"No More Remembrance of Sin" - Hebrews 10:1-18 - Harvest Community Church (PCA) (2024)

We are returning this morning to our periodic study in the book of Hebrews. We will be looking at Hebrews 10:1-18 this morning.

10 For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. 2 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? 3 But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

5 Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,

“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
but a body have you prepared for me;
6 in burnt offerings and sin offerings
you have taken no pleasure.
7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,
as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’”

8 When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), 9 then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,

16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws on their hearts,
and write them on their minds,”

17 then he adds,

“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”

18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.Hebrews 10:1-18, ESV

This is the word of the Lord. Well, the French artist Claude Monet, who lived around the 1840s through the 1920s, is without a doubt one of the most well-known artists of all time. Monet is credited with pioneering something we know as impressionist painting. Among his more than two thousand works of art, his water lily paintings are among his most well-known.

Now, maybe you've never heard of impressionist painting before, or could even identify a single painting from Monet. I would bet that even if you can't say a single thing about Monet's legacy or anything that he did, you still probably know the name Claude Monet. That goes to show just how successful the man was as an artist.

Yet, as much as Monet, his name reverberates throughout art history even to this day, listen to what he said of himself towards the end of his life. He purportedly said this, "My life has been nothing but a failure, and all that's left for me to do is to destroy my paintings before I disappear." Monet did exactly that several times in his life. He was apparently such a perfectionist that if something was slightly off on one of his paintings, he destroyed it.

It was reported that in April of 1988, a month before his famous water lily paintings were set to make their debut in Paris, that the display had to be delayed a year because, in about a frustration over some self-judged imperfections in his works, he destroyed 15 of his paintings. Monet took one look at the canvases on which he had labored over the previous three years decided they weren't good enough, and so he slashed them all up with a knife and deface them with a paint brush. Clearly, Monet was a man who, as renowned as he was in the art world, had, we might say, a heightened sensitivity towards imperfection.

Now, maybe imperfection in your own work doesn't bother you as much as it bothered Monet, and that's probably a good thing. When it comes to our moral imperfections, that is our sin, it can be incredibly discouraging. It's frankly embarrassing when we have to face up to all the words that we've spoken but shouldn't have spoken. It's shameful to think back upon the things that we've done, but in retrospect, I shouldn't have done. It's sobering to recount some of the evil thoughts that have crossed our minds and the wicked desires that have consumed our hearts. When our consciences are pricked by the many ways we sin, even if nobody sees it but you, it's often tempting to channel that discouragement and a few different ways. We sometimes justify our sin to ourselves, or we keep that sin hidden at all costs, or we simply resolve to do better next time.

Rather than hopeless discouragement over our many moral imperfections and character flaws. Well, the gospel of Jesus Christ offers another solution, a better solution. That is that we would find rest in the perfections of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Now this, of course, is the heart of the gospel, but it's also the heart of our passage. Namely that when we're confronted with our many moral imperfections and the many character flaws that all of us have, the gospel would have us look beyond ourselves outside of ourselves to Christ's perfections.

So our big idea this morning is this Christ's perfections make perfect the imperfect.

So as we walk through a passage, we're going to take it in two parts.
1. Imperfection Emphasized
2. Perfections Achieved

Imperfection Emphasized

The first imperfections emphasized. So when our passage opens and verses one through four, our author repeats, in essence, much of what he's already said throughout Hebrews. Now you may recall that the main argument of Hebrews is that Jesus is simply better. He simply better than anything that came before in the Old Testament, and that's what our author continues to argue in our passage, too. As he does that, he also leaves us with a helpful perspective, at least here in verse one, on how to understand the perfections of Jesus as it relates to the relationship between the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Again, look at your passage, he says in verse one that the law, which in this case is shorthand for all of the ceremonies and bloody sacrifices that span the Old Testament. He says, "The law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities."

