Summary: GOD’S NEGATIVES MAY BE MANKIND’S POSITIVES. Here are five blessed negatives from Heb 10:1-18

April 24,1994


Heb 10:1-18 (code = he10tv18)

INTRO: (1) It would be nice if everything could be positive and nothing was ever negative. At times we try to create an ideal world by emphasizing only the positive. To do this means denying that anything is less than positive. Not long ago I heard a caller on a talk show in Seattle with Mike Segal criticize the demeanor of the discussion on President Clinton’s woes because it was "negative." The man wanted to hear only what was positive.

(2) Many things in life are not positive. Sin is very negative. At times the only way to deal with the negative is with what we might consider a negative consequence. For example, Christ dealt with sin by dying. That is negative and yet it is the only effective cure for sin. No amount of denial will make it go away. Accepting the negative facts and

receiving the negative consequences is the way to turn a negative into a positive. This is something like the technical effect of a double negative in the English language or the mathematical result of subtracting a negative number from another negative. The outcome may be positive.

(3) Because of the negative influences in the world, some of the more positive things God says to us are housed in negative terms. What we encounter in Hebrews 10 are "positive negatives." They are negative statements which produce positive results.


TRANS: Here are five blessed negatives from Heb 10:1-18.

I. The law is not the very image of good things to come; it can never make people perfect (Heb 10: 1-3).

A. Verse 1 in the NASV reads, " For the law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never by the same sacrifices year by year, which they offer continually, make perfect those who draw near." Had the offerings resulted in perfection or completely purged consciences, there would be no need for their continuation. It is a negative fact that repetition of the offerings points to only temporary relief.

B. It is difficult to improve on the words of Chuck Swindoll as he introduces his discussion on this passage:

The most extensive object lesson God ever gave mankind was the Law, especially the animal sacrifices required by the Law. Time after time, animal after animal, year after year, blood offering after blood offering, the sacrificial smoke filled the altar and ascended to heaven. The act of sacrifice was as commonplace under the Law as the sound of bells ringing from church steeples is today. But actually, it all was "a shadow of the good things to come." None of it ever took away sins! Animal sacrifice was merely an object lesson; it was a picture without words, a sermon without substance. Not until the Lamb of God offered Himself, one sacrifice for all time, was the picture made perfect. (81) #9-31

C. There is great difference between a shadow and an image. An image is like what we see when we look into a mirror. A shadow is what we see when light is obstructed by an object. The Law was the visible yet not fully discernible outline left when the light of Heaven was shaded by sin. The real thing is still on the other side but at least the veil has been torn by the "image of God (II Cor 4:4; Col 1:15).

II. It is not possible for animal blood to take away sins; the sacrifices can never take away sins (vv 4, 9-11).

A. Not and never are strongly negative words. When we read them we think that somehow we are limiting God in this passage. The real limitation is in animal blood and sacrifices rather than in God. He is omnipotent. The impossibility is not with Him because with God all things are possible (Mk. 10:27). All things are not possible with earthly blood, however.

B. As a note of interest, it was not possible for death to hold Christ (Acts 2:24). The power is all God’s. Impossibility is primarily an expression of the limitations of creation.

III. God has no pleasure in burnt offerings and offerings for sin (vv 5-8).

A. Verse five contains a quote from Ps 40:6-8 which revealed the attitude of the Messiah in coming to Earth to do the will of the Father. Included in the Father’s will is putting an end to animal sacrifices which could not solve the human problem. They had only temporary value at best. For this reason among others, God had no pleasure in them. He saw no good reason to make them do what could not be done by them. They could not be viewed favorably when compared with the achievement of Christ’s death on the cross.

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