Saturday, February 1, 2014

Hebrews 10 - The New and Living Way

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

The author sums up the argument of the superiority of the covenant  that is administered by Jesus with one last declaration and affirmation that that covenant is based on a superior sacrifice...the blood of Jesus, offered once, perfecting all who come to him forever:

For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified - v. 14

Because, you know, once something is cleaned away, it's gone.  Forgotten.

I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more - v. 17

Once sin is gone, there's no reason to keep sacrificing offerings to deal with it.  It's done.


And...guess what the next word is after this point is firmly established...


(That's 'Therefore' number 10 in the ESV, if I haven't missed any)

He restates the argument he's so carefully structured:

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...

Since we have the superior offering, the superior covenant and the superior, the author says, we need to put that to work in our lives.  To do that, we need to

Draw near to God
Hold fast to our hope
Stir one another up to good works
Put a priority on meeting together

Because...we have the power to do that!  Christ has opened the way!

Interesting that at this point, the author stops once more and repeats the warning  to anyone who hears and understands what it is that Christ is offering:  if this truth is rejected, there's nothing else out there that can cleanse that sin away.  To look at the sacrifice Jesus gave and then reject it is to cut oneself off from the grace of God and stand with the enemy and all his followers who are under the sentence of destruction.

This is a serious thing; this warning has been repeated and will be repeated.  Jesus receives everyone who comes to Him, and everyone who truly comes to Him is transformed.  For those who do not want to give up the comfort/pleasure/familiarity of the lifestyle they lead before learning the truth but just want to add the rituals of worship and fellowship onto their former way of life...participation without repentance...well, the author pretty bluntly states that will not bring about the salvation of God.  In fact, he says it is an act of blasphemy against the very blood that was given to redeem them.  It is hard.  It is heavy.  But it is the Word.  Jesus opened up the way for us to go into the most holy places, but we cannot take our ungodliness in with us.  Paul gives us a partial list of these deeds in Galatians 5: 19-21:

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions,  envy, drunkenness, orgies and things like these.  I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

My point is not to try and lay some heavy oppressive guilt trip on anyone;  this is not talking about the process of maturing in Christ in which we learn not to give in to weakness but grow in grace and learn from our mistakes.  This is referencing folks who attempt to add the benefits of faith to a self-promoting, self-centered lifestyle...whether that self-centeredness manifests itself as drunkenness, sexual immorality or being a gossip who stirs up trouble  is not really part of the discussion.  Any of those things are 'works of the flesh'...the selfish, self-promoting human nature.  And only true repentance...stopping, turning around, and heading away from them...will put us into position to receive the cleansing power of Christ and the ability to enter into those holy places.

But the author then reminds his readers of how they stood under persecution when they believed, how they helped others and did not revolt even when their property was knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.   

We do not shrink back and cling to an unrepentant lifestyle...but by faith...through the new and living way... we enter those holy places where that better, abiding possession lies.

Suzanne said all of that in about half the space...someday I'll learn to write succinctly.. ;-)

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