A Systematic Expository Study on the book of Hebrews
STUDY 25: ENCOURAGEMENT TO CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE
Hebrews 10: 19 - 39
These verses exhort and encourage us to endure and continue in the Lord, in submission and devotion to the Lord. As usual practical exhortation follows sound doctrine. The Epistles of the New Testament often give practical exhortation after the establishment of sound doctrine. This Epistle had laid a strong foundation of doctrine. Jesus Christ, the Cornerstone of the new Temple, the Foundation of the spiritual Building has been revealed in every chapter. We have had the teaching on the final, perfect, efficacious sacrifice of Christ. He has been presented as the great High Priest. The invitation now comes to true believers to draw near with a true heart. We are also warned of the danger of backsliding and the damnation of apostates. Then we are challenged to remain faithful and to abide in Christ till the very end. The believer who endures till the end is assured of final rewards in the presence of the Lord and everlasting joy in the eternal presence of God.
CALL TO DEVOTION AND RIGHTEOUSNESS
Hebrews 10: 19-25; 9: 8, 12; John 10: 9; Hebrews 4: 14-16; Ezekiel 36: 25; Acts 2: 42.
Here we are exhorted to “enter in”, “draw near”, “hold fast”, “provoke one another to love”, “not forsake the assembling of ourselves together”. The whole passage is introduced with “therefore”. The exhortation is based on the truth of the finality of Christ’s Sacrifice. Because of the establishment of the New Covenant by Jesus Christ the Mediator and Perfect Sacrifice, we can enter with boldness into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, the new possibility opened to all Christians is that of free access to the very presence of God. The way has been opened for us by Jesus. It is a new way which did not exist in the Old Covenant. Jesus is the new and living way (John 14: 6). This way remains permanently open without barrier or hindrance.
What is more, through the efficacious sacrifice of our great High Priest, we become part of “the house of God” - the household of faith. Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ continually provides and satisfies all needs of all members in the family of God.
What is required from all who draw near unto God to appear in His presence? (i) “A true heart” (2) “in full assurance of faith” (3) “cleansed, washed conscience” (4) steadfastness - holding fast our profession of faith without wavering. (5) Influencing others to love and to good works, (6) worshipping God with others of like precious faith.
Stedfastness, Perseverance, Constancy are all necessary. We must not abandon our assurance of faith even if some promises have not been fulfilled. True children of God remain immovable, assured of the faithfulness of God, who has promised.
We are warned not to yield to the spirit of lukewarmness of the last days. Believers are rather to keep on encouraging one another as we see the final day of judgment and rewards approaching.
CONSEQUENCE OF DELIBERATE REBELLION
Hebrews 10: 26-31; 2 Peter 2: 20-22; 2 Thessalonians 1: 8; Hebrews 2: 2, 3; 6: 4-8; Luke 12: 5; Jude 10-16.
What is in view in this section is the deliberate rebellion of apostates. The inspired writer describes the apostate who deliberately continues in apostasy - fighting against God and resolutely rejecting the means of his restoration to the grace of God. The apostate is described as one who was (1) “once enlightened” (Hebrews 6: 4) (2) who had “tasted of the heavenly gift” (Hebrews 6: 4) (3) who was “made partake of the Holy Ghost” (Hebrews 6: 4) (4) who had “tasted the good Word of God” (Hebrews 6: 5) (5) who had “tasted the powers of the world to come” (Hebrews 6: 5) (6) who was “sanctified with the blood of the covenant” (Hebrews 10: 20). BUT NOW, he (1) has “fallen away” (Hebrews 6: 5) (2) has “crucified again the Son of God afresh” (Hebrews 6: 6) (3) has “put Him to an open shame” (Hebrews 6: 6) (4) has continued to “sin wilfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth” (Hebrews 10: 26) (5) “has trodden under foot the Son of God” (Hebrews 10: 29) (6) “has counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing” (Hebrews 10: 29), (7) “has done despite unto the Spirit of grace” (Hebrews 10: 29).
What judgment is awaiting the apostates? (1) It is “impossible to renew them again to repentance” (Hebrews 6: 4, 6) (2) “There remaineth no more sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10: 26) (3) “a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation” (Hebrews 10: 27) (4) “much sorer punishment” (Hebrews 10: 29). “It is a fearful thing to fall into the Hands of the Living God” (Hebrews 10: 31).
The Spirit of God has been warning sinners, backsliders, and apostates from the beginning of the epistle. “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation” (Hebrews 2: 3). “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the Living God” (Hebrews 3: 12). “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it” (Hebrews 4: 1). “If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him” (Hebrews 10: 38).
CONTINUING STEDFASTLY TILL RAPTURE AND REWARDS
Hebrews 10: 32-39; John 8: 31; Acts 14: 21, 22; Colossians 1: 23; Revelation 3: 11; Matthew 10: 22; 24: 13.
After speaking of the worst possible situation, apostasy and consequent judgment, the writer now speaks to encourage believers to stedfastness and perseverance. Looking back, the believers were told to remember the former days, what afflictions they had endured. Looking forward, they should be assured that in heaven, a better and an enduring substance awaited them. The suffering of the past endured and the glory of the future being expected should encourage them to persevere till the end.
These faithful people showed evidence of genuine faith. After being “illuminated”, they endured affliction, they endured reproaches, they took the spoiling of their goods joyfully and they remained in fellowship with others who were being persecuted. They were (as we are being) encouraged to keep the confidence they had in the Lord. We should all “hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering” until the end.
Faithful believers are reminded of the sure promise of eternal rewards if we will endure till the end. He assures us that the coming of the Lord is very near. Saved by grace through faith, we must continue to live by faith and never draw back from the Lord. Only then are we sure of a glorious end.
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