Agonizomai: Heb 10: 05-09 - Christ - The Perfect Fulfiller of God's Will for Us

Friday, February 26, 2010

Heb 10: 05-09 - Christ - The Perfect Fulfiller of God's Will for Us

Heb 10 - 05-09 - Christ - The Perfect Fulfiller of God's Will for Us

Heb 10:5-9 Consequently, when Christ (Greek "He") 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 abolishes the first in order to establish the second.

Looking at verse 9 we need to be reminded of what it is that He abolished and what it is that He established. What was abolished? The Old Covenant with Israel by which they were never effectually justified, but only reminded of their need for justification. They were neither declared nor made righteous by the old system. But he who through faith is righteous shall live. {Hab 2:4} And what was established was the new covenant in His blood - the gospel of grace wherein an alien righteousness is imputed (justification) and an experiential righteousness is imparted (sanctification/glorification) to undeserving sinners.

Old and new. The old was never designed to do what the new does. Yet the new was foreshadowed in the old. And this is because God is party to both covenants in order to show his faithfulness and natural man’s constant, unwavering, intransigent delight in breaking God’s covenants. Grace saved a remnant of Israel under the old, and grace saves a remnant of all humankind under the new.

The writer to the Hebrews bolsters these points by referring the readers back once more to their own historical sacred writings. He quotes scripture to them. He shows them Christ in Moses and the prophets. The exact source of the citation in verse 5 is from the Psalms. {Ps 40:6} The astute reader will at once notice that the original is translated not as "a body you have prepared for me," but as "you have given me an open ear" or "you have opened my ear" and this is, at first quite puzzling to the lay reader.

Unbelief will immediately pounce upon such things and use them to undermine the reliability of text. But faith, once satisfied that both translations in the Old testament and the new are as accurate as we know how to make them, will bow before the wisdom of God believing that there is no real discrepancy, and be open to other explanations. And the one most put forward by the commentators I have read is that the "opening of the ear" is a reference to the Mosaic ordinance whereby a slave could have his ear bored to the lintel as a sign of his lifelong, undying and total commitment in love to his master. This is a picture of Jesus’ commitment to the will of the Father, which he could fulfill as a man only if he had a body in which to do it. Thus "a body you have prepared for me".

We must not let this detour prevent us from seeing the point. The old system of sacrifices was of no real value for effectual atonement of sin - thus God did not desire them in the sense of taking any real pleasure in them (even though he commanded them). On the other hand, the writer points to the same Psalm {Ps 40:7-8} for the very words of Christ in which He announces that He comes to do what no man could do - He comes to do the will of God - completely and perfectly. That will was done not only in a life lived in perfect obedience, but in a sacrifice of His body - also offered up in perfect obedience. Note once more that the sacrifice of Christ was an act of obedience, meaning that it was the will of God. The Son was the gift of the Father, and the whole of the Godhead, being of one substance, was eternally united in the decree and the plan of salvation. When Christ lived the life of love, He was expressing the love of the Father, yet through obedience, as a man.

Once more, the point - Christ came and abolished altogether the old sacrificial system when He sacrificed His own body on the tree. This He did, as had been decreed from eternity and according to the deliberate plan and foreknowledge of God. The consummation of salvation came in Jesus Christ, the ultimate and eternally effectual sacrifice. The implication for the Hebrews being this; "Are you out of your minds, thinking about returning to the shadow when the reality has come!!?"

You cannot have Christ and law as justification. If you want to be justified in the slightest degree by law then you must keep the whole law because Christ is of no avail to you. But if you receive the good news of the gospel of grace and trust in Christ alone for justification, then you do not need to keep law (as if you could, anyway!) in order to be accepted with God. The two systems cannot be mixed. Nothing made the Apostle Paul hotter than attempts to mix law and grace in matters of justification.

Like the Hebrews, we all need to see that application here. We all have vestigial impulses towards self-justification. The flesh wants to contribute and, thereby, to get credit. We need to be constantly reminded of the gospel so that we don’t slide into such a mindset. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation for those that believe - that is for the believing ones. Believing is not something you do once, but something that is ongoing - and it is something that is ongoing because it is the gift of God. But Christ abolished the old covenant of law by fulfilling it on our behalf and giving that fulfillment to us as a gift of His grace.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home