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Sermon #2465 — Miscellaneous Sermons
Text: Hebrews 10:14
Subject: Sinners Made Perfect by Christ
Date: Sunday Evening — January 6, 2019
Readings: Merle Hart and David Burge
Someone said, “The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.” In the Old Testament believers anticipated that which the Lord would do, believing his Word of promise. In this New Testament age believers rejoice in that which the Lord has done, believing his Word of grace. Let me show you an example of this. Turn to Psalm 38:7-8. Here is a believer in the Old Testament speaking in confident faith about that which God promised he would do.
Psalm 138:7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.
Psalm 138:8 The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth forever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.
Now, turn to Hebrews 10:14. This will be our text. Here we see a believer in this gospel age looking back to the finished work of Christ and declaring in the joy of confident faith what the Lord has done for him and for all who are his.
Hebrews 10:14 For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.
In the Old Testament, the believer’s faith rested on the promise of God and the work of Christ as things unseen. His heart yearned for God’s salvation as an inheritance yet in reserve. Today, we look upon the same thing, trust the same Savior and the same work; but we possess God’s salvation as a thing accomplished. It is true, there is a very real sense in which we yet look to the future, confidently hoping for God’s salvation, because we have not yet experienced the fullness of it. (Oh, what that will be!) Still, we do possess it now in, by, and with Christ. Our redemption has now been obtained by his blood. Righteousness has been brought in. Our great Savior has made an end of our transgressions. These are not things we hope for, but facts. They are things we now possess by faith in Christ. — “For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.”
I have been turning this text over, and over, and over in my mind, and praying about it, and looking into it, and seeking illumination from the Holy Spirit for years concerning its meaning. This is one of those verses my mind just keeps going back to every day, countless times in a day some days. I love to roll it around in my soul like a good piece of candy in my mouth. It is one of those texts I just like to mull over. The more I think about it, the bigger it gets. Every time I open one of its doors, I see another.
Proposition: Here the Holy Spirit declares that our Lord Jesus Christ has, by his one offering for sin, perfected all God’s elect and perfected them forever.
Divisions: There are three things in this verse which just jump out at you as you read it.
1. An Offering Made
2. A People Sanctified
3. A Perfection Accomplished
An Offering Made
1st — Here is an offering made. — “For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.” — The Book of Hebrews shows us that the work of Christ as our sin-offering to God was a work done but once. This emphasis is made throughout the Book to teach us forcibly that the sacrifice of Christ was an effectual sacrifice, that our Lord Jesus Christ has by his one great sacrifice as our Substitute accomplished everything he intended to accomplish by his death. Look what this Book tells us Christ accomplished by his one offering.
By his one offering for sin, the Lord Jesus Christ has purged our sins.
Hebrews 1:1-3 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, (2) Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; (3) Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.
Hebrews 7:26-27 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; (27) Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.
By his one offering, the Lord Jesus Christ has obtained eternal redemption for us.
Hebrews 9:12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
By his one offering made to God for sin, the Lord Jesus Christ has put away our sins.
Hebrews 9:26-28 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. (27) And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: (28) So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
And by his one offering, the Lord Jesus Christ has perfected all God’s elect.
Hebrews 10:12-14 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God; (13) From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. (14) For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.
A People Sanctified
2nd — Hebrews10:14 speaks of a people sanctified. — “For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.” — God’s elect are a people who are sanctified. What does this mean? I have shown you many times that God’s elect are sanctified by the work of God the Father in election, the work of God the Son in redemption, and the work of God the Holy Spirit in regeneration. Let me show you briefly what the Scriptures teach about this thing called “sanctification.”
All believers are sanctified (1 Corinthians 6:11). — There is no such thing as an unsanctified believer. If we are saved, we are saints. If we are not saints, we are not saved. This is exactly what Paul told the Corinthian believers.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, (10) Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (11) And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
Sanctification is altogether the work of God’s free and sovereign grace in Christ. Our sanctification, like our redemption and justification, is the work of God almighty in the trinity of his sacred Persons. We are sanctified by God the Father in election, by God the Son in redemption, and by God the Holy Spirit in regeneration. Sanctification is not something we do for ourselves. It is something God does for us and in us.
The words “sanctify,” “sanctified,” “sanctifieth,” and “sanctification” are used more than thirty times in the New Testament. We are said to be sanctified by the purpose of God, by the blood of Christ, by the Spirit of God, by faith in Christ, and by the Word of God. But never, not even once, are we said to sanctify ourselves. Sanctification is the work of God alone.
We are sanctified by God the Father in eternal election (Jude 1). — All believers were sanctified by God the Father in eternal election, set apart for him by God’s decree, and separated unto him (Jude 1:1).
Jude 1:1 Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called.
