Hebrews 10:14

Sermon preached on July 20, 2008 by Laurence W. Veinott. © Copyright 2008. All rights reserved. Other sermons can be found at http://www.cantonnewlife.org/.

When I go to our cottage in Nova Scotia the first thing I have to do is get to work. The lawn looks like a hayfield and needs to be mowed, the road is full of potholes that need to be filled in, the deck needs to be painted or patched up, there's work that needs to be done inside the cottage, etc. etc. etc.

It used to be different. When my brother was alive he lived close enough to our cottage that he could go down on weekends during the spring. He would take care of all that stuff before the summer actually started. When I went down he'd have just about everything done. The lawn would be mowed, the deck painted, the inside painted, the road fixed, he'd have a garden planted. When I got there it was like everything was done. It would have been redundant and wasteful for me to redo anything he had done. It would have been pointless for me to fill in the potholes again because there were no potholes. If I added more dirt it would only be adding bumps to the road. It would have been pointless for me to plant additional vegetables when I got there in late July or August because they wouldn't have time to grow. It would have been pointless to repaint the inside rooms because they had just been freshly painted. The best thing for me to do was to accept what my brother had done and not try to improve those things. Rather, I'd have to look hard for other things to do, because the essential things were done.

In the same way—yet in a much greater sense—we Christians must understand that Jesus has accomplished our salvation for us and that we are focus on Him and His work and rejoice in it. We are not to rely on our works or trust in them in any way as far as our salvation is concerned. Jesus has saved us. His work has done that. It has been accomplished and is perfect. We cannot add anything to it or perfect it in any way. It is finished. So whenever we think of the cause of our salvation—we are not to be thinking of our works—but on Jesus and what He has done for us. This is what our passage teaches. In Hebrews 10:10-14 we read,

"And by that will,
we have been made holy
through the sacrifice of the body
of Jesus Christ once for all.
Day after day every priest stands
and performs his religious duties;
again and again he offers the same sacrifices,
which can never take away sins.
But when this priest had offered
for all time one sacrifice for sins,
he sat down at the right hand of God.
Since that time he waits for his enemies
to be made his footstool,
because by one sacrifice
he has made perfect forever
those who are being made holy."

Jesus' ministry is contrasted with the ministry of the Old Testament priests. The great point to understand is that the writer points to the fact that

Jesus sacrifice was perfect and was a triumph that completely saved His people.

Salvation has been accomplished. The Old Testament priests work was never finished. They knew that the blood of bulls and goats could never take away sin. They had to continually stand and continually offer sacrifices. Year after year their ministry continued—never being finished, always looking forward and pointing to the work of the One who would come and deal with sin once and for all. That happened when Jesus came.

The writer mentions
three results of Christ's sacrifice. They refer to His position in heaven's glory, at the right hand of the Father. First, that He sat down. Second, that He waits for His enemies to be made His footstool. Third, that He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

This teaching has great implications for us so let's look at these three things.


He sat down.

We read,

"But when this priest had offered
for all time one sacrifice for sins,
he sat down at the right hand of God."

Those of you who worked at Soccer Camp—I'm don't recall seeing many of you sit down during the week. The ones that did sit were usually doing work at desks or talking to parents and getting to know them. When did you feel that you could really sit down? It wasn't until it was all over. On Friday night, when it was all over, we all went home and sat down. The work was done.

That's something like we see in our text. Only the sitting down by Jesus wasn't temporary. He is still seated. His sacrifice was perfect. It didn't have to be repeated every year.
F. F. Bruce writes, (Quoted from Hughes, Hebrews, p. 401)

"A seated priest is the guarantee of a finished work and an accepted sacrifice."

Philip Hughes writes, (Hebrews p. 400)

"The contrast is, as Spicq points out, highly dramatic: on the one hand, 'the vain zeal, the agitation of these [Levitical] sacrificers, always on their feet—the standing position being that of the ministrant and of action—never at rest, incessantly reproducing the same actions, offering the same victims, every day starting their task over again, serving without effect, since sin remains'; on the other hand, there is Christ, who 'offered but a single sacrifice of absolute worth,' so that now, 'he has only to rest and be seated.’"