Now it's already been here is that all of those proceedings that relate to bloody sacrifices in the Old Testament, many of which the author of Hebrews has already labored to expound upon earlier. Well, those things were only ever a shadow of a better reality yet to come. Now think about a shadow for a moment, and kids, you can probably help me out with this. If I am facing a light source, whether it be a light bulb or the sun, where's my shadow formed? It's formed behind me right now. If you were to look at my shadow that's formed behind me and you were to examine it, would you say that's Andrew? That shadow is Andrew. In fact, that shadow is indistinguishable from Andrew. Well, no, not really. You see, the shadow behind me isn't the same thing as me, but it's also not completely divorced or unrelated to me. It may not be me, but it still reflects something about me, something about my silhouette. It wouldn't be a shadow of me at all had I not been standing in front of it in the first place.

Well, according to our author, this is how the Old Testament and the New Testament work together. In other words, although the New Testament and the Old Testament can be distinguished from each other and all of those bloody rules pertaining to sacrifices that we've read earlier in the Old Testament are not the reality that they point to, that is Jesus Christ. There is, at the same time, an essential continuity between them. It's as if Jesus is shadow, in other words, is cast backwards upon all of the ceremonial and sacrificial laws of the Old Testament. All of those laws, in turn, point forward to Jesus Christ to the reality.

Now, some have explained this relationship using other imagery, imagery of that of a seed and a flower where the Old Testament is the seed that comes to full flower and the New Testament. The well-known early church theologian Augustine expressed this relationship by saying quote, "The new is in the old concealed and the old is in the new revealed."

Now, I hope this short digression, we might call it as helpful as we study the Bible, but as it relates immediately to the passage before us, our author wants us to see something important. He wants us to see that all of the ceremonies and bloody sacrifices of the Old Testament are, by their nature, a shadow, which even in their own day pointed forward to the reality of who is Jesus Christ? Critically, those things were never intended to be an end to themselves, and as soon as our author makes that important point right at the opening of our passage in verse one. Well, it isn't doesn't take him long to home in on one specific part of that shadow in the Old Testament, the Day of Atonement.

Now, the word Day of Atonement isn't used in verses two through four, but that's essentially what our author is reflecting upon in verses two, three, four as he continues. So lets us and let's ask ourselves the question, what is the Day of Atonement? Well, the Day of Atonement was the most important day of the year in Old Testament Israel's religious life. It was a day that was set apart to deal with all of the pollution from sin that had built up in the life of Israel over the previous year. On that day, one day a year, the high preist in Israel had a really special role to play. He was assigned to the duty of going into the holiest place on Earth, this center room in the Tabernacle complex to offer blood. and the whole presentation of the high preist into this room one day a year was filled with drama.

Now, for one thing, this high priest had to bring with him burning incense so that as he approached the glory of God in the most holy place on Earth, a canopy of smoke would blind him from seeing the glory of God so that he wouldn't die. While he was in that room, which he entered twice during the day of the Day of Atonement, he sprinkled blood on the most important furniture that was contained within that room, the so-called Ark of the Covenant. Then he would scurry out of the room to the relief of all the onlookers outside who are hoping that he did everything right so that he wouldn't die. Then he'd offer a few more bloody sacrifices in the outer room of the tabernacle before all was said and done.

Now you can read all about the Day of Atonement in Leviticus 16 and all the drama that was involved on the Day of Atonement there. For our purposes, when our author invokes the Day of Atonement ceremony in verses two, three, and four in our passage, his point is that as critical and as important as this key event in Israel's religious life was, it was still only a shadow. It didn't have any power within itself to do anything about human sin and moral in perfection. Now, that doesn't mean it didn't have value, but its value lay in what it pointed to it. Its value lay outside of itself. Its value lay in that it pointed to the reality of human sin and our need for a better sacrifice. Now those were valuable lessons, to be sure, but the day itself was never able to cleanse the worshipper of sin and never able to bring the worshipper, as our author tells us, to perfection.

