Christ Alone- Hebrews 10
In our next series of posts, we will conduct an examination of Hebrews 10. As with any examination of the biblical material, we must first look at the context in which the passage is written. The overall theme of the letter to the Hebrews is the assertion that the new covenant in Christ is in every way superior to the old covenant given to Moses. This is done due to the historical context of the letter, which was written to Hebrews, or Jews. The letter was directed to a group of Hebrews who were gathering together in the name of Christ. They had professed faith in Christ as the Messiah, but some of them still actively participated in the rituals and ceremonies of the old covenant. The problem with this is, as we learn from Paul and James, one’s faith is demonstrated not by what one says but by what one does. This is where Hebrews ten becomes very important, for this particular chapter can be seen as the most important portion of the author’s argument, because it has to do primarily with the issue of sacrifice. As we tie all of this contextual information together, we find that there were Hebrews who had been coming to gatherings in the name of Christ, who were professing faith in Christ as the Messiah and the atoning sacrifice for sin, but were still actively participating in the sacrifices of the old covenant. As we have seen, their faith was demonstrated not by what they said, but by what they did, and their faith was not in Christ as the final sacrifice for sin, but in the ongoing old covenant sacrifices. All of this is the reason for the warning we find at the conclusion of the chapter that it is a “dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (verse 31). These Hebrews were those who professed faith in Christ, but did not actually possess faith in Christ, and they remained in their lost condition until they repented, which in their case meant to leave once and for all any participation in the old covenant sacrifices and rest once and for all in Christ as the final sacrifice for sin. So what we find here in Hebrews is what we find throughout much of the New Testament, that salvation is found through faith in Christ alone. Salvation is not found in Christ plus circumcision, not in Christ plus baptism, not in Christ plus the Sabbath, not in Christ plus Old Covenant rituals, but that salvation is found in Christ plus nothing. While the context of this letter places it as being written to a specific people in a specific place at a specific time, its message, as we will see, is relevant to all who profess faith in Jesus in all places at all times, as well as to those who do not profess such faith.