Hughes writes, (p. 401)

"his work of sacrifice is done. Its absolute perfection means that it is a single sacrifice for sins and that its effectiveness is for all time, and thus it can never be added to or repeated."

Christ's work is finished. He has saved us. It is accomplished. Nothing more is left to be done. This becomes even more obvious if we consider where He sat down, and for what purpose. This leads us to our second point.

Secondly, we see that

Christ waits for His enemies to be made His footstool.

Christ's work fulfilled the prophecy of Psalm 110:1. We read,

"The LORD says to my Lord:
Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet."

Philip Hughes writes that because of Christ's work on the cross, (p. 402)

"there is no shadow of uncertainty regarding the outcome of this period of waiting. The complete defeat of his enemies is assured, for the supreme exaltation by which the redemption he accomplished on earth as the incarnate Son has been crowned spells the doom of every opponent of his authority."

P. T. Forsyth writes, (Quoted from Hughes, p. 402)

"The absolute ultimate judgment of the world took place in Christ's death. There God spoke His last word—His last endless wordÖ In Him [Christ] the prince of this world has been finally and effectually judged, and the absolute condemnation passed. Satan then fell from his heaven. The absolute and irreversible judgment was passed upon evil."

Indeed, Jesus spoke of this in John 16:33 when He said to His disciples,

"take heart!
I have overcome the world."

Christ was talking there about His work in relation to His upcoming work on the cross, as the context of John 16 makes clear.

The thought here is that because of His work, Christ has triumphed—vanquished all opposition so completely—that there is only one thing left—that Hin enemies be made His footstool.

Last month the
Boston Celtics won the NBA title. They won the last game rather handily and they actually started celebrating several minutes before the game was over. I actually didn't like them celebrating early because sometimes that can come back and backfire on you. But when the buzzer sounded and the referee indicated that the game was over—that's when they started really celebrating. It was over. But there was a brief time between the end of the game and the actual presentation of the trophy.

Christ waiting for His enemies to be made His footstool is something like that. Christ's victory has been accomplished, the outcome cannot be changed, the victory is not only certain but has already been accomplished.

His victory is not like the victory of the
1972 US Olympic basketball team. They thought they had won the gold medal against the Russians but after the buzzer sounded an Olympic official came out of the stands and told the referee to put 2 or 3 seconds back on the clock. They kept doing that until the Russians won.

That can't happen with regard to our salvation. The Father has spoken on the death of His Son in regard to taking care of our sins. He spoke when He raised Jesus from the dead. In
Romans 4:25 we read that Jesus was,

"delivered over to death for our sins
and was raised to life for our justification."

He was raised to life for our justification. He has already been taken care of. When Jesus died He entered heaven with His blood. Hebrews 9:24-28 says,

"For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary
that was only a copy of the true one;
he entered heaven itself,
now to appear for us in God's presence.
Nor did he enter heaven
to offer himself again and again,
the way the high priest enters
the Most Holy Place every year
with blood that is not his own.
Then Christ would have had to suffer
many times since the creation of the world.
But now he has appeared once for all
at the end of the ages to do away with sin
by the sacrifice of himself.
Just as man is destined to die once,
and after that to face judgment,
so Christ was sacrificed once
to take away the sins of many people;
and he will appear a second time,
not to bear sin,
but to bring salvation
to those who are waiting for him."

Christ's work has been recognized as being perfect. When He sat down He sat down at the right hand of the Father He did it in glory. He did it in heaven. Philippians 2:9-11 tells us that because of Christ's being obedient to death,

"Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father."

All that awaits is His enemies to be presented as humbled before Him.

Third, we see that

we have been made perfect forever.

