(in red): 19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, 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 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
What motivates you day in and day out to stay true to God and His Word? What is it that keeps you walking the walk of a believer even when life becomes confusing? As I pondered this passage this week, these are 2 of the questions that it addressed for me.
v 22: The author encourages us to “draw near to God… in full assurance of faith” – I don’t know about you, but sometimes my faith gets a little wobbly.I don’t always have “full assurance.” Sometimes I have lots of questions that I want to ask God. Sometimes I even wonder if God is actually really there. Sometimes I don’t want to draw near to God. And you thought pastors never waver and have faith that moves mountains. Think again.
v23: Unswervingly. What a great word. I have this picture in my mind of me driving down a straight road but having to fight the wheel to keep the car on the road because I keep swerving. Do I have an unswerving hope? Not all the time.
v:24: Hmmm! Not so sure that I do a great job of spurring others on toward love and good deeds. Maybe spurring others on to play more disc golf. Maybe to read their Bible more. Maybe to be at church. But toward love and good deeds. Not so much.
v25: Okay, I’ll admit I’m not bad at the first half of this verse. In fact I think us Baptists pretty much have this one down pat. Meeting together. We’re good at that. But how good are we at the encouraging others part of the verse. When you leave church do you come away feeling more courageous as you seek to live for Christ (that is what it means to be en-couraged. To have courage built in to you) or do you leave 1) hoping God is happy with you cause you did your duty of going to church, 2) tired because the sermon went just a little longer today, 3) disgruntled because the music wasn’t quite what you were hoping for, or 4) angry because nobody said anything to you or even noticed you were there. And while you are thinking about yourself, think about this – how many people did YOU build courage into while you were at church.
So what is it that should energize us to draw near to God, to unswervingly hope, to spur others on, and to build courage into others? There are actually 2 answers given in this passage. The first answer is in v 19-21. These verses are a summation of the gospel. Jesus shed His blood to provide a way for us to have unhindered access to God and to enter His presence with confidence. A daily reminder of what Christ has done for us at the cross ought to motivate us to live for Him. This is why Jerry Bridges (President of the Navigators) says that he preaches the gospel to himself everyday. The other answer is in verse 25. Because the Day is a’comin! The Day when we will stand before God and give an account for how we lived out our faith. The Day when we hope to hear from God “Well done”. The Day when we don’t want to face our Lord with a life full of regrets and if onlys.
Thinking back and thinking ahead. Remembering the past and looking forward to the future. These are the ways that we stay grounded in the present and motivated to live a life holy and pleasing to God.
I’m just sayin’!
Next Week’s Passage: 2 Peter 1:3-4
Next Week’s Memory Verse: 2 Peter 1:3