Confidence In the New Covenant
As the Hebrew author concludes his book, he calls upon his readers to “bear with the word,” that they will be prepared to accept what he has had to say and will be able to apply them. In the latter half of chapter 10, he speaks of the confidence they should have in Jesus, in His better hope, better priesthood, better sacrifice. He then calls them to action with three “let us” statements – let us draw near to God; let us hold fast to our faith; and let us consider one another and stir each other up to good works. Our Christianity is not an individual thing. It involves others and my involvement with others.
This brings us to verse 25, which we often remove from the context of the verses prior to it, he calls us to keep assembling together to build each other up in the Lord. The Hebrew author writes of those who have grown accustomed to forsaking the worship of the Lord and the encouragement of the brethren. He goes from verse 19, possessing joyful confidence, to warning us not to throw that away in verse 35. How do I throw away this earnest expectation? By sinning willfully.
Willful Sin and the Consequences
The idea of willful sin is one of deliberation, perhaps even repetition or habit. Beginning in Hebrews 10:26, the author begins listing consequences of this willful sin – a removal of sacrifice for sin, fearful expectation of punishment, and vengeance. If I throw away my confident faith through habitual, deliberate sin, the author says I am wiping my feet on my Lord. It causes us to treat His blood as something unclean or common, profaning the blood of our covenant. We spite the Holy Spirit in these sins.
Verse 30 speaks of vengeance as a result of this sinning. The author speaks of how fearful it is to fall into God’s hands in this state. Backing up to verse 26, we turn our back on the price paid for our sins. God gives us nothing more to cleanse ourselves with, and there is nothing left to which we turn once we abandon this sacrifice. My deep obligation is to memorialize, honor, and remember Him.
Application to Our Worship
Even if I am the only one in the world, I had better be there to worship Him. If others are worshipping Him, it’s is my obligation to come together with them. Again, your and my Christianity is not a lone exercise. It involves others, and I have to involve myself with others to complete that worship. Where will you or I be when saints come together to approach God, to build one another up, to worship and honor our Lord? You and I have a choice when the time comes to worship. In a recent lesson, we explored how our choices can distance ourself from God and limit His influence in our lives.
If we don’t have time for God, why should we expect Him to make time for us. When we choose other activities over time with God and His children, we count Him as ordinary in our lives. Prioritizing things above our obligation to memorialize and honor Him causes us to wipe our feet on all He has done for us. It reveals our true relationship with God.
Hebrews 8 quotes Jeremiah 31 in describing this new covenant we have, one whose laws are in our hearts and minds, one that is open to all and is characterized by forgiveness and mercy. I can say I know Him, but do my priorities reflect that He is in my heart and mind, that He comes first and all else is subsequent. When I know my God, I don’t have to wonder about my standing with God, with my past sins, with His place in my life. Only then can I approach Him confidently, holding tightly to my faith, and bringing others with me. Our assembling together as a group of Christians is our chance to come to His alter and partake in the joys of the New Covenant. There can be nothing better. There can be nothing more important.
lesson by Tim Smelser