The Book of Hebrews #37 chapter 10:1-18 pt. 2
The Book of Hebrews
Christ: The Living Sacrifice #2
Hebrews 10:1-18
Last week we began looking at a series of contrasts of why the sacrifice Christ made on the cross is superior to the Old Testament sacrifices.
The first thing we saw is they couldn’t bring access to God.  That is seen in verse 1.  The second thing He says here about the ineffectiveness of animal sacrifices is
#2 - They Couldn't Remove Sin’s Guilt
Now, that is an extremely important issue because since the very first sin in the world, man has needed a way to deal with his guilt.  Adam and Eve tried to deal with their shame by hiding and covering up and ever since, man has desired deliverance from sin and its guilt.
In fact, what generally brings a person to salvation is the intensity of the conviction of their sin and upon hearing the gospel, they are saved.  But the old system couldn't remove sin.
Verses 1-2
In other words, if the thing had really done the job, it would've removed sin and they wouldn't have been burdened by the guilt of their sin.
Now, the word "consciousness" there in verse 2 may not give us the best understanding of the verse.
Rather than removing the consciousness of sin, it is better to translate the word removing the conviction of sin.  There would have been no more guilt.  And if it had accomplished that, it would have no longer been necessary to offer sacrifices because that is the desired end.  That’s where everyone wants to get.
But it didn’t do that.  In fact, they had a double problem because not only did it not remove their sin, it constantly reminded them that it did not remove their sin.
verse 3
Can you imagine living under a system like that?  I can to a certain degree.  For almost forty years now, I’ve taken insulin. For 37 years, I took daily and at one time, multiple injections with a syringe.  Now I wear this insulin pump.  It carries a three-day supply of medicine with me everywhere I go.
Now this pump does two things.  First of all, it deals with the glucose in my system.  It is designed for me to enter a blood glucose value and a carbohydrate amount and it will calculate how much insulin I need for a meal or snack.
In addition to that, it is set at a basal rate that gives me insulin 24 hours a day every day of my life.  And it is very effective in dealing with the effects of diabetes.
But every so often, it will give me an alert that I’m running low on insulin and that alert is a reminder to me to refill the vial the pump carries so I can continue to receive the medicine I need to live.
In effect, what that alert does is say, “You’re sick and you need medicine.”
Now the pump cannot cure diabetes.  It just deals with the effects of the disease and reminds me from time to time that I’m sick.
Now, in a sense, that's exactly what was going on in Israel with the sacrificial system.  Instead of being able to look at the sacrifice and say, "I'm forgiven," all they could do was look at the sacrifice and say, “I'm sick and I’m not getting any better so I've got to go down there again with another lamb.”
Rather than the old covenant removing sin, it just stood as a constant reminder that sin was not removed and it dealt with the effects of the disease.
That’s why I think the better word to use in verse 2 is conviction rather than consciousness of sin.  As we all know, there's a certain amount of guilt that comes with sin. It's the system that God built into all of us.  Just like pain is a natural response physically to injury, guilt or conviction is the natural response to moral violations.
And under the Old system, even if you were up-to-date on your sacrifices never relieved them from the tension of guilt.
Perhaps the greatest statement you will ever read in the Bible is Romans 8:1.
It's a wonderful thing in the Christian life to know there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ, to be free from guilt, and to know your sins are continually being forgiven by the grace of God.
And what verse 2 is saying is they didn't have that freedom. They had a tension. They were torn between what they knew was God's law and the consciousness of guilt that they always had because they always broke His law.
Listen:  As long as I’m wearing this pump and depending on the insulin I cannot say that I’m cured.  And that’s the way it was with the old covenant. They kept taking the same medicine and it was only a reminder that they weren't cured.
But what a wonderful thing it is when healing takes place.  That’s true physically; but it is especially true spiritually speaking.  We ought to thank God that through the blood of Jesus Christ, we take the pump off and throw it away because we are completely delivered from the guilt of sin!