This is the character of God’s distinguishing grace. — It sets some people apart from others and sanctifies them unto the Lord. Grace makes men to differ (1 Corinthians 4:7).
Š We were secretly set apart for God in his secret, eternal decree of election before the world began.
Š We were legally set apart from Adam’s fallen race by the purchase of Christ at Calvary, when he ransomed us from the curse of the law.
Š And we were manifestly set apart and separated unto God by the new birth and the effectual call of God the Holy Spirit.
Every believer has been, in this sense, eternally sanctified, completely set apart by God and for God. The practical importance of this glorious doctrine is this. — That which has been set apart for God ought never be used for common purposes again. — “Ye are not your own. For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
Š We belong to the Lord our God. Let us therefore consecrate ourselves to him and serve him in all things (Romans 12:1-2).
Š We belong to God. Be assured, God almighty will protect all who belong to him in all their appointed ways, even as he protected the ark of the covenant in the Old Testament (Psalm 91:3-13).
Psalm 91:1-16 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. (2) I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. (3) Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. (4) He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. (5) Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; (6) Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. (7) A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. (8) Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. (9) Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; (10) There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. (11) For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. (12) They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. (13) Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. (14) Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. (15) He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. (16) With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.
All God’s elect, all who were set apart for God internal election, were sanctified by God the Son in effectual redemption. All of God’s elect were perfectly sanctified by the blood of Christ when he died as our Substitute (Hebrews 10:10-14). Christ is our Sanctification (1 Corinthians 1:30).
Hebrews 10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (11) And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: (12) But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God; (13) From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. (14) For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.
1 Corinthians 1:30-31 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: (31) That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
We have been and are forever “sanctified in Christ Jesus” (1 Corinthians 1:2). Believers are addressed throughout the Epistles as “saints,” that is as “sanctified ones” in Christ.
This is what I want you to see and rejoice in. — In the Lord Jesus Christ we who believe are regarded by God as perfectly holy, treated as if we were perfectly holy, and declared to be perfectly holy, because in Christ we are perfectly holy! We do not believe in imputed sanctification any more than we believe in imputed justification. We believe in imputed righteousness, by which we are both justified and sanctified. The righteousness of Christ has been imputed to us; and we are by his righteousness both justified from all things and declared to be holy. Sanctified, in the sight of God.
“With His spotless garments on
I am as holy as God’s Son!”
But there is more. — Every heaven-born soul is sanctified by God the Holy Spirit in the new birth. — All believers are actually made holy by God the Holy Spirit in regeneration. Through the instrumentally of gospel preaching, the Spirit of God effectually applies the blood of Christ to the hearts of God’s elect, purifying our hearts and implanting a new, holy nature within us. This is regeneration, the new birth. This is our sanctification by the Spirit (2 Thessalonians. 2:13-14; 2 Peter 1:4; 1 John 3:9; 1 John 5:18).
2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: (14) Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
1 John 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
1 John 5:18 We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.
We are a people with two natures, one that is holy and cannot sin, and one that is corrupt and can do nothing but sin. That is John’s doctrine in 1st John 3. That new man born of God is Christ in you created in righteousness and true holiness (Colossians 1:27; Ephesians 4:24).
1 John 3:1-10 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. (2) Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (3) And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. (4) Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. (5) And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. (6) Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. (7) Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. (8) He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. (9) Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. (10) In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
While we live in this world we must continue to live with this old, sinful nature. But we do have a new nature created in us, in the image of Christ, a nature that cannot sin. It is the old man that sins, not the new. It is written, “Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me” (Romans 7:20). In glorification the old man shall be totally eradicated from us, but not until then. That eradication of the old man is not a gradual, progressive thing. It is the radical, climatic change experienced by God’s saints in death and ultimately in resurrection glory.
Understanding that sanctification is altogether the work of God, the work of God’s grace, it is obvious that there is no such thing as “progressive sanctification” taught in the Book of God.
Š Believers grow in grace, but not in holiness.
Š We grow in faith, but not in righteousness.
Š There is no sense in which our sanctification depends upon us. It is God’s work.
Let’s look at Hebrews 10:14 in its context. — The Son of God, by his one offering for sin, has perfected forever them that are sanctified. What does that statement mean in this context?
In the 9th chapter the Apostle spoke to us about the tabernacle, the candlestick, the table, the shewbread, the sanctuary, the golden censor, the ark of the covenant overlaid with gold, and the pot of manna. In other words, he has been talking to us about priests and priestly things, — holy things.
All these things were sanctified things, — holy things. However, though they were sanctified, holy things, they needed to be made perfect. They had to be sprinkled with blood to be made perfect. Granted, those things were only ceremonially sanctified and ceremonially perfected. But the ceremonies were designed of God to show us something. They were intended to teach us what sanctification is in a very practical way.
