Hold Fast

Saturday, November 08, 2014, 5:45 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “For Our Nation.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Hebrews 10:19-39 (ESV).

Without Wavering

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Jesus Christ, God the Son, left his throne in heaven, came to earth, took on human form, suffered as we suffer, and was tempted in like manner as we are tempted, yet without sin. He was crucified on a cross because they hated him, even though he had done no wrong. When he died, he crucified our sins with him so that we could be forgiven, and so we could be set free from the control of sin over our lives – set free to walk daily in his holiness and righteousness. When he died, the curtain in the temple which divided the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies was torn in two, opening the way for all of us, by God’s grace, through faith, to enter into God’s holy presence.

Since we can now, with confidence, enter into God’s holy presence by the blood of Jesus, and since we have Jesus as our sympathetic, compassionate and merciful high priest, we should draw near to God with a true (sincere) heart in full assurance of faith. To draw near to God means to get close to him, i.e. to become intimately acquainted with him as one would with his or her spouse. This means we spend much time getting to know him by studying his word, by listening intently to him, by being receptive to the Spirit’s voice, by obeying what he teaches us, by doing what pleases him, by sharing our hearts with him, by bringing our requests before him, and through participating in the body of Christ with other believers for our (and their) encouragement and strengthening in our (their) faith.

To draw near to God with a true heart, means we are honest with God, humble, submissive, repentant, and truly desirous to know him and to do his will – no playing games. In full assurance of faith means we truly believe the faith we profess, and it is demonstrated by our walks matching our talks.

To become intimate in our relationship with God with an honest heart, and with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water, denotes that first of all we have been saved by God’s grace, and we have been cleansed of our sins. Yet, it also signifies a continual purifying from sin and renewal by the Holy Spirit as we walk daily in his purity, his holiness and in his righteousness. Scripture teaches that we are saved, we are being saved and we will be saved (when Christ returns for his bride). Our Christian lives are, thus, a continuous process of being made holy by Christ, and through our submission to him in cooperation with the Spirit’s work in making us holy. “By one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” (See: Heb. 10:14).

Because we have such a relationship as this, and we have experienced such grace as this in saving us from our sins, we should hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering.

To hold fast means: to hang on; keep hold of; and to grip. It is a lot like holding on to a life preserver which was tossed to us when we were drowning out in the sea. The sea represents the world and sin. The life preserver is our salvation. If we let go, we will drown. If we hold on, we will be saved. To waver means: to hesitate, falter (fail), and/or to fluctuate (go back and forth). To waver would be a whole lot like letting go of the life preserver and allowing ourselves to drown in sin and to immerse ourselves in the ways of the world, then to come back to the life preserver, and then to repeat the same cycle over and over again. We need to hold on and never let go, which means we have our trust firmly in the Lord Jesus and not in ourselves, and we do not go back and forth between trust in God and trust in humans and/or immersing ourselves in the ways of this sinful world.

A Fearful Thing

For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? …We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin” (Ro. 6:1-2, 6-7). “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth… No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him… No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God” (1 Jn. 1:6; 3:6, 9).

So many preachers today are preaching a gospel absent of the cross of Christ in our lives. They teach that Jesus died for our sins, that by grace we are saved, through faith, and this not of ourselves, and that it is the gift of God. Good! Yet so many of them do not explain what it means to have faith. They often will reduce faith to a prayer one prays to “receive” Christ, without ever explaining what that truly means. They also tell people they are now guaranteed heaven and no one can take that away from them, no matter what. So, many people who profess Jesus Christ as Savior of their lives consider their salvation to be nothing more than an escape from hell and a promise of heaven one day, but nothing really required of them in between.

Yet, scripture is real clear in teaching what it means to have faith in Christ. It means we die with Christ to our old lives of living for self and sin, we are transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God, and we are given new lives in Christ to be lived daily in the power of the Spirit within us, and to be lived daily by walking in Christ’s righteousness and holiness. Jesus died so that we would no longer live for ourselves but for him who died for us. His grace teaches us to say “NO” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return. (See: Ac. 26:16-18; Ro. 6-8; 2 Co. 5:15; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 4:17-24; Tit. 2:11-14 & 1 Jn. 1-5). So, we can’t continue living in willful sin and expect that one day we will be in heaven with Jesus. As well, scripture has much to say on the subject of us persevering to the end in order to receive the hope of eternal life with God in glory (See: 1 Co. 15:2; Col. 1:21-23; 1 Jn. 2:24-25).

Your Confidence

But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore 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. For,

“Yet a little while,
and the coming one will come and will not delay;
but my righteous one shall live by faith,
and if he shrinks back,
my soul has no pleasure in him.”
But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.

Since our relationships with Jesus Christ, and with God the Father and the Spirit, are continuous, and require perseverance, endurance, and steadfastness in faith, we cannot count on a prayer we prayed at an altar one day, a long time ago, to guarantee us the hope of heaven with God one day. True faith is continuous. It remains in Christ, and his word remains in us. True faith does not live in willful, continuous and unrepentant sin, either.

This is not to say that true believers will never sin again. We will. It is also not to say that we cannot backslide for a time. We can. Yet, I see so many scriptures which warn us that it is possible to lose the salvation we thought we had gained if we willfully reject the Spirit’s voice over and over again, and we continue in stubborn rebellion with unrepentant hearts. These passages in Hebrews and others like them are stern warnings that we should not be so arrogant to think that we cannot be cut off from God due to disobedience and unbelief, as were the Jews. We should not be so casual about our salvation or our relationships with God that we end up shrinking back to where we were before God saved us by his grace. This scripture teaches us that if we shrink back, we are destroyed, but if we continue in our faith (true faith), we will receive our heavenly reward. We now live by faith and we no longer walk in such a way as to gratify the sinful desires of our flesh (See: Gal. 5:16).

For Our Nation / An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.