Hebrews 10 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Hebrews 10)

Verse 1

[1] For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

From all that has been said it appears, that the law, the Mosaic dispensation, being a bare, unsubstantial shadow of good things to come, of the gospel blessings, and not the substantial, solid image of them, can never with the same kind of sacrifices, though continually repeated, make the comers thereunto perfect, either as to justification or sanctification. How is it possible, that any who consider this should suppose the attainments of David, or any who were under that dispensation, to be the proper measure of gospel holiness; and that Christian experience is to rise no higher than Jewish?

Verse 2

[2] For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.

They who had been once perfectly purged, would have been no longer conscious either of the guilt or power of their sins.

Verse 3

[3] But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.

There is a public commemoration of the sins both of the last and of all the preceding years; a clear proof that the guilt thereof is not perfectly purged away.

Verse 4

[4] For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

It is impossible the blood of goats should take away sins — Either the guilt or the power of them.

Verse 5

[5] Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:

When he cometh into the world — In the fortieth psalm the Messiah's coming into the world is represented. It is said, into the world, not into the tabernacle, Hebrews 9:1; because all the world is interested in his sacrifice.

A body hast thou prepared for me — That I may offer up myself. Psalms 40:6,etc.

Verse 7

[7] Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.

In the volume of the book — In this very psalm it is written of me. Accordingly I come to do thy will - By the sacrifice of myself.

Verse 8

[8] Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;

Above when he said, Sacrifice thou hast not chosen — That is, when the Psalmist pronounced those words in his name.

Verse 9

[9] Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.

Then said he — in that very instant he subjoined.

Lo, I come to do Thy will — To offer a more acceptable sacrifice; and by this very act he taketh away the legal, that he may establish the evangelical, dispensation.

Verse 10

[10] By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

By which will — Of God, done and suffered by Christ.

We are sanctified — Cleansed from guilt, and consecrated to God.

Verse 11

[11] And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:

Every priest standeth — As a servant in an humble posture.

Verse 12

[12] But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

But he — The virtue of whose one sacrifice remains for ever.

Sat down — As a son, in majesty and honour.

Verse 13

[13] From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.

Psalms 110:1.

Verse 14

[14] For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

He hath perfected them for ever — That is, has done all that was needful in order to their full reconciliation with God.

Verse 15

[15] Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before,

In this and the three following verses, the apostle winds up his argument concerning the excellency and perfection of the priesthood and sacrifice of Christ. He had proved this before by a quotation from Jeremiah; which he here repeats, describing the new covenant as now completely ratified, and all the blessings of it secured to us by the one offering of Christ, which renders all other expiatory sacrifices, and any repetition of his own, utterly needless.

Verse 16

[16] This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;

Jeremiah 31:33, etc.

Verse 19

[19] Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,

Having finished the doctrinal part of his epistle, the apostle now proceeds to exhortation deduced from what has been treated of Hebrews 5:4, which he begins by a brief recapitulation.

Having therefore liberty to enter,

Verse 20

[20] By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;

By a living way — The way of faith, whereby we live indeed.

Which he hath consecrated — Prepared, dedicated, and established for us.

Through the veil, that is, his flesh — As by rending the veil in the temple, the holy of holies became visible and accessible; so by wounding the body of Christ, the God of heaven was manifested, and the way to heaven opened.

Verse 22

[22] Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

Let us draw near — To God.

With a true heart — In godly sincerity.

Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience — So as to condemn us no longer And our bodies washed with pure water - All our conversation spotless and holy, which is far more acceptable to God than all the legal sprinklings and washings.

Verse 23

[23] Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

The profession of our hope — The hope which we professed at our baptism.

Verse 25

[25] Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Not forsaking the assembling ourselves — In public or private worship.

As the manner of some is — Either through fear of persecution, or from a vain imagination that they were above external ordinances.

But exhorting one another — To faith, love, and good works.

And so much the more, as ye see the day approaching — The great day is ever in your eye.

Verse 26

[26] For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

For when we — Any of us Christians.

Sin wilfully — By total apostasy from God, termed "drawing back," Hebrews 10:38. After having received the experimental knowledge of the gospel truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins - None but that which we obstinately reject.

Verse 28

[28] He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

He that, in capital cases, despised (presumptuously transgressed) the law of Moses died without mercy - Without any delay or mitigation of his punishment.

Verse 29

[29] Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

Of how much sorer punishment is he worthy, who — By wilful, total apostasy. It does not appear that this passage refers to any other sin. Hath, as it were, trodden underfoot the Son of God - A lawgiver far more honourable than Moses. And counted the blood wherewith the better covenant was established, an unholy, a common, worthless thing. By which he hath been sanctified - Therefore Christ died for him also, and he was at least justified once.

And done despite to the Spirit of grace — By rejecting all his motions.

Verse 30

[30] For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.

The Lord will judge his people — Yea, far more rigorously than the heathens, if they rebel against him. Deuteronomy 32:35, etc.

Verse 31

[31] It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

To fall into the hands — Of his avenging justice.

Verse 32

[32] But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;

Enlightened — With the knowledge of God and of his truth.

Verse 34

[34] For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.

For ye sympathized with all your suffering brethren, and with me in particular; and received joyfully the loss of your own goods.

Verse 35

[35] Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.

Cast not away therefore this your confidence - Your faith and hope; which none can deprive you of but yourselves.

Verse 36

[36] For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.

The promise — Perfect love; eternal life.

Verse 37

[37] For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.

He that cometh — To reward every man according to his works.

Verse 38

[38] Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

Now the just — The justified person.

Shall live — In God's favour, a spiritual and holy life.

By faith — As long as he retains that gift of God.

But if he draw back — If he make shipwreck of his faith My soul hath no pleasure in him - That is, I abhor him; I cast him off. Habakkuk 2:3, etc.

Verse 39

[39] But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

We are not of them who draw back to perdition — Like him mentioned Hebrews 10:38.

But of them that believe — To the end, so as to attain eternal life.