Summary: A sermon on Hebrews 7:19 about the Law


J. Oswald Sanders Once Pointed Out: “The round of pleasure or the amassing of wealth are [often] but vain attempts to escape from the persistent ache. The millionaire is usually a lonely man and the comedian is often more unhappy than his audience.” In His Book, “Facing Loneliness,” Sanders “Goes on to emphasize that being successful often fails to produce satisfaction. Then he refers to Henry Martyn, a distinguished scholar, as an example of what he is talking about. Martyn, a Cambridge University student, was honored at only 20 years of age for his achievements in mathematics. In fact, he was given the highest recognition possible in that field. And yet he felt an emptiness inside. He said that instead of finding fulfillment in his achievements, he had “only grasped a shadow.” After evaluating his life’s goals, Martyn sailed to India as a missionary at the age of 24. When he arrived, he prayed, “Lord, let me burn out for You!” In the next 7 years that preceded his death, he translated the New Testament into three difficult Eastern languages!” He Died At Age 31!


These Scriptures continue the argument of Jesus Christ being prophet, king and priest. He is priest through the order of Melchizedek. To do this there had to be a change in the law.

Focusing on vs. 19 tonight on the law made nothing perfect. What does perfect mean here? It means that it was not complete. It lacked something. The Living Bible says here: It never made anyone really right with God.

Thesis: Let’s talk about the inabilities and abilities of the Law.

For instances:

Inabilities of the Law

It revealed sin but had no power to remove or cleanse sin. Hebrews 10:4: it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

It showed the necessity of mediation between God and man, but it made no provision for it.

The people had to approach God through the priests; the priests alone must offer the sacrifices; the priests alone had access to the holy place of the tabernacle and the temple. The priesthood was to mediate, but it was not adequate. The priests were themselves sinners; they need to offer sacrifices for themselves; they were human and passed away by death.

Job 9:32-34: He is not a man like me that I might answer him, that we might confront each other in court. If only there were someone to arbitrate between us, to lay his hand upon us both, someone to remove God’s rod from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more.

It presented the ideals of life and conduct, but no power or strength to help to attain them.

The Law condemns sin, it commands righteousness. But how shall we obey its commands?

Romans 7:18-19: For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.

Romans 8:3: For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature...

II. Abilities of the Law

It allows us to discern God’s thinking.

Matt Proctor in a recent Christian Standard said, “My wife, Katie, and I have 6 children- ages 16, 14, 11, 9, 7, and 3. We’re not a family; were a small town! As sheriff of this community, I (with my deputy, Katie) enforce certain rules, one of which we call “double trouble.” The double trouble rule is this: If you hear a parent give a clear command to your sibling and then you proceed to disobey this command yourself, you will get in twice as much trouble. This is to short circuit the kid strategy of protesting, ‘But you told Carl not to jump off the roof. You didn’t tell me!’ Even when my kids are not directly addressed, they are still held responsible for what they overhear.

It’s something similar with OT Law. As NT believers, the Law is not directly addressed to us, but we are still responsible for what we overhear. God left those Scriptures in there so we could overhear his heart. When we read OT Law, we are not responsible to obey the specific commands, but we are responsible for understanding the will of the God who gave those commands- the God we Christians love and follow.

For example, when a man slept with his father’s wife in the Corinthians church, Paul did not demand that the law’s penalty for incest be applied, but he did demand that the man be disciplined by the church until he repented. So while the letter of the law is not followed, the will of the Lawgiver himself most certainly is. One scholar argues that, without this OT law, Paul would ‘not have been able to define this activity as sinful.’”

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