For by one offering he has perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Hebrews 7:11 we have read that “perfection” did not come through the Levitical priesthood or through the law (Hebrews 10:19); the object of man’s hopes and of all priestly service has at last been attained, since through the “great High Priest” “we draw nigh to God” (Hebrews 7:19). In this is involved salvation to the uttermost (Hebrews 7:25). The last word of this verse has occurred before, in Hebrews 2:11. As was there explained, it literally means those who are being sanctified, all those who, from age to age, through faith (Hebrews 10:22) receive as their own that which has been procured for all men.
PERFECTED AND BEING SANCTIFIED
Hebrews 10:14IN the preceding sentence there is another ‘for ever,’ which refers to the sacrifice of Christ, and declares its perpetual efficacy. It is one, the world’s sins are many, but the single sacrifice is more than all of them. It is a past act, but its consequences are eternal, and flow down through all the ages. The text explains wherein consists the perpetual efficacy of Christ’s sacrifice, and the reason why it needs no repetition while the world lasts. It endures for ever, because it has perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Now, in looking at these words, two things are noteworthy. One is the double designation here of the persons whom Christ influences by His offering, in that they are ‘perfected,’ and in that they are ‘sanctified.’ Another is the double aspect of our Lord’s work here set forth in regard to time, in that it is, in the first part of the sentence, spoken of as a past act whose consequences endure - ‘He hath perfected’ - and in the latter part of our text, according to the accurate rendering, it is spoken of as continuous and progressive, as yet incomplete and going on to perfection- For the text ought to read - ‘He hath perfected for ever them that are being sanctified.’ So there you have these two things, the double view of what Christ does, ‘perfects’ and ‘sanctifies,’ and the double view of His ‘work, in that in one aspect it is past and complete, and in another aspect it is running on, continuous, and as yet unfinished.
I. First, then, look at the twofold aspect of the effect of Christ’s sacrifice.
By it we are ‘perfected,’ ‘sanctified.’ Now, these two words, so to speak, cover the same facts, but they look at them from two different points of view. One of them looks at the completed Christian character from the human point of view, and the other looks at it from the divine. For, what does ‘perfect’ mean in the New Testament? It means, as many a passage might be quoted to show, ‘mature,’ ‘full grown,’ in opposition to ‘babes in Christ.’ This very Epistle uses the two phrases in that antithesis, but the literal meaning of the word is that which has reached its end, that which has attained what it was meant to be; and, according to the New Testament teaching, a man is perfected when he has all his capabilities and possibilities of progress and goodness and communion with God made into realities and facts in His life, when the bud has flowered, and the flower has fruited, When capacity is developed, privileges enjoyed, duties attended to,. relationships entered into and maintained - when these things have taken place the man is perfect. It is to be observed that there is no reference in the word to any standard outside of human nature. If a man has become all that it is possible for him to be, he is, in the fullest sense, perfect. But Scripture also recognises a relative perfection, as we have already remarked, which consists in a certain maturity of Christian character, and has for its opposite the condition of ‘babes in Christ.’ So Paul exhorts ‘as many as be perfect’ to be ‘thus minded’ - namely, not to count themselves to have apprehended, but to stretch forward to the things which rare before, and to press towards the goal which still gleams far in advance. Consider, now, that other description of a Christian character as
The same set of facts in a man’s nature is thought of in that word, only they are looked at from another point of view. I suppose I do not need to enlarge upon the fact which, however, I am afraid a great many good people do not realise as they should, that the Biblical notion of ‘saint’ and ‘sanctified’ does not begin with character, but with relation, or, if I might put it more plainly, it does not, primarily and to start with, mean righteous, but ‘belonging to God.’ The Old and the New Testament concur in this conception of ‘sanctity,’ or ‘holiness,’ which are the same thing, only one is a Latin word and the other a Teutonic one - namely, that it starts from being consecrated and given up to God, and that out of that consecration will come all manner of righteousness and virtues, beauties of character, and dispositions and deeds which all men own to be ‘lovely... and of good report.’ The saint is, first of all, a man who knows that he belongs to God, and is glad to belong to Him, and then, afterwards, he becomes righteous and pure and radiant, but it all starts with yielding myself to God.
