Published August 14, 2008
Heb. 10:19-29, 32-36
Related Sunday School Lesson, Bible Studies for Life, Aug. 24
To have confidence is to have freedom from doubt; to have trust or faith in a person or thing. It is possible to be overly confident in one’s own abilities, and it is possible to place too much trust in someone or something. But it is never wrong to put our confidence in Almighty God and in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The concept of confidence is first seen in Hebrews 10:19 where the writer says, “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.” The word “boldness” in this verse is a word that means confidence. The same Greek word is used again at the end of our passage. In Hebrews 10:35, the Bible says, “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.”
We can be confident in the assurance
Hebrews 10:19-25 A. Assured of our entrance
In the Old Testament, to come into the presence of God in the Holy of Holies you had to be the high priest of Israel. But God has inaugurated a “new and living way” whereby we can come to God through Christ. As Matthew Henry said, “When He died, the veil of the temple was rent in sunder, and … His death is to us the way of life.”
John Phillips wrote that Christ “has entered into the Holy of Holies, and because He is there we can be there. He does what no priest of Israel ever dared to do. He takes others with Him into the Holy of Holies.” We have a “high priest over the house of God” (v. 21), and because of Him we have “boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus” (v. 19).
B. Assured of our expectations
God has given us such a means of access, and our hearts have been “sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” Therefore, the writer says in verse 22, “Let us draw near.” We can come closer because God has forgiven us and in verse 23 we can confess that our hope is in Christ because He is faithful.
With privilege comes responsibility. Because we have been given salvation, there is the expectation that we grow in our faith by drawing near to God and confessing Him. We are further expected to grow in our fellowship by encouraging one another in our Christian works in verse 24 and in faithfulness to corporate worship in verse 25.
We can be confident in the admonition
A. The debatable aspect of this warning
In this section, “the author,” as Herschel Hobbs propounded, “leads us to another of his exhortations which involve incalculable difficulties in interpretation.” Just as in earlier passages, the controversy stems from whether the verses apply to those lost or saved.
George Henderson said, “Like Hebrews 6:4-8, the passage now before us is confessedly a difficult one. Where there is so much difference of opinion, one can only very humbly declare one’s conviction as to what it means.” Like the warnings of chapters 3 and 6, this speaks to believers who deliberately refused God’s instruction.
B. The dangerous aspect of this warning
Verse 23 says to “hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering.” The antithesis of this is the willful sin of verse 26. This hearkens back to Numbers 15:30 and those who act “presumptuously” towards God and “despised Moses’ law” (Heb. 10:28).
In response, God would reveal a real indignation. Just as He promised in Numbers 15:31 to “utterly … cut off” those who defiantly sinned, He also promised “a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation” in Hebrews 10:27. These words imply divine punishment. God takes sin seriously, and so should we.
Confident in the afflictions
A. In affliction, remember the past
The writer urges them to remember their early Christian experience when they “endured a great fight of afflictions” (v. 32). In those “former days” of the young church, “there was a great persecution” (Acts 8:1). As Eugene Peterson paraphrased it, “Those were the hard times!”
Instead of focusing upon their oppression, these believers focused upon the opportunity to show compassion, even to the writer in his “bonds” (v. 34). This reminder showed them that even as they had not wavered in earlier persecution, they could continue in confidence as they faced current trials.
B. In affliction, be resolved
The penman reveals the heart of a pastor as he says, “Cast not away therefore your confidence” (v. 35). Don’t give up now! While others have “despised Moses’ law” (v. 28), let us hear the charge to Joshua and “be strong and of good courage.”
It’s hard to maintain confidence in God when you’re experiencing “the reproaches and afflictions” (v. 33). More and more, we realize we “have need of patience” as we do the will of God (v. 36). But be encouraged dear Christian! For “in heaven” there is “a better and an enduring substance” and “great recompense of reward” (vs. 34-35).
Before her death in 2004 at 53, Susan H. Peterson spent nearly the last decade of her life writing songs based on various passages of Scripture. These special words are drawn from Hebrews 10 ….
“Since we have confidence to come to God, Since Jesus made a way by His own blood, Since He the veil did tear,
A living way made clear, Our great High Priest is here, Let us draw near.”
And to that, we can thankfully and confidently say, “Amen.”
For a more detailed outline of this subject, please see David Owen’s sermon under this same title at www.PastorLife.com.
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