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Bible Commentaries

Commentary by J.C.Philpot on select texts of the Bible
Hebrews 10

 

 

Verse 12

Hebrews 10:12

"But this Prayer of Manasseh , after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God." Hebrews 10:12

It is a fundamental article of our most holy faith, that the man Christ Jesus is now at God"s right hand, a very Prayer of Manasseh , not a shadowy, ethereal substance. "There is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." God looks at him as such with eyes of intense delight, with ever new approbation and love; and views him as the representative of all that are savingly interested in him; he being the Head, the Church the members; he the Bridegroom, the Church the bride; he the great High Priest, and the Church the house of God. As living for her at the right hand of the Father, he is ever presenting on her behalf the validity of his intercession. The fact, the reality that he is there, is the Church"s joy, as it is all her hope and all her boast. "Because I live, you shall live also."

To him, then, do we direct our prayers; on his glorious Person we fix our believing eyes; upon his blood we hang our hope; under his righteousness we ever desire to shelter; to feel his presence, taste his grace, experience his love, and know his power, is what our soul, under divine teaching, is ever longing for. See, then, the grounds of holy boldness for a poor sinner to enter into the holiest. Blood has been shed, which blood has the validity of Godhead stamped upon it. A new and living way has been consecrated, in which a living soul may walk. A great High Priest is set over the house of God, who is ever presenting the merits of his intercession. Thus, those who feel their need of him, who cannot live, and dare not die without him, whose eyes are upon him and hearts towards him, are encouraged to enter with all holy boldness into the holiest, that they may have communion with Father, Song of Solomon , and Holy Spirit.


Verse 14

Hebrews 10:14

"For by one offering he has perfected forever those who are sanctified." Hebrews 10:14

To be "sanctified" is to be made a partaker of that holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord; to be made a new creature; to "put on the new Prayer of Manasseh , which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness;" in a word, to be "made a partaker of the divine nature," and thus have the holiness of God breathed into and communicated to the soul. Without this inward sanctification, none can enter the gates of heaven. To be made fit, therefore, for the heavenly inheritance, you must have a heavenly heart and a praising, adoring, loving spirit; you must delight yourself in the Lord as being so holy and yet so gracious, so pure and yet so loving, so bright and glorious and yet so condescending and sympathizing.

Now this fitness for the holiness, happiness, and employments of heaven is communicated at regeneration, in which the new man of grace, though weak, is still perfect. Look at the thief upon the cross—what an instance is he how the Spirit of God can in a moment make a man fit for heaven! Here was a vile malefactor, whose life had been spent in robbery and murder, brought at last to suffer the just punishment of his crimes; and as we are told that "they who were crucified with him reviled him," we have reason to believe that at first he joined his fellow malefactor in blaspheming the Redeemer. But sovereign grace, and what but sovereign grace? touched his heart, brought him to see and feel what he was as a ruined sinner, opened his eyes to view the Son of God bleeding before him, raised up faith in his soul to believe in his name, and created a spirit of prayer that the Lord of heaven and earth would remember him when he came into his kingdom—perhaps the greatest act of faith we have recorded in all Scripture, almost equal if not superior to the faith of Abraham when he offered up Isaac on the altar.

The dying Redeemer heard and answered his cry, and said to him, "Today shall you be with me in paradise." Spirit and life accompanied the words, and raised up at once in his soul a fitness for the inheritance, and before the shadows of night fell, his happy spirit passed into paradise, where he is now singing the praises of God and of the Lamb. Many a poor child of God has gone on almost to his last hours on earth without a manifestation of pardoning love and the application of atoning blood; but he has not been allowed to die without the Holy Spirit revealing salvation to his soul, and attuning his heart to sing the immortal anthem of the glorified spirits before the throne.


