because by a single offering He has made perfect for all time those who are sanctified.
I. THE SACRIFICE OFFERED BY CHRIST.
1. Self-sacrifice. The Jewish priests offered goats, lambs, etc. But Jesus Christ "gave himself." The whole of his life upon earth was a sacrifice. The sufferings of the closing scenes were sacrificial. His death was sacrificial. In all he acted with entire spontaneity (John 10:17, 18). All was the outcome of the infinite love wherewith he loved us. It is of the very nature of love to sacrifice self for the beloved. No sacrifice is so Divine as that of self. "Greater love hath no man than this," etc. (John 15:13).
2. Self-sacrifice for sin. The death of Jesus was neither
(1) a mere martyrdom; nor
(2) an offering to pacify the wrath of God; but
(3) it was a "sacrifice for sins." "He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." "Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous," etc.
3. Self-sacrifice for sin of perpetual efficacy. "He offered one sacrifice for sins for ever." Christ's sacrifice was offered once for all It needs no repetition. It is completely efficacious for all sins of all men for ever (cf. Hebrews 9:25-28). It seems to us that to speak of "offering Christ upon the altar" in the Lord's Supper is utterly unscriptural, and a reflection on the sufficiency of the "one sacrifice for sins forever" which our Lord offered.
II. THE POSITION OCCUPIED BY CHRIST. "Sat down on the right hand of God." This position is suggestive of:
1. Rest. The sitting down is opposed to the standing of the preceding verse. Christ's sacrificial work is completed. The sufferings of his earthly life are over forever. The toil and conflict are all past. He has finished the work that was given him to do (cf. Hebrews 1:3).
3. His exaltation is a guarantee that all who are one with hire in sacrifice shall be one with him in sovereignty. There is a cross for each of his disciples; there is also a crown for every one who faithfully bears that cross (cf. Matthew 16:24; John 12:26; Romans 8:17; Revelation 3:21).
III. THE EXPECTATION ENTERTAINED BY CHRIST. "From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made the footstool of his feet." The foes of our Lord are rebellious angels and rebellious men. All persons and all things which are opposed to his character and sovereignty are his enemies. Ignorance, the darkness of the mind, is opposed to him as "the Light" and "the Truth." Tyranny is opposed to him as the great Emancipator. He proclaimed the universal brotherhood of men. Sin is opposed to him as the Savior and the Sovereign of men. Death is opposed to him as the Life and the Lifegiver. All these he will completely and for ever vanquish. "He must reign till he hath put all his enemies under his feet." Let us endeavor to realize the certainty of this.
1. History points to it. During nearly nineteen centuries the spirit and the principles of Christ have been advancing and gaining strength in the world. Tyrannical despotisms passing away; free governments spreading; slavery losing its place and power; liberty and the recognition of human brotherhood constantly growing; cruelties and oppressions ever decreasing; Christian charities and generosities ever increasing; the night of ignorance receding; the day of intelligence advancing and brightening. The past is prophetic of the complete triumph of Christ.
2. The spirit of the age points to it. There is much of evil in the age; but there are also many good and hope-inspiring things. The age is one of broadening freedom, earnest inquiry, growing intelligence, and many and ever-increasing charities. All these are in harmony with Christianity, results of Christianity; and as men advance in them they will be the more fitted and disposed to embrace Christianity.
3. God's Word assures it. (See Psalm 2:8; Psalm 72:8-17; Daniel 7:13, 14.) 4. Christ is waiting for it. "From henceforth expecting" - implying his undoubted assurance of it. He cannot be disappointed. - W.J.
Perfected for ever them that are sanctified.I. THE CHILDREN OF GOD ARE HERE INTENDED, UNDER THE TERM "SANCTIFIED"; they are described as sanctified persons. There are two meanings to the term "sanctified." One is, "set apart." God has set apart His people from before the foundation of the world, to be His chosen and peculiar inheritance. We are sanctified by God the Father. There is a second signification, which implies not the decree of the Father, but the work of the Holy Spirit. But the word here, I think, includes both of these senses; and I must try to find a figure which will embrace them both. And what is the apostle speaking about? In the ninth chapter he is speaking about the tabernacle, and the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread, and the sanctuary, and the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid with gold, and the pot of manna; he is talking about priests, and holy things; and he is declaring that all these things of which he speaks were sanctified things, but that though they were sanctified things, they wanted to be made perfect by the sprinkling of blood, Now I believe the sanctification of our text is to be understood in this sense.
