For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. Hebrews 10:14
The first 18 verses of chapter 10 of the book of Hebrews conclude the central theological argument which began in chapter 5 – the superiority of the high priesthood of Jesus Christ to that of the Old Covenant. This pericope (10:1-18), which is a recap of the themes found in the previous chapters, summarizes the contrasts between the Levitical offerings of the Old Covenant and Christ’s once-for-all sacrifice in four ways – a shadow/reality contrast in 10:1-4; animal sacrifice/willing obedient sacrifice in 10:5-10; and in what we will cover this week, the finality of: a) the priesthood in 10:11-14 and b) Christ’s sacrifice in 10:15-18.
In verse 11, it says, and every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. This sentence is a summary of the first four verses of the chapter where we found the shadow/reality contrast. When we studied those verses, we saw the weakness of the law demonstrated by the fact that sacrifices had to be repeated endlessly year after year. The author’s argument is that if these sacrifices were effective to perfect the worshipper and enable him or her to draw near to God, they would no longer need to be offered continually. Now in verse 11, he picks up on this same theme showing that while the Aaronic priests never sat down during the performance of their sacred duties day after day, Jesus Christ, by contrast, finished his sacrificial work and sat down at the right hand of God demonstrating the finality and efficacy of his work. It perfected for all time those who are being sanctified (v. 14), meaning that unlike the Old Covenant sacrifice, Jesus’s death on the cross provides forgiveness of sins and cleansing of the conscience, enabling the worshipper access into God’s presence.
The perfection, of which the author refers, is found in the New Covenant. This is made clear again by his reiteration, in verses 15-17, of the New Covenant prophecy from Jeremiah 31. He concludes his theological argument in verse 18: Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin. At last, we learn in this central section of Hebrews that God’s people’s sins have been decisively removed as the New Covenant prophecy is decisively fulfilled by Christ’s single once-for-all sacrificial death on the cross.