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12Therefore Jesus also suffered outside the city gate in order to sanctify the people by his own blood. 13Let us then go to him outside the camp and bear the abuse he endured. 14For here we have no lasting city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. 15Through him, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name. 16Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.


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10. We have an altar, etc. This is a beautiful adaptation of an old rite under the Law, to the present state of the Church. There was a kind of sacrifice appointed, mentioned in the sixteenth chapter of Leviticus, no part of which returned to the priests and Levites. This, as he now shows by a suitable allusion, was accomplished in Christ; for he was sacrificed on this condition, that they who serve the tabernacle should not feed on him. But by the ministers of the tabernacle he means all those who performed the ceremonies. Then that we may partake of Christ, he intimates that we must renounce the tabernacle; for as the word altar includes sacrificing and the victim; so tabernacle, all the external types connected with it.

Then the meaning is, “No wonder if the rites of the Law have now ceased, for this is what was typified by the sacrifice which the Levites brought without the camp to be there burnt; for as the ministers of the tabernacle did eat nothing of it, so if we serve the tabernacle, that is, retain its ceremonies, we shall not be partakers of that sacrifice which Christ once offered, nor of the expiation which he once made by his own blood; for his own blood he brought into the heavenly sanctuary that he might atone for the sin of the world.” 284284     The verb ἁγιάζω means here expiation, as in chapter 2:11, 10:10, and other places in this Epistle; and so it is taken by Calvin and the rendering of Stuart is “that he might make expiation,” etc. — Ed

13. Let us go forth, therefore, etc. That the preceding allegory or mystical similitude might not be frigid and lifeless, he connects with it an important duty required of all Christians. And this mode of teaching is what Paul also usually adopts, that he might show to the faithful what things God would have them to be engaged in, while he was endeavoring to draw them away from vain ceremonies; as though he had said, “This is what God demands from you, but not that work in which you in vain weary yourselves.” So now our Apostle speaks; for while he invites us to leave the tabernacle and to follow Christ, he reminds us that a far different thing is required of us from the work of serving God in the shade under the magnificent splendor of the temple; for we must go after him through exiles, flights, reproaches, and all kinds of afflictions. This warfare, in which we must strive even unto blood, he sets in opposition to those shadowy practices of which alone the teachers of ceremonies boasted.

14. For here we have no continuing city, etc. He extends still further the going forth which he had mentioned, even that as strangers and wanderers in this world we should consider that we have no fixed residence but in heaven. Whenever, therefore, we are driven from place to place, or whenever any change happens to us, let us think of what the Apostle teaches us here, that we have no certain shade on earth, for heaven is our inheritance; and when more and more tried, let us ever prepare ourselves for our last end; for they who enjoy a very quiet life commonly imagine that they have a rest in this world: it is hence profitable for us, who are prone to this kind of sloth, to be often tossed here and there, that we who are too much inclined to look on things below, may learn to turn our eyes up to heaven.

15. By him, therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God, etc. He returns to that particular doctrine to which he had referred, respecting the abrogation of the ancient ceremonies; and he anticipates an objection that might have been made; for as the sacrifices were attached as appendages to the tabernacle, when this was abolished, it follows that the sacrifices also must have ceased. But the Apostle had taught us that as Christ had suffered without the gate, we are also called thither, and that hence the tabernacle must be forsaken by those who would follow him.

Here a question arises, whether any sacrifices remained for Christians; for this would have been inconsistent, as they had been instituted for the purpose of celebrating God’ worship. The Apostle, therefore, in due time meets this objection, and says that another kind of sacrifice remains for us, which no less pleases God, even the offering of the calves of our lips, as the Prophet Hoses says. 285285     The words in Hosea are not regimen, but in apposition. “So will we render calves, our lips.” Such is the meaning given by the Targum, though the Vulg. puts the words in construction, “the calves of our lips.” Instead of the calves offered in sacrifices, the promise made was to offer their lips, that is, words which they were required to take, “Take with you words”. The Sept., Syr., and Arab. Render the phrase as here given, “the fruit of our lips,” only the Apostle leaves out “our”. There is the same meaning, though not exactly the same words. — Ed. (Hosea 14:2.) Now that the sacrifice of praise is not only equally pleasing to God, but of more account than all those external sacrifices under the Law, appears evident from the fiftieth Psalm; for God there repudiates all these as things of nought, and bids the sacrifice of praise to be offered to him. We hence see that it is the highest worship of God, justly preferred to all other exercises, when we acknowledge God’s goodness by thanksgiving; yea, this is the ceremony of sacrificing which God commends to us now. There is yet no doubt but that under this one part is included the whole of prayer; for we cannot give him thanks except when we are heard by him; and no one obtains anything except he who prays. He in a word means that without brute animals we have what is required to be offered to God, and that he is thus rightly and really worshipped by us.

But as it was the Apostle’s design to teach us what is the legitimate way of worshipping God under the New Testament, so by the way he reminds us that God cannot be really invoked by us and his name glorified, except through Christ the mediator; for it is he alone who sanctifies our lips, which otherwise are unclean, to sing the praises of God; and it is he who opens a way for our prayers, who in short performs the office of a priest, presenting himself before God in our name.

16. But to do good, etc. Here he points out even another way of offering a due and regular sacrifice, for all the acts and duties of love are so many sacrifices; and he thereby intimates that they were foolish and absurd in their wishes who thought that something was wanting except they offered beasts to God according to the Law, since God gave them many and abundant opportunities for sacrificing. For though he can derive no benefit from us, yet he regards prayer a sacrifice, and so much as the chief sacrifice, that it alone can supply the place of all the rest; and then, whatever benefits we confer on men he considers as done to himself, and honors them with the name of sacrifices. So it appears that the elements of the Law are now not only superfluous, but do harm, as they draw us away from the right way of sacrificing.

The meaning is, that if we wish to sacrifice to God, we must call on him and acknowledge his goodness by thanksgiving, and further, that we must do good to our brethren; these are the true sacrifices which Christians ought to offer; and as to other sacrifices, there is neither time nor place for them.

For with such sacrifices God is well pleased. There is to be understood here an implied contrast, — that he no longer requires those ancient sacrifices which he had enjoined until the abrogation of the Law.

But with this doctrine is connected an exhortation which ought powerfully to stimulate us to exercise kindness towards our neighbors; for it is not a common honor that God should regard the benefits we confer on men as sacrifices offered to himself, and that he so adorns our works, which are nothing worth, as to pronounce them holy and sacred things, acceptable to him. When, therefore, love does not prevail among us, we not only rob men of their right, but God himself, who has by a solemn sentence dedicated to himself what he has commanded to be done to men.

The word communicate has a wider meaning than to do good, for it embraces all the duties by which men can mutually assist one another; and it is a true mark or proof of love, when they who are united together by the Spirit of God communicate to one another. 286286     The words may be thus rendered, “And forget not benevolence (or, literally, well-doing) and liberality.” The δὲ here should be rendered “and,” for this is enjoined in addition to what is stated in the previous verse. The word εὐποιΐα means kindness, benevolence, beneficence, the doing of good generally; but κοινωνία refers to the distribution of what is needful for the poor. See Romans 15:26, 2 Corinthians 9:13. So that Calvin in this instance has reserved their specific meaning. Stuart’s version is “Forget not kindness also and liberality;” and he explains the clause thus, “Beneficence or kindness toward the suffering and liberality toward the needy.” — Ed




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