Shadow Made Perfect
Hebrews Chapter 10. This chapter is a beautiful passage of scripture that starts to tie the application of living out what the book of Hebrews has expressed to us, and so if you’re just jumping in for the first time, or whether you’ve been a part of this series together, just by way of understanding, we’ve experienced in this book of Hebrews how Jesus is the fulfillment of all of the Old Testament pictures. Said another way, the author of Hebrews is really ripping away from religion and giving us a broader understanding of what it means to have a healthy spiritual life in Jesus.
He’s taking out dead religious living and is replacing it with a substance that is truly Christ. The whole picture of the Old Testament is intended to find its fulfillment in Jesus, and for many people, this is a difficult concept to grasp because we like our whitewashed, sterilized religious performance, and following after Jesus as relational and relationships tend to be messy, and we are very much task-oriented religious mind that I think by nature. When we start talking about Jesus being the fulfillment of all these things and the Old Testament no longer being necessary, but now you’re called in a relationship with Christ in the New Covenant, that change that paradigm shift in our mind in following after Jesus in faith.
I think it’s a life journey for one but it can be a difficult thing for people to grasp because change is difficult. We, by nature, we are creatures of habit and we don’t like change, and I think the author of Hebrews knows this. This is why he’s taken time through 10 chapters to paint the picture for us so that the substance that is Jesus and how he is the fulfillment of everything, and how our faith can rest confidently in Him.
If you remember the picture of what the story of Hebrews is about, the individuals that are being written to in this book are about to go through some tremendous hardship because of their faith in Christ, or the faith that they’re being called to in Christ, and when you’re looking at putting your faith in something, you want to know that it is dependable.
Can I really rest on this? Is this a solid rock? Is that change, that paradigm shift in my faith, my belief, my trust, is it worth it, or do I need to stay in this religious mentality because this is where I’m comfortable in life? Karl Barth gave a masterful quote regarding following after the one true God, and if you read anything by Karl Barth, one of the things I like to keep in mind about him is Karl Barth was a minister during the reign of Nazi Germany, under the German influence.
He fought with other believers at this time, not all believers. Some believers pursued after just appeasing Hitler but he was a part of this Christian group that fought against Hitler, fought against Nazi power, wanted to keep the Nazis from creating a state-ran church, and he began to help lead a group of Christians in a church movement that was called the Confessing Church.
One of the statements that he gave, I like to keep those thoughts about Karl Barth and his bravery in mind when I read about him and the statements he said, but one of the masterful quotes that I’ve just read from Barth has said this. “If God doesn’t make us mad, we’re not worshipping him, but ourselves.” An interesting quote. I want you to know this morning.
We’re not here to say, “Okay, everyone gets to talk about following God.” That’s not what we’re after, but what Karl Barth is saying here, what he means in this statement is if our God never contradicts us, always likes what we like, hates what we hate, he’s not the real God. All we’ve done is we’ve deified our personal preferences and that personification of those preferences, we’ve titled God.
If God completely agrees with everything that you agree with, there is a problem, because what the Bible teaches about us is that our flesh wars against Him, and there is a battle within the soul of what is Lord. Are you lord or is God lord? Now, the Bible calls us to surrender to the King of kings and Lord of lords, but there is a waging between the spirit and the flesh within our lives, and if you’re walking life today and God agrees with everything that you agree with, it’s probably because you’ve just turned God into the personification of everything that you already like as an individual.
God challenges you to more and God calls you to something higher in life than self and that for us becomes a part where we battle with what it means to truly trust in the Lord, because there’s a piece of us that wants to hold on to everything that we think is precious, and we don’t want to change. There’s this confidence or this trusting of faith. It’s recognizing that Jesus is more than sufficient and that’s what the book of Hebrews is, the weighing of this battle.
Religious people devote to religious ideas and the concepts it created as if it was an end in itself. Now, we’ve discussed those concepts together in Law, in temple, in Sabbath, in priest, in prophet, in King, and they made it an end in itself, but Jesus is the picture of all of that, and it was intended to point everything in the Old Testament to the sufficiency of what Christ is for us.
