Hebrews 10:1-4 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 which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? Because that the worshippers, once purged, should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” We will actually look at verses 1-23 in this series, but these first four will suffice for now. The title of this series comes from vs. 14 in Heb. 10.
The importance of this subject (eternal perfection) cannot be overstated. I believe it is safe to say that most Christians do not have a real understanding of the fact that they are eternally perfected, and exactly how, when, & where that is possible. Most of us do not understand what a sin conscience is, but it is what most of us Christians have - though we are not supposed to. I believe most of us Believers do not have a righteousness conscience, even though it is how we are to now relate to God in the New Covenant. I believe an in depth look at Hebrews 10 will help clear up any confusion, and help us to live in the fullness of what Christ died to give us.
First of all, we see that the Old Testament law was just a shadow of Jesus (Col 2:16-17). A shadow is not the real thing. My shadow is not me. My shadow only shows that I (the real thing) is near. If you talked to my shadow, instead of me, it would be foolish. The Law is a shadow of Christ - it is not Christ. It was a picture of Jesus - it was not Jesus. If I kiss and talk to my wife’s picture when I am out of town, that‘s understandable. If I do that when she is in the same room with me - I’m not right in the head. Why? Because the real thing is here - why do I want a picture? I believe many Christians are kissing Jesus’ picture (relating to Him through the works of the law), when He is standing in the room!
The law was never, never, never intended to remain as an acceptable means of approaching God. It was always just a shadow, a temporary type, of Jesus. It was just the vehicle to drive us to Jesus and drop us off (Gal 3:23-25). Many Christians are still hanging out in the car in the driveway, instead of going into the house and having supper! God’s Word says the OT faithful longed for our day; but it seems like many Christians long for their day! Like when Peter spoke at the first church council, and essentially rebuked some of the Jews for trying to put a yoke upon the Gentiles that they (the Jews) couldn’t even bare! (Act 15:7-11).
The sacrificial system of the law, which constantly saw the shedding of animal blood, could never make the worshippers perfect (complete, finished, fulfilled, consecrated). Why? Because if the worshipper was actually cleansed by animal blood, then there would have been no need to offer them over and over. The fact that they had to be done repeatedly proved that they didn’t work! On the contrary, all those sacrifices did was remind the worshipper that they were not sanctified - that they were still sinners! That’s why Paul said the law made sin exceedingly sinful (Rom 7). It just showed people they were (officially) unrighteous - but there was nothing that could be done about it. They would be back next day, next month, next year; with more sacrifices - that still didn’t work.
You see, once the worshipper is truly cleansed, purged, purified - there should not remain a sin conscience. Conscience simply means awareness. It means being “awake to”. The OT blood sacrifices could never give the worshipper a clear conscience (Heb 9:9). They were still very much aware of their sins. Instead of being awake to righteousness (1Cor 15:34), they were awake to sin. This is still the case for most Christians. Ignorantly, on a practical level, many Christians don’t differentiate between Jesus’ blood, and the blood of animals! Though, through faith in Jesus, our sins are purged - yet, we live as if they are not. We live as an OT person. We relate to God as one under the law. Instead of being aware, awake to, and alive to our righteousness in Christ; we are ever aware of, and awake to, sin. We are sin conscience. It was for freedom Jesus made us free. It’s time to honor His sacrifice.
We’ve just scratched the surface today. Lord willing, we’ll continue next week. Until next time. Rejoice in The Lord!