Three Reasons for Faithfulness
This passage has some of the most iconic verses that many of us have memorized.
How many sermons have you heard on Heb. 10:25 on attendance?
And then there’s the iconic verse: “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (10:31).
These next few chapters will be concerning endurance and faith.
Really that’s the whole point of this book, to encourage the reader, especially the Jewish reader, to hold fast to the faith.
He encourages the reader to do that because the Christian system is far superior to that of the Jewish system.
And in the last few chapters we have seen how we have a better covenant in Christ, how Christ is the better sacrifice, and how ineffective the old covenant was by comparison.
This should motivate us to live faithfully to the Lord, to the founder of the better system.
He is the Mediator, the testator, the sacrifice, and our High Priest!
Because of His faithfulness in these areas, we should be faithful in return.
Grounds for Faithfulness.
Apostasy and Judgment.
Exhortation for Endurance.
Grounds for Faithfulness (10:19-25).
These first few verses serve to remind us of the great things Christ is and what He’s done for us.
This reminds us why we ought to be faithful to Him.
Look at what all He has done!
Through His sacrifice, we have the ability to enter into the Most Holy Place, and to do so boldly!
Recall, only the High Priest could enter into there and only once a year to sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice on the mercy seat atop the ark of the covenant.
We, on the other hand, through the blood of His sacrifice, have an opportunity to enter in ourselves!
The writer says this was given by a “new and living way.”
By the old way, it was impossible, but now we have a new way, a way paved by His blood.
Not only that, it is a living way, for Christ is still living even after His sacrifice!
Since we know that Most Holy Place is heaven itself in the Christian system, it shows that we can be assured of our place in heaven through His blood.
We don’t have to doubt or question it because He’s done it.
Recall again, there was a veil separating the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place.
When Christ was crucified, the veil was torn in two, broken down as if to say anyone has the ability to enter in and be with the Lord.
But here we read that His flesh is that veil, so when His flesh was destroyed on the cross, the veil was destroyed, too, and we could enter in.
And being that sacrifice, that veil, He is also that High Priest over the house of God, over the church of Christ.
Let us … (10:22-25).
Because of these great things, the writer gives us a series of three times where he says, “let us.”
Among preacher circles, I’ve heard these called “lettuce sermons.”
These are action items that applications that we can take from what we have learned—here there are three.
Let us draw near.
We draw near to Him by being humble before Him and submitting to His will (James 4:7-10).
Such is done with a true heart, which can only be done when we are absolutely sincere in our desire to please God.
In that circumstance we can have a “full assurance of faith!”
We have that because we are confident in His love and His promises, for He has been proved o’er and o’er.
Our sinful hearts have been sprinkled with His blood, just as the blood of the lamb was sprinkled on various implements and structures in the tabernacle, cleansing them and making them holy.
And here we see a reference to baptism, for our bodies have been washed with pure water, figuratively cleansing us from our sins as His blood is sprinkled on our hearts.
Let us hold fast.
This is a common refrain throughout this book, something we’ve already mentioned.
Let us keep the faith! Why? Because He is faithful.
In other words, since He is trustworthy, let us trust in Him!
These first two deal with our relationship to God, but this last one is concerned with our relationship to one another.
Let us consider one another.
Our job when we assemble together is to encourage one another to love and to do good works.
It’s hard these days with this pandemic to get together to encourage one another, but hopefully you get that from our sermons, songs, prayers and classes and definitely from our calls and cards that we send to one another.
That is our call, to continually encourage one another to do what’s right, to remain faithful, and to hold fast to the faith.
Otherwise, there is the danger of falling into apostasy and judgment.
Apostasy and Judgment (10:26-31).
There is something that can keep us from the Most Holy Place—willful sin.
This is a kind of sin that is willful and deliberate.
You know it’s wrong, but you keep on doing it anyway, feeling no remorse and there being no repentance.
This is the kind of sin that the OT calls presumptuous sin, the opposite of unintentional sin.
This is done after you have received the knowledge of the truth, which we learn in 1 Tim. 2:4 is another way of saying you’ve been saved.
Here he states there remains no more sacrifice for sins. Why? Because Christ was the final one! There are no more sacrifices after Him.
Should you reject Him, you reject any and all avenues to heaven, that Most Holy Place.
The outcome for such a person will not be pleasant.
If someone like this isn’t fearful, it’s because he doesn’t know what awaits him.
And how terrible will it be to be the one who has “trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?”
I can’t think of a worse thing for someone to do.
If someone who disregarded the law of Moses suffers judgment, what might the result be for one who disregards Christ?
He loved us and gave Himself for us, and to spurn that, essentially blaspheming His holy name by our insult—the very thought of the consequences is unfathomable.
Vengeance for such an act belongs to Him and Him alone, as we see here and in Rom. 12:19 where this passage from Deut. 32:35 is also quoted: “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.”
It is indeed a “fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
While we should not follow God out of fear, it is hard to escape the reality of judgment that such a lack in faithfulness will lead to.
Exhortation for Endurance (10:32-39).
The writer now reminds his readers of the days where God has helped them in the past.
While the Lord has been proved throughout Scripture to be faithful, hasn’t He proved throughout your life to be faithful, too?
The writer is not only relying on Scriptural proof of God’s faithfulness, but on their own experience as well.
They had endured great difficulties in the past, but God saw them through it all.
What an awesome comfort indeed—why lose faith now?
Even in such times, they were willing and eager to support the writer while he was in prison.
Why? Because they recognized the greater reward in heaven and the treasures they were building there through their good works here.
Do not cast away your confidence.
Their confidence, their faith, could be thrown out, cast aside, discarded.
The writer urges his readers against this, after all the evidence he has given not to do so, partly due to the great reward such a confidence offers.
Then we see the causal relation: after you do the will of God will you receive the promise.
This brings us back to the concept of the Lord being the author of eternal salvation to all who… obey Him (5:9).
The promise we receive hearkens back to the rest promised all the way back in Ch. 4, that eternal rest with our God in heaven.
This presents another reason for faith, that we may receive that promise.
He reminds the reader of a passage from Habakkuk, quoted in both Romans and Galatians besides this: “The just shall live by faith.”
Faith is what saves, faith is what justifies, and without it (“if anyone draws back”), then God takes “no pleasure in him.”
As it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, it is just as fearful for Him not to take any pleasure in you.
In just a few verses after this, the writer informs us what is necessary to please Him—faith (11:6).
The writer reassures his original readers that they are not like that at all, that they will not “draw back to perdition,” to destruction or waste… to hell.
I like the way the NASB words it: “But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction …”
This is an exhortation in the form of an assurance—you’re not like this, he says, you’re better than this!
Instead we believe so that our souls might be saved!
This section goes into faith and how important it is.
This section was the reason for faith.
Our reasons for faith are: 1) Jesus has done so much for us being better than all else, 2) judgment awaits those who are not faithful, and 3) a reward awaits those who are.
In the next section, the faith chapter of Heb. 11, we will see examples of faith.
And in those examples, we will see exactly how we can be saved.
Oh, maybe not the particulars of what we call the “plan of salvation,” but we will see the great faith of many individuals in Scripture.
This will show us how we can be faithful, too, unto salvation.
We know that’s the first step to salvation.
And as this passage urges the reader, be faithful.
Because of all that Christ has done for you and for me.
Because we don’t want you to go through the judgment that awaits those who are lost, and neither does God.
And because a great and wondrous reward awaits those who are faithful.
Will you be faithful this evening?