Study 8 CHRIST’S ALL-SUFFICIENT OFFERING FOR SIN
HIGHLIGHTS IN HEBREWS
by Francis Dixon
(Key verses: Hebrews 10:11-14)
These verses contain the central message of the Letter to the Hebrews – the glory of the Person of Christ and the sufficiency of the work of Christ. The writer makes a contrast in Hebrews 10:11-12 between the priests of the old dispensation and the Lord Jesus, our great High Priest. We learn in verse 11 three things about the Old Testament priests:-
- 1. There were many of them. The words “every priest” indicate this. Of course there were thousands who served in the priesthood over hundreds of years.
- 2. Their work was never done (verse 11). Notice the words “day after day”, “stands”, “again and again”, “the same sacrifices”. There was no opportunity for the ministering priest to sit down because there was no seat where he could sit.
- 3. Their sacrifices could never take away sin (verse 11). The sacrifices which were offered only anticipated the coming of the Lord Jesus and the sacrifice that He was to offer in dying upon the Cross (John 1:29; 1 Corinthians 5:7).
After giving this vivid picture of the Old Testament priests in verse 11, the writer (in verses 12-14) points in contrast to our perfect High Priest. The verses tell us five things about the Lord Jesus Christ.
1. THE PERSON OF CHRIST
The Lord Jesus is introduced and described in verse 12 (KJV) as “this Man” and He is described like this in contrast with all other men, the priests of the Old Testament. It is important to notice:-
- 1. These words emphasise our Lord’s true humanity. He was, and is, a man – “the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5); at His incarnation He partook of flesh and blood (Hebrews 2:14); and He was born of a woman (Galatians 4:4). As a man he knew tiredness and hunger and was subject to the limitations of His perfect humanity; but He had to be a man in order to qualify as our great High Priest – look up Philippians 2:6-8.
- 2. He is the unique Man. This Man is different for He is “holy, blameless, pure” (Hebrews 7:26). How great He is! – turn again to Hebrews 1:1-3. He is the One we worship and honour, our Saviour and Lord, our only Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5); our only God and Saviour – look up Isaiah 45:22.
2. THE PRESENT OF CHRIST
Verse 12 tells us that “this priest…offered one sacrifice”, and this sacrifice was an offering – the offering of His sinless life which He gave out of love for sinners. It was the offering of Himself on the Cross (verse 10). He was our sin-bearer and substitute. Notice two things about this offering, this present:-
- 1. It was made voluntarily. It was made of His own free will (Matthew 26:53; John 10:18).
- 2. It needed to be made only once (verse 10). This shows how false the teaching is of Transubstantiation. The Lord Jesus made this offering once for all, and the offering was accepted by God.
3. THE PURPOSE OF CHRIST
Why did our Lord offer Himself upon the Cross? Read verse 12 again. Why did the Old Testament priests offer sacrifices? They offered for the sins of the people. Why did Jesus offer Himself to be the heavenly Lamb of sacrifice? It was for our sins and that is why He came into the world (John 12:27; Galatians 4:4-5; Revelation 13:8). But two things must be noticed in particular:-
- 1. He died as our substitute. He died for sin but He had no sin of His own. The sin for which He died was yours and mine. We deserved to die but He took our place – look up and compare Isaiah 53:5-6; 1 Peter 2:24.
- 2. He satisfactorily achieved the purpose of His death. Notice the words in verse 12 – “when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins…” – there will never again be a need for any other sacrifice. He finished the work when He died upon the Cross (John 19:30); compare John 17:4 and Hebrews 10:14. Our salvation is complete through faith in the crucified and risen Saviour.
4. THE POSTURE OF CHRIST
In verse 12 the writer is careful to tell us that when Jesus had offered Himself as a sacrifice “he sat down at the right hand of God”. The Old Testament priests did not sit down because their work was never done, but after Jesus had offered Himself as a sacrifice for sins, He sat down because the work was complete. Redemption’s work was finished. What assurance this gives us that the sin question has once-and-for-all been settled! – look again at verse 14 and compare this with Hebrews 1:3. This leads us to ask the question: What is Jesus doing now? He is sitting down “at the right hand of God”, but what is He doing?
5. THE PROSPECT OF CHRIST
Verse 13 tells us that He is waiting for the moment to come when He will step down from His throne and will return to rapture His saints into the air, according to 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and then, according to 2 Thessalonians 1:10, will return in glory and power to be admired in all those who believe on Him and belong to Him. When He comes all His enemies will be beneath His feet and we, through His grace and by faith in Him, will be one with Him in His glorious victory, for this is not only His prospect but ours too – look up Revelation 3:21 and Isaiah 35:10!