Several years ago, I had some friends who were serving as missionaries in a restricted country for Christians. I won't say what the country was. They were ministering among college students, though, in one of the major cities of this country. In order to do that, they had to be wise about the way that they went about their business. I don't remember all the details is about 10 years ago, but one of the obstacles, as I recall, that they had to continually navigate was that of the status of their visas. You see, it wasn't really possible at that time, I don't know if it still is for one, to get visas for missionary work in that country. So instead they had to get a different kind of visa that required them, as I recall, to exit the country every 90 days or so. Then they'd be able to re-enter the country a few days later and then that 90 day clock would start again.

Now you have to understand that every 90 days for these missionaries, it was as if their ministries hung in the balance. If during the course of one of those transits out and back end, they were prevented by the authorities from entering, which happened from time to time. Well, then the relationships that they had labored so long and hard to build over the previous few years or over the previous ninety or one hundred and eighty days would be severed. Therefore, although they were committed to their ministries in this country, there was always so much uncertainty and instability that accompanied their work. At any point, they could say something wrong and reentering the country and their ministry would effectively be over from that point onward.

Well, this is the kind of uncertainty that also attended the Day of Atonement. Every year, the high preist would go in and come out. When all of his work was done, when the sheep and the goat and the ram were all diced up and burned and the high priest made it through the ceremony unscathed, God's people were still left with the fact that sin hadn't been dealt with. Then in another year they'd be back at it again. Every year they'd be reminded of their sin, of their moral imperfections, and that there was nothing within their power to remedy that problem. At least one thing was clear to them every year, until a better sacrifice is offered, we will be stuck in this cycle and stuck in our sin year in and year out.

Now, I suspect for the reasons just given, that worshippers in the Old Testament, I don't know for sure, but one would imagine that these worshippers had a keen sense of their sin and moral imperfections. Can the same be said of us too? You see, I think some of us look at our moral imperfections, we look at our sin and we actually persuade ourselves in the course of examining our own hearts that we can do enough on our own to stay in the black as it were. Like some kind of moral bank accounts. Perhaps some of us actually imagine that if we have a moral deficit, well, we can just do enough good things, accrue enough moral capital, and then rise above our imperfections.

If the Day of Atonement is any indication of how sin works, friends, that's just not possible. Understand that our moral deficit before God is so great that no amount of effort or care we render can do anything more than be futile. After all, worshippers on the Day of Atonement followed these external ceremonies that were ordained by God to minute detail. Yet in the end, no amount of blood could ever bring about the moral perfection they needed to be right with God. The Day of Atonement accented the depth of their sin. When we examine even our best works, we should see the same thing.

So if you're not looking to Christ by faith right now, maybe even if you wouldn't consider yourself a Christian, that would be my hope for you this morning that you would honestly evaluate your perspective on life and on human nature. Then recognize the bad news, first and foremost, that you're not as well off as you might think you are. For all of your academic success or vocational accomplishments, for whatever you put your pride in, you have a serious sin problem at the core of your heart. Like the worshippers of Israel, there's nothing within yourself you can do to remedy that issue.

Now that our author underscores the bad news of our moral imperfection and calls us to consider for ourselves some of that bad news, throughout the remainder of our passage, he takes the spotlight off of you and me, and he puts it instead on Jesus Christ and the perfections of Jesus Christ. That Jesus Christ gave himself for us and for our salvation.

Now, if you look through the rest of the passage, there are essentially three parts to Christ's perfections that are author emphasizes. So I did say this is a two point sermon, you could kind of look at this as a four point sermon, though, sorry. He highlights essentially three parts of Christ's perfections here.

1. First, he highlights his perfect obedience in verses five through ten.
2. Second, he highlights his perfect sacrifice in verses eleven through fourteen.
3. Then third, he caps off his discussion in verses fifteen through eighteen with a reflection on a perfect crescendo, is what I'm calling it.

All of these are reflected as well in your sermon worksheet. If you're looking at that and if you didn't catch any of that, we will repeat ourselves as we keep going.

Christ's Perfect Obedience

So let's start now looking at Christ perfections and home in just on verses five through ten, where author highlights for us Christ's perfect obedience.

