5 Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me. 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. 7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—In the volume of the book it is written of Me—To do Your will, O God.’ ”
The body of Christ was the instrument to fulfill God’s will by completely removing the sin issue (vv. 5–10). This stands in marked contrast to the Old Testament system that constantly reminded people of their sin.
The central doctrine of Hebrews is the priesthood of Christ. The believer lives his or her life under the auspices of Christ’s work as Priest. This is the essence of Christianity. The Christian life hinges on the death of Christ for our forgiveness.
The writer of Hebrews used David’s words to show how Christ obeyed the Father’s will by becoming a human sacrifice (Php 2:5–8).
God requires a “better” sacrifice than the Old Testament system that would completely annul the sins of mankind. The old sacrifices were inadequate to save a soul.
when He [Christ] came into the world,
This refers to the time of the incarnation of Jesus on earth.
Hebrews here quotes the Septuagint from Psalm 40:6–8. This psalm anticipated Christ’s words during His incarnation. The author of Hebrews put David’s words of Psalm 40 on the lips of Jesus. The words were spoken by King David but put in the mouth of Jesus the Messiah. The book of Hebrews clearly sees Psalm 40 as messianic. Hebrews interprets this psalm for His own purpose.
“Sacrifice and offering You did not desire,
Jesus fulfilled what the Old Testament sacrifices could not—the final and complete payment for the sin of man. God has no lasting purpose for those sacrifices.
David’s words speak to the idea that ritual sacrifices are not enough; it is important to do the will of God.
But a body You have prepared for Me.
Jesus assumed a physical body when He became a man. This phrase is not in the text of Psalm 40:6; there the text reads “Mine ears have you opened.” Open ears probably refers to readiness to hear what God desires.
“Body” here is a figure of speech known as synecdoche; that is, a part is put for the whole (body, soul, and spirit). The “body” was put to death by shedding blood to pay for our sins.
Christ’s body or His humanity was “prepared” by God. God viewed the necessity of Christ coming to die for our sins from His eternal counsel.
In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin
The “burnt offerings and sacrifices” cover the whole range of Levitical sacrifices.
You had no pleasure.
God took no pleasure in the fact that the entirety of Old Testament sacrifices could not pay for sin. He authorized these sacrifices but took no delight in them.
Then I said,
This is a quote within a quote. Jesus was aware that He was fulfilling Psalm 40 by using the words of this psalm. The point is that since Old Testament sacrifices were inadequate to take away sin, Jesus came to do what they could not do.
‘Behold, I have come—
Jesus was conscious that He was fulfilling the prophecy of Psalm 40.
In the volume [scroll] of the book
The “book” here is the writings of Moses. A scroll was a parchment manuscript wrapped around a cylinder.
it is written of Me—
The reference here is to Psalm 40:6–8. This Psalm gave instructions for God’s will for the Messiah.
David acknowledged that the principles of Scripture were designed for him to do the will of God. This prefigured Christ’s obedience to God’s word. What was true of David finds greater expression in Christ. What Christ said and did was inseparable from Scripture (Mt 5:17; Lu 24:25).
To do Your will, O God.’ ”
Christ obeyed the Father’s will to die with a human body to pay for sin.
Only Christ, not any other sacrifice, could pay for sins.
Old Testament sacrifices had no intrinsic efficacy, but Christ’s sacrifice did. They were never God’s ultimate plan to forgive sin. The ultimate Antitype replaced the type. Animal sacrifices could never do what Christ did on the cross.