II. IN WHAT SENSE ARE WE TO UNDERSTAND THAT CHRIST HAS PERFECTED THESE THAT ARE SANCTIFIED? When the golden vessels were brought into the temple or into the sanctuary, they were sanctified the very first moment that they were dedicated to God. No one dared to employ them for anything but holy uses. But they were not perfect. What did they need, then, to make them perfect? Why, to have blood sprinkled on them; and, as soon as the blood was sprinkled on them, those golden vessels were perfect vessels, officially perfect. God accepted them as being holy and perfect things, and they stood in His sight as instruments of an acceptable worship. Just so was it with the Levites and the priests. As soon as ever they were set apart to their office; as soon as ever they were bern, in fact, they were consecrated, they belonged to God; they were His peculiar priesthood. But they were not perfect until they had passed through divers washings, and had the blood sprinkled upon them. Then God looked upon them in their official priestly character, as being perfect persons. Here is one sense of the text. The apostle says that we who are the priests of God have a right as priests to go to God's mercy-seat that is within the veil; but it were to our death to go there unless we were perfect. But we are perfect, for the blood of Christ has been sprinkled on us, and, therefore, our standing before God is the standing of perfection. Our standing, in our own conscience, is imperfection, just as the character of the priest might be imperfect. But that has nothing to do with it. Our standing in the sight of God is a standing of perfection; and when He sees the blood, as of old the destroying angel passed over Israel, so this day, when He sees the blood, God passes over our sins, and accepts us at the throne of His mercy, as if we were perfect. Therefore, let us come boldly; let us "draw near with a true heart in frill assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water." And now we will have one more thought, and then I shall have given you the full meaning of the text. In the seventh chapter, the nineteenth verse, there is a word that is a key to the meaning of my text, and that helped me all through it. "For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did, by the which we draw nigh unto God." Then with this, compare the tenth chapter and first verse, "The law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year, continually make the comers thereunto perfect." There is the word "perfect"; and we have it in the text; "for then," says he, if they had been perfect, "would they not have ceased to be offered." Why offer any more, if you are a perfect man? "If the sacrifice made is perfect, the worshippers, once purged, should have had no more conscience of sin." Now mark. The Jewish sacrifice was never intended to make the Jew's moral character any better, and it did not; it had no effect upon what we call his sanctification; all the sacrifice dealt with was his justification, and the perfection would be sought after; the perfection is not of sanctification, but of official standing, as he stood justified before God. Now that is the meaning of the word "perfect" here. It does not mean that the sacrifice did not make the man perfectly holy, and perfectly moral, and so forth; the sacrifice had no tendency to do that; it was quite another matter. It means that it did not perfectly make him justified in his own conscience and in the sight of God, because he had to come and offer again. But now behold the glory of Christ Jesus as revealed to us in our text. "Those sacrifices could not make the comers thereunto perfect." They could not feel in their own conscience that they were perfectly justified, and they wanted fresh offerings; but I see the slaughtered Lamb on Calvary. Years ago I sought Him and I found Him. I do not want another Lamb; I do not want another sacrifice. I can still see that blood flowing, and I can feel continually that I have no more conscience of sin.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)1. The act is to perfect, which may be to a thing perfect; and seeing the end of Christ's sacrifice is man's full happiness, therefore to perfect is to make us perfectly and fully happy.
2. The subject of this consecration are the sanctified.
3. The effect is glorious and most excellent, and includes regeneration, justification, reconciliation, adoption with the inferior degrees of them all, and also the resurrection and eternal glorification. And surely so rare an effect must have some excellent cause; and so it hath, and that is, that one offering of Christ.
(R. W. Dale, LL. D.)
(S. H. Kellogg, D. D.)
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