In fact, when you start in the book of Hebrews in Chapter 10 Verse 1, it says at this way and referring to the idea of the Law, for the Law, Old Testament Law, “Since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of the things can never, by the same sacrifice which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near.”
Now look, I said this with us and starting in Chapter 5 all the way to chapter 10, He’s carrying this one giant theme, this concept of priest and Law, and temple, because when you read the Mosaic covenant given the Old Testament when God called the slaves out of Egypt that became the nation or the people of Israel, God gave them at Mount Sinai as He called them out of Egypt the Mosaic covenant.
It was Law. It was priest. It was temple. Now, what He’s saying here, this Law being symbolic of it all, this Law, since it’s only a shadow of good things to come, is not the very form of the things can never, by the same sacrifice which they offer continually under this practice, make perfect those who draw them near to God.
It will not perfect you. The concept of these pictures, the Old Testament, what it’s describing it as is shadows. Another way to think about it, this summer for me, July is a month of insanity. Actually, the summer is usually month of insanity with ministry, get out of the typical norm that we do throughout the school year, and we’re doing different ministry, but it’s very busy. One of the things I noticed this year, and I think it happens every year is that … Because we’re doing new things, we’re making new memories especially me and my family, and so when that happens, we just pull out the camera, AKA the phone.
You can just make those memories last anywhere but those memories are just shadows, all right. This is totally a new thing of me but at one point of these memories, we had a baby this summer. Well not me, but my wife, so she gets the credit for that, so she had a baby, did all that hard work, but coming home from the hospital, I saw the DeLorean, isn’t that cool? We had a kid. That should be the top there, okay? Then, coming back upon what … I saw the DeLorean and when I pulled up beside it, you’ll be sad to know that Marty McFly was not driving, all right?
Go back to the future but I saw that. A lot of great experiences, but you know what these are? They’re shadows. You know the cool thing about shadows is they take me to a place, so you’ll look at my family’s photos and you think, “Big deal, who cares?” One of my favorite photos, the bottom right there, I feel like it took way like 10 years of my life. I’m back in my 20s. It was a wonderful thing.
That picture, but these are just shadows, but the beauty of the shadow is that it takes me back to a moment that was real, something special I appreciated about, being there with people around me that made that moment rise. One of the things I don’t do with these pictures, when I want to experience what those experiences were in those pictures and continuing those experiences, I don’t go back to the pictures and say to the pictures, “I love you. I’d kiss you. Thank you, family. Be with me.”
That’s not the intention of the picture. If I want to continue to experience what I’ve experienced, I don’t hold on to the shadow, but I grab hold of the substance. I experience more of those moments with my family that made those pictures a beautiful opportunity. That’s what scripture is saying in Hebrews Chapter 1 talking about the Old Testament, that the images of what we come to see is significant in Jewish practice in the Old Testament, beautiful things, but they’re shadows of greater purpose.
If you’re to read on in this Chapter Verse 2, it says, “Otherwise, why would they not have ceased to be offered because the worshippers having once been cleansed, were no longer have had consciousness of sins but in those sacrifices, there is a reminder of sins year by year, for it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins?” What He’s doing in this verse here is He’s challenging the idea of these shadows.
He’s saying, “If the Old Testament sacrifices, if they were really intended to satisfy what God wanted to satisfy, how come you’ve always got to do it? Why do you always have to go to the temple and keep sacrificing animals? When is enough going to be enough?” The answer, rhetorically, never. Never. You know why?
Shadows were never intended to satisfy. You need the substance. If the shadow was ever intended to satisfy, you know what you would’ve done? You would’ve seen the shadow one time and partner from it because that would’ve been enough, but what He’s saying in Verse 2-4, “When God created the sacrificial system, the reason you had to repetitiously continue go back to the temple and make those sacrifices, is because the sacrifice was never enough.”
The religious performance is never enough, and so over and over, year after year, they would go back with the blood of bulls and goats making these sacrifices, but it was never sufficient, and yet the picture for us and the substance is that Jesus is. Remember what Jesus said about the Law? He said, “I came not to destroy it,” in Matthew 5:18, “But to fulfill it.”