Verse 19

Hebrews 10:19

"Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus." Hebrews 10:19

Nothing will satisfy a living soul but coming "into the holiest." He wants to have communion with God, the holy, holy, holy Lord God of hosts. He is not dealing with a God distant and afar off—an idol, a God in whom he has neither faith, nor hope, nor love; who can neither see, nor hear, nor save; a God of his own conception or of some indistinct, traditional opinion; but he feels in his very conscience that he is carrying on a sacred and holy communion with the God of heaven and earth, the God who has made himself in some measure known to his soul as the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. With him he has to do; to him he must come; and with him he must hold holy communion. Before his heart-searching eyes he feels he stands; into his ever-open ears he pours his petition; to his mercy and pity he appeals; his compassion he craves; his love he seeks; his salvation he longs for; and his presence above all things he earnestly desires. So he must come into the holiest, for there God dwells; and to come unto God is to come there.

The man who thus feels and acts is an Israelite indeed in whom there is no deceit; one of the true circumcision who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Others are satisfied with the courts of the house, with admiring the external building, or the painted windows, carved pews, and long drawn aisles; with the mere worship of God as so much lip service. But the living soul goes beyond all that into the very heart of the sanctuary itself. As the high priest on the day of atonement did not tarry among the people in the court, nor with the priests in the holy place, but pressed on, ever pressed on through the thick veil until he got into the holy of holies; so with the saint of God—he does not tarry in the outer court with the profane, nor in the sanctuary with the professor, so as to be satisfied with seeing God with a veil between. But he must come into that immediate presence of God, where he may see something of his grace, behold something of his glory, feel something of his mercy, and taste something of his power. And this makes him press forward into the holiest.


Verse 23

Hebrews 10:23

"Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful who promised." Hebrews 10:23

Faith cannot rest upon fancy; it can only rest upon the solid truth of God, as revealed in the Scriptures. And when it comes into the truth of God, as Noah"s dove came into the ark as its own nest and home, then it finds rest and peace. Many people think we build our faith and hope, not on the Scriptures, but on some mental feelings, or fancies of our own, distinct from the word of God. I do not and cannot build my faith on anything but what is revealed in the Bible; and I must do it because I have no other foothold for it to stand upon. Do you not feel the same, you who know anything of the trial of faith? You have had many a tossing up and down, and have often needed a foothold for your faith to stand upon. You have tried to believe this or that doctrine, or to get into this or that experience; but you kept still falling short, for you found that your faith needed something stronger than the testimony of men; you needed a solid foundation on which to build for eternity; for the things to be believed were so invisible and so mysterious, that nothing but the word of God could suffice for your faith to stand upon and rest in.

When, then, in this trial of faith, the truth of God as it stands revealed in the Scriptures was applied to your heart by a divine power, then you found that there was a foothold for belief, and that your faith could then rest upon the inspired word of God, as a rock on which to build, for life and death, time and eternity.

It was so with Abraham. When Abraham was looking forward to the birth of the promised seed, many a doubt or fear might have arisen in his mind as to whether he would have a son by Sarah. But he rested upon the word of promise, and thus obtained a foothold for his faith. As the Apostle speaks, "Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations; according to that which was spoken, So shall your seed be" ( Romans 4:18). Our faith must in the same way rest on the word of promise, that "by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us."


Verse 36

Hebrews 10:36

"For you have need of patience, that, after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise." Hebrews 10:36

Why is patience needed? Because if we are the Lord"s people, we are sure to have many trials. The Lord sends us afflictions that he may give us the grace of patience to bear them. But O, what a rebellious heart do we carry in our bosom! What perverseness, peevishness, and self-will dwell in us! How soon our temper is stirred up, and our irritable minds roused in a moment by the smallest trifle! How little patience have we under the trials that God sees fit to lay upon us! We thus learn our need of patience, and that it is not a fruit of nature"s soil. The lack of it makes the soul follow after it; and when the Lord does give submission to his will, and enables his children to see how profitable these trials are for their souls, and how, but for this heavy ballast, they would certainly have been carried away into the world, they can see his merciful hand in their heavy afflictions.

