Dec 262015

bible-word-of-god_thumbHebrews 10:1-10

The writer is going to make the point one more time – Christ’s Sacrifice Once for All

We mentioned last week about repetition being a teaching tool. Repetition is like repeating yourself if you had 6 kids.


Our liturgy is repetitious – to teach something. What would that be? To ingrain in us the way that the ancient church up to the present has approached God. Also how to receive from God the good gifts he comes to distribute each time the church gathers.

1 For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near.

  • How would you describe a shadow?
  • As a kid, weren’t we all fascinated to see our own shadow?
  • As an adult we may be afraid of a shadow as we don’t know or understand what is approaching.
  • Well all of the sacrifices, all the procedures, all of the laws etc were just a shadow … a preview.
  • Col 1:15 – He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
  • John 14:8-11 – 8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.
  • Images, shadows, previews
  • Even the law was a shadow … of what? Good things to come
  • The author is saying that the Levitical system just keeps continuing year after year.

Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins?

  • The old rhetorical question – the sacrifices just keep going around and around.

3 But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.

  • But hey there is that yearly reminder of your sin. Don’t think you’re so hot.
  • However, today Jews have made this yearly event NOT sacrifice, but more of a day of reflection.

For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

  • Ineffective because it is impossible to do.
  • How well can we perform the things we are commanded to do?
  • So what did the sacrifices accomplish?
  • What do we accomplish “in remembrance of me”?
  • When God remembers his people = good
  • When God forgets his people – I will remember them no more = bad.

Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me;

  • Quotes from Psalm 40:6-8
  • What does it mean “When Christ came into the world…”? Jesus did not say this in the NT.
  • What did Jesus mean?
  • Here again we see how reading the OT in light of the NT changes things. The NT writer is telling us what the OT meant.
  • How do we know whose voice is talking?
  • Look at Acts 8 when Phillip runs into the Ethiopian Eunuch.
  • Why would God not want sacrifices etc? He ordered them.
  • The people were doing them wrong.
  • Isa 1:10-14 (a must read)

6  in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure.

  • God looks at our hearts and our motives
  • And based on that he want the sacrifices and offerings
  • Done right and with a good heart … but we are not capable.

Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’”

  • Who is doing whose will? (this goes back to being able to read in the right voice).
  • By God’s will we have been sanctified – by Jesus Christ
  • The real will of God is seen through Jesus Christ – going back to the incarnation.
  • Go back to verse 5 – A Body you have prepared for me.

8When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law),

then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second.

  • God can’t take pleasure because we do not let him take pleasure.
  • So he gets rid of that system and goes to the one who will do his will – Jesus.
  • Doing God’s will and fulfilling God’s will was a joy to Jesus.

10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

  • We have been sanctified – if happened in the past and has present day benefits.
  • Been sanctified – something that has been done to us.


  40 Responses to “The Weekend Word”

  1. Following.

  2. “• Been sanctified – something that has been done to us.”

    It is worth mentioning here that our sanctification is forensic (i.e., declaratory). And it is extra nos (i.e., outside ourselves). This means that our sanctification is totally a work of God and it is ours in Christ (not in ourselves). Thus, we receive sanctification by faith.

  3. while we are ‘declared’ righteous, would it not be more accurate to describe it in terms of adjudication via a substitutionary atonement? isn’t the condemnation fact? has the debt not been paid? by another? isn’t the crux of the declaration, ‘not guilty’ IN Christ?

  4. Em,

    This is where Calvinists part ways with Lutherans.

    We are positionally sanctified in Christ…it’s a done deal.
    We are practically still being sanctified and that process is a co-operative one between God and man.

  5. “while we are ‘declared’ righteous, would it not be more accurate to describe it in terms of adjudication via a substitutionary atonement?

    I don’t think we’re far apart, but I did not use the term “adjudication” because the adjudication will occur at the last judgment. In the present, however, those in Christ are declared righteous by the “blessed exchange” whereby God imputes to us Christ’s righteousness and imputes to Christ our sin.

    I don’t know how much more sanctified one could be than to be imputed the righteousness of Christ.

  6. This should not be this difficult. Lets look at it with this question. Man working with God on practical sanctification in this life. Has anyone ever reached the level of full sanctification? You know deep down that the answer is no.

    So is it not true that a not fully sanctified person is indeed a non sanctified person? Our only sanctification is that which has been declared on us.

    If someone wants to offer up the fully sancified person, I will listen.

  7. I don’t think it’s a matter of being fully sanctified in a experiential sense. Rather it’s an out working of the salvation we have (Philippians 2:12-13). Paul seems to deal with this issue extensively in Philippians

    Philippians 3:12 ‘….Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own…..’

