Let Us Always

Therefore, brothers, 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, 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. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 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. - Hebrews 10:19–25

    The book of Hebrews is one of the most powerful presentations of the Gospel in all of Scripture. Written to Jewish believers, it contains some of the strongest language about the supremacy and divinity of Christ, the perfection of His work, and the assurance of redemption found in the New Covenant. For 10 glorious chapters, our Author takes painstaking effort to draw parallels between Christ and the priests, sacrifices, rituals, and law of the Old Covenant. Never once does he attempt to abolish them, but by strength of conviction and faith he establishes them in the person and work of our Lord, giving light to shadow and form to the things former.
    Dealing with the struggles our early Jewish brothers faced and the call to return to the old ways, his patience and directness are both stark and quick to correct. Many times I have drawn strength in my trials from the conviction of his argument and the truth of the perfection of Christ's work for His people. But the above passage is the culmination of his argument. This final exhortation is to a group of people who felt lost, alienated from their former lives, and were regularly persecuted by both the State and the community that they once called family.
    He calls us to have confidence, not in ourselves but in the blood of the perfect lamb, to bring us into the Holy Place. To draw near to God in full assurance of the faith that unites us to Him and His work on behalf of His people. An exhortation to proclaim and profess our magnificent hope because YHWH who redeems is faithful to see through His promises. This commendation pushes us to come together, united in love and purpose to see the works of the Kingdom fulfilled and our hearts uplifted together in the body that is Christ. We have in the Church a new community, bound together not in our blood ties but the blood of Christ, not in our oaths but in the certain promises of the Holy one, not in our labors but the complete perfection that is the work of Christ on the cross. 

    These brothers were afraid they had lost their traditions, but our Author tells them that Christ is the fullness of these shadows. They thought they were losing a renewing hope, but Christ is a permanent hope. The community had turned its back on them, but they were a new community. Called out together to meet, serve, learn, love, and worship; not as individuals strewn about but as a body that functions as one. Lifting each other up, stirring each other up, building upon the foundation that is Christ into the Kingdom that was promised of old.
    May we take this to heart in our day. Surrounded on all sides and aliens in the world that sees itself as broken and crumbling, we are different. Our fortress is strong, our world renewed, and our hope is certain. Be confident, assured, and at peace, dear brothers. 
Topics: The New Covenant
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