You can do nothing to save yourself, but having been saved by Christ, you must make every effort to be holy.
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Hebrews 10 (ESV)
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.
would they not have ceased to be offered,
since the worshipers,
having once been cleansed,
would no longer have any consciousness of sins?
3 But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.
4 For it is impossible
for the blood of bulls and goats
to take away sins.
5 Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,
“Sacrifices and offerings
you have not desired,
but a body have you prepared for me;
6 in burnt offerings and sin offerings
you have taken no pleasure.
7 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.’ ”
8 When 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),
9 then he added,
“Behold, I have come to do your will.”
He does away with the first in order to establish the second.
10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
11 And every priest stands daily at his service,
the same sacrifices,
which can never take away sins.
12 But when Christ had offered
for all time
a single sacrifice for sins,
he sat down at the right hand of God,
13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet.
by a single offering
he has perfected
for all time
those who are being sanctified.
15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,
16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws on their hearts,
and write them on their minds,”
17 then he adds,
“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”
18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.
19 Therefore, brothers,
we have confidence
to enter the holy places
by the blood of Jesus,
the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain,
that is, through his flesh,
21 and since
we have a great priest
over the house of God,
22 let us draw near
with a true heart
in full assurance of faith,
our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience
and our bodies washed with pure water.
23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope
for he who promised is faithful.
24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,
25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some,
but encouraging one another,
and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
26 For if we
go on sinning deliberately
after receiving the knowledge of the truth,
no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
27 but a fearful expectation of judgment,
and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.
28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses.
29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who
has trampled underfoot the Son of God,
and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified,
and has outraged the Spirit of grace?
30 For we know him who said,
“Vengeance is mine; I will repay.”
And again, “The Lord will judge his people.”
31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
32 But recall the former days when,
after you were enlightened,
you endured a hard struggle with sufferings,
33 sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction,
and sometimes being partners with those so treated.
34 For you had compassion on those in prison,
and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property,
since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.
35 Therefore do not throw away
which has a great reward.
36 For you have need of endurance,
so that when you have done the will of God
you may receive what is promised.
37 For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay;
38 but my righteous one shall live by faith,
and if he shrinks back,
my soul has no pleasure in him.”
we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed,
but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.
Hebrews 10 Summary
Hebrews 10 has three main sections.
First it emphasizes that there's nothing you can do to pay for your sin:
It's impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. (v4)
There's no amount of sacrifices you can make, good deeds you can do, or penance you can offer to pay the overwhelming cost of your sin to a Holy God.
This is why we understand that we're saved by grace alone.
Second, this chapter goes on to indicate the one and only hope that people have to be reconciled with God:
We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all (v10).
This is why we often say that our salvation comes through Christ alone.
Third, it gives instructions for how sinners who have been made holy ought to live. It gives us two key reasons we must live differently from the world:
- v19: since we have confidence to enter the holy place (God's presence)
- v21: since we have a great high priest (Jesus)
This final section of chapter 10 is full of calls to action you must heed since Christ has paid for your sins with His blood and brought you into His covenant:
v22 - Let us draw near to God;
v23 - Let us hold unswervingly;
v24 - Spur one another on to love and good deeds;
v35 - So do not throw away your confidence;
v36 - You need to persevere;
v39 - We don't belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.
We confidently say that we're saved by grace alone, because of Christ alone through faith alone, but in reading a passage like this, it becomes clear that these divine gifts never remain alone, but must be coupled with hard work and effort made possible by the new life you've been given.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father who is holy and unapproachable by those who remain in their sin (v31)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that God will strengthen you so that you do not shrink back (v38-39)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: