The Following thought for the day was written by Brother Richard Morgan and provides insight and encouragement for those seeking to serve the God of Israel.
Why does the author of Hebrews go to such great lengths to convince his readers of the superiority of Jesus Christ over the things connected with the Law of Moses? The broad answer to that question is given at the beginning of chapter 10 – “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” (v4). The Law of Moses and Old Covenant defined a religion that taught eternal principles, but the ritualization of it that happened in the Jewish world could not solve the problems we human beings face. Everything was inferior to Christ. The imperfect priests could sympathize with the congregation of Israel but couldn’t properly represent God to them and provide what the priesthood of the perfected Son of God could. The sacrifice of animals couldn’t affect the conscience like the blood of Christ.
Now, in chapter 10, the writer seeks to encourage his readers to cling onto the things of Jesus Christ and the New Covenant. It’s a great exhortation for us to hold onto what we have and not to let go.
Look at the language of verse 19 – “we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus”. Confidence – not in ourselves but in the one who we look to. The God of heaven and his Son are both on our side. So, he continues, “let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (v22). Full assurance of faith – God wants us to be absolutely certain that we can trust in Him, and we can. He will take care of our salvation if we trust in Him.
Do we realize how confident we can be and how fully assured our hope is? Some of us worry and fret about the Judgment but if we have the right spiirt our salvation is assured. In verses 26-31 there is an intermission about the fear of judgment but only for those who “go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth” (v26). If we go down that route, we only have ourselves to blame. But if we choose to serve God in spirit and in truth then we can have great confidence in His grace. That is one of the outcomes of the contrast between the Old and New Covenants outlined in Hebrews. Under the Old Covenant it was based on one’s ability to keep law, and everyone fails. But the terms of the New Covenant are based on God’s ability to save us. That’s where our confidence is found.
Hebrews 10 exhorts us to “hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” (v23). The faithfulness of God is at the core of His character. He is dependable, trustworthy and always keeps His promises. We know this, but sometimes we doubt because we focus in on our own imperfections. God will take care of those – He’s our father putting us through a training program to discipline us. He knows our imperfections, the things we struggle with. Again, if our focus is right, on walking in the right direction, He is faithful, and He will keep us going on the right path despite ourselves.
The next thing the writer says Is difficult under present circumstances – “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (v24-25). While we can’t meet in person at present, we can still encourage one another by “meeting” in other ways – Zoom and phone calls for example.
The Hebrews were in danger of giving up by returning to the Old Covenant. The writer asks them to “recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings” (v32). That’s what New Covenant thinking produces, the ability to endure under trial, knowing that we’re going through it for a purpose and not because God is punishing us for failing to follow His rules. “Therefore”, he says in verses 35-36, “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.”
Hold onto the amazing blessing we have in Christ! It’s easy to slip back into Old Covenant thinking. It’s natural for us to get into a spiritual rut when we feel like we’re incapable of living righteous and holy lives or aren’t doing enough to get ourselves ready for Christ’s return. We lack confidence in ourselves. But that’s the point! Our confidence should instead be in our Lord, that he knows what he’s doing with us, and the things he puts us through are for our eternal benefit. He’s not turning us into robotic rule keepers. He’s turning us into people of character, shaped by circumstances and fit for his eternal use.
Simi Hills, CA
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