Jesus is the only one who could righteously demand or fulfill the demands of the Law, and so Jesus becomes, in that sense, the true Israelite, because He lives out the very intentions of what the Law entails, no man can do it. James Chapter 2 Verse 10 says, “He who is guilty of one sin and breaking the Law is guilty of all of the Law.” The idea of temple last week we looked at, Jesus is the temple.
Jesus said, “Destroy the temple and in three days I will rebuild it.” In John Chapter 1 Verse 14, it tells us that we beheld His glory that Jesus tabernacled among us. Jesus himself is the temple that the word tabernacle, that is the presence of God, and when God became flesh, His presence was among us. Now, because Jesus is the true temple, pulls us things like these in Galatians 2:20.
He says, “I have been crucified with Christ. Nevertheless, it’s not I who lived, but Christ who lives in me.” That’s what the Bible says to us in passages like 1 Corinthians 3:16 and 6:19, that you are the temple of God, that you who belong to Jesus, that God’s presence dwells within you. That’s why we don’t go to temples as Christians.
We experience the presence of God right where we are. To reassert any of these religious practices is an affront to God and an insult to what Jesus has done for us. We are the temple because of what Christ has done. To chase after anything apart from Jesus is to pursue shadows. He is the substance. We talked about Jesus in being the Sabbath.
Jesus said in Matthew 11:20, “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden. I will give you rest.” The Hebrew word for rest is Sabbath. Sabbath isn’t Sunday. It’s every moment of every day that you choose to rest in the sufficiency of who Jesus is. When you do that, you are Sabbathing in Christ. Jesus is the true prophet in Hebrews Chapter 1. It starts off that way. In former times, God spoke to us in the prophets.
Today, He speaks to us in Jesus. Not only that, the Bible goes on and tell us in Hebrews Chapter 7, this tying together of Melchizedek priest and Jesus being priest and King, and so fulfillment of Psalm 110 reiterate all through Hebrews that Jesus is priest and King. You see, Jesus is the fulfillment of all of those things to go back to any of it and observe any of it, and live it all.
It’s just the chasing of shadows. Colossians says it like this. “Therefore, do not let anyone judge you about what you either drink or with regard to a religious vessel, a new moon celebration or Sabbath Day that these are a shadow of the things that were to come. A substance however is found in Christ.” Verse 5-7 of Hebrews explains why.
Therefore, when he comes into the world, He says, “Sacrifice and offering, you have not desired but a body you have prepared for me. Hope or offerings and sacrifices for sin, you have taken no pleasure.” Then, He said, “Behold, I have come. In the scroll of the book, it is written of me, to do your will, God.” He’s saying to us in this passage that sacrifices in the Old Testament will never satisfy Jesus to us.
You think about in the Old Testament when they would sacrifice bulls and goats. They would sacrifice other things as well but when they would make the sacrifice, it doesn’t substitute for man, because it isn’t a human being. It’s blood but the symbol of what took place was beautiful, that they would sacrifice for sins and the animal, and when someone come into the temple for the sacrifice recognizing their need to be made right with God.
When an animal is to be sacrificed, the person who is a sinner would place their hands on the head of the animal and they would confess their sins, looking for something to atone for their sins. As they confess their sins, they’re replacing their faith and trust, and the symbol of what would ultimately come in Jesus. They would sacrifice the animal, and on the altar, there are certain sacrifices that took place that when they would sacrifice the animal on the altar, they would take the blood of the animal and they would actually take it over the horns of the altar.
On the corner of the altar, there are horns and they would touch the corner of the altar where the horns were, and the horns symbolize power. It was if to say the blood of the sacrifice had the authority to cover over the power and judgment of God, the righteous demands of God, but they were merely animals. God is a righteous God, and God is a good God, and God is a just God, and for His justice to be satisfied for humanity that has violated and committed treason against the King, it demands justice being brought against humanity.
Animals can’t substitute. It works like this in our mind. For God to be a just and a loving God, He needs to be a good judge, and if you think about this in terms of the word justice, comes from a courtroom and setting, you think it in terms of a courtroom. If you’ve been violated against, you go before a judge, and the judge declares whoever violated you as guilty, but then turns around and just says, “You’re free.”
