Hebrews 10:11-14 – This is actually the passage I was think of before:
And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.ESV
He mentions every priest “stands daily” and that Jesus “sat down, waiting”. Even if the story of the symbolism of the priest not sitting isn’t accurate, the contrast is still powerful yet easy to miss in our Western culture, so far removed from the temple system. As the writer said earlier in this chapter, the sacrifices were a constant reminder of sin.
That makes me think a bit more about Hebrews 10:2-3. He indirectly describes the results of one having been cleansed once for all. No “consciousness of sin”. The constant sacrifices at the temple made the Jew constantly aware of their sin. Their unrighteousness before God was always there. While sometimes it feels that we are not aware enough as Christians of our sin (although, at other times it’s all too real), but the implication here is that’s the way it ought to be. He says “… the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sin.” There’s something healthy and right for us to be able to brush off our sin, not because we think it trivial, but because it is factually of no consequence any more. We are cleansed. It can not harm us. So, while we deal with it, it is no longer to be a constant reality. As Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life and life to the full.”
This sets up the reality in Hebrews 10:19. We are cleansed, it is over, sin no longer matters, we need not dwell on it over and over and over and over again. “Therefore … we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus … ” That is one of my favorite verses. I was, and am, nothing, dirt, dust, worthless, scum, yet because of Jesus I can spiritually enter the place so Holy and special that only a handful of men in thousands of years were able to see. It’s likely that more men have been to outer space than entered the Holy of Holies, yet you and I now have unlimited access to it, on a spiritual level. Such is the intimate access we have to our God. Wow. It still amazes me, and I hope it always does.
Hebrews 10:23 – “Let us hold fast” – why? Because it’s what we are required to do? No, “because he who promised is faithful.” And it is in this context that we get Hebrews 10:24-25, the context of responding to God’s amazing grace and faithfulness. That is why we continue to spur one another on, that is why we so not stop meeting together. Not out of obligation, but a response to grace.
Hebrews 10:26-31 – Reading this passage – often taken out in isolation to show that we can loose our salvation – reading it in the context of the description of Jesus’ amazing work on the cross and God’s amazing grace and the crescendo leading up to Hebrews 10, the words are much more powerful than when read alone. Yes, we can walk away from God, but what a statement of our hearts that would be. After understanding all this love, if you continue as you had been doing, there is no hope left for you, only fear of the judgment to come.