11/10/2010

Christian Community is Crucial (Heb. 10:22)

In contrast to the repeated Mosaic animal sacrifices, Heb. 10:1-18 shows that Jesus came into the world according to God's will to eternally sanctify a people through offering himself once for all. Therefore, only because of what Jesus has done on the cross on our behalf, "we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus" (Heb. 10:19; 4:16).

With this bold confidence grounded in the work of our great High Priest Jesus (and not in any merits we possess), Heb. 10:22-25 says, "22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching."

Practically, we draw near to God, not solo, but in Christian community. We "exhort one another every day" (Heb. 3:13), and "spur one another on toward love and good deeds" (Heb. 10:24), and we do not give up "meeting together" (Heb. 10:25). This is our best safeguard to keep us from deliberately sinning, shrinking back, and to continue in the faith (Heb. 10:26-39).


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