Hebrews 10:17
And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
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(17) Every reader must feel that as these verses stand in the Authorised version the sense is imperfect. The words “after He hath said before” (Hebrews 10:15) imply “then He saith,” or similar words, at some point in the verses which follow. Our translators did not attempt to complete the sense; for the marginal note (“some copies have, Then he saith, And their”) found in ordinary editions was added at a later date.[12] By many commentators it is believed that the words “saith the Lord” (Hebrews 10:16) are intended as the completion of the sentence, so that no supplement is needed. This is, we think, very improbable. As it is the last part of the quotation that is taken up here, it is at the beginning of this verse that the explanatory words must come in: “Then He saith, And their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” This we have seen to be the crowning promise of the new covenant of which Jesus is the Mediator. When these words were first quoted (Hebrews 8:12), some important points in the argument were still untouched. Now the firm basis of the promise has been shown, for the covenant has been ratified by the death of Christ, and the blessings He has won for men are eternal (Hebrews 9:15; Hebrews 9:12).

[12] From Dr. Scrivener’s “Cambridge Paragraph Bible (p. xxxii.) we learn that the note was added by Dr. Paris in the Cambridge Bible of 1762. Dr. Scrivener adds: “probably from the Philoxenian Syriac version, then just becoming know.”

10:11-18 Under the new covenant, or gospel dispensation, full and final pardon is to be had. This makes a vast difference between the new covenant and the old one. Under the old, sacrifices must be often repeated, and after all, only pardon as to this world was to be obtained by them. Under the new, one Sacrifice is enough to procure for all nations and ages, spiritual pardon, or being freed from punishment in the world to come. Well might this be called a new covenant. Let none suppose that human inventions can avail those who put them in the place of the sacrifice of the Son of God. What then remains, but that we seek an interest in this Sacrifice by faith; and the seal of it to our souls, by the sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience? So that by the law being written in our hearts, we may know that we are justified, and that God will no more remember our sins.Whereof the Holy Ghost is a witness to us - That is, the Holy Spirit is a proof of the truth of the position here laid down - that the one atonement made by the Redeemer lays the foundation for the eternal perfection of all who are sanctified. The witness of the Holy Spirit here referred to is what is furnished in the Scriptures, and not any witness in ourselves. Paul immediately makes his appeal to a passage of the Old Testament, and he thus shows his firm conviction that the Scriptures were inspired by the Holy Spirit.

For after that he had said before - The apostle here appeals to a passage which he had before quoted from Jeremiah 31:33-34; see it explained in the notes on Hebrews 8:8-12. The object of the quotation in both cases is, to show that the new covenant contemplated the formation of a holy character or a holy people. It was not to set apart a people who should be externally holy only, or be distinguished for conformity to external rites and ceremonies, but who should be holy in heart and in life. There has been some difficulty felt by expositors in ascertaining what corresponds to the expression "after that he had said before," and some have supposed that the phrase "then he saith" should be understood before Hebrews 10:17. But probably the apostle means to refer to two distinct parts of the quotation from Jeremiah, the former of which expresses the fact that God meant to make a new covenant with his people, and the latter expresses the nature of that covenant, and it is particularly to the latter that he refers. This is seen more distinctly in the passage in Jeremiah than it is in our translation of the quotation in this Epistle. The meaning is this, "The Holy Spirit first said, this is the covenant that I will make with them:" and having said this, he then added, "After those days, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." The first part of it expresses the purpose to form such a covenant; the latter states what that covenant would be. The quotation is not, indeed, literally made, but the sense is retained; compare the notes on Hebrews 8:8-12. Still, it may be asked, how this quotation proves the point for which it is adduced - that the design of the atonement of Christ was "to perfect forever them that are sanctified?" In regard to this, we may observe:

(1) that it was declared that those who were interested in it would be holy, for the law would be in their hearts and written on their minds; and,

(2) that this would be "entire and perpetual." Their sins would be "wholly" forgiven; they would never be remembered again - and thus they would be "perfected forever."

15. The Greek, has "moreover," or "now."

is a witness—of the truth which I am setting forth. The Father's witness is given Heb 5:10. The Son's, Heb 10:5. Now is added that of the Holy Spirit, called accordingly "the Spirit of grace," Heb 10:29. The testimony of all Three leads to the same conclusion (Heb 10:18).

for after that he had said before—The conclusion to the sentence is in Heb 10:17, "After He had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them (with the house of Israel, Heb 8:10; here extended to the spiritual Israel) … saith the Lord; I will put (literally, 'giving,' referring to the giving of the law; not now as then, giving into the hands, but giving) My laws into their hearts ('mind,' Heb 8:10) and in their minds ('hearts,' Heb 8:10); I will inscribe (so the Greek) them (here He omits the addition quoted in Heb 8:10, 11, I will be to them a God … and they shall not teach every man his neighbor …), and (that is, after He had said the foregoing, He then adds) their sins … will I remember no more." The great object of the quotation here is to prove that, there being in the Gospel covenant, "REMISSION of sins" (Heb 10:17), there is no more need of a sacrifice for sins. The object of the same quotation in Heb 8:8-13 is to show that, there being a "NEW covenant," the old is antiquated.

God covenanteth to give not only sanctification, but justification to his believing Israel, so as their sins shall be remitted, and God will solemnly absolve them from the punishment they merit; see Hebrews 8:12; promised, Jeremiah 31:34. In which proof, though there be no express mention of the sacrifice of Christ, yet is it implied, for it is urged by the Spirit to that purpose; and in other scriptures, speaking of the same thing here promised, it is expressed, as hath been shown, Hebrews 8:6, {compare Isaiah 53:1-12} that the death of Christ confirms this covenant, of which he is Mediator, and secures remission of sin for ever to the duly qualified subject for it.

And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. See Gill on Hebrews 8:10. The words are cited to a different purpose here than there; the principal thing for which they are cited here, is to observe God's promise of non-remembrance of sin; which is no other than remission of sin, and which is not consistent with legal sacrifices, in which there is a remembrance of sin every year, Hebrews 10:3 and consequently, since this new covenant has taken place, legal sacrifices must be abolished, as the apostle argues in the next verse. In one of Beza's copies are inserted, at the, beginning of this verse, these words, "then he said", which seem necessary to answer to the last clause of Hebrews 10:15. And their sins and iniquities will I remember {f} no more.

(f) Why then, where is the fire of purgatory, and that popish distinction of the fault, and the punishment?

Hebrews 10:17. The καί at the beginning of the verse is held by Böhme and Kuinoel to be a further particle of citation on the part of the author; while Hofmann will have it translated by “also.” Better, however, because more naturally and simply, is it taken as a constituent part of the Scripture citation.

17. will I remember no more] This oblivion of sin is illustrated by many strong metaphors in Isaiah 44:22; Isaiah 38:17; Jeremiah 50:20; Psalm 103:12; Micah 7:19, &c.

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