So first of all, the old sacrifices couldn’t get you into the presence of God, they couldn’t remove sin’s guilt and thirdly,
3. They Were Only External
verse 4
Now we need to make sure we understand this point.  If you ask many people how folks were saved in the Old Testament they respond by saying, "By sacrifices."
Now think about the logic of that.  Do you really believe the sin of mankind could be forgiven simply by killing a bull and spreading his blood around on things?
Obviously the problem of man’s sin will require much more than that and that’s what this verse is addressing.  This truth is, it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin. That can't be.
Leon Kilbreath told me one time about visiting a home where a man had a shelf full of pet rocks.  He said he gave 3 dollars a piece for them and had one stud rock he bought for 8 dollars!  Leon said, “That won’t work!”
And that’s what we find here.  That won’t work!
Hebrews 9:13
In other words, offering the blood of bulls and goats was simply an act of obedience that had an external significance. It never got to the heart of the issue at all. It never took away sin. It was only, in effect, a man saying to God, "I believe you. I want to worship you, so I'll obey you and I'll offer a sacrifice." And God was saying, "On the basis of your works, in response to your faith, I accept that."
The truth is obvious. There is no relationship at all between the death and the physical blood of a dumb animal and the forgiveness of man's moral offense against God. There's no connection. It was impossible for any animal to satisfy the demands of the creator God. It couldn't be done. Only Jesus Christ, the perfect union of humanity and deity, could satisfy God. Only His death could be the ultimate sacrifice.
So as I pointed out last week, there was a certain positive effect that could remove an outward ceremonial defilement, but they never got inside to change a man's nature. They never got inside to reverse the moral trend. They never got inside to turn the offense to God into a sweet-smelling savor.
That's why Ezekiel said, "There's coming a day when God is going to pour out His Spirit, when He's going to take away the stony heart that's in you, and He's going to give you a heart of flesh, and He'll pour His Spirit upon you. This is coming in the future, because you need to be changed on the inside." And the old system couldn't do it.
There were two or three reasons why it was ineffective.
First, it was external.  IT didn’t change the inside.
Second, it was ritualistic.  It was only a shadow of the real thing.
And thirdly, God was not obliged to accept it.  Infact, oftentimes He wouldn’t accept their sacrifices because they weren’t sincere and honest in the presentation.
Look at verses 5-6
Why wouldn’t God accept what He designed?  The problem was not with the design.  The problem was with the operation.  They took something that should've been a symbol of faith and they turned it into a ritual where there was no faith.
And in verses 5-6, He quotes from Psalm 40:6-8 and it's a devastating quote because it is a reminder to the Jews that God didn't like the old system and the Old system is exactly what they were hanging on to and depending on.
And the author is just reminding them, you can offer the sacrifices if you want to, but God has not obligated Himself to accept them just because you offer them.
It was easy for sacrifices to be a ritual, because they were so external. It should have been a token of love and devotion.  It should've been a symbol of obedience. But it was a ritual, and it didn't have anything else to it for most of Israel.
Psalm 51:16
What God really wanted all along was their hearts and they just kept giving Him the ritual.
And from time to time, God would say, I’m sick of it.  There is nothing to your rituals.  They mean nothing to you or Me.
And it still happens today.  There are people who waltz in and out of the church, and they go right through the whole routine. They don't have any reality at all.
And I don’t know which is the greater sin.  For them, under the Old Covenant to do it ritualistically or for us, who know grace and salvation to let it deteriorate to that oint.
I think perhaps ours is the greater sin because we have been the beneficiaries of eternal salvation and yet we still sin against the blood of Jesus and the grace of God when we become cold and indifferent in our responses to Him.
So the animal sacrifices were ineffective for three reasons. They couldn't bring access to God. They couldn't remove sin. They couldn't really get inside. They were always external.
Well, we’ll stop there for tonight.  Next week we’re going to begin to look at the other side of the contrast.
In the next few verses the ineffectiveness of animal sacrifices is contrasted with the effectiveness of Christ's sacrifice, and we'll pick it up at verse 5 and go through verse 18.
Let’s pray


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