How Can I Strengthen My Church?
(Positive Attitudes Lead To Positive Actions)
Hebrews 10:22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
Let us draw near. This is the believer’s blood-bought privilege.
How wonderful beyond all words that we are invited to have audience, not with this world’s celebrities, but with the Sovereign of the universe! The extent to which we value the invitation is shown by the manner in which we respond to it. What can we learn from this?
There is a fourfold description of how we should be spiritually groomed in entering the throne room. 1. With a true heart. The people of Israel drew near to God with their mouth, and honored Him with their lips, but their heart was often far from Him (Matt. 15:8). Our approach should be with utter sincerity.
2. In full assurance of faith. We draw near with utter confidence in the promises of God and with the firm conviction that we shall have a gracious reception into His presence.
3. Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience. This can be brought about only by the new birth.
When we trust Christ, we appropriate the value of His blood. Figuratively speaking, we sprinkle our hearts with it, just as the Israelites sprinkled their doors with the blood of the Passover lamb. This delivers us from an evil conscience.
4. And our bodies washed with pure water. Again this is symbolic language. Our bodies represent our lives. The pure water might refer either to the word (Eph 5:25, 26), to the Holy Spirit (John 7:37–39), or to the Holy Spirit using the word in cleansing our lives from daily defilement.
We are cleansed once for all from the guilt of sin by the death of Christ, but cleansed repeatedly from the defilement of sin by the Spirit through the word (see John 13:10).
Thus we might summarize the four requisites for entering God’s presence as sincerity, assurance, salvation, and sanctification.
Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.
The second exhortation is to hold fast the confession of our hope. Nothing must be allowed to turn us from the staunch confession that our only hope is in Christ.
For those who were tempted to give up the future, unseen blessings of Christianity for the present, visible things of Judaism, there is the reminder that He who promised is faithful.
His promises can never fail; no one who trusts in Him will ever be disappointed. The Savior will come, as He has promised, and His people will be with Him and like Him forever.
Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,
We should also be discovering ways of encouraging fellow believers to manifest love and to engage in good works. In the NT sense, love is not an emotion but an act of the will. We are commanded to love, therefore it is something we can and must do.
Love is the root; good works are the fruit. By our example and by our teaching, we should stir up other believers to this kind of life.
Hebrews 10:25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
Then we should continue to meet together and not desert the local fellowship, as some do. This may be considered as a general exhortation for all believers to be faithful in their church attendance.
Without question we find strength, comfort, nourishment, and joy in collective worship and service.
It may also be looked on as a special encouragement for Christians going through times of persecution. There is always the temptation to isolate oneself in order to avoid arrest, reproach, and suffering, and thus to be a secret disciple.
But basically the verse is a warning against apostasy. To forsake the local assembly here means to turn one’s back on Christianity and revert to Judaism. Some were doing this when this Letter was written.
There was need to exhort one another, especially in view of the nearness of Christ’s Return.
When He comes, the persecuted, ostracized, despised believers will be seen to be on the winning side. Until then, there is need for steadfastness.
Hebrews 10:26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
Now the writer introduces his fourth grim warning. As in the previous cases, it is a warning against apostasy, here described as a deliberate sin.
As has been indicated, there is considerable disagreement among Christians as to the real nature of this sin. The problem, in brief, is whether it refers to: 1. True Christians who subsequently turn away from Christ and are lost. 2. True Christians who backslide but who are still saved. 3. Those who profess to be Christians for a while, identify themselves with a local church, but then deliberately turn away from Christ. They were never truly born again, and now they never can be.No matter which view we hold, there are admitted difficulties. We believe that the third view is the correct one because it is most consistent with the over-all teaching of Hebrews and of the entire NT.
Here in verse 26 apostasy is defined as sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth. Like Judas, the person has heard the gospel. He knows the way of salvation; he has even pretended to receive it; but then he deliberately repudiates it.
For such a person, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins. He has decisively and conclusively rejected the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ. Therefore God has no other way of salvation to offer to him.
There is a sense in which all sin is willful, but the author here speaks of apostasy as a willful sin of extraordinary seriousness.
Hebrews 10:27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.
Nothing remains but a certain fearful expectation of judgment; there is no hope of escape. It is impossible to renew the apostate to repentance (6:4). He has knowingly and willfully cut himself off from God’s grace in Christ.
His fate is a fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. It is pointless to haggle over whether this means literal fire. The language is obviously designed to denote punishment that is dreadfully severe.
Note that God classes apostates as adversaries. This indicates positive opposition to Christ, not a mild neutrality.
Hebrews 10:28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
The doom of the lawbreaker in the OT is now introduced to form a backdrop against which to contrast the greater doom of the apostate. A man who broke Moses’ law by becoming an idolater died without mercy when his guilt was proven by the testimony of two or three witnesses (Deut. 17:2–6).
Macdonald, Farstad Grady Scott, Hindson, E.E.