” When Christ freed us, He meant us to remain free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery” Galatians 5:1 NLT
“And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices.” Hebrews 10:18 ESV
I begin with the verse I ended the last article with for a simple reason, it is important to remember that our sin was atoned for and we need not swell, on the past. The writer of Hebrews then moves on with instruction as to how to now live, being freed from the past. Our Faith, the Faith of Christ, is stronger, more endearing and more superior in every way to the Law of Moses. And since this letter was written to the Jewish Christians, it was to serve as a reminder that they have advanced from the Law of Moses to the New Law of Salvation. “And so dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heavens Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By His death, Jesus opened a new and life giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place.” (Hebrews 19-21 NLT) This is in reference to the veil that separated the Ark of the Covenant from the people. When Christ died on the cross, that veil was literally torn in two from top to bottom. The high priest was the only one who was able to offer sacrifices and the people were not even allowed to watch. But with Christ, the sacrifice is done, and there is no more offerings to hide, no separation from access to God. We are free from the exclusion from the Presence of God.
The Jerusalem Bible translates the next verse, “And we have the Supreme High Priestover the House of God.” I like this translation because others simply say “great” but the use of the word implies superior. And this is the basis of our Faith, that Christ is Supreme! He is the Supreme Sacrifice, the Supreme Reconciliation. And through Him we are unified and strengthened. So, “Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting Him.” (Hebrew 10″22a NLT) Let us walk into the assembly with uplifted hearts, great peace and pure intentions. Evaluate ourselves with pure intentions, gravely consider the ways of our living, and are they intent with goodness, kindness and mercy as was shown to us by Christ. For He is the Most Holy and we are to walk in His Holiness at all times. The writer is not content with the “Once Saved” notion that allows for continued sin, but is saying that having been freed from sin, we are to be holy. We are to trust fully in Christ, and no longer rely on the ways of the Flesh. We are to be sincere in all things before God because we can walk into His Presence and make our Thanksgiving offerings.
“For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s Blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 22b NLT) This is a reference to the passion of Christ and our Baptism. But it can also be connected to the Eucharist, in that when we partake of the Blood offering, we partake of Christ. (1 Cor. 10:15). It also refers to the water that sprang up from the rock in the Wilderness when Moses struck it. In each way we see the Power of God given to us to be made Holy and Clean.Through Christ, we have been made clean! Our Bodies have been made pure!
Now we are set to do the Perfect will of God! But do we? The writer cautions us. “Let us hold tightlyto the HOPE we affirm, for God can be trusted to KEEP HIS PROMISE(!) Let us think of the ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” (Hebrews 10:23,24 NLT) WOW! here it is again, love and good works in the same place! And motivated by our trust in God! We have significant privileges with our relationship with Christ and among these are toe pure ability to have Hope, to Love and to do good works. We enter into the Presence with God with pure intentions and clarity of mind and spirit. We do not enter with confusion, bad thoughts or continued sin. Having been sprinkled with the Baptism of Christ’s Blood, we enter with grace.
There is one more positive thing we do, but somehow this message has been lost to many believers. We Assemble together to worship Collectively. And not selectively, for this means we separate ourselves from each other. “And let us NOT neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but ENCOURAGE one another, especially now that the day of His Return draws near.” In the early church they met daily in the temple and often in the homes to receive instructions from the apostles and elders. And to pray together, and to help with the needs each faced. We no longer do that. We gather to sing songs, feel good about ourselves and then go home and forget each other. I am guilty of this myself, so I speak from my own shortcomings. But this is also a new trend among many Christians we feel that they have been betrayed by their church experience. And so they leave church, vowing not to return. To these I say, go back! Do not forsake others because you were forsaken. Do not reject the assembly because you were mistreated,but seek to repair what was damaged with grace and pure hearts. The Churches have historically cause much harm to its people, but then the Word of God is there to correct and encourage. DO NOT forsake each other but join together in building Hope and Faith in God’s Word.
It is here that the writer turns on those who forsake God’s Intention, who abandon Christ and His Teaching and pervert His Word. The danger of apostasy! The every present deception of the two-faced frauds who speak words of kindness then wake away from their faith and obedience to God. Those who hide old beliefs in their hearts and then deny Christ’s Covenant. Again, I go to the Jerusalem Bible for its scathing translation:
“If, after we have been given knowledge of the Truth, we should deliberately commit any sins, then there is no longer any sacrifice for them. There will be left only the dreadful prospect of judgement and of the raging fire that is burn rebels. Anyone who disregards the Law of Moses is ruthlessly put to death on the word of two or three witnesses, and you may be assured that anyone who tramples on the Son of God, and who treats the Blood of the Covenant which sanctified him as if it were not holy,and who insults the Spirit of Grace, will be CONDEMNED to a far more SEVERE PUNISHMENT.” We are all aware who it was who said: Vengeance is mine; I will repay. And again: The LORD will judge His People. It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.” Hebrews 10:26-31
I get very angry at those who say, my sins are forgiven, even those I intend to commit in the future. My anger is that they mock their Sanctification, they insult the Holy Spirit, they reject the Covenant of Mercy. They say, I can do what God permitted and ignore what God prohibited. They contend the LAW IS DEAD, I can do evil in the sight of the Lord because His Mercy covers my sins forever. But judgement comes to them. They forsake Christ yet still call His Name out as “believers. They are worse than the Pharisees and Scribes of the Temple! They reject what is good and holy and deceive themselves, they delude themselves with false hope by their mockery! And the Lord,in the Final Judgement will show them no mercy, for their lives were without mercy.
This is the danger of being compliant with the world and still claiming Christ. The World pollutes your Faith until it is nothing but a shell and void of any Hope or Grace. This is why the writer states the message in this manner, to wake up the Jewish Christians that the way they practice their “Religion” reflects their heart. But the same hold true today, the way we practice our Faith reflects our Heart and if it does not contain grace,then it is not of God, neither our religion nor our heart. The message is clear; to good works, love, encourage each other, lift each other up, pray for each other, do what is right at all times and worship together constantly or you are in danger of apostasy and false faith.
None are completely without fault, all fall short of the goal but it is the heart that matters most. Is our intentions honorable? Are we making every effort to be righteous? Are our actions of wrongness, deliberate or accidental? God forgive what is not deliberate sin easily, but He will judge and judge severely those who mock His Grace with deliberate disobedience. What yourselves. be on guard that you do not fall into the snares of evil and mock Christ.
Be blessed with a Heart of Grace and His Merciful forgiveness so that you can walk in holy and blameless ways.