Study No. 10 Drawing Near
The chapter begins with a summary of the apostles argument, persuading the Hebrew Christians not to slip back into Judaism
1-3 The writer continues some of his previous argument, saying that the whole sacrificial system instituted through Moses was a shadow, and not the real thing. It was a picture pointing forward to the day that Jesus, the Lamb of God, would come and offer Himself as a sacrifice. This He did … once and for all. Why only once? Because He paid the whole sin-debt of man, from Adam on down to the last person standing. The blood of bulls and goats (v4) could not take away sin. Therefore Paul is saying … why go back to celebrating the picture, when the real thing has come?
Verse 5 – 9 As Jesus was about to come to earth, it appears there was a conversation between Him and the Father. The conversation really only makes sense if we realize the 'trinity separation' was started. Before this time Jesus, as the Word, was one with the father … so closely knit that we could say that Jesus was the Almighty. But in this conversation He speaking to the Father in much the way He will once He begins His ministry in Galillee. He is saying … “So sacrificing animals under the law never was a permanent plan. I see you have prepared a body for me. Well, here I am. I'm ready to go and do Your will.”
10 -14 God's will, that Jesus came to do … is what has made us holy; through his sacrificing His body as a 'one-time' offering. As we mentioned earlier … He did a double duty. He was both the sacrifice and the priest who offered it. And as the priest … after the sacrifice was made, He sat down. Sitting was something the priests never did. The tabernacle and the surrounding courtyard had no chairs because the priests were continually busy at the altar. In stark contrast … Jesus sat down. His work was finished.
Heb 10:15 But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, ...
In the new Covenant … which is our present Covenant that Began at Calvary … He said I will hide my law in their hearts …
This was His promise. A promise to all New Testament believers. To you and to me. The promise would become a reality as a result of the finished work of Jesus on the cross.
How do we know if the promise has come true for you? Has the law of God been written on your heart? How do you know?
The answer may be found by first looking at another promise that Jesus made. This we can read about in John.
John 14:16 … I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor to be with you for ever--
17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
So, does this mean that Jesus made two major promises?
- After my death, in the New Covenant … you will have my law written in your heart.
- After my death, in the New Covenant … you will have the Holy Spirit … in your heart.
Simply put, I believe the 'writing of God's law on our hearts' is the same thing as having the indwelling Holy Spirit, doing a very specific work in our hearts. You might say, 'I think I feel the Holy Spirit in my heart at times, but I can't say that I sense that He wrote any laws on my heart'.
Let's go back a bit and look for more light to shed on this.
The Holy Spirit was given on Pentecost. Some amazing things happened to them that will not happen to you or to me.
Are you familiar with the Great Commission? After Jesus rose from the dead He appeared to His disciples several times in various ways and places. On one of those occasions He told His very young church to Go into all the world and make disciples1 … They would need help with that.
And they got help from God. They were given 'gifts' that empowered them to quickly break through otherwise impossible barriers.
The first was the language barrier. People of over 18 different nationalities understood Peter's first message in their own native tongues.
The second was the 'ignorance' barrier. Peter, and the others, could speak of things that they could only have come straight from God. They had by-passed language school … they also by-passed school, period. They had had seminary training from the greatest of all professors for 3 and half years. But they could now speak these things with total recall and speak of things that were totally new to them. How? By the indwelling Holy Spirit's power and by the gifts the Spirit gave individually.
We are not faced with the same barriers in our generation. We have other barriers, so we need 'gifts' that are appropriate to the task. And whatever those gifts may be, there is, in the New Covenant … the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Let's read a little of what He does as He lives in us. This first passage was more true in the days of the apostles:
John 16:13 "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
This next passage is very true today for all of us.
John 14:26 "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
So how does God's Law get written on our hearts? By learning God's word, and then having the Holy Spirit bring it to mind, just when we need it.
In addition to having the word of God (which we have read, studied and meditated on) brought back to our conscious minds … just at the right time … to stop us from doing something … to prompt us to do something, we have total remission of sin. Sins of the past are actually gone. Sins we commit after we became a child of God, are actually gone as we confess them.
Because of this, says the writer,
Let's do this:
- Let's go 'through' the veil and 'draw near' to God. 19-22
- Let's 'hold fast our confession'. What is your confession (of faith)? In words like this you said, “I know I must be perfect to enter heaven. I confess, I am not perfect. I have sinned against God. I need forgiveness and cleansing. I believe that Jesus, the innocent Lamb of God, died because of my sin, paid for my sin, so that I can be made clean. I believe that Jesus rose from the grave after three days, just as He said He would. And based on what I have just said, God, cleanse me, forgive all my sin. I take Jesus as my Saviour and my Lord. I confess I have been bought by His blood. I am yours. Use me as your servant.”
- We all need to draw near and hold fast our confession …. therefore – Let's think about each other:
- Stir up one another to love and good works. Give honest praise and affirmation. Offer to help. Offer to pray for one another.
- Make assembling together (church going) a high priority … because we are members one of another.
- Exhort one another (“Come with me” “Let's do it together”)
- Because we can. 19-20
- Because there is a dead-line date. It could sneak up on us. V 25
- Because to 'not draw near to God' is to start sliding away from God. The moment we get to the place where we say I don't believe in Jesus any more … We have just sinned willfully – the one sin that will cost us our eternity with God. V 26-31
Paul asks the Hebrew believers; “Do you remember when you first 'saw the light'?”
“You became followers of 'the way' when to do so was a great decision. The threat of persecution was right there. Your early days in the faith were intense with a clear focus. At times you endured tremendous ridicule. At other times you came alongside others who were being persecuted. You visited me in prison. And when you were apprehended and all you belongings taken … you were joyful, knowing that God was going to make it up to you in heaven.”
“But now you have slipped away … so far! How could that happen? Don't throw it all away! Eternal life plus!”
“You need endurance.”
How does one achieve endurance? I think it hinges on motivation. Paul has been repainting the picture of what could be theirs. We may remember singing the hymn;
Oft times the day seems long, our trials hard to bear,
We're tempted to complain, to murmur and despair;
But Christ will soon appear to catch His Bride away,
All tears forever over in God's eternal day.
It will be worth it all when we see Jesus,
Life's trials will seem so small when we see Christ;
One glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase,
So bravely run the race till we see Christ.
Paul could have sung this very song to the Hebrews.
Sometimes its good to go back … in order to go forward. This probably does not mean much to those of us who were saved at a very young age. In that case, we can still go back at least to the trials and victories of the past. The Psalmist, David does that in several of his songs. Sometimes he went back to a time … before his time. He listed (reminded God of) past victories that Israel had experienced at God's hand. It was as if, at the end of his Psalm he was saying, “Would you do it again Lord?”
This chapter ends with Paul calling on them to hang in there until Jesus comes. Does anyone remember this old hymn?
O land of rest, for thee I sigh!
When will the moment come
When I shall lay my armor by
And dwell in peace at home?
We’ll work till Jesus comes,
We’ll work till Jesus comes,
We’ll work till Jesus comes,
And we’ll be gathered home.
Rather, Paul says, We (continue to) believe and end up saved.
How important was our initial faith in the Lord Jesus Christ when we first believed?
And how important is our continued walk of Faith … till Jesus comes?
We come to chapter eleven … the Hall of Faith. People like you and like me have finished the course … walking by faith right to the very end. We too, can do it!
1Matthew 28:19,20. These are the complete “marching orders” for the church and describes the one and only purpose for the church to exist in the world today.