The Greek word that is used here can refer to different things in regard to being made perfect. For example, the apostle Paul uses this word in Philippians 3:12 to the perfection that will be ours in the final consummation, and how that he didn't have that perfection yet. He wrote,

"Not that I have already obtained all this,
or have already been made perfect,
but I press on to take hold
of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me."

Paul was looking forward to the time when He would be totally perfect—body and soul being united in sinless perfection.

But here we are told that Christ,

"he has made perfect forever
those who are being made holy."

He's referring to our objective standing in Christ. In a certain sense we have been made perfect. Objectively we have been declared righteous. As we read in Romans 8:1-4

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation
for those who are in Christ Jesus,"

And that's what the Holy Spirit tells us about our reality now. We have been made perfect forever. That's our standing in Christ. Christ has paid for all our sins. They have been washed away with once and for all. Not only that, but His righteousness has been imputed to us, placed on our account. So Paul is not kidding or exaggerating when in Romans 8:33 he asks the rhetorical question,

"who can bring any charge
against those God has chosen?"

That is our standing in Christ. We have been brought into God's family. We have been raised in heavenly places with Christ. We are His, He is ours.

Subjectively, we are still be made holy—but in a certain sense we have already been made perfect forever. That can never change. Let that sink in. If you're in Christ in a certain sense you have already been made perfect forever.

Now what does all this mean for us?

First, it means that

you should recognize the fullness and completeness of Christ's work.

Trust in Christ. Recognize that He has done it all for you. Rejoice in His work. It was perfect. His one sacrifice for sins has saved you.

Let not your trust in Christ's work be small. Let it not be mixed with other things. Recognize that

your works play no role in the cause of our salvation.

Jesus has saved us. His work was what did it. It is finished. It is complete.

I've told some of you before that when I was a kid and I did something bad, I wouldn't ask God for forgiveness right away. I thought that I would show Him I was sorry instead. I'd try to be good for a week or two before I asked for forgiveness.

That was totally wrong. That totally misunderstand the cause of our salvation, the cause of our forgiveness. It has nothing to do with our works.

Christians, when you think of your salvation, the basis of your forgiveness—think of Jesus and His once and for all work. The punishment that your sin requires is death—not your good works. He has done it. Give Him all the glory. Trust completely in Him.

In the
early church they thought it was best to delay baptism because they were under the mistaken notion that Christ's work only dealt with past sins. One of the great early church fathers, Augustine, who lived about 350 years after Christ, wrote that his baptism was postponed,

"in the surmise that, if I continued to live, I should defile myself again with sin and, after baptism, the guilt of pollution would be greater and more dangerous."

You should not think that you, or any other person, or any church can add anything to Christ's work. His work is perfect. Our works is like filthy rags. Rather than try to add to Christ's work we should rejoice in it, give Him all the glory and live for His praise.

Let me illustrate. For those of you who have been over to Phil Bridgman's house you've possibly seen the deck outside his house. Phil is a master craftsman and if my memory is correct he built it himself. It's absolutely wonderful. I don't think that there's an exposed screw on it.

Now I'm no carpenter. I can do a little rough carpentry, but that's about it. Now imagine if Phil went away and I thought I could improve on his deck and I went over there, ripped up his deck, and used some two by fours to build a very makeshift contraption that I called a deck. Then for Phil to come home and see what I did- what would his reaction be?

"What were you thinking?"

Do you see my point? Just like I couldn't improve on any woodworking project that Phil made, and by touch it I would only make it worse, consider if Jesus has done something for us, perfectly- then why would we mess with it. We shouldn't. We should trust His work, accept it.

Lastly, if you're not a Christian, it should be clear from this that

you need Christ.

All this shows us that there is only one way for people to be saved—by Jesus. You could never do what He did. He took the curse. He overcame death. He rose from the dead. He triumphed victoriously over sin, over death, over Satan. If you don't go to Christ they will have you—have you forever. Go to Christ today.