Sunday, 3 February 2019
…then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Hebrews 10:17
The author has been once again loosely citing Jeremiah 31, which he already cited in Chapter 8. This is a portion of Hebrews 8:12. Placed side by side, they read –
8:12 – “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
10:17 – then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
As can be seen, 10:17 adds in the italicized words, “then He adds.” These are inserted by the translators and are not a part of the original, but they are inserted because they are explaining the difficult words of verse 10:15, which said, “But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before.”
Though disputed as to the meaning of those words, the translators here are making the logical assumption that, in the citation from Jeremiah, the Holy Spirit is witnessing to the reader of Hebrews (specifically, the Hebrew people to whom the epistle is addressed). Thus, verse 10:15 which says, “for after He had said before,” is referring to verse 10:16. The inserted words of 10:17 (“then He adds”) are then continuing the thought. Laying it out in bullets should help –
1) But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before,
– “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,”
2) Then He adds
– “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
Thus the inserted words, “Then He adds,” are simply clarifying the otherwise difficult to understand words of verse 10:15. Understanding this, The entire thought is given to explain the supremacy of the work of Christ over the sacrifices and offerings of the Old Covenant. Under the Old Covenant, sacrifices and offerings only brought a reminder of sins, but they never actually took them away. However, in the offering of the body of Christ, and with the acceptance of that in the hearts and minds of the people of Israel, then “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
Life application: As a guide concerning what has been said, we can follow these thoughts to their logical conclusion (remember, the words have been speaking of Israel the people, but the words hold true for any who come to Christ) –
1) We have sinned. God is infinitely holy. Therefore, we stand condemned.
2) Deeds to gain the favor of God are insufficient because they come from what has been created. In other words, all is from Him and ultimately is His.
3) The Old Covenant sacrifices fell into the realm of things in creation and could never take away sin.
4) Jesus’ divine nature is not part of creation.
5) Jesus, being fully Man, gave Himself to pay our debt.
6) The payment, once rendered, is
God offers it; God accepts it; it is complete in scope; its effects last forever. This is why we can – with complete confidence – accept that He will never remember our “sins and lawless acts.”
Lord God, trusting in Your word is the most wonderful thing to our hearts. You have said we are forgiven by faith in Christ. Our hearts are grateful. You have said that our forgiveness means that we are saved from Your wrath. Our hearts are relieved. You have said that our salvation is eternal. Our hearts are overjoyed. Praise be to You, O God. Help us to not only trust Your word, but to keep on trusting it. We have surety of hope because of the word You have given. Hallelujah and Amen!