So the same set of characteristics which in the word ‘perfected’ were considered as fulfilling the idea of manhood, as God has given it to us, are massed in this other word, and considered as being the result of our yielding ourselves to Him. That is to say, no man has reached the end which he was created and adapted to reach, unless he has surrendered himself to God. You never be ‘perfected’ until you are ‘sanctified.’
You must begin with consecration, and then holiness of character, and beauty of conduct, and purity of heart will all come after that. It is vain to put the cart before the horse, and to try to work at mending your characters, before you have set right your relationship to God. Begin with sanctifying, and you will come to perfecting. That is the New Testament teaching. And there is no way of getting to that perfection except, as we shall see, through the one offering.
II. In the next place notice here the completed work.
‘By one offering He hath "perfected"‘ us, the Christian people of this generation, the Christian people yet to be born into the world, the men that have not yet learned that they belong to Him, but who will learn it some day. Were they all ‘perfected’ eighteen centuries ago? In what sense can that perfecting be said to be a past act? Suppose you take some purifying agent, and throw it in at the headwaters of a river, and it goes down the stream, down and down and down, and by degrees purifies it all If you like to use long- winded words, you can say that ‘potentially’ the river was purified when the precipi-rating agent was flung into it, though its waves were still foul with impurity. Or you can put it into plainer English and say that the past act has its abiding consequences, for there has been thrown into the centre of human history, as it were, that which is amply adequate to the ‘perfecting’ and the ‘sanctifying’ of every soul of the race. And that is what the writer of this Epistle means when he says ‘He hath perfected,’ because that sacrifice, like the precipitating agent that I have spoken about, has been flung into the stream of the world’s history, and has power to make pure as the dew-drop, or as the water that flows from melting ice, every foul-smelling, darkly dyed drop of the filthy stream.
‘By one offering; Now the word that the writer employs there is a very unusual one in Scripture. He has just been using it in a previous verse, where he speaks about ‘the offering of the body of Jesus Christ.’ Did you ever notice that remarkable expression ‘the offering of the body,’ not as we usually read, the ‘blood.’ What does that mean? I think it means this, that the writer is contemplating not only the culminating sacrifice of Calvary, but Christ’s offering of Himself all through His earthly life; and knitting together in one the life and the death, the totality of His work, as that by which He has ‘perfected for ever all them that are being sanctified.’ And that, I think, is made quite certain, because he has just been speaking, and the words of my text refer back to the declaration in one of the psalms ‘Lo! I come to do Thy will, O God,’ as expressing the whole meaning of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. That saying of the psalmist was fulfilled not only on the Cross but in all His daily life.
Jesus Christ, then, in His whole manifestation, in His life, but not only in His life; and in His death, but not only in His death, has offered Himself unto God, ‘the Lamb without blemish, and without spot.’ And in that offering culminating in the death upon the Cross, but not confined thereto, there does lie the power which is triumphantly more than adequate to deal with all the foulnesses and sins of the world, and to perfect for ever any man that attaches himself to it. It deals with our guilt as nothing else can. It speaks to our consciences as nothing else can. It takes away all the agony and the pain, or all the dogged deadness, of a seared conscience. It deals with character. In that great offering, considered as including Christ’s life as well as His death, and considered as including Christ’s death as well as His life, you have folded up in indissoluble unity the pattern, the motive, and the power for all righteousness of character; and he reaches the end for which God created him, who, laying his hand on the head of that offering, not only transfers his sins to it, but receives its righteousness into him. By one offering that dealt with guilt, and wiped it all out, and that deals with the tyranny of evil, and emancipates us from it, and that communicates to us a new life formed in righteousness after the image of Him that created us, we are delivered from the burden of our sins and perfected, in so far as we lay hold of the power that is meant to cleanse us.
