Hebrews 10:19–36, 39 comment (0)
November 2, 2006
By Dale Younce
Related Scripture: Hebrews 10:19–36, 39
Explore the Bible
Professor of Christian Studies, School of Christian Studies, University of Mobile
Hebrews 10:19–36, 39
Confidence is a trait lacking in many adults. The reasons for this deficiency are as varied as the individuals. Even Christians, some of whom show great confidence in many areas of their lives, may demonstrate little confidence as believers. They may be spiritually immature or merely unaware of the reasons they have to exercise confidence as Christians. Yet the Bible teaches that all believers can exercise confidence, at least to the extent of having assurance concerning God, their relationship with Him and how they are to live their life.
Confidence and Worship (19–25)
In Old Testament days, no worshiper would have been bold enough to enter the most holy place in the tabernacle or in the temple. But now, because of Jesus’ death, New Testament believers possess a boldness to enter the very presence of God. Jesus’ death has opened unhindered access to God; as our living High Priest, He is the new and living way into God’s presence.
On the basis of these two truths — that we possess boldness to enter God’s presence because we have a living High Priest — we are exhorted to three specific actions.
(1) “Let us draw near.” Each Christian can approach God in the conscious enjoyment of freedom from guilt and a sense of personal holiness, coming to God with a pure heart and a clean conscience (cf. 1 John 1:9).
(2) “Let us hold fast.” The original readers of this Epistle were thinking about forsaking their confession of Jesus Christ and returning to Old Testament worship. The writer did not exhort them to hold on to their salvation; it was secure in Christ, not in themselves (Heb. 7:25).
He called them to grasp firmly their confession of hope. When a Christian has fixed his hope on Jesus, the faithfulness of God brings stability into his life.
(3) “Let us consider.” Christians are expected to fellowship with other Christians in a local church. Such corporate fellowship, as we wait for Christ’s return, motivates us to love others and to beneficial action.
Confidence and Sin (26–31)
This passage in Hebrews is much debated. Some students of the Bible see it as a warning against apostasy, a deliberate turning away from faith in Christ with the consequent loss of salvation. Others see it as a warning to people who merely profess faith in Christ but are not actually believers. Others view it as a warning to Christians about how dangerous sin is. Some, on the basis of verse 39, think this is a hypothetical case. The view taken here is that the passage warns Hebrew-Christians of the extreme danger of returning to Judaism, a God-given but now inferior, obsolete and fulfilled religious system. If they were to revert to the Levitical sacrificial system, they would be going back to emptiness — sacrifices that cannot put away sin.
The sin mentioned in verse 26 is not one particular act of sin but rather a settled attitude that results in repeated disobedience. Such an attitude would profoundly affect the believer’s relationship with God. It would be as if the believer trod Jesus underfoot, cheapened the blood of Christ that saved him and insulted the Holy Spirit. Such a believer could expect severe discipline from God. When, in the Old Testament, the nation of Israel refused to believe God and obey His Word, God chastened them. He will do the same with New Testament believers.
Confidence and Witness (32–36, 39)
In order to avoid misunderstanding, the writer of the Epistle wrote words of encouragement and confirmation. His Hebrew-Christian readers had given clear evidence that they were genuine believers. He did not expect them to despise God’s Word and experience God’s chastening. Previously they had shown great confidence and hope, but now, under trial, they were in danger of casting away that confidence and returning to the old religious system. The witness they bore called for them to maintain their walk of faith.