Never…Not Possible

For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices, there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins” (Hebrews 10:1-4, emphasis added).

The final portion of the inspired penman’s explanation of the superiority of Jesus’ high priesthood is found in Hebrews 10:1-18. Here the Holy Scriptures are focused upon the utter superiority of Jesus’ sacrifice in comparison to those in the Levitical priesthood. The language could not be plainer or more emphatic.

The sacrifices commanded in the law of Moses can NEVER make their offerors perfect. The guilt, stain, and slavery of sin could not be negated and obliterated, only stalemated temporarily. The Greek word oudepote (“never” in verse one) is emphatic: at no time, not ever, not even once. Just as a man lame from his mother’s womb had never walked (Acts 14:8), and the healing of a mute, demon-possessed man had never been seen in Israel before (Matthew 9:33), so the repetitive animal sacrifices in the Old Testament had never—at no time, not ever, not even once—made adequate atonement for human sin.

The reason this is true is quite simple and understandable—it is not possible for the lifeblood of an animal (not made in God’s image) to remove the guilt and stain of a spiritual crime committed by a human (made in God’s likeness). Adunatos (“not possible” in verse four) is equally graphic. Just as the legs of a lame man are useless to him for walking (Acts 14:8) and it is outside the realm of possibility for God to lie (Hebrews 6:18), so the possibility of animal sacrifices adequately atoning for human sin is nil. Its likelihood is the same as having a four-sided triangle, a married bachelor, a person without faith pleasing God (Hebrews 11:6).

The problem of human sin has one and only one solution—the Lamb of God.

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Author: jchowning

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