Used to be show called “Down Memory Lane”. A place we like to go, reminiscing about how it used to be, what we once did, maybe even one-upping. View memory loss as true loss, something to be avoided or even dreaded. Losing ability to remember ranks right up with losing health to “big C”. Even when memory is keen, working well, are selective about what we want to remember. Some things, do our best to forget.
Albert Speer story…
Not only that he couldn’t escape memories, still carrying burden of guilt. More than millions, are billions in world today, same circumstances. According to our text, was true for everyone before Calvary. Not to say true believers in OT couldn’t have eternal life. They could and did – Gen. 15:6 Abraham “believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.” Because of his faith, Abraham one of saints included in next chapter. Yet daily life for OT believers had much more of shadow and less of light than our day. True despite first-hand experiences of God’s amazing power.
Author presses on here in making his case – reiterating how Jesus’ sacrifice superior to animal or any other kind. Once again, elaborates on what didn’t work, what did work, what it works or accomplishes.
A. what didn’t work v.1-4
a. A usus politicus or civilis. The law serves the purpose of restraining in and promoting righteousness and serves the purpose of God’s common grace in the world at large.
b. A usus elenchticus or pedagogicus. In this capacity the law serves the purpose of bringing man under conviction of sin, and of making him conscious of his inability to meet the demands of the law.
c. A usus didacticus or normativus. The law is a rule of life for believers, reminding them of their duties and leading them in the way of life and salvation.
only a shadow, not the very image – shows in outline form how things should be, powerless to make it happen, can only condemn
and the sacrifices
same sacrifices offered repeatedly, year after year – not an afterthought for God, part of original design and intent
just like the law, sacrifices were shadow, “not the reality itself” – think about difference between shadow and reality
set up projector, someone almost certain to try making hand shadows; nobody would expect hand shadow to move object on which it is cast
same is true, standing by highway, shadow of 18-wheeler passes over you… no problem; if it were the truck…!
since they are shadows, not reality, get to repeat the process over and over; that, too, part of design, to keep pointing toward reality
important aspect of how human minds work – to keep specific memories alive, must be refreshed: keep picture on fridge
cannot perfect or purify
if old sacrifices had power to purify, would have been one time deal like circumcision; had power to remind, not power to redeem
laver positioned between entrance to courtyard and entrance to tent – priests had to wash every time they wanted to enter
old sacrifices just like Law – Law reminds we have broken it, reminds we can’t keep it, but there had to be One who did not break it, did keep it, enables us to keep it
had to be sacrifice of some kind at some time that would be permanent – somehow God made it understandable to OT worshipers there was more to it than just what they could see with eyes
had to be someone who could bring us to the goal, “make us perfect”, since old priests and sacrifices couldn’t
guarantees continual reminder – verse 3 the sucker punch
would like it much better if had said: “But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of Jesus every year.”
sure, Abraham and others believed God’s promise – “do this and I will forgive you”; but… so much was still future
sins would be taken away… eventually; all sacrifices could do was temporarily cover them up, until finally addressed at Calvary
guilt still hanging over them until placed on Christ at the Cross; until guilt gone, stain still hanging around, too
those in OT who had saving faith… God didn’t hold sins against them, but hadn’t forgotten them either; still there like elephant in room, waiting for final resolution
same holds true for any kind of “sacrifice”
something you give up for sake of better cause – sacrifice prosperity for sake of promoting truth; sacrifice desire for sake of better karma; sacrifice animals or children for sake of appeasing idol
no sacrifice of man’s design can accomplish anything other than loss; best it can do is remind of need
B. what did work v.5-13
not burnt offering and sacrifice but offering of body of Christ – Father didn’t send the Son into the world to sacrifice bulls and goats
fault with old system not because priests didn’t do it right – whole system could not accomplish God’s perfect plan of redemption
look at point here: no pleasure in burnt offering and sacrifice so I have come to obey – the Father wanted an obedient sacrifice, not a dumb one
acceptable sacrifice one who lived acceptably before sacrifice – worshiping and loving and obeying God in all things from the heart
animals gave up their life for sake of sinner; Jesus gave his life and gave it up for sinners – not just that he sacrificed his life, he lived it perfectly first and then gave his perfect life as a sacrifice
two important aspects of Jesus’ sacrificial offering also need emphasis
the cross not an afterthought – God had it in view from beginning; wasn’t “uh-oh, Adam sinned, now what, let me figure it out, OK we’ll do this”
every sacrifice offered in faith from from Adam on was accepted by God for the sake of Jesus and his sacrifice
is a once-for-all completed action: v.10 ” the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”; v.12 “offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down”
he sat down, the action of sacrificing is ended – contra the Mass, ongoing unbloody sacrifice offered every time it is celebrated
the Mass demeans the person and worth of Jesus, defeats the power and effect of his completed sacrifice on Calvary
C. what it works v.14-18
are being perfected – made complete, brought to the goal – brought into the inner sanctuary with Jesus Himself to worship God
is result of changed heart and mind, brought about by power of God – hearts devoted to God and his law, iow, obedience; minds renewed and captive to God’s truth
God’s law as rule of daily life a part of us, governing our desires, directing our priorities, the authority over our choices and actions
is a process, not an event – being made holy; longer God works on us, more like Jesus we should be, less like old self
two areas of human need in view here, Jesus answers both – need life, and need righteousness; we can’t supply either, only Jesus can
are born dead, in trespasses and sins, that is; totally devoted to self and dead to God – need spiritual life, only life of Christ given for us can achieve that
Jesus came and gave his life that we “might have life, and that we might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10)
takes away sin, guilt, stain – “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
in order for us to have righteousness, must be rid of unrighteousness; I’m sure your momma taught you – wash first, then put on clean clothes
Joshua the high priest, Zechariah 3:4 And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.”
more than just clean clothes, can have clean consciences and assurance of salvation
sacrifice for sin has ended (v.18) and there is real forgiveness; any who continue sacrificing – Catholics, muslims, Jews, heathen – mock real final sacrifice of Jesus and hold people captive in their sin
when we are forgiven, God erases sin from our record and guilt from our conscience; if God has done that for you, can have full assurance of salvation
World full of filthy people; some at least striving to be clean, going about it all the wrong way. “10 Feb 2013 was the biggest bathing day at the Maha Kumbh Mela (Ganges, India) and probably the largest human gathering on a single day. Over 30 million devotees and ascetics took holy dip on the occasion of Mauni Amavasya. Bathing in these rivers is thought to cleanse a person of all sins.” Bible records only one instance of person bathing in river (2 Ki. 5:14) to good effect; that only cured Naaman of his skin disease, not his heart disease. Requires saving faith in Jesus Christ to achieve that.
Some given up hope, like Albert Speer. Are even some of them in the church, dragging own private dust storm of guilt with them through life just like Pigpen. Others would be in the church if they knew there was hope. Every last person needs to hear message of hope offered in our text:
v.3: “in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins” ==> v.17: “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” What is between those two statements? v.10: “the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all”
Read Rom. 8:33-39