The Latter Epistles -Hebrews 10, Part 2

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.  Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.  How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?  For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”  It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering.  Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated.  You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.  So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.  For,
“In just a little while,
    he who is coming will come
    and will not delay.”
And,
“But my righteous one will live by faith.
    And I take no pleasure
    in the one who shrinks back.”
But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.

  • Hebrews 10:19-39

Noted Biblical Scholars, Teachers, and Preachers Comments

Hebrews 10:22 ‘come near to God’: “It would have been nice if God had let us order life like we order a meal.  I’ll take good health and a high IQ.  I’ll pass on the music skills, but give me a fast metabolism.
“Would’ve been nice.  But it didn’t happen.  When it came to your life on earth, you weren’t given a voice or a vote.
“But when it comes to life after death, you were.  In my book that seems like a good deal.  Wouldn’t you agree? …
“Have we been given any greater privilege than that of choice?  Not only does this privilege offset any injustice, the gift of free will can offset any mistakes.
“You’ve made some bad choices in life, haven’t you?  You’ve chosen the wrong friends, maybe the wrong career, even the wrong spouse.  You look back over your life and say, ‘If only .. if only I could make up for those bad choices.’  You can.  One good choice for eternity offsets a thousand bad ones on earth.
“The choice is yours.”

  • Max Lucado, He Chose the Nails

Hebrews 10:19-39 ‘the dignities of the gospel state’: “I. … 1. Boldness to enter into the holiest.  They have access to God till they are prepared to enter into his glorious presence in heaven.  2> A high priest over the house of God, even this blessed Jesus.  God is willing to dwell with men on earth, and to have them dwell with him in heaven; but fallen man cannot dwell with God without a high priest. II. The way and means by which Christians enjoy such privileges – by the blood of Jesus. … III. The duties binding upon them on account of these privileges … 1. They must draw near to God, and that in a right manner.  … 2.  The apostle exhorts believers to hold fast the profession of their faith, v. 23.  … IV. We have the means prescribed for promoting our fidelity and perseverance, v. 24, 25, …
[And on apostasy, v. 26, 27, etc.]  The sin here mentioned is a total and final apostasy, when men reject Christ, the only Saviour, and renounce the gospel, the only way of salvation, and the words of eternal life, after they have professed the Christian religion.  2. There remains no more sacrifice for such sins, no other Christ to come to save such sinners. … 3. From the methods of divine justice with those who despised Moses’s law.  These, when convicted by two or three witnesses, were put to death; they died without mercy.  Hence the apostle infers the heavy doom that will fall upon those that apostatize from Christ. … 4. From the description we have of the nature of God’s vindicative justice, v. 30.  The terrors of the Lord are known both by revelation and reason. … 5. He presses them to perseverance by putting them in mind of their former sufferings for Christ. … A natural state is a dark state, and those who continue in that state meet with no disturbance from Satan and the world; but a state of grace is a state of light, and therefore the powers of darkness will violently oppose it. … 6. He presses them to persevere (v. 35).  He exhorts them not to cast away their confidence, but to hold fast that profession for which they had suffered so much.  The reward of their holy confidence would be very great. … 7. He presses them to perseverance, by telling them that this will be their happiness, whereas apostasy is the reproach, and will be the ruin, of all who are guilty of it (v. 38, 39).”

  • Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary

Hebrews 10:35 ‘great reward’: “The day will come when the King will review his troops as the squadrons come back from the battle.  He will come down our ranks and look at every one of us.  If we have been faithful in this evil day, it will repay us for anything we suffered if he shall say to us, ‘Well done!’  The day will come when shame will be the promotion of fools, but the royal robe will be put on each person’s back who dared to be a fool for Christ.  The scars of suffering saints will shine like diamonds, and they that were most abused will be the brightest of the shining ones.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from his sermon notes

My Thoughts

As for the Old Testament quotations in this part of Hebrews 10 is Deuteronomy 32, Psalm 135, Isaiah 26, and Habakkuk 2.

We start off this portion of Hebrews 10 with the entering of the Holy of Holies.  As what was reserved for the high priest only is now offered to all believers.  Let us look at the story of Zechariah in Luke 1.  He spent his entire life in humble service for his one shot at being the priest in the temple to burn incense.  He tried hard to do the best job he could, for he was in the presence of God.  Then, the angel appeared to him.  In his moment of disbelief, Zechariah was made dumb, meaning that he could not talk.  Yet, Zechariah had nine months, or there about, to come up with the words to express his Joy in that God’s plan was a righteous one.

We are given the opportunity to be in God’s immediate presence all the time, not just a once in a lifetime event, chosen by casting lots.  We are not always even in recognition of God’s presence.  In many ways, as we deny God’s presence or ignore God, we are left mute, unable to express our belief.  Many evangelists and theologians state that our inability to communicate our belief may stem from the fact that our belief is not that important.  Knowing God must be our greatest desire.

In some ways, we cannot express our belief because we ignore the meeting with fellow believers.  Hebrews 10:25 speaks of not doing as “some” do in going it alone and not seeking the comfort of a church family where the members can encourage one another.  The members can also correct one another in love (not putting the other down but building them up in faith).  That entire support system collapses by not recognizing the fellow believers around you.

As for the concept of not continuing to sin, this is something that Jesus talks about and other New Testament writers – be perfect.  We know that to be impossible in this world.  In that respect, Romans 7, where Paul speaks of doing what he ought not do and has no desire to do and conversely not doing what he ought and desires to do.  In a way, Paul’s words should be a comfort, yet not an excuse.  We should try to act more properly, but we must know that only through God’s power can we resist temptation, break bad habits, and discover what aspects of our lives get under the skin of those around us.  Yes, some of our “sin” is done without us knowing that we are perceived differently than what we think we are portraying.  And yes, the perception of others counts, for we are to love others, regardless of the circumstances.

Then we get to doing the will of God.  As I have written about in the past, the key is waiting upon the Lord, Bible study, prayer, and more waiting, studying, and praying.  When we pray enough to hear God’s voice in return, we can know God’s will in our lives – maybe not every step, but in time, more and more of the steps.  We must learn our calling before we can follow our calling.

But what does God promise when we follow His will in our lives?  God’s promise is that God’s promises will be fulfilled for our lives.  This does not necessarily mean in this life, absolutely the next life.  Yet, God is holy.  It is not His nature to promise something and then not deliver, as we can often do.  God will deliver on His promises.

And how do we live according to God’s will for our lives?

We live by faith.

Some Serendipitous Reflections

“1. In what specific ways can you spur another Christian on toward love and good deeds?  How have you been spurred on by others in your group?  Whose exhortation, example, or encouragement means the most to you?
“2. How have you seen the difference between someone assured of their salvation (vv. 19-25) and someone presumptuous about it (vv. 26-31)?  How can you develop confidence without presumption?
“3. How does the Second Coming help you to ‘keep on keeping on’?”

  • Lyman Coleman, et al, The NIV Serendipity Bible for Study Groups

Question 1 presumes small groups, but this can easily be related to those in your church, family, and life in general.

If you like these Thursday morning Bible studies, but you think you missed a few, you can use this LINK. I have set up a page off the home page for links to these Thursday morning posts. I will continue to modify the page as I add more.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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