Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hebrews 10:19-39 -- Forward in Faith

LINK: Hebrews 10:19-39 (memorize 10:24-25)

BACKGROUND 


The "therefore" in this passage sums up what has been established in Hebrews 4-10: Jesus, as the GREAT and better Kingly High Priest (Zechariah 6:13), has become the once for all blood sacrifice that caused the veil into the Holy of Holies to be torn in two from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51) so that we can have full, bold, confident access into the very presence of God forever (Hebrews 4:16; 9:25-26). 


His blood has made full provision for the forgiveness of sin, making us clean in the eyes of God. This is the "new and living way" of access to God under the New Covenant. This confident access was hope for the Hebrews who were being tempted to go back to the Old Covenant worship. They needed to hold unswervingly to this hope, and they needed to encourage one another in this hope by coming together regularly to spur one another on toward love, good deeds, and good behavior; making the Word of God come alive through application of it until Jesus returns again!


The writer has been concerned about the Hebrews falling away from the faith, Hebrews 10:26-31 is the fourth of five exhortations in the book:

The believer who begins to drift from the Word (Heb. 2:1–4) will soon start to doubt the Word (Heb. 3:7–4:13). Soon, he will become dull toward the Word (Heb. 5:11–6:20) and become “lazy” in his spiritual life. This will result in despising the Word, which is the theme of this exhortation.  
(The Bible Exposition Commentary: Volume 2, Heb 10:19, p. 315 )
Despising involves willful, continuous sinning (not one act of sin). The Old Covenant did not allow for deliberate and willful sin (Exodus 21:12-14; Numbers 15:27-31). Presumptuous sinners were even executed (Deuteronomy 17:1-17)! Willful sinning is like trampling on top of Jesus and cheapening the blood He shed to save us. It also insults the Holy Spirit. The person does not go to hell, but he can expect severe discipline from a holy God (stay tuned for Hebrews 12)! The Lord will judge His people (10:30 is taken from Deuteronomy 32:35). The only solution is turning to God for mercy and forgiveness! We can do that because Christ has made a way for us back to God (1 John 1:9). The only way to prevent this slippery slope from drifting to doubt to dullness to despising is to stay near to God in the first place. 

The writer ends this chapter with encouragement. Remember in Hebrews 6 when he shifted his pronouns? Well, he does the same thing here in Hebrews 10! The "we" 10:26 shifts to "he" in 10:29 and "them" in 10:39. 


He recalled their confidence in being willing to suffer persecution in the past and encouraged them to not to throw that confidence away by going back to the Old Covenant. They were not to "shrink back" in unbelief but to boldly go forward in faith! The righteous one will live by faith (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11). Those who persevered in faith would be rewarded. People who shrunk back would be "destroyed." There are different ways to interpret this word. It can mean temporary or eternal ruin and many commentators believe it means temporary ruin. A person who shrinks back wastes his life, failing to experience the fullness that God intended for them. The writer did not want the Hebrews to do that! 


With this exhortation, the writer concludes Hebrews with the theme of faith. Stay tuned! 


REFLECTION/APPLICATION 

How are you on that slippery slope?


Have you drifted away from the Word of God?
Have you doubted the Word of God?
Have you become dull to the Word of God?
Have you despised the Word of God?

Come to Him in repentance knowing you will receive forgiveness. Then make a plan for diligently drawing near to God through His Word! Who will hold you accountable to this plan? Do NOT forsake getting together with other believers who can spur you on in your "I will" statements (10:24-25)! 

PRAYER


Lord, we confess drifting away from Your Word.  Help us to believe Your many promises that You have made to us. Help us to be diligent to read, study, memorize, and meditate on Your Word day in and day out. Amen. 
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