Friday, 25 January 2019
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), Hebrews 10:8
The words, “Previously saying,” are referring to what was quoted from the psalm. The author is introducing select portions of the quote in order to analyze what is said more fully and to form a logical thought to consider. From there, he cites the quote with, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them.” He has taken words from verses 5 & 6 of this chapter, and combined them to make his point understandable. There are three things which are highlighted – 1) sacrifice and offering, 2) burnt offerings, and 3) offerings for sin. These were all mandated in the Law of Moses, and yet the author, through the words of David in the psalm, shows that the Lord 1) did not desire them, nor 2) have pleasure in them. And yet, as he notes in a parenthetical thought, “which are offered according to the law.”
The repetition in this manner is usually done to solidify what has been said or to set up a contrast. In the case now presented, it is for both purposes. First, the author is ensuring that the reader understands that the sacrifices and offerings mandated under the law could not produce felicity between God and man, even though the law required them. The repetition is also used to bring about the contrast between what was then and what is now in Christ. This will be looked at more in the coming verses. The fact that these were mandated and carried out for about fifteen hundred years doesn’t mean Israel was merely “spinning her wheels.” Instead, as Paul says in Galatians 3 –
“Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. 22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.” Galatians 3:21-25
These sacrifices, which were based on the law, were meant to teach that the law could only point us to our need for Christ. The mandates of the law were actually unobtainable by us because of sin, and thus He needed to fulfill them in our place. Additionally, the sacrifices were ineffective (verse 10:4), and thus He needed to die to provide atonement for us. In other words – He shoots; He scores. All points to Jesus!
Life application: The subject of most life applications in this study of Hebrews has been devoted to the admonition to not return to the law, but to remain in the New Covenant grace given by Christ. This is because it is exactly what the author of Hebrews (and thus the Holy Spirit who inspired the author) intends for us to understand. The Law of Moses served its purpose, and then it was set aside because of the work of Christ. To return to the law is to reject the work of Christ and essentially say, “I can do better than He did.” What a slap in the face of God. He is being meticulous in teaching us to not do this vile thing. Come to Christ, trust in Christ, and rest in Christ. Put away the deeds of the law, and be pleasing to God by having faith in Christ.
Thank you, O God! When we were ever-missing the target, whether through failing to meet the demands of the law, or providing an insufficient sacrifice for having failed to meet that law, You came in and saved the day. The goal is now obtainable – faith in Jesus and His work. Now we too can shoot and score … the goal is Jesus! Amen.