There is no other way of being perfected. You will never reach the point which it is possible for you to attain, and you will never fulfil the purpose for which God made you, unless you have joined yourself by faith to Jesus Christ, and are receiving into your life, and developing in your character, the power which He has lodged in the heart of humanity for redemption and purifying.
III. Now one last word. We have here the continuous and progressive work of Christ, and the growing experience, of Christians.
As I have remarked, the last clause of my text would be more completely rendered if we read, ‘them that are being sanctified.’ The same idea is set forth by the apostle Paul in that solemn passage in the first Epistle to the Corinthians, where he speaks about the double effect of the gospel upon ‘them that are perishing; and on them that are being saved.’ In both cases there is a process going on. The same idea is brought out, too, in the other expression in the Acts of the Apostles, about the ‘Lord adding to the Church daily,’ not, as the Authorised Version has it, ‘such as should be saved,’ but ‘them that were being saved.’ We may speak of salvation as past, as all included in the initial act by which we are knit to Jesus Christ through faith, when as guilty sinners we come to Him and east ourselves on Him. We may speak of salvation as being future, and lying beyond this vale of tears and battlefield of sins and sorrow. But we can speak of it more accurately than in either of these aspects, as a point in the past, prolonged into a line in the present, and running on into the future. For salvation is a process which is going on day by day, if we are right, and which I am afraid is not progressive in a very great many professing Christian people. Perfected, I said, meant full-grown. I wonder about how many of us it would need to be said, ‘Ye are babes in Christ, and when for the time ye ought to be teachers ye have need that one teach you which be the first principles of the oracles of God.’ Salvation is a progressive process. That is to say, if we are truly joined to Jesus Christ, we are growingly influenced by the powers of His Cross and the gift of His Spirit.
There is no limit to that growth. It is like a spiral which goes up and up and up, and in every convolution ‘draws nearer to the centre, but never reaches it. Our hearts and spirits are wonderfully elastic. They can take in a great deal more of God than we think they can, or than they ever have taken in. We can receive just as much of that infinite Life into our finite spirits as we will. Let us each strive to get more and more of Jesus Christ in us, that we may know Him, and the ‘power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings,’ more fully, more deeply, and may keep it more constantly. Oh, brethren! if we are not ascending the ladder that reaches to heaven, which is Christ Himself, we are descending; and if we are not growing we are dwindling; and if we cannot say that we are being sanctified, we are being made more and more common and profane.
I am not going to say one word about whether absolute perfection or absolute sanctification can be reached in this life. If you and I were many hundreds of miles farther on the road, it would be worth discussing whether we could reach the goal or not. Never mind about the possibilities of abstract and perfect sanctification, we are a good long way off that.
Look after the next step in advance, and leave the ultimate one to take care of itself. Only remember, that whilst Christ’s past work has in it perpetual and absolute power to make any man perfect, no man will be sanctified unless he is sanctified by ‘faith that is in Me,’ and by the effort to work into his life and character the gift of the Divine Spirit and of the life of Christ which he receives by faith. It is ‘them that are being sanctified’ to whom the large hopes of this great text apply, and who may be sure that one day they will be absolutely perfected.
He hath perfected forever - He hath laid the foundation of the eternal perfection. The offering is of such a character that it secures their final freedom from sin, and will make them forever holy. It cannot mean that those for whom he died are made at once perfectly holy, for that is not true; but the idea is, that the offering was complete, and did not need to be repeated; and that it was of such a nature as entirely to remove the penalty due to sin, and to lay the foundation for their final and eternal holiness. The offerings made under the Jewish Law were so defective that there was a necessity for repeating them every day; the offering made by the Saviour was so perfect that it needed not to be repeated, and that it secured the complete and final salvation of those who availed themselves of it.
