We Have Confidence!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014, 4:29 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put the song in mind, “My Jesus, My Savior.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Hebrews 10:19-39 (NIV).

A New and Living Way

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

I will not attempt here to go into all the Jewish history and to explain all the parallel symbols between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant because I am no theologian. So, I will take a more simplistic approach than that. Jesus Christ, God the Son, left heaven, came to earth, and took on the likeness of human flesh, but was without sin. He lived out his life on this earth from birth to death at the age of 33, I believe. The last three years of his life was spent in public ministry. He chose 12 men to be his close disciples and companions to go with him wherever he went, i.e. to go wherever the Father took him. He preached repentance, for the kingdom of heaven was near. He healed the sick and raised the dead. He fed the hungry. He comforted the hurting. Yet, he also confronted people with their sin, called them to repentance, and challenged them with what it means to truly follow God with their lives. His sermons were not feel-good messages. In fact, at one point, many who had been following him deserted him because they said his message was too hard.

Many hated him because he told the people the truth about their sinful attitudes and behaviors. Many of these who hated him, or perhaps I should say the primary ones who despised him were the religious leaders of his day in Judaism. They hated him because they were jealous of him, because he challenged them with their hypocrisy, and because he served as a threat to their positions of power and rule among the people. This led ultimately to Jesus’ arrest, trial, beatings, and crucifixion, although he had done no wrong. Yet, this was all part of God’s plan for his life on this earth, and for our lives, too.

He became our sacrificial Lamb on the altar of sacrifice for our sins so that we could be forgiven of our sins, have the hope of eternal life with God in glory, and so we would escape the flames of hell. Yet, he did so much more for us than just that! He died so we would be set free from slavery to sin, so we would be transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God away from lifestyles of sin, and so we would be free to walk daily in his righteousness and holiness.

Since Jesus Christ did all this for us, we can now draw near to God through sincere faith in Christ and in what he did for us on the cross, and we can be cleansed of our sins and be given new lives in Jesus Christ. We can be turned from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that we can receive forgiveness of sins and have a place among those who are being sanctified by faith in Christ Jesus (See Ac. 26:16-18). What this means is that, by God’s grace, and in the power of the working of the Spirit within us, we can die to once enslaved us (sin, self and Satan), we can be radically changed in heart and mind, and we can live completely new lives in the power of the Spirit within us – lives which are dead to sin but alive to God (See Eph. 4:17-24; Ro. 6; Gal. 2:20; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Jn. 1-5).

Embrace Unswervingly

Then, once we have been given these new lives in Christ Jesus, and we are following him now wherever he leads us, we need to hold (embrace) unswervingly (steadfastly) to the hope we profess. And, the hope is not just that one day we will get to be with God in heaven, but it is the hope that we can walk in freedom from the control of sin over our lives day by day here on the earth, and it is the hope that we can walk in the Spirit day by day in Christ’s righteousness and holiness in singleness of purpose and devotion to Jesus Christ who is now the LORD of our lives, now living holy lives pleasing to Him! Amen! And, there are many, many words of instruction and encouragement in scripture on just how to do that in the power of the working of the Spirit within us, as we cooperate with and submit to God’s work of grace in our lives.

Not only should we walk in faith in Christ and live lives pleasing to him, but we should encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ to also live lives worthy of the calling they have now received. We do this through sharing scripture, spiritual songs, and words of godly counsel with them, as well as through acts of kindness and compassion. As we begin to grow in Christ and in our relationships with him, we share with others what God is teaching us, and how he is helping us to grow strong in faith. And, we walk the walk and not just talk the talk. This also helps to strengthen us in our own faith. We comfort the hurting, and encourage the timid, and we help the weak, yet we do this as Jesus did, not in our own flesh, and not with fleshly remedies, either. We never use flattery, lies or deceptions in order to make others feel good about themselves. That is not love or kindness. We speak the truth in love, because we care, and because we want others to grow in their walks with the Lord, and to not be led astray to what is false, and to not be captivated by sin again.

We Need to Persevere

If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

…So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For,

“In just a little while,
he who is coming will come
and will not delay.”

“But my righteous one will live by faith.
And I take no pleasure
in the one who shrinks back.”
But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.

In 1 John we read that if we claim to have fellowship with Christ, but we continue to walk in darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. It also teaches us that no one who lives in Jesus keeps on (in willful continuous) sinning (active rebellion against God). It does not say we will never sin again, but that sin should no longer be our master, i.e. that we should not deliberately keep on sinning. If our new lives look the same as our old lives, only maybe just cleaned up a little here and there, then maybe we don’t really have new lives. Certainly none of us is perfect, but that should never ever be used as an excuse for willful and continued sin. We should now want to please our new master Jesus Christ. In Romans 8:

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God… For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.

So, if someone has sold you a line of goods that tells you that all you have to do is pray a prayer and you now are guaranteed eternity with God in heaven, but they don’t tell you that faith in Jesus Christ means death to sin and self, and a transformed life in Christ Jesus, walking daily in his righteousness and holiness, then stop believing them, and start trusting in the true gospel of your salvation. Humble yourself before God today, repent of your sins, let the Spirit transform you in heart and mind away from sin and self to a walk of obedience in the Spirit, and begin your new journey with God, walking daily in fellowship with Jesus Christ. And, then preserve in your walk of faith with the Lord, don’t look back, when you sin, repent, and keep trusting the Lord, and don’t ever go back to the life you lived before.

My Jesus, My Savior / Michael W. Smith

My Jesus, My Saviour,
Lord there is no one like you,
All of my days, I want to praise
The wonders of Your mighty love.

My comfort, my shelter,
Tower of refuge and strength
Let every breath, all that I am
Never cease to worship You...