There were certain golden vessels used in the sanctuary which were never used for anything else but the service of God. They were set apart, made holy, and kept strictly as vessels of the sanctuary for service of the Lord God. They were sanctified things.
There were specific, chosen men who did nothing else but wait upon the Lord. They were consecrated to their offices. God chose the tribe of Levi and out of the tribe of Levi he chose the house of Aaron. These men were chosen and then they were prepared by divine order for their work.
They underwent specific, divinely ordained ceremonies and washings, and were thereby made ceremonially holy. These priests were ceremonially sanctified, because they were set apart, dedicated and reserved, to the special service of the Lord God.
That is just what you and I are and what we ought to be. If we are God’s, we are sanctified men and women. We are chosen by God to be the peculiar vessels which he will use in performing his work in pouring out his mercy to his people (Ephesians 3:8; 2 Corinthians 4:7).
Ephesians 3:8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
We are the people God has chosen and sanctified by whom he is served, by whom he does good to chosen sinners in this world.
Now watch this. — No man had the right to use the things of the sanctuary for himself. If he did so, he did it to his own destruction. — Ask Belshazzar.
He took the cups, the golden candlesticks, and so forth, and used them in his debauchery and pleasure. When he did, he was swept away in God’s wrath. The handwriting on the wall foretold his doom.
So it is with us. We are not to be used (or to use ourselves) for anything but for God. We are people a set apart. We are vessels of the Lord’s house. We are not for the devil’s use, the world’s use, or our own use. We have been made, chosen, and set apart for our Master’s use!
That is what is meant in this text by “sanctified.” We are sanctified people, set apart for God’s use, consecrated to God, just as the vessels, the cups, the candlesticks, the tables, and the altar of the sanctuary, were sanctified unto God and set apart for his service.
We are priests, sanctified to God, but not because of any holiness in ourselves. Some of those Old Testament priests were downright scoundrels; but they were priests nonetheless. Hebrews 10 does not deal with the matter of our character. — Hebrews 10 is talking about our position in the sight of God. We are not perfect in character. — We are only perfect in position. More about that in a minute.
We who are God’s are sanctified, sanctified, to offer spiritual sacrifices unto God through Christ. We have no right to do anything else but serve God. God has made us kings and priests unto him in Christ, a royal priesthood, a people whose whole and only purpose in life is his service!
A Perfection Accomplished
3rd — Our text speaks of all who are God’s as a people perfected, a people whose perfection is a done deal. Here is a perfection accomplished.
Hebrews 10:14 For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.
What on earth does that mean? Just this. — When the golden vessels were brought into the temple or into the sanctuary, they were sanctified the very first moment that they were dedicated to God. No one dared to employ them for anything but holy uses. But they were not perfect. What did they need, then, to make them perfect? They had to have blood sprinkled on them. As soon as the blood was sprinkled on them, those golden vessels were perfect vessels, officially perfect. God accepted them as being holy and perfect things, and they stood in his sight as instruments of an acceptable worship.
Just so it was with the Levites and the priests. As soon as they were set apart to their office, in fact, as soon as they were born, they were consecrated, they belonged to God, they were his peculiar priesthood. But they were not perfect until they had passed through divers washings, and had the blood sprinkled upon them. Then God looked upon them in their official priestly character as being perfect before him.
They were not perfect in character, I repeat, they were only perfect officially, perfect in the sight of God. And they stood before him to offer sacrifice as acceptably as if they had been pure as Adam in Eden.
How does this refer to us? What is the meaning of this text? — “By one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified?” Turn back to the 9th chapter of the Hebrews, at the 6th verse. — “Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people.”
The only way the high priest himself could come before God and be accepted was by blood atonement. In the context here, the Holy Spirit is telling us that we are made perfect (“It shall be perfect to be accepted!”), by the blood of Christ, made perfect before God himself, so perfect that we may freely and boldly come to God by the blood of Christ with full assurance that we are accepted.
Hebrews 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
To be made perfect by Christ is to stand before God Almighty himself accepted in the Beloved, accepted by blood!
Š The Blood of the Lamb Slain from the foundation of the World.
Š The Blood of the Lamb Crucified at Calvary!
Š The Blood of the Lamb Sprinkled upon Our Hearts in Grace.
To walk with God by faith in Christ, to live by faith as one made just by God, is to be perfected by Christ (Romans 14:23; Ecclesiastes 9:7).
Romans 14:23 Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
Ecclesiastes 9:7 Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and go home perfected!
Hebrews 10:14 For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.
To believe on Christ is to be perfected in, by, and with Christ. We enjoy it now by faith in him. But, blessed be God, soon, this shall be our experience.
Psalms 138:7-8 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me. (8) The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth forever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.