Practical Christian Living and Preservation of the Believer
Some Christians may say, “Just give me a practical message. The doctrinal stuff is over my head anyway.” If you have this attitude, you are in luck because the verses under consideration here are all practical. The problem is, they won’t mean anything to you without the doctrinal teaching of Chapter 9 and 10:1-18. They may give you a shot in the arm, a temporary boost of spiritual energy – but soon, you’ll come crashing down. The Hebrews professing to be Christians had learned about how the offering of Christ set them apart for God and made them perfect. Now, if they have truly understood the teaching given, it needs to impact their life.
Read: Hebrews 10:19-39
V19-25 – The Normal Practice of the Sanctified and Perfected Believer
The first three verses under consideration set up the three exhortations in verses 22-25. We have boldness to enter into the holiest, and we have a high priest over the house of God. We have boldness in “the blood of Jesus.” We have this boldness because a new and living way to God has been made. It is new since His death. It is living since if any of these Hebrews would have approached God by the law it would have meant death, now they can approach and live.
Since the things of v19-21 are real because of the offering of Christ, we are to seek to do three things:
- Draw near: We are able to draw near to God with our whole self-cleansed in a spiritual way. Let us not beat ourselves up about our imperfections and shortcomings, because the offering of Christ has made us perfect and set apart for Himself. Wherever we do have imperfections and shortcomings, we know there is forgiveness (1 John 1:9). We do not need to have a conscience of sins (cf. Heb 10:1 and 10:14).
- Hold fast the confession of our hope: There is no need to waver in our hope because of the faithfulness of God. God has brought about what He desired and will bring about what He promises because He is faithful.
- Consider one another: Christ gave His all, and we should give our all for one another. We should stir up others to love and good works. We cannot do this if we aren’t actually in fellowship in the local church that we profess to be in fellowship at. The fact that we continue on in love, good works, and making contributions in our local church encourages others to continue.
V26-39 – The Warning: Return not to Repeated Sacrifices
V26-31 – Rejecting the One Sacrifice for Sin
These verses return to the thought of the apostate, as the other warning passages do (Heb 2:1-4, 3:7-4:13, 6:1-8, 12:25-29). The apostate, to whom great detail is given in chapter 6, is a willing sinner by going against how God has spoken in this dispensation. There is no sacrifice for sin to be looked for apart from Christ, but instead the Christ-rejecting apostate has only judgment to look for. Though we don’t preach to apostates of the Hebrew epistle, may our gospel impress on the sinner the seriousness of rejecting Christ’s sacrifice.
V28 gives the example of the law of Moses. The one who despised the law of Moses “died without mercy,” while the apostate will face eternal death without mercy, and a greater judgment than the law rejecter. The apostate insults the person of the Son of God by figuratively treading Him under foot. They insult God the Father by assessing the value of the blood of the covenant, which satisfies Him, as common. Lastly, they insult the Spirit of grace, who graciously and kindly has come alongside to bring them to the point of salvation. The Lord will judge, as Deuteronomy 32:35-36 says.
V32-34 – The Reminder of Past Faithfulness
The writer encourages the readers not to go the way of the apostate. If any are not genuine, not only should the judgment of God bring them to conversion but also the hope of faithfulness of God. When the readers professed Christ, they were persecuted. Their families would have attacked their profession. Their commercial freedom would have become limited in their communities, and their material goods were spoiled. Their response was joy, knowing that what is of value to them is in the heavens. The writer’s desire is that they remember the past, and continue in the future.
What a challenge! Many of us don’t understand this kind of persecution. We even may get upset if someone borrows something from us and fails to return it, intentionally or not! What are material things compared to the things that are eternal? God had been faithful in the past, and God will be faithful in the future to bring about His promises to us of spiritual substance.
V35-39 – The Receiving of the Promise requires Endurance
The writer isn’t pretending that being “joyful” in spoiling of goods, or joining the persecuted for the name of Christ is an easy thing. The Christian life requires endurance. Ups and downs are involved, and life is not all rosy. The Christian life requires endurance if we are going to “receive the promise.”
We look back to the OT prophet Habakkuk for confirmation of this. Habakkuk spoke of the coming One who justifies those who continue in faith. How do we know the apostate wasn’t saved being just? They didn’t continue in faith. If you are saved, you can never lose it.
If someone looked at my life, how would it look? If someone took an accurate assessment of my life, what would be the conclusion? May we all be able to confidently say of one another until we receive the promise, “we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the preservation of the soul.” [Newberry margin]
- Find the other two NT occurrences of Habakkuk 2:4. The three NT occurrences emphasize a different aspect of the verse. “The just – shall live – by faith.” Can you search this out?
- Are there ways you can better live out v22-24?