    A very simple reading of that verse shows Paul using his volition/energy to gain something he doesn’t have (at least practically/experientially). I suppose one could try and argue that the ‘it’ Paul is pressing towards isn’t sanctification. But verse 10 makes it clear that Paul’s goal to is to know Jesus and be made like Jesus. That sounds a lot like sanctification to me.

  8. Well perhaps we should word it this way – you are fully sanctified when God declares you sanctified, which is at justification – and what others ‘think’ is sanctification, is really just a person working on their ow.n behavior modification – which has nothing to do with sanctification.

  9. What was Paul doing?

  10. So Paul’s quest to know Jesus better and to be conformed to His image was merely behavior modification?

  11. Going back to my original thought, why can’t God bring anyone to full sanctification in this life? As I stated sanctification means something – you either are or you are not. It’s kinda like being pregnant 🙂

    But as yopu know, as a Lutheran I see myself as 100% sanctified while at the same time seeing myself as 100% sinner – the 2 live side by side. I don’t know about you and I will not apply this to you, but most evangelical types see themselves right now as 65% good and 35% bad – but now that it is New Year’s Day, a look at their resolution list will show their goal (God willing) in 2016 to become 70% good and lower the bad side to 30%.

    This become the death bell to the Christian life.

  12. So what was Paul pressing toward and yet not fully attaining?

  13. Well you do have me at a disadvantage in that I do not see this passage as one of sanctification, but indeed do see commands to modify your behavior when he requests that you do things without grumbling.

    To your previous example are you saying that Paul got to a state where he totally knew Jesus and was fully conformed to the image of Jesus?

  14. G,

    I’m glad you brought up Phil 3. What this chapter actually means is that Paul does not believe in OSAS. But that was not the intent of your question.

    Paul, is an unashamed zealot. He was a zealous Jew, but when he became a Christian he became a zealous Christian. I think we would exhort all Christians to be zealous.

    Paul, says that all his accomplishments under the law are actually a loss, and that Christians “put no confidence in the flesh.”

    Paul then goes on to say that the only righteousness that counts is “that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith”. So, here, we see that righteousness before God is received by faith and has no bearing on our personal piety. It is the righteousness of faith in Christ. Praise be to God.

    Has Paul been made perfect? Does he know Christ perfectly. Does he have the mind of Christ perfectly? No on all accounts. However, Paul is a spiritual athlete. And he exhorts the Philippians to be zealous for Christ as well. Don’t look back; look ahead. Paul is humble; he understands that his righteousness is alien, that it is given him by faith in Christ. Therefore, he wants to persevere in Christ to the end. He does not want any of his Philippians congregation to kick back and rely on a conversion experience that occurred some years prior, but which for all practical purposes is a distant memory and has not bearing on their life. (“Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.”)

    Lutherans have nothing against zealousness for the Lord or exhortation in preaching. One Lutheran scholar I follow wrote that we become like that (or whom) we love. If we are grasped by the love of God in Christ, I have not doubt that His love of us will well up in us and will make us more like him. But as we become more like Christ, faith will also reveal to us how much like our first parent Adam we are. The light shines in the darkness. The brighter it shines in us, the more darkness it reveals. That’s what MLD was writing about when he said the Christians is 100% righteous and 100% sinner simultaneously.

    But, back to Paul. He doesn’t look back; he doesn’t look within; he looks and presses forward … to the resurrection and meeting Christ (again) face to face.

  15. No….but to put Paul’s greatest pursuit in life in the category of ‘behavior modification’ seems a little demeaning. I think he saw it as something greater… was his destiny (Romans 8:29) and therefore the trajectory of his life.

    Thank you for explaining the Lutheran position on the issues. I consider my theology and biblical understanding a work in progress.

  16. Great post Jean……my previous post was in response to MLD.

  17. Thanks G. I apologize for several typos in my #14, which hopefully did not obscure my post. My Hawkeyes are getting crushed by Stanford in the Rose Bowl, and in response I may have over poured a glass of wine. 🙂

  18. Sorry to hear your Hawkeyes are getting beat….but glad you have some wine to gladden your heart….

  19. So what category do Lutherans put a Scripture like 2 Corinthians 3:18?

    And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

    I’m not trying to pick a fight…..but am truly interested in learning the other views.

  20. G,
    I think you and I are on 2 different roads. I wasn’t comparing what Paul was talking about as behavior modification – as I don’t consider what Paul was desiring to be what 9 out of 10 evangelicals would call progressive sanctification after justification.

    They would describe this as God working with us to act as better Christians – hence my comment about behavior modification.