Now you may notice in your Bibles that beginning in verse five, the text is slightly indented to the right. That is typical whenever New Testament authors are citing something or reflecting upon a given text from the Old Testament. Then it's introduced in verse five as something that Christ said. Now the texts are author cites here is Psalm, 40. Psalm 40 is a psalm that King David, one of the greatest kings in Israel's history, that he penned in his own life more than a thousand years before the author of Hebrews is writing.

Ultimately, and this is this is important, according to the author of Hebrews, those Spirit inspired words that King David spoke and wrote down a thousand years earlier are words that Jesus Christ, the one that David foreshadows, spoke to the father long before David. Understand that inciting these words as words of Jesus, the way that he does the author of Hebrews is giving us, in essence, a window into this divine conversation that took place between Father and Son before the incarnation that we, as the people of God, are privileged over here. So what then does the son say to the father before the incarnation?

Well, if you're looking at your text here, there are essentially two points that are being made through this Psalm. The first thing is that God doesn't delight in sacrifices and offerings. That's the very first thing that's said in the Psalm, "Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired." This might seem like a curious thing to say, since it was God, after all, who ordained those sacrifices and offerings in the Old Testament. It was God who ordained the high priest, commanded that the high preist go into the most holy place one day a year and offer bloody bulls and goats as sacrifices on the Day of Atonement.

So is God now changing his mind? Well, not at all. In fact, throughout the Old Testament, we hear this same message on repeat, that bloody sacrificial animals were never God's true desire. They were necessary, of course, they were necessary to show us our sin and to look forward to the one who would pay for our sin with his own precious blood.

Yet as one commentator, Richard Phillips writes, "they were not a statement of the solution, but of the problem." What God desires from us is obedience, not sacrifices to cover our disobedience.

Joyful Heart Obedience

That leads to the second point that our author is making through these voices verses rather joyful heart obedience that is a heart that delights in God, and his will is what God truly desires above all else. Friends, this is what Jesus Christ did in the incarnation, when he took upon himself human flesh in the fullness of time and lived as a perfect, obedient Jew under the law.

You know, one of the big things that the author of Hebrews emphasizes throughout the book is that Jesus is the perfect high priest. The Perfect high preist. No one better than Jesus. Recall that a priest is someone who represents people before God. While all the priests are the Old Testament did that imperfectly, Jesus is the one who represents you and me before God perfectly without spot or blemish. When we think of Jesus's priesthood and we reflect on what it means for Jesus to be our great high priest, very often our focus falls on Christ's atoning death. That is how Christ Jesus at the end of his life offered up his broken body and shed blood for our sins.

Theologians sometimes refer to that aspect of Christ's priesthood as his passive obedience. His passive obedience in giving up himself he fulfilled what the bloody sacrifices on the Day of Atonement could not, but pointed to. Yet, as important as Christ's passive obedience is to our salvation, it doesn't exhaust Christ's work. Before Christ died while he lived and he lived as the perfectly joyful, obedient son who delighted from his birth to do his father's will. This aspect of Christ Christ's work, in contrast to his passive obedience, is known as his active obedience.

That's exactly what our author is emphasizing in our passage. That before Christ died to pay for our sins and take the wrath of God that was destined for you and me took it upon himself. Christ, first and foremost, lived a life of joyful obedience to every aspect of God's law. His heart was from day one, perfectly aligned with every desire of God, whereas ours aren't. At no point did Jesus begrudgingly follow the will of the Father. I love how theologian Michael Horton puts it. Horton writes, "Not just the absence of sin, but the total positive obedience in thought, word, deed, and motivation render Jesus Christ both a perfect offering for sin and a fragrant living sacrifice of praise." He not only died for us, but he also lived for us. Obedient even unto death, but not only in his death. Obedient throughout his life of service to the Father's word and will.

When Lorri and I started dating, more than 12 years ago now, I recall that since we liked each other at the time, we slowly learned how to delight in the things that the other person delighted in. To be fair to her, she did a better job at this than I did. For example, I don't think prior to dating that Lorri had probably watched a minute of professional football. Yet one day I recall her coming over to my house with some friends wearing a Philadelphia Eagles shirt, beautiful sight to behold, and watching an Eagles game with me. For me at that time, you wouldn't have caught me dead on a Saturday night at a community theater watching a play. Yet, one Saturday night, where was I was in a community theater watching a play because that's what my wife at the time delighted in.

