ conscience of sins. However often they offered the same sacrifice for sin, their conscience could never be at peace and they could never be perfected before God.
The sacrifices offered according to the law could not put away sins; rather, they reminded the people of them. Every year on the day of atonement the Jews were reminded of their sins. God’s intention in these sacrifices of shadow was to remind the Jews that they were sinful and that they needed Christ, the Messiah, to take away their sins. According to God’s intention, whenever they offered the sacrifice for sin, they should have looked unto Christ. The law’s sacrifices were just a reminder of their sins, not a purifier of them.
As the law’s sacrifices were a shadow, not the reality, it was impossible for their animal blood to take away sins (v. 4). It is the precious blood of Christ, the real sacrifice for sin, that takes away sins. Therefore, it would have been vain for the Hebrew believers to go back to Judaism to offer sacrifices for sin again.
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