Sanctified by the Blood

The Hebrews 10 warning is not saying that an apostate was in the new covenant. I do not think it is even saying that the apostate appeared to be in the new covenant, although this is a possible interpretation if you want to work out a visible and invisible church contrast. The “Son of God” is the closest antecedent of the pronoun “he” in the phrase “the covenant by which he was sanctified”.

Of course we need to remember that “sanctify” does not mean to get better and better, as most systematic theology would have it. “Sanctify” is to set apart before God, both in the Old Testament context of Hebrews 10, (blood of the covenant, Zechariah 9:11, Ex 24:8) and in John 17. “And for their sake I sanctify myself, that they shall also be sanctified.”

Those who profane the death of Christ teach that Christ sanctified Himself in common for every sinner so that maybe (and maybe not) these sinners will be sanctified. Not only do they wrongly define sanctification as getting better, but they turn that getting better into the condition which can make the common death something special.

But the book of Hebrews instead gives all the glory to Christ’s death. “We see Him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God He would taste death for every… (2:10). The verses which follow tell us every “son to glory”, every ”those who are sanctified”, every “the children God has given me”.

Those who profane the death of Christ tell us that the glory and honor of Christ is dying for many sinners who will never be glorified. They tell us that the One crowned was sanctified for more than are sanctified. They dishonor Christ by telling the children God gave Him that Christ died also for those who are not and who will never be children of God.

Christ is crowned with honor and glory, not ultimately because of three hours suffering before death, but because “of the suffering of death.” Many have died, but none but Christ has died as the sinless Son of God. Many have suffered, but none but Christ has died because of the imputed sins of the elect, the children God gave Christ.

Christ sanctified Himself does not mean that Christ got better and better but that Christ set Himself apart to die for a people set apart before the creation of the world. These elect people are one day sanctified by faith given by Christ’s Spirit, but before that, in both the Old and New Testaments, God’s elect are set apart by the death, by the blood of Christ.

Hebrews 5:9, “And being made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation to those who obey Him.” All the elect will obey the gospel but it is not their doing so which is the source of their salvation. But if Christ died in common for every sinner, and not every sinner is set apart, then it is not the blood of Christ which sanctifies. It is not special, and it does not do anything special. God forbid!

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