You see, when we love someone, we often learn how to delight in the things that they delight in. So one of the questions that all of this raises for us is whether we, as the people of God, the people of Christ, also delight in the things that Christ delights in. Now, of course, our salvation rests squarely in Christ's work, not in ours. But if we claim to love Christ, well, then isn't it incumbent upon all of us to check ourselves frequently and ask ourselves whether we likewise delight in what Christ delights in too?

The Bible tells us, for example, that Christ delights in his church. He delights in his bride so much that he gave himself up for her. Do you also delight in the church? Are you also likewise committed to Christ's bride? Christ delights in truth. He delights, in truth, so much that he calls himself in John 14:6, the way the truth and the life. Do you also delight in truth or are you more concerned with winning an argument than speaking what's true? Understand that Christ committed the whole of his priestly life to the delightful obedience of God's will.

Jesus tells us in John 4:34, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me to accomplish his work." The author of Hebrews, he's going to tell us later in Hebrews 12:2 that "for the joy that was set before him, Jesus Christ endured the shame of the cross." Whereas the animals on the Day of Atonement were unwilling victims who really didn't have a say in the matter. Jesus was the willing and obedient victim from start to finish, namely as he made his way from Jerusalem onto the cross. That's what grounds our salvation. Jesus is glad obedience from day one as a servant. Out of that, will God also call you and me as his people to give of ourselves as a living sacrifice of praise to the will of God. So ask yourself, is that my delight, too? Is that what I desire as I live my life in this world?

Perfect Sacrifice

So perfect obedience, that's the first part of the perfection that Christ achieved for us and for our salvation. As we continue in our text, we learn and verses eleven through fourteen that Christ also gave himself up on the cross as a perfect sacrifice as well. Now, if Christ active obedience was the focus of versus five through ten, well that his passive obedience and its implications are the focus of eleven through fourteen. Remember again, Christ active obedience refers to Christ's obedient priestly life, where he followed God's law and thought word and deed to a T. And then his passive obedience refers to his atoning priestly death, his sufferings. This is what our author concentrates on in our latter section and versus eleven through fourteen.

First, he tells us that in contrast to the priests of the Old Testament, who were constantly standing in the course of their duties. Who had to stand day after day and year after year, there was no seat in the Tabernacle for them to take a break or to take a breather. What do we read of Christ? Hebrews 1:12, our author tells us, "but when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sin, he sat down at the right hand of God." Now, so often when we read heroic stories or we see dramatic films that highlight a hero who gives his life to save the world. Well, typically the best thing that happens in the aftermath of that event is that the heroes memorialized. That's basically as good as they get it. People may remember the sacrifice of the hero, but the hero stays dead. Yet, when Christ offered a final sacrifice for sins, we're told as in so many other places in Hebrews and in the Gospels that he sat down as the victorious priest. That death could not hold the son of God when he gave himself. So we read here that the work is done. That through Jesus Christ and his past active and passive obedience, perfection has been achieved.

Now commentators observe, if you're focusing in on that word, perfection for a moment, commentators observe that throughout Hebrews this word, we translate perfection. Other places it could be translated as completed or fulfilled. Your version might say something different, something like that. Nevertheless, commentators note that this word translated perfection has already occurred probably a half a dozen times or so before chapter ten rolls around. Each time it's been used so far in Hebrews, it's used either to describe what Christ has done or what the sacrifices of the Old Testament could not do.

Yet, when we turn to verse fourteen for the first time in Hebrews, this verb perfection is applied to us. Again, we read in verse fourteen, "For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified." Understand that in view of Christ's active and passive obedience, his priestly life and then his priestly death, there is a real objective sense in which we, the people of God, have already been perfected.

