three Sundays leading to Thanksgiving have focused on the work of
Christ at the cross to forgive and cleanse us of sin and obtain our
eternal redemption. Many would say, using a movie title from a few
years ago, “Heaven Can Wait.” Christians have been accused of
focusing too much on eternity and forsaking the present time. The
writer of Hebrews doesn’t commit that error. He strongly emphasizes
the practical dimension of Christ’s sacrifice. Hebrews 10: 11-18
reviews what Christ did for us; verses 19-25 issue a challenge for our
(v. 19), this is the consequence, based on what Jesus accomplished
“after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever” (v. 12). All
theology must result in practical life impact. Christ has “perfected”
us, completed the work of salvation from sin and death, and we are
now “being sanctified” (v. 14), set apart to complete the work of the
Holy Spirit until He returns. What are we to do?
Come into His presence (v. 22)
of Christ we can “draw near” to God. It is now possible for a sinful
humanity to fellowship with our holy God. Christ and the work of the
Holy Spirit to give us a “true heart sprinkled clean from an evil
conscience” have opened the way into His presence. Jesus made
possible the promise, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall
see God” (Matt. 5:8).
The way is open for
prayer, individually and with other believers. The way is open for
worship in spirit and in truth, individually and with other believers.
Realizing who we are, it seems brash and prideful to approach God.
But we have “boldness,” holy confidence, to come into His presence
through Christ, “a new and living way” (vv. 19-20).
Hold on to your confession (v. 23)
often speak of making a “confession of faith” but the word here
speaks of the “confession of our hope.” Faith develops hope; hope
encourages faith. We are tempted to give up or give in when trials,
temptation, disappointment or discouragement come. Jesus asked, “Do
you also want to go away?” Realizing all He has done and continues to
do we also confess, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of
eternal life” (John 6: 67-68). We hold on “without wavering” because
“He who promised is faithful.”
given a promise and “he did not waver at the promise of God through
unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and
being fully convinced that What He had promised he was also able to
perform” (Rom. 4:20-21).
Care for one another (v. 24)
true encounter with Christ is manifest in a caring relationship with
His people. Peter likened the church to a “spiritual house” built
upon the “living stone” of Jesus (1 Peter 2: 4-5). A confessing
believer uninvolved in a local body of believers is like a brick
missing from the wall. We are called to attentive, continuous care
for fellow believers. The outcome is a stimulation of love and the
practice of faith. It is impossible to develop this attitude by
William Barclay wrote,
“Even if the sermon is poor and the worship is tawdry, the church
service still gives us the chance to show to men what side we are on”
(Daily Study Bible Hebrews, rev. ed, 122).
for one another brings personal encouragement to live life by faith
in the limited time we have. This appeal “is not on what a believer
gets from the assembly, but rather on what he can contribute to the
assembly” (Warren Wiersbe, 315)
practical calls issued here include the trinity of eternal values
stated by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13: 13 – faith (v. 22), hope (v. 23),
love (v. 24). “Faith provides assurance. Hope promises an incentive
to obedience. Love provides a foundation for prodding believers to
godly living” (Thomas Lea, Holman NT Commentary Hebrews, 1999, 187).
brief provided by: Bill Whittaker, President of Clear Creek Baptist
Bible College in Pineville, KY