Why does the author of Hebrews go to such great lengths to convince his readers of the superiority of Jesus Christ over the things connected with the Law of Moses?
The broad answer to that question is given at the beginning of chapter 10 – “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” (v4). The Law of Moses and Old Covenant defined a religion that taught eternal principles, but the ritualization of it that happened in the Jewish world could not solve the problems we human beings face. Everything was inferior to Christ. The imperfect priests could sympathize with the congregation of Israel but couldn’t properly represent God to them and provide what the priesthood of the perfected Son of God could. The sacrifice of animals couldn’t affect the conscience like the blood of Christ.
Now, in chapter 10, the writer seeks to encourage his readers to cling onto the things of Jesus Christ and the New Covenant. It’s a great exhortation for us to hold onto what we have and not to let go.
Look at the language of verse 19 –
Full assurance of faith – God wants us to be absolutely certain that we can trust in Him, and we can. He will take care of our salvation if we trust in Him.
Hebrews 10 exhorts us to “hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” (v23). The faithfulness of God is at the core of His character. He is dependable, trustworthy and always keeps His promises. We know this, but sometimes we doubt because we focus in on our own imperfections. God will take care of those – He’s our father putting us through a training program to discipline us. He knows our imperfections, the things we struggle with. Again, if our focus is right, on walking in the right direction, He is faithful, and He will keep us going on the right path despite ourselves.
The next thing the writer says Is difficult under present circumstances –
While we can’t meet in person at present, we can still encourage one another by “meeting” in other ways – Zoom and phone calls for example.
The Hebrews were in danger of giving up by returning to the Old Covenant. The writer asks them to “recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings” (v32). That’s what New Covenant thinking produces, the ability to endure under trial, knowing that we’re going through it for a purpose and not because God is punishing us for failing to follow His rules. “Therefore”, he says in verses 35-36, “do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.”
God is turning us into people of character, shaped by circumstances and fit for his eternal use.Hold onto the amazing blessing we have in Christ! It’s easy to slip back into Old Covenant thinking. It’s natural for us to get into a spiritual rut when we feel like we’re incapable of living righteous and holy lives or aren’t doing enough to get ourselves ready for Christ’s return. We lack confidence in ourselves. But that’s the point! Our confidence should instead be in our Lord, that he knows what he’s doing with us, and the things he puts us through are for our eternal benefit. He’s not turning us into robotic rule keepers. He’s turning us into people of character, shaped by circumstances and fit for his eternal use.
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