We now enter the final section of the book of Hebrews. Hebrews demonstrates the supremacy of Jesus and the New Covenant over the Old Covenant. Jesus is superior to the Prophets, the Angels, and Aaron. Jesus is the fulfillment of all of the Old Covenant and is our Great High Priest who intercedes for us with God the Father. In the final section, the writer of Hebrews makes some important points of application of these great truths.
The Faithful Draw Near
We are told to enter “the Holiest” (19) with boldness. Our boldness comes from the fact that Jesus’ blood has purified us and granted us access to enter God’s presence. Jesus’ death was a sacrificial death that reconciles us to the Father. Therefore, we draw near to God “with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (22). We learned earlier in Hebrews 7:19 that “there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.” We have our “hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (22). Don’t miss the important implication found here: unlike Adam and Eve who hid from God because of their sin and shame (Genesis 3:8); Christians have been cleansed from their sin and shame and are called to draw near to God and delight in Him.
The Faithful Hold Fast
As you draw near, hold fast. We are told: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” This is the second time we have been told to hold fast our confession (Heb 4:14). What does it mean to hold fast? This means we are to be intentional about holding onto something. What exactly are we to hold fast to? We hold fast “the confession of our hope” and we are also told to do so “without wavering.” Our confession is a confession of hope! Our hope is not found in a successful career or lots of money or anything other than our confession. What is our confession? We were told in Hebrews 3:1 that Jesus is “the Apostle and High Priest of our Confession.” We confess the “gospel of Christ” (1 Cor 9:13). Our confession is that “Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:11). As the old hymn says: My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness!
We are told not to lose hope nor waver because “He who promised is faithful.” We have no idea what will happen tomorrow or today, we do not know if things will get worse or better, but praise be to God, this one thing we know: “God is faithful” (1 Cor 1:9; 10:13), “Christ is faithful” (Hebrews 3:6), “the steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness” (Lam 3:23), “He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it” (1 Thess 5:24), and “He who promised is faithful” (Heb 10:23). Our God is faithful; therefore let us continue in faith.
The Faithful Stir Up
As we draw near and hold fast, we stir up. We are told: “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works.” What are we called to consider? We are to consider one another in order to stir up one another. This, by the way, is a fascinating statement. Literally, God is calling us to provoke and incite one another. If it sounds like an odd choice of words, it is. The other time this phrase appears is in Acts 15:39 when Paul and Barnabas had a “sharp disagreement” over including John Mark on their missionary journey. Are we to stir up one another in order to have sharp disagreements? Thankfully, this is not what the writer of Hebrews is advocating. Rather, he is saying we should stir up, provoke, agitate, incite one another “to love and good works.” We should literally be provoking one another to love God and love others so as to be stirred up to do the “good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10). Christians are called to love God and love others to such a degree that you cannot help but encourage one another to love God and love others more.
The Faithful Don’t Forsake
Drawing near, holding fast, and stirring up are very important so that we do not forsake the assembling together as a local church. Every Christian is a part of the Universal Church, but sadly not every Christian is a part of the local Church. The Universal Church consists of every Christian who has ever lived in every part of the world. The local church is an assembly of Christians who have bonded together in a specific place and in a specific time. The local church is no less important than the Universal Church because it is in the local church that Christians grow in their faith.
I was once asked: “You have 5 minutes to give advice to an 18 year old single brand new convert to Christianity, what advice would you give? My answer was: “Find a Church with people who love the Lord and believe the Bible is true.” Why did I say that? Because that is where God has determined spiritual maturity will occur because it is the place where Christians have to deal with other Christians. The local church is where the faith of the faithful is put to the test! Christians who love the Lord are forced to put that love to the test by loving one another. Those who have been forgiven by God will face the fateful day of finding out if they have the ability to forgive others or if they will just try to flee. When the church gathers, we should be intentional about “encouraging one another.”
The Day Draws Near
What should help motivate us to draw near, hold fast, stir up, and not forsake the gathering? You see the Day drawing near! The writer of Hebrews previously stated that we are “in these last days” (Heb 1:1). The Day mentioned is the Day of the Lord in which everyone will stand before God for judgment. You will stand before your Maker to give an account of yourself. Are you prepared? On what basis can you stand before this judgment? Only through Jesus.