Let’s read Hebrews 10:1-4: “For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshiper, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins” (NKJV).

Throughout the book of Hebrews we are taught that the Old Covenant of law had passed away and has been replaced by the New Covenant of grace. Yet the Law, which was in force for about 1,500 years, was given by God to Moses to show the children of Israel their need of a Savior because of their sins. The Ten Commandments served this purpose, for we read in Romans 3:19-20, “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for BY THE LAW IS THE KNOWLEDGE OF SIN.” The Law proved to everyone that they were not able to meet God’s holy standard of righteousness and thus they stood “guilty before God” on account of their sins. See also Romans 5:20; 7:13; Acts 13:39; Galatians 2:16; 3:11 and James 2:10.

In our passage today we see another purpose of the Law; to show sinners that in order for them to have their sins taken away and to have “no more consciousness of sins” (verse 2), a sacrifice for sins would have to be made that would satisfy God’s holy claims against sin. Along with the Ten Commandments, God ordained a sacrificial system for Israel to illustrate the need for an innocent victim to die to take away the sins of the guilty. Every animal offered up on Jewish altars served this purpose. We learn in verse 1 that the sacrifices of animals were “a SHADOW of the good things to come” (verse 1); they were PICTURES (and not the REAL THING) that looked forward to the supreme sacrifice that would be made by the Lord Jesus on the cross. They could not actually take away the sins, “for it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins” (verse 4). Since they didn’t take away sins, they could not “make those who approach perfect,” which means they could not give the one who offered the sacrifice a PERFECT CONSCIENCE. No matter how many animal sacrifices were made, the offerer would still have a GUILTY CONCSIENCE. The truth is each time a new sacrifice was offered it was a “reminder of sins” (verse 3); that is, they were constantly reminded that they were guilty sinners before a holy God. But at the same time, their sacrifice looked on to a sacrifice that would be made to take away their sins.

Now let’s read on in Hebrews 10:11-12, 14: “And every priest stand ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God…For by one offering He has PERFECTED FOREVER those who are being sanctified.” In contrast to the many sacrifices which “can never take away sins,” Christ’s “one sacrifice for sins” has satisfied all of God’s claims against our sins, resulting in the believer being PERFECTED FOREVER. This means the believer has a PERFECT CONSCIENCE regarding sins; our sins will never burden us again by reminding us that we are guilty sinners which are condemned before a holy God. We are now free (in our conscience) to worship and serve God, as we see in Hebrews 9:14, “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, CLEANSE YOUR CONSCIENCE from dead works to serve the living God.” Praise be to God for giving His Son to be that PERFECT SACRIFICE for sins (see 1st John 4:10) and praise be to the Lord Jesus for coming “to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Hebrews 9:26).  (392.5)  (DO)