Hebrews: A New Way of Living
Adult Bible Class, June 5 & 8 - Hebrews 10:19-39
The letter to our early Hebrew brethren is an appeal to embrace and live the “abundant life” that Jesus promised. The author calls them to lay aside the things they formerly practiced, even though it is uncomfortable to leave familiar patterns and traditions. Instead, they are to pursue a life that is conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). The overarching reason for this change is that what Christ has given us is simply better than the way of life under the law of Moses.
Considering this passage, most reading this article are going to recognize verse 25 (and hopefully 24!), but there is so much more to informing our walk with God than the blatant appeal made that leverages those verses that “you must come to the church meetings!” Absolutely, that is part of it, but making that appeal from this passage is falling prey to the very attitude the author warns against.
Beginning at the end, the brethren addressed in Hebrews 10:32-39 are asked to recall the beginning of their walk with Christ. They did many great acts of service and sacrifice. From this passage, it appears that the brethren addressed here are those who were the first believers--those to whom Peter offered the first gospel invitation in Acts 2. The author calls on them to remember their zeal and conviction and not be disappointed that Jesus hasn’t yet come again, but instead continue with endurance. He groups himself with them and reminds them that they are not those who cower and run from the challenges, but instead they bear up under the burden and continue towards the goal.
Back to the beginning of this passage, we read of the great assurance and confidence we have to approach God on His throne--each Christian!--because of Jesus’s blood sacrifice. We no longer are separated from God by a man and daily or yearly rituals; we are in the presence of God because we are His priests (1 Peter 2:9)! For this very reason, we need to remain resolute in our proclamation of faith in Jesus, being confident in him because he is worthy of our faith and trust.
It is in the midst of this discussion of how much better living for Christ is than the old law and the need for endurance that this call to a new way of living is delivered.
Remaining faithful in the face of temptation is not easy. If we cast aside our covenant relationship to instead sin deliberately (“on purpose” or “intentionally”), then we have only judgment without mercy in our future. Sin is both doing wrong things and leaving undone things that we should do. Sin is having the wrong attitude and character. Sin is even doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. So it is of the greatest importance to let those former patterns go.
Case in point: assembling. The old way was to go to the temple to offer your sacrifice or be seen participating in the feasts or fasts as part of the religious community. It was possible to fulfill the letter of that law and then go on your way and not pursue a life of peace and love with God. We are called to something better!
The child of God is to be so in love with God and desiring to do all that He has commanded that we love His children--our family. Since we can’t physically be with God, being with His family is the next best thing. We should look for every opportunity we can to grow closer to our family and understand better how to mutually encourage one another. If we think about it carefully, this is almost entirely exclusive of our regularly scheduled assemblies. We can gain great encouragement from worshiping our Father together in prayer, study, singing and communion, but that doesn’t afford much opportunity to get to know one another more than in a superficial way. We need to seek other times when we can get to know some--maybe even many--of our brethren in a deeper way, so we can more effectively stir one another up to love and good works.
This kind of life isn’t easy, but we were never promised easy. We need endurance to walk in this new way of living and we can look to our brethren for support as we all march toward eternity with our Father.
Our Bible classes take place Sundays at 10 a.m. and Wednesdays at 7 p.m. We hope you can join us as we learn and discuss this new way of living!