Them that are sanctified - Those who are made holy by that offering. It does not mean that they are as yet "wholly" sanctified, but that they have been brought under the influence of that gospel which sanctifies and saves; see Hebrews 2:11; Hebrews 9:14. The doctrine taught in this verse is, that all those who are in any measure sanctified will be perfected forever. It is not a temporary work which has been begun in their souls, but one which is designed to be carried forward to perfection. In the atonement made by the Redeemer there is the foundation laid for their eternal perfection, and it was with reference to that, that it was offered. Respecting this work and the consequences of it, we may remark, that there is:
(1) perfection in its nature, it being of such a character that it needs not to be repeated;
(2) there is perfection in regard to the pardon of sin - all past sins being forgiven to those who embrace it, and being forever forgiven; and
(3) there is to be absolute perfection for them forever.
They will be made perfect at some future period, and when that shall take place it will be to continue forever and ever.
(The perfection, in this place, is not to be understood of the perfection of grace or of glory. It is perfection, in regard to the matter in hand, in regard to what was the chief design of sacrifices, namely, expiation and consequent pardon and acceptance of God. And this indeed is the Τελειωσις Teleiōsis of the Epistle to the Hebrews generally, Hebrews 7:11; Hebrews 9:9; Hebrews 10:1. Perfect moral purity and consummate happiness will doubtless follow as consequences of the sacrifice of Christ, but the completeness of his expiation, and its power to bring pardon and peace to the guilty and trembling sinner, to justify him unto eternal life, is here, at all events, principally intended. The parties thus perfected or completely justified, are τους ἁγιαζομενους tous hagiazomenous, the "sanctified." Ἁγιαζω Hagiazō, however, besides the general sense of "sanctify" has in this Epistle, like τελειοω teleioō, its sacrificial sense of cleansing from guilt. "Whether ceremonially, as under the Levitical dispensation; Hebrews 9:13; comp, Leviticus 16:19; or really and truly, by the offering of the body of Christ; Hebrews 10:10, Hebrews 10:14, Hebrews 10:29; compare Hebrews 10:2, and Hebrews 2:11; Hebrews 9:14." - Parkhurst's Greek Lexicon. The meaning, then, may be, that they who are purged or cleansed by this sacrifice, in other words, those to whom its virtue is applied, are perfectly justified.
Wherever this divine remedy is used, it will effectually save. By one offering Christ hath forever justified such as are purged or cleansed by it. This could not be said of those sanctified or purged by the legal sacrifices. Mr. Scott gives the sacrificial sense of the word, but combines with it the sense of sanctifying morally, in the following excellent paraphrase. "By his one oblation he hath provided effectually for the perfect justification unto eternal life, of all those who should ever receive his atonement, by faith springing from regeneration, and evidenced 'by the sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience,' and who were thus set apart and consecrated to the service of God.")
them that are sanctified—rather as Greek, "them that are being sanctified." The sanctification (consecration to God) of the elect (1Pe 1:2) believers is perfect in Christ once for all (see on Heb 10:10). (Contrast the law, Heb 7:19; 9:9; 10:1). The development of that sanctification is progressive.For by one offering: for here gives the reason of the precedent effect, and it is opposed to the reason of the legal offerings’ defect; their sacrifices multiplied could not perfect sinners, but this one doth it fully.
He hath perfected for ever: Christ, God-man, the gospel High Priest, by the one offering of himself a sacrifice for sin to God his Father, and once performed by him, hath secured perfection of justification, sanctification, and blessedness, perpetually to be continued, whereby the persons interested in it are qualified and consecrated to be priests to God and his Father, (as the Aaronical priests were by the sacrifice of the ram of consecration, Exodus 29:22,24), to serve in their proportion here, but especially after the completion of it by their resurrection, they shall perfectly serve him before his throne in the holy of holiest for ever, 1 Peter 2:9 Revelation 1:6 5:10 20:6.