    If that is not your position, then you run with a more refined crowd. 🙂

  21. I’m not sure which road I’m on concerning practical sanctification. I’m not sure how to categorize all of the spiritual progress passages (of which their are many). But I’m with you and Jean on the 100% Saint/sinner idea. The old man refuses to get any better……

  22. G,
    So let’s take it as a progressive sanctification passage – at what point does the Holy Spirit fail and can’t consummate the deal? I know where I fail, usually right at the beginning as was spoken on the other thread – begin a reading program and be done by Leviticus.

    But where are all the people the Spirit brought to full sanctification in this life? If it doesn’t happen, then all we have is failed sanctification in this life and upon death we gain what has been positionally ours from the beginning.

    Do I know more now than I did early in my Christian life? Yes. Am I closer to Jesus than I was when I first became a Christian? I don’t know – I was pretty on fire back then
    Have I learned to live by the ‘church’ rules over the years? Yes

    Is that sanctification? Perhaps real sanctification in this life is to realize I have made no progress.

  23. MLD, I get that you think if practical sanctification existed we would have some perfectly perfected saints running around. I’m not so sure i’m buying a ticket for that train of thought. 😉

    2 Peter 1:5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge,
    6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness,
    7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
    8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing….

    It’s passages like these–progress/addition/growth passages that make me think that there should be some kind of forward motion in my life as a believer. Thoughts?

  24. G,
    You may not have the conversations I have with evangelicals who call sanctification a joint effort of God and myself to improve my Christian walk.

    What you have quoted from Peter I see as a command to modify my behavior (which I am not saying is bad) and I will have a change in my life results

    This is forward motion – but is it sanctification?

  25. In case you haven’t been around long enough to know this part of my position, I think there are 4 parts to my salvation
    1.) Repentance
    2.) Justification
    3.) Sanctification
    4.) Glorification

    I think God does all 4 of these in my life – without my help.
    Other see this in the Justification part and the Glorification part – they never say its a joint effort. But for some reason they see Repentance and Sanctification as a shared effort.

  26. In Paul’s Christian journey, he learned (or at least acknowledged publicly) a few things about himself:

    “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”

    “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.”

    “To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,”

    Regarding 2 Cor 3:18, I think we should read it in its context giving it a plain rendering. There is a transformation. After all, who upon encountering the love of Christ would be left unchanged. However, it’s passively done to us by the Spirit. Paul nowhere says “transform yourself”. And Paul is equally clear that “the letter kills.”

    If Paul were here for a Q & A session and someone asked him, “how does the Spirit work transformation in us?”, I wouldn’t be surprised a bit if he answered: “in suffering.” I doubt he would be impressed with a lot of our contemporary projects at sanctification.

    Also, as we have already said, before God, a Christian is sanctified. We are a new creation in Christ. All this talk about exhortation and the “obedience of faith” is something that is given to us for the purpose of loving our neighbor – the living sacrifice that Paul writes about. God doesn’t need our good works, but our neighbor does. Therefore, he equips us, not to be spiritual giants, or withdraw from the world to obtain some level of purity, but to spend us in his reconciling work in the world.

  27. Jean’s comment – Regarding 2 Cor 3:18, I think we should read it in its context giving it a plain rendering. There is a transformation. After all, who upon encountering the love of Christ would be left unchanged. However, it’s passively done to us by the Spirit. Paul nowhere says “transform yourself”. And Paul is equally clear that “the letter kills.”

    Is what I am saying in my #25 @ 5:15 – each of the 4 are done to us passively.

    Jean says it better than I do.

  28. Great job fellas….

  29. G – Happy New Year 🙂

  30. Happy New Year to you too!

  31. btw….I’ve been a long time lurker here. Love this place. I accomplished one of my new year’s resolutions today: I am no longer a lurker….

  32. Welcome G!

  33. Welcome G.

    This is the kind of discussion I hoped for .
    Well done, folks.

  34. Thanks Michael, I’ve noticed that people sometimes get bugged or frustrated with MLD…..but he brings some of the keenest insights and certainly some of the best entertainment value on the sight…I don’t always agree with him, but I’m a fan. Don’t tell him I said that…

  35. MLD “brings some of the keenest insights and certainly some of the best entertainment value on the sight”

    Oy vey!

  36. G,

    I agree with him once in a while. 🙂
    What he does very well is provide a baseline, sound, clear, and biblical doctrinal perspective that can provide a foundation for both debate and study.

    A confessional Lutheran knows what they believe and why and that’s a model for what I believe everyone from every tradition should know.
    He’s doing us all a service here.

  37. Welcome to PhxP, G.

  38. Thank you Xenia…..

  39. Thank you Xenia!

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