Therefore dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. There is only the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies. For anyone who refused to obey the law of Moses was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Just think how much worse the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God, and have treated the blood of the covenant, which made us holy, as if it were common and unholy, and have insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to us. For we know the one who said, “I will take revenge. I will pay them back.” He also said, “The LORD will judge his own people.” It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ. Remember how you remained faithful even though it meant terrible suffering. Sometimes you were exposed to public ridicule and were beaten, and sometimes you helped others who were suffering the same things. You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail, and when all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever.
So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. “For in just a little while, the Coming One will come and not delay. And my righteous ones will live by faith. But I will take no pleasure in anyone who turns away.” But we are not like those who turn away from God to their own destruction. We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved.Hebrews 10:19-39
We have reached the bridge. What do I mean by the bridge? The section now before us is the bridge. It marks a transition from all the writer of the letter has said before this related to his personal appeal to the Jewish Christians encouraging them to do the right thing after all he has told them. Take note of the fact that he calls them “brothers and sisters” (literally [ἀδελφοί] adelphoi – fellow believers). What follows is his exhortation or warning to decide wisely after all he has told them. What do I mean by all he has told them? It could be focused on the last section related to Redemption through far Better Blood and Sacrifice or it could be related to all he has written in the letter so far. Remember, I told you in Gem 2027 that the thrust of his letter is focused around the fact that God in these last days has chosen to speak through His Son, Jesus Christ. Then for the rest of the letter to this point he has been presenting his case as to why Jesus is so much better than all other ways God has used to communicate before.
- The prophets
- The angels
- The priests / Melchizedek / The High Priest
- The covenant
- The sacrifices
In this section he has a few things to tell us all. I say “us” because we modern day readers are included as well. We may not be Jewish Christians who are thinking of returning to the synagogue, but we may still be tempted to forsake Christ in times of persecution. Before we approach this portion and analyse it, I want to take a bird’s eye view of the whole section before we attempt to interpret each line or statement. Take note how this section concludes.
But we are not like those who turn away from God to their own destruction. We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved.Hebrews 10:39
Do you see why I highlighted this verse? He finished by saying, “We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved”. If you are familiar with the letter to the Hebrews in any way you will know what follows. The Faith Chapter (11). He concludes this section before us with a reminder that we are faithful ones, then he focuses on the classic people of faith from the Jewish Christians’ heritage. Do you see how it all fits together? We need to keep that thought in mind as we look in detail at all he had to say in the section before us. We need to keep in mind what he has said before this and how he follows on after his wise words to us in this section.
Whether or not we conclude the ‘therefore’ [οὖν] which begins this current passage relates to the previous segment or the whole letter, we need to have in our minds his overall thrust as to what he was saying in his letter. Remember his basic message is to any Jewish Christians who were wavering in their allegiance to Jesus in the face of the coming persecution. His first warning was for them not to drift away through indifference (2:1-4). His second warning was not to be spiritually dull and not realise how much better Jesus is as the High Priest of our faith (5:11-6:12). The warning or challenge in this section before us is not to forsake Christ and turn away completely and apostatise.
This time the writer is warning us after telling us not only how much better a high priest Jesus is but he has spent the bulk of this last section showing us the depth of what Jesus has done for us through the nature of His sacrifice and His blood. Do I need to repeat and summarise for you again all we have dealt with in the last chapters since Hebrews 6:13? This bridge (Hebrews 10:19 and following) is like a high point from which we can survey what we have covered in the preceding chapters. I am convinced the [oun] “therefore” is not just transitional from one passage to another but rather the author wanted us to hold in our thinking all he laid out so clearly in the previous four chapters.
- Jesus is much greater than the Levitical High Priest.
- Jesus is much greater than Melchizedek.
- Jesus brings in a New Order under the New Covenant.
- Jesus is the Great High Priest of the Tabernacle in Heaven, not a dim shadow.
- Jesus’ blood and sacrifice are so much more effective; once for all.
- Jesus sat down! It is finished; our sins are REMOVED not just covered.
- Jesus sits in heaven before the face of God interceding for us.
I deliberately found seven elements to summarise the preceding four chapters because seven is the appropriate number to use. As the writer of Hebrews states in this new section . . .
Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him.Hebrews 10:20-22
Now you have to admit that is good news friends! But you will notice that this passage divides nicely into four sections (see the full quote above). We have to analyse the way it all comes together and then flows into the next chapter.
I think Jesus stands and applauds each time we set aside our own reactions and impatience and instead subjugate our will and allow our desire to do His will to come forth in accord with His plans.Ian
Before we can begin to see the cross as something done for us, we have to see it as something done by us.John Stott
Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservation.Elton Trueblood
I want to be so full of God that when a mosquito bites me, it flies away singing “There’s Power in the Blood.”Ian