Earlier in our passage, our author says something similar in verse ten, where he says, "Through the offering of Christ, we have been sanctified", which literally means we have been made holy again. There's an objective sense to the gospel in which we are already holy. We are already perfected and completed in the eyes of God. Christ, of course, is the holy one of Israel. Christ is the one who is absolutely perfect and his person and work. But when we put our faith in Jesus Christ, there is a real objective sense in which we enter, in the words of one theologian, a state of perfect holiness.

Now, of course, that doesn't mean that we're sinless, and our author reminds us of that too. He reminds us that even though we are sanctified and perfected, the end of verse fourteen, he tells us that we are also being sanctified. Perfection, in other words, doesn't mean that we're now morally perfect in every sense of the word and there's nothing left for us to do no sin left for us to repent of in this life. Not at all. To be perfected in this context is to receive a certain identity, a certain change of heart that now makes us presentable to the living God.

The challenge of the Christian life, then, is that we would learn to live out of this identity. That we would learn how to grow into this identity by constantly putting to death the remnants of Adam that remains in all of us and living more and more in accordance with who we really are in Jesus Christ.

Let me tell you a story that I think illustrates this point well. A few years ago, there was a story in the news I recall about this young German woman in New York City who, by all accounts, was a wealthy heiress to some billionaire family. In reality, she didn't have a penny to her name and in the course of living out this deception, she defrauded some of New York's wealthy elites, banks and other businesses out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. As the story goes, nobody really knew where this young German woman came from, but somehow, she got people to give her money. Sounds like a pretty good gimmick, if you ask me.

She would often tell friends, for instance, wealthy friends, that she forgot her credit cards so that they would pay for her elaborate trips and expenses. She racked up thousands of dollars in hotel bills at some of New York's most exclusive hotels. One time, she even chartered a $30,000 private jet to come out here to Omaha for the big stockholders meeting every year and somehow did it without paying a cent. Then she even got a bank to give her something like one hundred thousand dollars.

Now, in the end, after something like a teen month investigation into her deception, the truth came out that she didn't have any money to her name That her father wasn't a diplomat or an oil baron like she claimed he was. He was actually just an average truck driver in Germany. So she was investigated, arrested, put on trial, and she's now serving several years at Rikers Island in New York, all for a living as someone she was not.

Now, the problem with this young woman was that her life didn't conform with who she actually was. In an ironic kind of way, that's the challenge before us too. Don't live as someone, you're not. Again, our passage reminds us that we're already holy, that we're already in a perfect state of holiness through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Yet, how many of us live our lives as spiritual paupers and beggars in this world. Often craving what the world can give us, as if we don't already have all of our greatest needs met in Jesus Christ. Too often living our lives in a desperate kind of way, grasping at the values of the world as if we'll be perfected only when we have the wealth and security craved by citizens of this world.

Friends, this is not how perfected and sanctified sinners are called to live in this world. I love how the Puritan Thomas Watson puts it, he writes this, "So the sanctified sinner lives as one of another world. Not conforming himself to the sinful courses of this world but being transformed into the likeness of those of the better world." We are, in other words, learning to live as the children of God, as citizens of the City of God, because that's who we are, even as we make our way in the so-called City of Man. This is the heart of the Christian life friends, and it's all grounded in the perfect sacrifice and victory of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

Perfect Crescendo

So where does all this leave us? Well, in verses fifteen to eighteen are author rounds out his argument. He brings all of this to a close into a head with a perfect crescendo. Now, recall that earlier in our passage, we heard all the way back in verses one through four that the Old Testament sacrificial system itself suggested that it would one day give way to something better. Essentially, we heard in verse two of our passage that if those sacrifices on the Day of Atonement were able to affect that which they pointed to, well, then they would have ceased to be offered. The problem is they didn't, which meant they were never intended to affect what they pointed to. Even from the inception of the Old Testament sacrificial system they pointed beyond themselves to another solution.

When we come to our last four verses in our passage, our author reminds us once again that the Old Testament itself anticipated what belongs to you and me today. You'll notice in your passage that the text, if you're using an ESV at least is slightly indented in verses sixteen and then again in in verse seventeen. The words that are cited here, are words of an Old Testament text. The words that are cited here are from Jeremiah 31, a text our author has already reflected on back in Hebrews chapter eight, the promise of a new covenant.

