ABCS Weekly Devotion – “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 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.”
Hebrews 10: 19-25, ESV
I’m reading, “Devoted to God,” by Sinclair Ferguson. It discusses how we ought to live – devoted to God, set aside for His use in light of what we believe — regarding Who He is, what He has already done, what He is doing and what He has promised to do. One of Ferguson’s first points is that what God has done for us always precedes and is the cause of what He calls on us to do.
As I was reading Hebrews, I was struck by how this passage is an excellent, clear example of Ferguson’s point. In these verses, the author of Hebrews first reminds us of what Christ has done for us.
- Jesus has given us the confidence to enter into the holy places through His blood, confidence because the debt for our sin has been atoned for by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, as proven by His resurrection and ascension into heaven [v. 19].
- Jesus has opened a “living way” through the curtain in the temple by means of His sacrifice. The curtain in the temple separated the inner sanctuary of the temple, the Holy of Holies, where the Ark of the Covenant resided. It is also where God’s presence appeared, hidden from the view and approach of all except the High Priest on the Day of Atonement. When Jesus died on the cross, when His flesh was pierced and His blood spilled, that curtain was torn in half from top to bottom. This signified that God the Father was now approachable by all. The way Jesus opened was “living” in several senses: because He is alive even after death; because as a result of Christ we have life and life more abundantly; and because this way brings us to eternal life in God’s presence [v. 20].
- Jesus functions as our perfect high priest in the house of God, a high priest who does not merely cover our sin each year with the blood of bulls, but who removes it once and for all by His blood. He is a high priest who is a Son of God rather than a servant, and who confers “sonship” on us [v. 21].
Now because of these things which Christ has done for us, the author of Hebrews tells us that we in turn ought to:
- Draw near with a true heart in the full assurance of faith. Why? Because we have been completely cleansed by the work of Christ on the cross. We are fully assured of this because of Jesus’ resurrection and ascension. And we have faith which is “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 [v. 22].
- Hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering. Why? Because He who promised – that is, God – is faithful to complete the good work He has begun. The confession of our hope is both Christ Himself and the message of His Gospel [v. 23].
- Stir one another up to love and good works. Why? Both because this is part of our reasonable service and because such encouragement within the body of Christ is critical. And in addition, because these works are the evidence of our transformation and conformation to the image of Christ [v. 24].
- Meet together as the body of Christ and encourage one another, more and more as we see the Day of His Second Coming drawing near. This encouragement, exhortation, warning, prayer, comfort and instruction is needed because we need to remain awake, watching for the imminent coming of our Bridegroom [v. 25].
Written by Bill Grant, IT Manager #StaffDevotion #HopeAndCare