Posted On October 26, 2020

Unwanted Sacrifices

by | Oct 26, 2020 | Hebrews, Featured

Hebrews 10:5–7, “Consequently, when Christ[a] came into the world, he said,

“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
but a body have you prepared for me;
in burnt offerings and sin offerings
you have taken no pleasure.
Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,
as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’”

It has been said that more Christians died for their faith in the twentieth century than in all of the preceding centuries combined. Persecutions in the former Soviet Union, Sudan, the Middle East, and other countries claimed the lives of millions of Christians. Regrettably, persecution in many of these places still continues today.

Persecution might be more of a foreign reality to those of us in the West, but the original audience of the epistle to the Hebrews faced it constantly. The persecution was so bad that many wanted to return to the old covenant rituals in order to escape their suffering.

Such a return would have been a foolish mistake. For the audience was living in the new covenant (Heb. 8), which is a present reality even though it has not yet been fully consummated. The audience was living in the day after Christ’s superior sacrifice (chap. 9). If the audience were to go back to the old covenant, they would have been returning to the age of shadows and ineffectual sacrifices (10:1–4).

Today’s passage continues to develop the inadequacy of the old covenant sacrifices and the superiority of the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ that established the new covenant. In 10:5–7, the author quotes from Psalm 40:6–8 in order to show why the old covenant sacrifices were inadequate. This Psalm tells us that God did not desire burnt offerings and sin offerings, and it tells us that David, its author, was resolved to do God’s will. At first glance this seems to put the need for sacrifices and obedience to God’s will in opposition to one another.

However, this is not what David is doing in this psalm. He is merely stating that the sacrifices brought no pleasure to God if they were not accompanied by a resolve for obedience. If the sacrifices did not produce obedience they were of no avail.

This is one reason why the animal sacrifices were ineffectual. No matter how many times they were done, they were always performed by people who could not and would not perfectly obey God.

David was the first to speak these words and resolve to do God’s will. However, David could not carry his resolve through perfectly. But when Jesus came into the world, He also spoke these words (Heb. 10:5), but, unlike David, He fulfilled His pledge. His perfect obedience enabled Him to offer a sacrifice that leads His people to obey God.

Coram Deo

Do you desire to obey the Lord? We do not always talk about it, but the desire to obey God is one mark of a true believer. A true desire for obedience will produce actual obedience, even though it will not be perfect until Christ returns. Look at the areas of your life where you have not been obeying God, and take steps to obey Him today.

Unwanted Sacrifices, Copyright (2020), Ligonier Ministries.

Related Posts

Q&A on Your Theology Questions With Kristin Everett Part 2

Q&A on Your Theology Questions With Kristin Everett Part 2

On this new Tulips and Honey episode, Lauren and Kristin answer your questions on finding a biblical church, identifying a false church, election, salvation, and church history. What You’ll Hear on This Episode How to find a biblical church. The importance of church...

God’s Gift to Adam

God’s Gift to Adam

Genesis 2:18-25, “Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see...

9 Wrong Ways to Read the Bible (And One Better Way)

9 Wrong Ways to Read the Bible (And One Better Way)

A Book of Good News Many of us approach the Bible not as oxygenating, but as suffocating. We see the Bible lying there on the end table. We know we should open it. Sometimes we do. But it is usually with a sense of begrudged duty. Life is demanding enough, we think....

You Shall Not Eat

You Shall Not Eat

Genesis 2:15-17, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not...


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.