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Hebrews 10:1929, 3236 comment (0)

August 21, 2008

By Jerry W. Batson

Related Scripture: Hebrews 10:1929, 3236

Bible Studies for Life
Associate Professor of Divinity (Retired), Beeson Divinity School, Samford University

A Confident Life
Hebrews 10:19–29, 32–36

What is the place for confidence in the Christian life? Is self-confidence misplaced confidence? Great athletes believe they can win against their opponents. Successful salespeople are confident they can sell their products or services to others. But as Christians, are we to believe we can succeed at Christian living or in Christian service? Our distinction must be that we are not the objects of our confidence, but our confidence is in Jesus Christ as its object and source. Our guideline is Philippians 4:13, “I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.” We might call our confidence “Christ-confidence” as opposed to self-confidence.

This study leads us to consider ways we can have proper confidence as Christians. Our passage sets before us four considerations.

Know the Source of Confidence (19–23)

Through Jesus, believers can approach God with confidence and boldness. His blood opened for us the way into God’s presence. Because of Jesus, we can draw near to God “in full assurance of faith,” stemming from the fact that our hearts have been cleansed and our guilt removed. Our challenge is to hold on to our hope in unwavering faith.

Confident faith is undergirded by devotion to prayer and worship. We can approach God in prayer and worship, not with self-confidence but with confidence in the sufficiency of Jesus’ sacrifice. Confident faith flourishes in the atmosphere of clean living and the presence of a clean conscience. Such confidence roots in a heart that is true and genuine in its commitment.

In short, the source of our confidence is the saving work of Christ to which we continue to respond with trust and a continual drawing near to God in prayer and worship.

Stay in Church (24–25)
God has not designed the Christian life to be lived in isolation. We must not neglect meeting together with other believers. Christians must find a church in which to be faithfully and actively involved. Many become defeated in their Christian lives and even doubtful of their salvation because they neglect the church. Such neglect is two-edged. Not only does staying away from church affect us, but it also discourages others who are impacted by our absence. We must assign high priority to faithful church attendance.

Take Sin Seriously (26–29)
These verses contain a serious warning that is somewhat similar to that in Hebrews 6:4–6 last week. One can identify several different approaches to the intent of these four verses: (1) a warning to believers not to renounce their faith, (2) a warning to unbelievers about rejecting the gospel, (3) a warning to Christians against the danger of sin in their lives or (4) a calling into question the genuineness of some professions of faith.

Regardless of the approach taken, the passage is a clear warning about the seriousness of sin. Believers cannot have confidence in their relationship with God through Christ when sin controls their lives. We must avoid deliberate sin and confess unplanned failures. In a day that many forms of sin are tolerated, we must be warned and warn others about how dangerous sin is to the Christian life.

Remember Past Victories (32–36)
Our passage, which has some serious things to say about deliberate sin, concludes with a positive commendation.
The first readers were complimented for bearing a strong witness while facing persecution. They were urged not to throw away the confidence that sustained them through struggles with those who taunted and persecuted them.

We take away from these last few verses the reminder that how we handle adversity witnesses to our confidence in God or lack thereof. Those of us who remember past victories are less likely to abandon confidence. Christian faith rests in what Christ has done for us in the past, but it also must result in confidently trusting Him for what He does in the present and will do in the future.

Our study is a reminder that if we are able to approach God’s throne in confidence, we can also face all of life with confidence.

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