CHRIST THE ONLY OFFERING FOR SIN
“In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hast had no pleasure” [Hebrews 10:6]
These words amplify and define the central portion of the preceding verse. There we hear the Son, just prior to His incarnation saying to the Father, “Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not.” Against this a carping objector might reply, True, God never willed those sacrifices and offerings which our idolatrous fathers presented to Baal, nor those which the heathen gave to their gods; but that is a very different thing from saying that no animal sacrifice satisfied Jehovah.
Such an objection is here set aside by the plain declaration that even the Levitical offerings contented God not. “In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hast had no pleasure.” In these words Christ comprehended all the sacrifice under the Mosaic economy which had respect to the expiation of sin and also the worship of God. In verse 5 the term “sacrifice” includes all those offerings which the Israelite’s brought to the Lord for the purpose of obtaining His pardon; under the word “offering” was embraced all the gifts which they brought with the object of expressing thanksgiving for blessings received at His hands. Here in verse 6 the latter are, by a synecdoche, referred to by “burnt offerings,’’ and the former by sacrifices “for sin.”
Concerning both of them Christ said to the Father “Thou wouldest not” (verse 5) and “Thou hast had no pleasure.”
The difference between “Thou wouldest not” and “Thou hast had no pleasure” is, the former declares that God had never DESIGNED the Levitical offerings should make a perfect satisfaction unto Himself; the latter, that He DELIGHTED NOT in them.
Such language is to be understood relatively and not absolutely. God HAD required sacrifices at the hands of Israel: He had “imposed” them “until the time of reformation” (Hebrews 9:10). Absolutely they could neither be said to be wholly nugatory in themselves nor displeasing to God, but as they could not produce any real atonement for sin, they did not correspond in the proper sense of the term either to the Divine pleasure nor to the law of God, but only foreshadowed what was to come.
God had ordained a satisfaction possessing such moral obedience and personal excellency that there would need no more repetition thereof. These words “in burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hast had no pleasure” serve as a background to bring out in more vivid relief the blessedness of
“This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17)!
Once more we would point out how that the teaching of these verses supply a timely warning against our making a wrong use of symbolic ordinances.
“Whatever may be the use or efficacy of any ordinances of worship, yet if they are employed or trusted unto for such ends as God hath not designed them unto, He accepts not of our persons in them, nor approves of the things themselves. Thus He declares Himself concerning the most solemn institutions of the Old Testament. And those under the New have been no less abused in this way, than those of old” (John Owen)