Thoughts on Hebrews

A few weeks ago, at the church I work at, I preached a sermon on Hebrews 10:19-25. That began a moving in my heart to discover some of the other spots where the author uses a formula of “since-then-let us” teaching propositions. I like this construct because it bases reasonable models of ethics and morality on divinely revealed truths.

In this particular passage, the author gives two revealed truths:

  1. We have confidence to enter the the holy places because of the work of Christ
  2. We have a great high priest (Jesus) over the house of God

What is your confidence level when it comes to God? Many people struggle with the idea that God even knows they exist, let alone loves them. We view God as the one person we can never please, who we’re never good enough for, and with whom we can’t get anything right. Our understanding of God is constricted by fallen leaders, despotic rulers, and invisible fathers. People think that God is either limited, cruel, or simply not there. This view of God gives no one confidence to bring an ingrown toenail to His attention, let alone a broken life and spirit.

One of the things Christ came to do was change our view of God. The Jews of the First Century world saw God as theirs alone, and that absolute legal perfection was the only way to please Him. Christ came and re-imagined the idea of grace, that God would take care of the Law, and we would simply trust Him. Christ give event the worst of us the hope that we can come before God, to whom we can give nothing, and receive everything we need. This is not because of what we have accomplished, but because of what Jesus did in His redemption role.

So what do we do with these truths? Let us:

  1. Draw near with a true heart
  2. Hold fast the confession of our hope
  3. Consider how to provoke love and good works

Don’t ever stop walking towards God. Many times in my own life, when I perceive God’s disappointment or displeasure towards me, I run and hide from Him. I still go to church, preach my sermons, keep my counseling appointments, and teach my classes, but there is, as Dave Matthews puts it, “a space between.” Grace reminds me that failure, hurt, or fear, are the best reasons to run to God. I can draw near to Him; I belong in His presence, because the work of Christ on the cross lets me in.

That drawing near allows me to hold on to my confession of hope. I love that this is a confession of hope rather than a confession of truth. Hope just seems better than truth sometimes. The amazing thing a bout Christianity is that the truth is full of hope. I can be better, I am saved, I can look towards the future.

And then I need to do great things with this truth and encourage other people to do them too. The word that the ESV renders as “stir up” carries a nuance of “provoke.” I love this. I laugh at the idea of Christians, full of God’s grace-filled truth/hope, provoking the best from each other instead of the worst. What would our influence in the world  and on history be if instead of bringing out all of the anger, bitterness, and discord we carry, we demand and expect love, peace, and joy?

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