Summary: There are many reasons we come to church. One of the primary reasons is to encourage one another.
Encourage One Another
This word refers back to the preceding chapters and more specifically chapter 10 where the writer discusses the once for all sacrifice of Jesus. Under the Law of Moses, the high priest had to make a yearly sacrifice for the atonement of sins. But even those sacrifices could not take away the sins of the people but only reminded them of their sinfulness. When Jesus came, he did away with the Law of Moses and all the sacrifices associated with it. Instead, when Jesus came he made the one sacrifice for the forgiveness of all sins for all time. Jesus’ sacrifice has given you and me a level of access to God which those under the Law of Moses could not even imagine.
“Since we have confidence . . .” (vs. 19)
Confidence. (Boldness) What a wonderful word. Throughout this book, the writer has reminded his readers of the confidence they have through Jesus Christ.
Heb. 3:6 Our confidence is evidence that we are of the household of God.
Heb. 4:16 Through our confidence we receive grace and mercy in time of need.
Heb. 10:35 If we maintain our confidence, we will receive a great reward.
In this passage the writer is also going to remind us of the great benefits of our Christian confidence. The book of Hebrews was written to Christians who were under fire. Their faith was being tested by persecution that never seemed to stop. They were beginning to doubt their own faith and their relationship to God. Sometimes we too, because of problems in our life, can begin to doubt.
First of all, we have confidence in our relationship with God, because as Christians we have the great privilege:
“To enter the holy place”
Under the law of Moses (Lev. 16) only the priest could enter the holy of holies one time a year to offer sacrifices for the sins of the people. Death awaited anyone else who dared enter that most sacred place. But as Christians we can enter the holy place into the presence of God anytime we want, because the way has been opened for us:
“By the blood of Jesus”
Under the Law of Moses, (Lev. 16:14) when the high priest would enter the holy of holies, he would take the blood of a freshly killed bull and goat and sprinkle it on the mercy seat to atone for the sins of the people. Our way into the presence of God is secured by the blood of Jesus which he shed on the cross. Heb. 9:11-14 tells us . . .
Second, our way into the presence of God through the blood of Christ is:
“By a new and living way” (vs. 20)
The word “new” is very interesting. It does not mean new like a new car or new house, something that has been newly made. Instead it is a word that pictures a sacrifice. Our way into the holy of holies is made possible by something that is newly sacrificed. So newly sacrificed that it still appears to be alive. This new and living way is:
“Through the veil” (his flesh)
Before Jesus could make the ultimate sacrifice of himself, he first had to become human. As the high priest under the Law of Moses had to enter the holy of holies through the curtain, so Jesus had to pave the way for us to enter into the presence of God by going through the veil of humanity. Heb. 2:14-17 . . .
Third, we have confidence to enter into the presence of God because we have a great high priest.
“Since we have a great high priest over the house of God” (vs. 21)
We have a high priest, Jesus, who: 1. Makes propitiation for our sins (2:17), 2. Understands our weaknesses because he has lived among us (4:15), 3. Will be our high priest, our source of salvation, forever (5:9-10), 3. Intercedes on our behalf to the Father (7:24-25). Therefore, since these things are true there are three actions we should take.
1. “Let us draw near . . . in full assurance of faith” (vs. 22)
“Draw near” or “come closer.” This phrase denotes a sense of familiarity. Again, under the Law of Moses, the people were separated from the presence of God by the curtain between the holy place and the holy of holies. The idea of drawing near to God was completely foreign to them. But we as Christians are encouraged to come closer to God and be in his presence. In 4:16 where this same phrase is found, we understand that we draw near to the throne of grace through prayer. But there are some conditions which we must meet before we can come close to God.