God uses his word to call his children back to himself. Jesus came here to fulfill God’s plan to save us from eternal spiritual death and to brings us back to eternal spiritual life. Jesus’s death and resurrection was the ransom that was required to remove us from eternal spiritual death row. Those of us who believe in Jesus are saved and promised eternal life in heaven. We have confidence in this hope of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ.
Our message which we find from Hebrews 10:19-39 speaks to believers and apostates. Apostates are those who have complete understanding in the word of God and still turn their back on God. They are not believers, they fall short of believing. Verses 19-25 talks to believers and verses 26-38, talks to apostates. Verse 39, talks to believers. An outline of this passage aka four topics
– the privilege
– the encouragement
– the warning
– the reminder
THE PRIVILEGE OF BELIEVERS
Hebrews 10:19-39 (ESVST)
19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God,
There are two things that the writer of Hebrews is highlighting as the privileges of believers in the above verses. First the confidence that believers have to enter the holy places, in my view referring to heaven and the fact that believers have a great priest over the house of God. The writer gives a reason why believers have the confidence of entering heaven and the writer says that believers enter by the blood and flesh of Jesus. Meaning through the death of Jesus Christ. These privileges are only opened to believers.
22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
The writer of Hebrews after giving us the privileges that are open for believers, goes on to give the believers an encouragement while they are waiting for the hope of eternal life to materialize. The writer gives four statements of encouragement. True heart, don’t waiver, encourage one another and fellowship. The writer says that believers must draw near to our promise of eternal life with a true heart and with a full assurance that having faith brings with it. For this the writer says we must draw near with our heart sprinkled clean from evil and our bodies washed with pure water. This means that we as believers have to be clean from inside out. The sprinkling of the heart refers to what God says he will do in Ezekiel 36:24-27 and the washing of our bodies is an outward symbol of what God has done to our hearts and this refers to baptism.
The writer says we as believers must hold fast, meaning never let go of our hope without wavering or without doubting. We should never let go of our hope through Jesus Christ of eternal life. The writer also says we must find a way to encourage one another, to having love an doing good works and lastly, the writes says we must fellowship with one another as this will also serve as a form of encouragement.
26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “ Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
With all the privileges that we have as believers and all the encouragement that the writer of Hebrews has given us, now comes a warning to all those who even though they have received and understood the knowledge of the truth decide to continue to sin deliberately. These are the people I referred to as apostates in part 1 of this message. These are the people described in Hebrews 6:4-6. See part 1 of this message for more information on apostates. The two important things here is that these people receive the knowledge of truth but they then continue to sin. Take note that the writer does not say these people sin but he says these people continue to sin and not only that, they sin deliberately.
The word deliberately in Greek means to voluntarily or intentionally. This refers to sins committed willingly or intentionally or voluntarily, those done designedly and intentionally in the face of better knowledge.
Therefore this means people who even with the knowledge of truth, continue to intentionally sin. The writer says for these people, there is no more any sacrifice left for them. Since they have rejected the only one sacrifice that Jesus did and that was accepted by God, no other sacrifices are left for them. Nothing else can be done for them. Absolutely nothing!. The only thing left for them is a fearful expectation of judgement and a fury of fire that will consume them as opposers. Adversaries in Greek means opposers in the above verse. The only thing left for them is eternal spiritual death by fire in hell.
The writer then says anyone whom broke the law of Moses was killed without mercy on the evidence of two or more witnesses, how much more will the one who
– tramples underfoot Jesus Christ, meaning in Greek, the one who treat Jesus with utmost contempt and indignity
– the one who profanes or in Greek who treats the blood of the covenant as unholy
– the one who outrages the spirit of grace meaning in Greek, the one who treat the spirit of grace with despite and reproach. The word reproach means to express disapproval or disappointment. The writer says if the person who broke the law of Moses was killed, what will happen to the one who does the above three things by continuing to sin intentionally after knowing the truth.
Then the writer quotes Deuteronomy 32:35- 36 were God said that vengeance is his and he will repay. Then the writes says again, God will judge his people. The writer concludes the warning by saying and I quote “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
32 But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, 33 sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. 34 For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. 35 Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. 37 For,
“ Yet a little while,
and the coming one will come and will not delay;
The writer then says remember the former days when you were enlightened, before you became an apostate or before you turned your back on God, meaning, when you had the understanding of the knowledge of truth. Again the word “enlightened” does not means believe or saved. It simply means to understand. The writer says when you had the understanding of the knowledge of truth you endured or persevered hard struggles with sufferings. You suffered but you endured. The writer then gives some examples of the sufferings that the apostate went through when he still had the understanding of the truth. The writer says
– the apostate was publicly exposed to disapproval and sometimes being in partnership with those who were publicly exposed to disapproval
– the apostate had compassion to those in jail and did not even mind when his property was taken knowing that there is a better possession and an abiding one. Meaning there is eternal life in heaven and there is God who is trustworthy.
The writer after reminding the apostate of the above, the writer then urges the apostate not to throw away the confidence he/she has, that has such a great reward. The writer says as believer you need endurance or perseverance to do the will of God, so that once you have done the will of a God, you may recieve the promised reward. The writer then says hold on for a little while and in no time Jesus Christ will come and all that has been promised will be realized.
38 but my righteous one shall live by faith,
and if he shrinks back,
my soul has no pleasure in him.”
39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.
Apart from all this, those who are righteous shall live by faith but, if he shrinks back, meaning if he becomes an apostate or if he turns his back from God, the writer says God has no pleasure in him or is not pleased with him or does not approve of him. The writer then says but we as believers are not those who became apostates or who turns their back on God and are destroyed in eternal hell fire but, we are those that have faith and preserve their souls.
Which one are you? The apostate or the one who has faith and preserves his/her soul?
Father thank you for such sobering words. I pray that we all listen to it and understand it and keep it. In Jesus name, amen