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Christ's Sacrifice Once for All (v. 1-18)
The basic message here seems to be the same one we have seen a few times in the last couple of chapters, that the priests have been doing their best with the shadow of what is perfect in heaven, but their sacrifices could never really take away sins but the death of Jesus can. And since his sacrifice was so perfect, he only had to do it once, unlike the priests who had to do something every year. This is the framework we have here, there are a few specific verses I want to focus on.
v2 "Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins?"
So this is saying that if they cleansed sin, then it would only have to be done once, because once you are cleansed it should be over. But isn't the point that the sacrifice cleanses a sin that you did, but later if you sin again you need to be cleansed again? The verse seems to be representing the old sacrifices in a dishonest way. Also, if a proper sacrifice makes you not have a consciousness of sin, doesn't that mean that after the perfect sacrifice you wouldn't sin any more? This is clearly not the case with Jesus. What is being said here? It seems to me that the complaint against the old sacrifices applies just as well the the sacrifice of Jesus.
v12-13 "But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet."
Jesus is quite vengeful is he not? Not only does he want his enemies defeated, he wants to humiliate them. This doesn't sound like the merciful, loving, prince of peace I have heard about.
Matthew Henry did not address the question of vengeance, but he instead focused on whether Christ could have enemies anywhere but hell. Of course he has them on earth too. In this discussion I found the following gem "But Christ’s enemies shall be made his footstool; some by conversion, others by confusion; and, which way soever it be, Christ will be honoured." so this suggests to me that if you are converted to Christianity, there is a chance that you will wind up as Christ's footstool. Doesn't sound so appealing does it?
v17 "I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more."
My initial thought here was that this is an immediate contradiction to v13, but if we really think about who is being spoken to, I think this makes fine sense. If you follow Jesus, he will forgive you of all of your sins. If you don't, he wants you to be his footstool. And actually, this seems to fit pretty well into the whole heaven/hell thing too. There is very much a 'with us or against us' mentality here. Just doesn't seem like a God of love/peace/forgiveness to me.
The Full Assurance of Faith (v. 19-39)
The old rules suggest that if we sin with no possibility for a sacrifice we would be in big trouble, but that is not the case, as Jesus will have compassion on us as we would for someone in prison. We should have faith that this is true.
I'm obviously not a fan of the whole faith thing, but I like the idea of compassion.
For the overview post (If you think I should add or remove stuff from this list please let me know, I think it would make good conversation)
10:34 Compassion is a good thing
"For you had compassion on those in prison..."
10:12-13 Jesus is vengeful and violent
"But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet."