Guilt and Hebrews 10


     I think one of the most fascinating books of the New Testament is Hebrews.  I love the way it shows how the Old Testament pointed to Jesus.  And one of its most fascinating chapters is chapter 10 – because it vividly talks about becoming free of guilt.

     In the first four verses the writer states that the Old Testament sacrificial system could never make the worshipers perfect.  Especially interesting is verse 2.  If the Old Testament sacrifices could have done that then “the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sin.”  Or as one modern translation puts it:  they “would no longer feel guilty for their sins.”   Since those sacrifices couldn’t do that, the opposite was true as verse 3 states:  But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.’

    The chapter then proceeds by talking about Jesus’ sacrifice.  In striking contrast to what the writer had said about the Old Testament sacrificial system in the first part of the chapter, he now says, in regard to Jesus, “for by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” (v. 14)   And again, because of Jesus, “their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.  Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.”  (v. 17-18)  Because Jesus has perfected us through his offering, God no longer remembers our sins.  Jesus offering did what the Old Testament offerings couldn’t have done.  He purged us so that we don’t have any more guilt before God.  The conclusion of verse 2 doesn’t apply to the Old Testament sacrifices, but it does apply to Jesus’ sacrifice.  His sacrifice has purged us.

     Therefore one of the best ways we give glory to Jesus is by quickly dispelling the guilt feelings that can so quickly arise in us – quickly dispelling them not by working a process of repentance but by remembering the fact of Hebrews 10 – because of Jesus’ sacrifice, God no longer remembers our sins.   That’s the best news in the whole world.


6 Responses to “Guilt and Hebrews 10”

  1. October 22, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    What about verse 26?

    And what about this “perseverence” stuff in verse 36?

  2. October 23, 2008 at 3:34 am

    This is a great message about the power of Christ’s forgiveness, but you do have to put it together with the rest of the gospel, as Seth suggested.

    Mark, this is a bit off topic from this post, but can you please explain your definition of faith? I’m struggling to understand how the definition you use differs from belief.

  3. 3 markcares
    October 23, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    The first definition in my dictionary under belief is: “a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing.” And then a little later it says: “Belief and faith are often used interchangeably.” I’m one that uses them interchangeably. But the main chracteristic of faith is trust. That is what lies at the root of the Greek word that the New Testmanet most often uses for faith. When I talk about faith in the context of salvation, I am talking about having the trust that Jesus’ sacrifice was all sufficient – that because of Jesus’ sacrifice, I believe (i.e.trust) that God no longer remembers my sins – as I would use it in regard to this post. I talked about this also in my post of August 21st.
    Now I’m curious. How do you see the difference between faith and belief?

  4. 4 markcares
    October 23, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    The letter to the Hebrews contians numerous warnings about leaving the faith. From these warnings it seems quite apparent that it was written to warn some Jewish Christians about the dangers of retuning to the worship and ritual of the Old Testament. As the author says in verse 1 of chapter 10 the law was a shadow of the good things to come. As Paul told the Colossians, those shadows are no longer pertinent since Christ the reality has come.
    That context is important in understanding verse 26. From the context of the entire letter, from the context of the entire Bible, the willful sinning here would be to consciously leaving the faith. It is a strong warning saying that there is no salvation outside of Christ.
    I addressed the role of perseverence in my post of Oct. 4th. Or am I missing something in your question?

  5. October 23, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    I believe the main difference is action. Here’s a simple example. Most “couch potatoes” probably believe in exercise. They know that if they start to exercise and eat better they will become healthier. But that knowledge doesn’t do any good until it’s used. You could say they believe, but don’t have faith.

    This is how LDS view faith, one must actually follow the Lord. Here’s an excerpt from the LDS Bible Dictionary (http://scriptures.lds.org/en/bd/f/1) – “Faith in Jesus Christ is the first principle of the gospel and is more than belief, since true faith always moves its possessor to some kind of physical and mental action”. James 2 discusses this point.

    Hence the reason we understand some of Paul’s thoughts on being saved by grace through faith so differently.

  6. 6 markcares
    October 24, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    You make a importnat point. See my new post for my thoughts.

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