Archive for April 7th, 2009

Have you been enjoying Hebrews as you’ve Rested at the River’s Edge with us this month? I sure have. I’ve especially enjoyed chapters 10-12. Let’s look at a passage in chapter 10:

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
         Hebrews 10:19-23 (NIV)

If you’ve also been reading through the Old Testament with us, this passage makes so much more sense. Some of the references are still easy to miss though, and I can’t help but comment on them. They’re just too good.

V19: We have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus – In the Old Testament, we read that only the high priest was allowed to enter the most holy place, and then only once each year. They entered in fear and trepidation, lest their sin not be atoned for and they be struck down by the holy and perfect God who dwelled in that place. But now, under the new covenant, we can have confidence to enter the most holy place because we enter by the blood of Jesus. In the Old Testament, they sprinkled the blood of a sacrifice upon the altar and other items in the temple. We no longer have to do that because Jesus’ blood has already been shed.

V20: By a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body – Jesus has opened a new and living way – one that surpasses the old way of sacrifice. There was a curtain in front of the most holy place that the priests entered through. That curtain was torn in two when Jesus died on the cross (Matthew 27:51) – we now enter through His body. In other words, if we want to enter the most holy place, we must go through Jesus, the mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5).

V21: And since we have a great priest over the house of God – Jesus is our great priest (Hebrews 4:14)

V22: Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water – Jesus made it possible for us to draw near to God. We are to approach Him sincerely, not in rebellion or flippantly. We can approach Him in full assurance because of what Christ has done for us – He has sprinkled our hearts with His blood to cleanse us from our guilty conscience. Again, the priests sprinkled the blood of a sacrifice to cleanse the Israelites from their sins, and they washed to purify themselves. Figuratively, Christ has sprinkled our hearts with the blood to cleanse us and He has washed us with pure water.

V23: Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful – The writer of the letter to the Hebrews is encouraging the Jewish believers, who would have understood all of the Old Testament references, to continue to follow Christ unswervingly. That last line – “for He who promised is faithful” – the entire passage is proof that God is faithful. He was faithful to His promise to send a Messiah, to save His people, to make a way for the entire world to be blessed by the sons of Abraham.

The writer then continues to encourage the Hebrews to be faithful, leading into chapter 11 which begins:

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
          Hebrews 11:1

It’s being sure! It’s being certain even though we can’t see it!

What follows is a long line of people who demonstrated their faith through their actions. You know many of them, but what I especially love are verses 32 through 34. After going through a long list of people who make everyone’s top ten list of heroes of the faith, the writer of Hebrews almost sounds exasperated to me when he writes the following:

And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.
          Hebrews 11:32-34

The author is saying “Hey guys, I don’t have time to tell you all these other stories, but man, the things they did through faith – conquered kingdoms, administered justice, gained what was promised, quenched the fury of the flames, and whose weakness was turned to strength. Wow! That’s the person I want to be! Our faith turns our weakness into strength. Hallelujah! That’s worth shouting about!

I know that Hebrews 10 and 11 were readings last Friday and Monday, but I didn’t get a chance to blog about them and they are chapters that speak so strongly to me. Tomorrow I’ll blog more about faith…Did you know that there is something beyond faith? Tune in tomorrow!

Comments Comments Off on Our Confidence and Faith

© copyright 2009-2013, Data Designs Publishing and Sandra J. Hovatter