You would look at a judge and say, “That judge is near just, and because he’s not just, he is not good.” Because I don’t experience this goodness, he cannot be loving. In order to be a loving, good judge, he must be just. When you look at what God says about humanity and treason against Him and taking this kingdom that He’s created, this world that belongs to Him, and violating against Him, and claiming it for ourselves, and living it for our own glory, we are guilty before this King. To be a good judge, He must be just. He demands our sins.
In this passage, it’s saying to us, Jesus lives out that sentence. His demands are for the justice to be taking place against humanity. Jesus comes and offers that, and so in this we see at the cross of Christ both the justice of God and the loving grace of God being played out, because what happens is Jesus steps in for humanity by being human Himself. He dies for our sins. He’s declared guilty. He takes sins upon Him for our well-being, and His grace pours into our lives because He has declared righteous those who put their faith in the payment that He has made for us.
Let me just ask you like this. When Jesus died on the cross, he said in John 19:30, “Paid in full. It is finished. Paid in full.” That’s a question, paid what? Paid what for what? What’s He paying? Satan? No. He’s paying the demands of a Holy God. He’s coming before the just judge and making payment for you. In fact, if I were to just read an important passage, a scripture for you, Romans 5, people know from Romans 5, and very, very easily if you’ve been a believer, a follower for Christ, Romans 5 is probably something that if you can’t quote it or start to recite that you’ll know.
It says to us, “But God demonstrates His own love towards us and while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” We love that, right? God loves me, right, where I’m at. While we’re a sinner, Christ died for me. He loves me that much. It’s a great verse, but then when you consider Jesus paying what? When Jesus said, “Paid in full,” what did He pay? Verse 9 and 10, listen to this, goes on and says, “Much more then, having now been justified or being made right by His blood, we shall be safe from the wrath of God through Him.”
What did Jesus pay? The demands of just God, the wrath of God that was to be poured out on centers, and so you see the justice of God in Christ being made known, and the grace of God, the love of God, being displayed for us because of what Jesus has done. Temples, bulls, goats, they’re just shadows of what Jesus would ultimately do. Verse 8 and 9 goes on after saying above sacrifice and offerings, and whole burnt offerings, and sacrifices for sin, you have not desired, nor have you taken pleasure in them, which are offered according to the Law.
Then He said, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He takes away the first in order to establish second, and saying to us is that Jesus completely eradicates Old Testament, Old Covenant, and presents New Covenant for us and Him. In fact, if you remember in Hebrews Chapter 8:13, when He said, Jesus, New Covenant, He has made the first obsolete. It’s literally telling us He obliterated. Jesus obliterates the Old Covenant by fulfilling it in Himself when He said, “It is finished. Paid in full.”
In Mark 10:45, He said He gave His life as a ransom to purchase you. Jesus fulfills the Old Covenant. In fact, if you were to look at the Old Testament and you’ve seen this communicated in Hebrews, I just haven’t specifically identified it for you, that Jesus fulfilled the multiple covenants in the Old Testament. He fulfilled the Abraham and covenant, the Mosaic covenant, the divinity covenant. If you look at these and you’re wondering, “What in the worlds is he talking about?” In Genesis in Chapter 15, I think that’s my favorite chapter, and it sub-underlined the most important passages of these fulfillments.
In Genesis 15, God comes to Abraham and He creates the Abraham and covenant with him. He says to Abraham, “Through you, I will bless all nations.” In Hebrew 6, it talks about the fulfillment of the Abraham and covenant. In the Mosaic covenant, the giving of Law in Exodus 19:5, it says that God gave the Law, gave the covenant in Verse 5, and in Verse 8, that the people say, “May we fulfill this covenant.” Now, we learn about the Old Testament Laws, no human being could truly fulfill it, except for God in the flesh, which is Christ.
