“For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near.” – Hebrews 10:1
“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), then he added, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will.’ He does away with the first in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” – Hebrews 10:8-10
In the law, the old covenant, rituals and acts had to be repeated and maintained. They couldn’t take away sin. That was never their intention or design. Their function was always temporary pointer. In their repetition, there was a constant reminder of sin and that the problem wasn’t fixed. It only left them longing for a final solution. It pointed forward to something greater.
What is so amazing about the old testament verses quoted by the author of Hebrews is how apparent that even in the midst of the old covenant rituals, a word is spoken that displays 1) the utter ineffectiveness of the old order to remediate our broken relationship with God, even as it 2) pointed to the new order in which all would be resolved, forever. And the author of the Hebrews points this out: “He does away with the first in order to establish the second.” Even in that Old Testament passage, they were given a preview of a Righteous One who fulfilled the law by none other than God Himself, incarnate: “I have come to do your will.” The author of Hebrews, using this passage, shows so plainly how it is Jesus Himself that has in fact accomplished what was foretold and pointed to in types and shadows. In Christ we have the fullness thereof now.
Here, yet again, we see the gospel proclaimed in the pages of the Old Testament, interpreted for us in the New. Jesus fulfills the law and grants us a permanent alien righteousness now, credited to us, whereby we can now approach the throne of grace without fear of retribution as at Mount Sinai. He presents us before the Father perfect and without fault, not because we are in ourselves, but because He is and stands between the gap.
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