The Privileges of Faith – 1

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Scripture Text – Hebrews 10:19-25

The result of the operation of the new covenant in believers’ lives is a highly visible transformation of their behavior. It flows from an inward change of attitude which is not dependent on outward circumstances. Believers become highly motivated to live at a new level of behavior and need only a bit of guidance about the form that new behavior should take. This powerful new motivation and its legitimate expressions now concern our author.

In the New International Version, in verses 19–31 the writer twice uses the phrase we have. Following these, he has three times repeated the words let us. The we haves mark provision; let us indicates privilege.

First, having boldness to enter the Holiest. The NIV calls it, “Most Holy Place.” What it is however is the new life in the Spirit which the New Covenant provides; “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit.” – Isaiah 57:15. As we have seen, it is that part of our humanity (the regenerated human spirit which puts us in touch with heaven) where God and humans meet. Through the death of Jesus a way has been opened for us so we may function as spiritual men and women. When Jesus’ blood was shed on the cross, the veil before the Holy of Holies was supernaturally torn from top to bottom. That indicated that the way into the presence of God was now open to all who believe in Jesus. We can, therefore, enter with boldness and with no uncertainty as to our acceptance, since everything rests on the blood of Jesus. There is no doubt about our effectiveness, since we are now, to use Paul’s helpful term, “co-laborers with God” (see 1 Corinthians 3:9). When we work, he will work too, and when we bear witness, he will speak through us.

It would be difficult to overestimate the value of confidence in human motivation. It is the proffered goal of any number of special courses, weekend retreats, training classes and personal development programs today. Confidence training is the cry of the hour and has been for quite some time now. In the first century, too, men clearly understood that a confident spirit was essential to success in any enterprise. But as the psalmist made abundantly clear:

Unless the LORD builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the LORD guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain. – Psalm 127:1.

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By itself, human effort is doomed to ultimate failure. Only that jointly shared effort, when God works through expectant humanity, can our efforts be permanently successful. Confidence born of that conviction will always prevail.

But believers have more than a confident spirit. They are also reminded that second, we have a High Priest over the house of God. All that the writer has said about the Melchizedek priesthood of Jesus is recalled here. Believers have not only a confident spirit, but also a competent advocate. He is continually available, completely aware of our present situation, and vitally involved with us in working all things together for good. His great concern is the welfare of each member of the household of God, and “whose house we are,” as the writer has told us unmistakably in Hebrews 3:6.

Encouraged by these two powerful resources, a confident spirit and a competent advocate, believers are now exhorted to three specific activities.

1) Let us draw near [to God] with a true heart in full assurance of faith. This “drawing near” must be the motive for all subsequent action. It includes more than formal prayer, since the present tense infers a continual drawing near. As the wick of a lamp continually draws oil for the light, so let us continually draw from God the strength and grace we need to function. This must be done

  1. sincerely, without religious pretense;
  2. believingly, in simple faith that God means what he says;
  3. without guilt, having cleansed the conscience by reliance on the sprinkled blood of Jesus;
  4. with integrity, in line with our public profession of commitment to Christ expressed in our baptism.

This continual drawing near to God is the great privilege of every believer in Jesus, in contrast to the remoteness of the old covenant which excluded everyone from the holy places except the priests. Even they could not enter except under the most stringent conditions. This “drawing near” is that “access by faith into this grace in which we stand” which Paul describes in Romans 5:2.

To Be Continued

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Adapted and modified excerpts from Ray C. Stedman, Hebrews, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series.
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, NKJV © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

About Roland Ledoux

Pastor of Oasis Bible Ministry, an outreach ministry of teaching, encouragement and intercessory prayer from the Holy Bible, the written Word of God and author of the ministry website, For The Love of God. He lives in Delta, Colorado with his beautiful wife of 50+ years and a beautiful yellow lab whom they affectionately call Bella.
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