You see the entirety of the Old Testament, including especially here, Jeremiah, 31, looked forward to the day when the people of God would be in a state of completeness. When they would be in right relationship with God. When their sins would be forgiven. When they'd be cleansed and freed and empowered to do what they were created to do, namely, to enjoy fellowship with the God as the people of God and bask in the light of his presence. According to our author here, that day has dawned in Jesus Christ.

One of the things that makes this so much better. This kind of access we enjoy so much better than anything the priests of the Old Testament enjoyed, is that we have access where our sins are remembered no more. Now, if you recall from the opening of our text, the whole ministry of the priesthood of the Old Testament, including the Day of Atonement, was intended in part to bring about a remembrance of sin. That was one of its purposes. You offer the sacrifices. They can't do anything, and in the course of it, you're reminded that you're sinful. Because of Christ's finished work, when we come boldly to God, we're reminded here that our sins are not hanging over our head because our sins and lawless deeds have been taken care of. They've been taken care of through Jesus Christ and him alone, and therefore our sin is remembered no more.

Now, John Calvin is quick to note on this that by saying our sins are no remember no more, of course, doesn't imply that we are called to confess our sins in the Christian life, nor that God hasn't grieved by our sin. We should confess our sins and God is still in the New Covenant grieved by our sin. The point is that our sin isn't a barrier any longer for those who have received the status of perfect holiness through Jesus Christ. For us, the verdict has already been rendered in God's heavenly courtrooms. We have been declared in the right, righteous because of the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, that is given to us, and received by us through faith alone. There's nothing left for us to do then, but to come boldly to the throne of grace and receive what's already been done by Jesus Christ, our Lord. This is the great crescendo that our author leaves us with.

Application

So as we prepare to wrap up, let me leave us with one other thing something that we've said many times before in a sermon already, something that many other people have said before, but really important to hang our hats on. Grow in becoming who you already are in Christ.

Now, I suppose that we could maybe disingenuously look at this passage, look at this passage selectively and highlight the parts that say we've been perfected, ignore everything else, and then pursue what we really want in the world. That's the message we constantly hear from the world. It's not what the Bible says. Rather, the Bible tells us that only through Christ Jesus have we been set apart as holy. Only through Christ Jesus do we enter into a state of perfect holiness. Out of that, a number of implications and frankly, a number of growing pains follow for us as well.

This means that we have to train ourselves out of that identity to begin to desire the things that accord with that identity and put away our addictions to things that don't. It means that we have to learn to rest in what Christ says is true of us, rather than desperately seeking the approval of others elsewhere. It even means that our time commitments should get rearranged as a result. Our financial commitments should get tested. Our loves should get reordered and our goals in life should get shuffled around.

Yes, Christ has done all the work, everything the Old Testament sacrificial system could not do and everything we could not do for ourselves. As a consequence, we are endowed with a new status, a new state, and we are called by the power of the Holy Spirit to grow in becoming what we already are through Christ Jesus, our Lord. Would that be our hope? Would that be our prayer as we depart and go about our weeks?

Let me pray. Gracious, Heavenly Father, Lord, we thank you for these reminders of Christ's finished work. How Christ did what the sacrifices of the Old Testament sacrificial system could not do, and that as a result, we have received a status of being perfected, of being holy. So that we could approach the throne of Grace boldly wherever we are, whenever I call out to the name of Jesus Christ, and know that our prayers are heard, know that we have access, know that we have an advocate in the heavenly places. Lord out of this identity would you help us to take advantage of the means of grace that you give us for our growth and sanctification? Would you help us evaluate our own hearts and begin to put to death more and more of the sin that clings to our nature in Adam, and to more and more live as becomes the people of God? We ask all this in Christ's name. Amen.

"No More Remembrance of Sin" - Hebrews 10:1-18 - Harvest Community Church (PCA) (2024)
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