But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.
~ Hebrews 10:3
The Law enforced that a blood sacrifice was required for sins. The Jews would observe the Day of Atonement as well as the daily ministrations, when they would bring the various sin and trespass offerings for their offenses. However, these sacrifices did not ultimately remove their guilt before God. We see that these offerings were made over and over again. Our text tells us that this repetition meant that there was a remembrance of sins made continually with those sacrifices. No matter how perfect their sacrifice was, it could not take away sins. It was not possible.
The Law was “weak through the flesh.” It was not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could satisfy the exacting justice of God. It seems that the Law was a failure, but it fulfilled the Divine plan for which it was intended. The Law was not given to save from sin, “for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” Romans 5:20 states: “Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound.” So, the Law gives a knowledge of sin. The Law shows man his exceeding sinfulness before God. Paul refers to the Law as the ministration of death. He said, “The letter killeth.” The Law brought the curse it did not bring the remedy. But, it did point to the remedy.
The Law had a “shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things.” It was just a shadow. It did not have the substance. It was pointing to and leading to Christ. Its glory was to fade and the glory of Christ would remain. These continual offerings showed how inferior the Law was to the work of Christ. The Law sacrifices were made over and over, but the sacrifice of Christ was “once for all.” It is written of Christ, “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified” (He 10:14). The sacrifice of Christ has freed us from the dread curse. We sing with the hymn writer:
Free from the law, O happy condition,
Jesus hath bled, and there is remission;
Cursed by the law and bruised by the fall,
Grace hath redeemed us once for all.
Once for all, O sinner, receive it;
Once for all, O brother, believe it;
Cling to the cross, the burden will fall,
Christ hath redeemed us once for all.
In Christ, our sins are swallowed up and remembered no more. Hear the testimony. “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins” (Is 43:25). “Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile” (Ps 32:2). Whereas the Law had a remembrance of sins, in Christ our sins are removed as far as the east is from the west. In Him we are not dealt with after our sins. This is a precious and plain truth from our text. But, there is more to be gleaned if we look further.
We know that the Law foreshadowed Christ and that the repeated offerings showed that only by His sacrifice are we saved and our sins forgiven. What other reason could there be for the repeated offerings? When we consider Leviticus 4:1-6:7 we can see a very practical reason for the repetition. In these verses a particular sin is in view. Therefore, the offerer was guilty of some sin or trespass and he would bring his offering, but before long he would sin again and have to repeat the process. The law of the sin and trespass offerings enumerates several different kinds of sins and sinners so that, with the offering a particular object is in view. The offerings were not made in a vague general way, but rather to expiate certain sins. We can also consider Ezekiel 18:4-9 to get the same sort of enumeration of sins.
This is a wonderful picture to show us how complete the substitution of Christ was. As foreshadowed in the offerings, Christ actually died for actual sins. His death was not in general for sins, but rather in particular for the sins of His people. I believe that He bore all of my “sins in His own body on the tree.” If I had one sin that Christ did not die for, I would be eternally lost. “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (Ja 2:10). He suffered the punishment for all those actual and particular sins.
The exact justice of God demanded that “every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward” (He 2:2). Oh, what a Savior! He became a curse for us. We exult with Paul, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Ro 8:1). There is no remembrance of our sins God-ward, because Christ has taken them out of the way. If Christ has not paid for your sins, you will have to pay for them. Put your trust in that Lamb that was slain and you will find forgiveness of sins. Oh, praise His name! He has provided Himself a sacrifice and will remember those sins no more.