9:11-14 All good things past, present, and to come, were and are founded upon the priestly office of Christ, and come to us from thence. Our High Priest entered into heaven once for all, and has obtained eternal redemption. The Holy Ghost further signified and showed that the Old Testament sacrifices only freed the outward man from ceremonial uncleanness, and fitted him for some outward privileges. What gave such power to the blood of Christ? It was Christ's offering himself without any sinful stain in his nature or life. This cleanses the most guilty conscience from dead, or deadly, works to serve the living God; from sinful works, such as pollute the soul, as dead bodies did the persons of the Jews who touched them; while the grace that seals pardon, new-creates the polluted soul. Nothing more destroys the faith of the gospel, than by any means to weaken the direct power of the blood of Christ. The depth of the mystery of the sacrifice of Christ, we cannot dive into, the height we cannot comprehend. We cannot search out the greatness of it, or the wisdom, the love, the grace that is in it. But in considering the sacrifice of Christ, faith finds life, food, and refreshment.
14. offered himself—The voluntary nature of the offering gives it especial efficacy. He "through the eternal Spirit," that is, His divine Spirit (Ro 1:4, in contrast to His "flesh," Heb 9:3; His Godhead, 1Ti 3:16; 1Pe 3:18), "His inner personality" [Alford], which gave a free consent to the act, offered Himself. The animals offered had no spirit or will to consent in the act of sacrifice; they were offered according to the law; they had a life neither enduring, nor of any intrinsic efficacy. But He from eternity, with His divine and everlasting Spirit, concurred with the Father's will of redemption by Him. His offering began on the altar of the cross, and was completed in His entering the holiest place with His blood. The eternity and infinitude of His divine Spirit (compare Heb 7:16) gives eternal ("eternal redemption," Heb 9:12, also compare Heb 9:15) and infinite merit to His offering, so that not even the infinite justice of God has any exception to take against it. It was "through His most burning love, flowing from His eternal Spirit," that He offered Himself [Oecolampadius].
without spot—The animal victims had to be without outward blemish; Christ on the cross was a victim inwardly and essentially stainless (1Pe 1:19).
purge—purify from fear, guilt, alienation from Him, and selfishness, the source of dead works (Heb 9:22, 23).
your—The oldest manuscripts read "our." The Vulgate, however, supports English Version reading.
conscience—moral religious consciousness.
dead works—All works done in the natural state, which is a state of sin, are dead; for they come not from living faith in, and love to, "the living God" (Heb 11:6). As contact with a dead body defiled ceremonially (compare the allusion, "ashes of an heifer," Heb 9:13), so dead works defile the inner consciousness spiritually.
to serve—so as to serve. The ceremonially unclean could not serve God in the outward communion of His people; so the unrenewed cannot serve God in spiritual communion. Man's works before justification, however lifelike they look, are dead, and cannot therefore be accepted before the living God. To have offered a dead animal to God would have been an insult (compare Mal 1:8); much more for a man not justified by Christ's blood to offer dead works. But those purified by Christ's blood in living faith do serve (Ro 12:1), and shall more fully serve God (Re 22:3).
living God—therefore requiring living spiritual service (Joh 4:24).