Them that are sanctified; the renewed souls by the Holy Ghost, such whose consciences he hath sprinkled with the blood of Jesus, and by it freed them from the guilt of sin and its punishment, and whose natures he regenerates and sanctifieth, freeing them from their evil habits, and making them inherently holiness unto the Lord, Psalm 110:3 1 Corinthians 6:11.
he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified; that is, who are sanctified by God the Father, Jde 1:1 or, who are set apart by him in eternal election, from the rest of the world, for his own use, service, and glory, to a state of grace and holiness here, and happiness hereafter; for this is not to be understood either of their being sanctified in Christ, though the Syriac version reads, "that are sanctified" in him, or by his Spirit, though both are true of the same persons; these Christ, by his sacrifice, has perfected, and has perfectly fulfilled the law for them; he has perfectly expiated their sins; he has obtained the full pardon of all their sins, and complete redemption; he has perfectly justified them from all things, and that for ever; which shows the continued virtue of Christ's sacrifice, in all generations, to all the elect of God, and the fulness and duration of their salvation; and so Christ by his one sacrifice did what the law, and all its sacrifices, could not do, Hebrews 10:1.For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Hebrews 10:14. Proof of the possibility of the εἰς τὸ διηνεκὲς ἐκάθισεν ἐν δεξιᾷ τοῦ θεοῦ, Hebrews 10:12, from the needlessness for a fresh sacrifice, since Christ has already, by the sacrifice once offered, brought in perfect sanctification for His believers.
The accentuation: μιᾷ γὰρ προσφορᾷ, merits the preference to μιὰ γὰρ προσφορά, to which Bengel is inclined, and which has been followed by Ewald, since by the former the words acquire an immediate reference to Christ.
τοὺς ἁγιαζομένους] them that are sanctified, sc. as regards the decree of God. The participle present is used substantively, as Hebrews 2:11, without respect to time.14. he hath perfected] Hebrews 7:11; Hebrews 7:25.
them that are sanctified] “those who are in the way of sanctification” (Hebrews 2:11; comp. Acts 2:47).Hebrews 10:14. Μιᾷ γὰρ προσφορᾷ, for by one offering) Or should we rather read μία γὰρ προσφορὰ, for one offering? For the language is framed (moves on) in the abstract also in Hebrews 10:11; and with the same verb ΤΕΛΕΙΟῦΝ, to perfect, which here sustains the Apodosis, it was similarly framed, ch. Hebrews 7:19, Hebrews 9:9, Hebrews 10:1.—γὰρ, for) The assigning of a reason (Ætiology, Append.) is to be referred to (has reference to) Hebrews 10:12.—τοὺς ἁγιαζομένους, those who were sanctified) A participle of the imperfect tense. For this sanctification was accomplished in the very act of offering the sacrifice, Hebrews 10:10.
 The Germ. Vers., following the reasons assigned by the Gnomon, prefers this reading, which was considered of equal authority by the margin of both Ed.—E. B.Verse 14. - For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified. The tense of the participle ἁγιαζομένους, instead of as ver. ἡγιασμένους, in 10, does not involve a different sense of the verb, viz. the ordinary one associated with the word "sanctify." When it was necessary to express by the word itself the accomplishment of sanctification in the sense intended, the perfect participle was used; here the subjects of the same sanctification are denoted, the accomplishment being expressed by τετελείωκε (cf. οἱ ἁγιαζομένοι, Hebrews 2:11). The meaning of τετελείωκε ("hath perfected") may be taken as ruled by τοὺς ἁγιαζομένους: hath perfected them as ἁγίοι, done all that was required for their being such, without any need of any further offering (cf. supra, Hebrews 10:1).
Note the continued emphasis upon the τελείωσιςperfection. Comp. Hebrews 7:11, Hebrews 7:19; Hebrews 9:9; Hebrews 10:1; Hebrews 12:2. No more sacrifices are needed. The reign of the Great High Priest is not to be interrupted by the duty of sacrifice.
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