Hebrews 10J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)
Sacrifices under the Law were “typical” not final
10 1-4 The Law possessed only a dim outline of the benefits Christ would bring and did not actually reproduce them. Consequently it was incapable of perfecting the souls of those who offered their regular annual sacrifices. For if it had, surely the sacrifices would have been discontinued—on the grounds that the worshippers, having been really cleansed, would have had no further consciousness of sin. In practice, however, the sacrifices amounted to an annual reminder of sins; for the blood of bulls and goats cannot really remove the guilt of sin.
Christ, however, makes the old order obsolete and makes the perfect sacrifice
5-7 Therefore, when Christ enters the world, he says: ‘Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you have prepared for me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you had no pleasure. Then I said, Behold, I have come—in the volume of books it is written of me—to do your will, O God’.
8-10 After saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin you did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are made according to the Law), Christ then says, “Behold, I have come to do your will, O God.” That means he is dispensing with the old order of sacrifices, and establishing a new order of obedience to the will of God, and in that will we have been made holy by the single unique offering of the body of Christ.
11-16 Every human priest stands day by day performing his religious duties and offering time after time the same sacrifices—which can never actually remove sins. But this man, after offering one sacrifice for sins for ever, took his seat at God’s right hand, from that time offering no more sacrifice, but waiting until “his enemies be made his footstool”. For by virtue of that one offering he has perfected for all time every one whom he makes holy. The Holy Spirit himself endorses this truth for us, when he says, first: ‘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’.
17 And then, he adds, ‘Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more’.
18 Where God grants remission of sin there can be no question of making further atonement.
Through Christ we can confidently approach God
19-25 So by virtue of the blood of Jesus, you and I, my brothers, may now have courage to enter the holy of holies by way of the one who died and is yet alive, who has made for us a holy means of entry by himself passing through the curtain, that is, his own human nature. Further, since we have a great High Priest set over the household of God, let us draw near with true hearts and fullest confidence, knowing that our inmost souls have been purified by the sprinkling of his blood just as our bodies are cleansed by the washing of clean water. In this confidence let us hold on to the hope that we profess without the slightest hesitation—for he is utterly dependable—and let us think of one another and how we can encourage each other to love and do good deeds. And let us not hold aloof from our church meetings, as some do. Let us do all we can to help one another’s faith, and this the more earnestly as we see the final day drawing ever nearer.
26-31 Now if we sin deliberately after we have known and accepted the truth, there can be no further sacrifice for sin for us but only a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fire of God’s indignation, which will one day consume all that sets itself against him. The man who showed contempt for Moses’ Law died without hope of appeal on the evidence of two or three of his fellows. How much more dreadful a punishment will he be thought to deserve who has poured scorn on the Son of God, treated like dirt the blood of the agreement which had once made him holy, and insulted the very Spirit of grace? For we know the one who said: ‘Vengeance is mine: I will repay’. And again: ‘The Lord will judge his people’. Truly it is a terrible thing for a man who has done this to fall into the hands of the living God!
32-38 You must never forget those past days when you had received the light and went through such a great and painful struggle. It was partly because everyone’s eye was on you as you endured harsh words and hard experiences, partly because you threw in your lot with those who suffered much the same. You sympathised with those who were put in prison and you were cheerful when your own goods were confiscated, for you knew that you had a much more solid and lasting treasure in Heaven. Don’t throw away your trust now—it carries with it a rich reward in the world to come. Patient endurance is what you need if, after doing God’s will, you are to receive what he has promised. ‘For yet a little while, and he who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, my soul has no pleasure in him’.
39 Surely we are not going to be men who cower back and are lost, but men who maintain their faith until the salvation of their souls is complete!