That’s why He says in Hebrews 8:13 that He has fulfilled it and obliterated the Old Covenant, and there’s the divinity covenant, the one who is coming. No one satisfy the Law of just the demands of the Lord. He would be king and priest himself. We saw this to the idea of the Melchizedek priest and what that symbolizes, and how no one can fulfill it. No one can beat it except for Jesus alone. The fulfillment of it comes from Psalm Chapter 110:1-4, but it’s based on the covenant were promised to King David in 2 Samuel Chapter 11-16.
The one who was coming from the lineage of David would be king forever, Jesus. Jesus fulfills all of these pictures and so it says to us that in Verse 10-13, it says, “By this will we have been sanctified.” I’m talking about what Jesus has done, “Through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Every priest talking about the Old Testament now, every priest stands daily ministering an offering time after time, the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins, their shadows.
In Verse 12, “But He having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God.” I’m just requoting again of Psalm 110 in Verse 1, the statement guys, the statement of Jesus sitting down at the right hand of God. We’ve talked about this but this is a scandalous, but even insulting statement in the mind of Jewish tradition. If you were to put your faith in religious living, isn’t it simple the priest never sat down?
There was never enough that could be done. Constantly every day performing, is this enough, God? Is this enough? It’s never intended to fully satisfy it because all it was, was a shadow. In Verse 13, “Jesus is now waiting for that time onward until his enemies be made footstool for his feet.” I’m quoting Psalm 110 where Jesus is King. Then, He gives us this verse, Verse 14, which I should tell you guys, if anything in this section of scripture, if there’s just one section of this portion we’ve gone through together that you let your soul just saturate what’s contained in, in this passage, it is this verse.
It’s the application of this verse to your life forever as a follower of Jesus, so it says this. “For by one offering, He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” Let me ask you, how much of time is included in the phrase, all time? All of it, right? Past, present, future? When Jesus died for you, He covered all of you in all time, any sin that you’ve done in the past, anything that you do today, and anything that you’re going to do tomorrow. The sacrifice was all encompassing, sufficient.
I had recently within the last 12 months someone … I can’t remember what day it was. I think it was a Wednesday, came to the church, and with this pressing question on their mind, how do I know that Jesus is enough? Why do I not have to add more to it? Why am I entrusting Him when I’m doing a mess up need to just religiously continue to perform just to make up for all that? What keeps me from needing to do that in my life? Hebrews 10 Verse 14, “By one offering, He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.”
It’s saying here, in your faith in Jesus, God, always and all time entrusting in Christ, sees the blood of Christ over your life, is this is saying to you. This is the enriching of my own soul, the teaching in my own life from this passage of scripture. When I mess up, my tendency in a religious mindset is to beat myself up, going to the range of experience of being a failure. Why do I do that? Why do I disappoint myself? How can God love me? Let me ask you, what’s the point of repentance?
If you answer that question in a religious framework versus what this past is just saying from a religious framework, it’s all about the beating you up and making you be punished, because of the things that you’ve done wrong, but the point of repentance isn’t about your punishment. It’s about experience in a relationship with Christ which you were created. It’s not about walking in guilt and shame until you feel like it’s enough because that’s going back to shadows.
It’s about looking at the sufficiency of Jesus and turning to Him again and saying, “Thank you God that your sacrifice is sufficient forever and always in my life, even when I disappoint myself and the failures of what I’ve done, you still accept me. You love me that you can make me new. You gave me a place to stand, to refresh my soul, and be embraced by you, past, present, and future.” Religious people have a hard time of this verse because you can’t control what people do, right?
We’ve got a guilt and a shame, and come up with a list of rules and expectations, and everyone’s got to live with it, but you read the New Covenant and the New Covenant, it’s transforming from the inside-out. It’s the riding along on the heart. It’s living out the fruit of the Spirit. It’s not about religious legalism. It’s about surrendering to Jesus and letting Him do His work in me. Now, no doubt sometimes the indication over life might present that I am not surrendering to Jesus.
Here up in Bible Church, we’re not about behavior modification, the heart transformation. The greatest thing I could say to you this morning isn’t go do this and that. It’s give your heart to Jesus. See, everything that Christ has done for you and the love that’s been lavished, into the extent that He has gone, and how that sacrifice is sufficient and everything, you will never be loved at any greater in-depth than what Jesus has done for you, and give your heart to that. Live for that King and that glory in what He has called you to in Him.
