…But this Man…
The writer of Hebrews continues to distinguish the old covenant from the new covenant – “Previously saying, ‘Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them’ (which are offered according to the law), then He said, ‘Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.’ He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” (Hebrews 10: 8-14)
The above verses begin by the writer of Hebrews quoting Psalm 40: 6-8 – “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; my ears You have opened. Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require. Then I said, ‘Behold, I come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me. I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart.’” God took away the old covenant of law with its continual sacrificial system and replaced it with the new covenant of grace which became effective through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Paul taught the Philippians – “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” (Phil. 2: 5-8)
If you are trusting in your ability to live up to a religious system of laws, consider what Jesus has done for you. He has given His life to pay for your sins. There is nothing in between. You either trust the merit of Jesus Christ, or your own righteousness. As fallen creatures, we all fall short. We all stand in need of God’s unmerited favor, His grace alone.
‘By that will,’ by Christ’s will, believers have been ‘sanctified,’ ‘made holy,’ or set apart from sin for God. Paul taught the Ephesians – “This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” (Eph. 4: 17-24)
The continual animal sacrifices that the Old Testament priests made, only ‘covered’ sin; they did not take it away. The sacrifice that Jesus made for us has the power to completely remove sin. Christ now sits at the right hand of God making intercession for us – “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher that the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who have weaknesses, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.” (Hebrews 7: 25-28)