Thus sometimes by feeling peevish and rebellious, and thus knowing their need of patience; and sometimes by feeling submissive, and enjoying the sweetness of it, they see what a blessed grace patience is. Scarcely any grace do we more daily need. We need it toward God, when he crosses us in our schemes, thwarts us in our desires, and instead of showing why he afflicts us, hides himself behind a thick cloud that neither faith nor prayer can pierce through.

We need patience with each other, with the world, with our relations in life, and with the Church of God. We need patience when anything is said or done to hurt our minds, wound our feelings, irritate our tempers, and stir us up to revenge. And what a mercy it Isaiah , under these sharp trials, to have patience, and thus follow the example of the blessed Lord, "who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not, but committed himself to Him who judges righteously."


Verse 39

Hebrews 10:39

"But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of those who believe to the saving of the soul." Hebrews 10:39

The Scriptures have brought certain marks not only to test, but also to comfort God"s people. But in order to keep them tremblingly alive to the fear of being deceived; in order to set up an effectual beacon lest their vessel should run upon the rocks, the blessed Spirit has revealed such passages as we find in the sixth and tenth chapters of the Hebrews. They seem set up by the Spirit of God as a lighthouse at the entrance of a harbor. Is it not so naturally? Some shoal or sand-bank often lies near the entrance of a port, which the mariner has to guard against. How is he guarded? A light-house is erected on or near the spot, which warns him of the shoal. Now I look on the sixth and tenth chapters of the Epistle to the Hebrews as two light-houses standing near the entrance of the harbor of eternal safety. And their language Isaiah , "Beware of this shoal! Take care of that sand-bank! There are gifts without grace; there is profession without possession; there is form without power; there is a name to live while the soul is dead."

The shoal naturally often lies at the very entrance of a harbor—and as the ship makes for the port, the sandbank lies in her very course; but when the harbor is neared, the friendly beacon not only warns her of the shoal, but also points out the safe passage into the haven. And so spiritually, from these two chapters many of God"s people have seen what shoals lie in the way, and have, perhaps, before they were warned off, come near enough to see the shipwrecked vessels. The gallant barks that sailed from the same port with themselves they have seen wrecked on the rocks, the freight lost, and the dead bodies and broken fragments floating on the waves.

But these never looked for the lighthouse, nor saw the bank; they were intoxicated, or fast asleep; they were sure of going to heaven; and on they went, reckless and thoughtless, until the vessel struck on the shoal, and every hand on board perished. These dreadful warnings and solemn admonitions seem to me so written that they may scrape, so to speak, as nearly as possible the quick of a man"s flesh. And they appear couched in language of purposed ambiguity that they may be trying passages; no, the very beauty and efficacy of them, and the real good to be wrought by them, is in their ambiguity, so that the people of God may take a more solemn warning by them, and may cry unto the Lord more earnestly that they may not be deceived.

Then it is not the poor, desponding children of God who are tried by these passages, that have reason to fear them; their being thus tried shows that their conscience is tender in God"s fear, and that they are "the earth which drinks in the rain that comes often upon it, and bringing forth herbs fit for them by whom it is dressed, receives blessing from God;" and that they are not that "which bears thorns and briers, which is rejected, and is near unto cursing, whose end is to be burned." And thus, these very fears and suspicions, by which many of God"s people are exercised, causing strong cries unto the Lord, that he would teach, guide, and lead them, are so many blessed marks that they are not graceless persons, but partakers of the grace of God, and at the same time prove, "that he who has begun a good work in them" will carry it on, and "will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ," and bring them into the eternal enjoyment of God, that they may see him for themselves, and not another.

 


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Bibliography Information
Philpot, Joseph Charles. "Commentary on Hebrews 10:4". Commentary by J.C.Philpot on select texts of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jcp/hebrews-10.html.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, November 18th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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