You know what Satan likes to do? It’s not sufficient. He’s gotten really know who you are. “You messed up again? God doesn’t want to be near you,” and the cross of Christ and everything screams at God that has just been pursuing you with all that He has to offer so that you can join His presence forever for which you were created to belong. This verse for us is everything in understanding the sufficiency of Jesus in our lives. We need to close.
Let me just say, here are a few things to understand if you’re struggling with legalism. Here are some tendencies in the way we think. When someone is a legalist, they don’t walk around saying, “My name is John. I’m a legalist.” What typically is said is that they called themselves biblical and, “I’m just doing what the bible teaches.” One of the ways to recognize your heart wrestles with is maybe you believe some people are just too far gone for Christ to reach.
Typically, that mentality just tends to think that someone needs to first change before they can accept Jesus, or you want people to make you feel comfortable before they can belong and attend to your church. You got to be accepted, right? Are you confused of the idea of religious tradition with the substance and power that really belongs to Jesus? Or how about this, do you think you need to be re-saved when you falter as a believer?
Jesus holds you in His hand. Jesus’ cross was more than enough. As I look forward to this next week, but I just want you to know, not only did He reconciled your account as what’s been wronged against God, the sin, but He’s given you a completely new identity in Him, the royalty. Jesus’ sacrifice is enough. Let me just close … Let me read this last so we can say we read the whole passage. By the way, I skipped [Hebrews] 9 Verse 16-22 last week now that we’ve talked about covenant and Jesus.
If you go back and read [Hebrews] 9, 16 and the idea that Jesus is the covenant fulfillment, and you read covenant like it’s a will, like it’s someone’s will and testament when they die and produce that covenant, it will make sense. Romans 10 says like this, “The Holy Spirit also testifies to us for us after saying this is the covenant that I will make with them after those days,” says the Lord, “I will put my Laws up on their heart and on their mind. I will write them so God’s the one that transforms me inside.”
Then He says, “Their sins and their lawless deeds, I will remember no more. Now, where there’s forgiveness to these things, there’s no longer any offering for sin.” That’s like we come to Jesus when we say, “God, okay. I went and I now sacrifice this for Jesus. I’m doing all these. Now, will you accept me?” He’s like, “I’m not taking that. I’m not taking that. I already paid it. What in the world are you going to add to what I’ve already done when the King of all glory becomes flesh and dies for your sins? I’m not taking that.
I don’t care what special place you think you’ve gone to, what Laws you think you fulfilled, what sacrifices you think you made. That’s now what makes you acceptable before God. It’s our blood. It’s me who died in your place. Do you understand how much I love you?” When you think of every excuse in this world, why God wouldn’t accept you, why you don’t belong with Him, yeah, they might be good excuses, but not before the Lord.
He has paid it all because you’re created to belong to Him forever and He’s extended that, and lavished that love on you for all of eternity so that you can be in His presence forever. He created that celestial kingdom for you to ensure His glory forever. There’s no earning it. There’s no degrees to it. It’s His presence or nothing. It’s Jesus is sufficient or nothing. He doesn’t accept the meagerness of our sacrifices. It’s Him. You’re called to belong.
Guys can I tell you the thought the … Isn’t just to say, do you intellectually ascend to what I’m saying? Do you logically believe it, but rather beyond that? More than just intellectually all, I have believed it, but has your heart surrendered to it and embraced it? Do you allow your soul to grip this and say, “Jesus you are enough. Jesus, did I make me new? I’m not, Lord, but you are.” It’s just more than shadows. The substance belongs to Christ.
Let me share this last word. John Newton, writer of Amazing Grace. He lived a life of debauchery before Christ rescued us all. As he got to the end of his life, he kept remarking that his memory was fading, but one truth he continued to say he allowed himself to rest on, and he said like this, “I am a great sinner, but Christ is an ever greater savior.” Because if I could tell you anything for Him to our heart, it’s the identity for which we receive because of what Christ has done in past, present, and future. Jesus, that’s enough.