“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:19-22
“Therefore”, because of what we have been learning, because of Jesus being our high priest, because of his blood sacrifice because of all that Jesus did that fulfilled the law…. We now have confidence to enter the holy places!! Some translations say “having boldness”. Sometimes we humans look at God as so Holy we can’t approach Him. And everyone couldn’t approach Him before Jesus! That was the reason there was a high priest. And even the high priest could only go in the Most Holy Place once a year and he went in with the blood sacrifice with him and with fear and trembling. But with Jesus as our high priest we now have the confidence to draw near to Him with a true heart and with faith that He hears us and washes us clean! Because of all that Jesus did we can have the confidence that even when we fall and even when we can’t see where the circumstances are going that we can come to Him. I love this next verse.
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who is promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23
Oh how I wanted to end that one with an exclamation point! We have to hold fast to him, without wavering! Why? Because He is faithful! Even when we don’t see the how or the why of something we hold fast to Him because we know that all of these things Jesus did is because He is faithful!!!
The next couple of verses explain to us our need for community. God created us in a way that we have a deep need for community. Community builds us up. You hear people say it all the time, that they can worship at home and they don’t have a need to go to church. Well we have seen this year that yes we can worship at home and thankfully we do have that when we have had a year like we have had. But I know for me personally, my heart is so much more encouraged when I am meeting with my church where we can “stir up one another to love and good works” (v. 24)
The writer here also delivers a warning to those who know all of this, who have accepted this and fall back into sin.
“For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation fo judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.” Hebrews 10:26-27
It seems to me there is a difference in the judgment received for the sins committed before your knowledge of Jesus and after your knowledge of Jesus. When you know in your heart and you have the Holy Spirit living inside of you guiding you away from sin, then there is deliberate sin, it’s like just trampling Jesus underfoot.
“How much worse punishment, do you think will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the mood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?” Hebrews 10:29
The writer here is saying, when you have had an encounter with Jesus and you deliberately continue in sin you may as well be trampling everything he did under your feet. And there will be judgment for that.
Sometimes these verses are hard to write about. I am one who wants to hold close to my heart God’s grace and the many ways I know He loves me. But you can’t study about Him and His word without looking at these verses too. Yes we can approach the throne of grace with boldness. But we also have to continue to recognize His holiness. And His holiness doesn’t tolerate deliberate sin.
The writer does end this chapter with encouragement. In verses 32-34 he is encouraging these christians to remember the struggles they have had but to remember the ways that abiding in Jesus was a blessing to them even during those struggles. Sometimes, many times, the fruit and the blessing that comes out of a struggle is the relationship that grows between you and your Savior. This writer is just reminding them of that and reminding them to:
“Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.” Hebrews 10:35-36
We have confidence to approach Jesus with our lives, and with our struggles and our concerns. Don’t turn away, don’t turn back but live it out. This is where the endurance comes in. Yes in this world the struggles will come, but enduring those struggles and bringing those struggles to the throne is the will of God and living it out with him we will receive a reward.
“But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith AND PRESERVE THEIR SOULS.” Hebrews 10:39 (emphasis mine)
Let’s not shrink back, let’s live out our faith in order to preserve our souls for Him!