The Heartbeat of Hebrews

By Blake E. Jones

Chapter 10


The Recapitulation (10:1-18)

1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, [and] not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.

3 But in those [sacrifices there is] a remembrance again [made] of sins every year.

4 For [it is] not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:

6 In burnt offerings and [sacrifices] for sin thou hast had no pleasure.

7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.

8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and [offering] for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure [therein]; which are offered by the law;

9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.

10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once [for all].

11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:

12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.

14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

15 [Whereof] the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before,

16 This [is] the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;

17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.

18 Now where remission of these [is, there is] no more offering for sin.

In much of this division, the writer seems to be recapping what has gone before of the ministry of Christ under a new covenant. Clearly stated is God's lack of "pleasure" in the old system of sacrifices and rituals which could not take away sin. In contrast is implied God's pleasure with Christ's sacrifice. Perhaps the word "satisfaction" would better describe God's attitude in this situation. Christ's blood satisfied the demands of holy justice.

A beautiful conversation seems to be going on in the heavenly world at the time of Christ's incarnation. Realizing the demands of justice for a sinless substitute to suffer, Jesus speaks of the body that God prepared for Him in order that He might enter humanity and suffer vicariously. Note especially the grand submission of the Second Person of the Trinity when He says, "Lo I come to do Thy will, oh God". Such sublime condescension of the glorious God and Creator of the universe is beyond our poor intellect's grasp. That God should take my punishment is unthinkable; yet I believe it!

No further sacrifice or shedding of blood is necessary. Christ's one sacrifice has terminated all blood offerings and totally obliterated any meaning in a continued earthly priesthood or sacrificial system. Along with that, it has made a perfect and lasting provision for any who "come to God by Christ Jesus". Verse 14 declares that perfect sanctification is offered in His one sacrifice. Richard S. Taylor suggests that "to be perfected forever is not to be made unconditionally established and secure in this 'sanctification'. The phrase simply declares, in the strongest language possible, that all who, from time to time, are sanctified are sanctified perfectly by means of this one offering."1

The Way into the Throne Room (10:19-22)

I. Access by the Blood (10:19)

19. Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,

With a reverent heart and an awed mind, I begin this discussion of access into the very throne room of the Almighty. The writer is still drawing from the Old Testament tabernacle and thus calls the place that is opened to us "the holiest", the very Holy of Holies. This is the most sacred place that knew no careless or profane visitor. It was lighted only by the glory of God's presence and was a place of death without a blood offering. In all, the throne room is the very presence of God our Father, our Maker and our Judge. Just imagine the guarded step, the muffled stride, the tight lips and respectful demeanour of one approaching an earthly potentate's office or throne. But they are only another human being, a created one. We are studying here no common access to an earthly king, but a way into the presence of God. What due respect and careful thoughtfulness ought to mark our pursuit of God. I once read of a gentleman who waited silently in prayer for some time before he finally said one word, "God". Again he waited as his heart contemplated the One he was approaching. Too often we bluster into prayer without any regard for the Majesty to Whom we are talking.

Let me hurry on to add another side to this glorious approach and declare that, as exalted and beyond compare as is our God, yet you and I can come to Him with great confidence. The King James Version has translated this, "boldness", as it applies to a child's uninhibited entrance into his father's room or study; not as it applies to a rough, demanding, loud, crude and brazen attitude. I do not need to come sneaking in to God; nor must I come on some long and painful 'hands and knees' journey over rocks and glass to obtain His notice. No, through the blood of Jesus Christ which was shed for me, I come into the throne room with great confidence in the love and concern of my Heavenly Father. This may come as a slow revelation to anyone who has had an abusive, earthly parent; but it is all true none-the-less. Glory be to God. As I come reverently in the name of Jesus, I find that the blood of Christ has already opened a way, or entrance, into the presence of God.

A few days ago, as I prayed, I imagined Jesus standing at the door of the throne room and holding the door open for me to enter. Can I fathom such a privilege with my frail intellect? Yet, I experience the wonder and reality of it. As I prayed, it seemed to me that, if my Father's hand was big enough to span the universe, He was surely big enough to hold me on His lap. There, in His presence, I whispered to Him the things that were on my heart. Oh, the strong and safe retreat there is in God's presence. All that we enjoy in ready access to the Father, and the honour of knowing Him, has been made possible by the blood of Jesus Christ. This must be stressed. The way into the throne room of God is the blood way! Money can't buy a way in; suffering cannot earn a way in; good deeds will never merit entrance; it is the blood way.

II. The New, Living and Consecrated Way (10:20)

20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;

A. The New Way

The word "new" is found only this one time in the Scriptures and carries the thought of "recently slain, fresh". "It does not so much convey the idea that it is new in the sense that it had never existed before, as new in the sense that it is recent, or fresh,"2 notes Mr. Barnes. Old Testament sacrificial blood congealed and lost its usefulness in sprinkling, and thus did not remain "new". The blood of Jesus Christ is continually and perpetually fresh and efficacious in its merit and power. As far as the value of the blood of the Perfect Lamb is concerned, it is as freshly flowing now as if Christ had been slain today. Luther said, "It seems but yesterday that Jesus died on the cross".3 In his famous song, "There is a Fountain Filled with Blood", William Cowper beautifully expresses the continual merit of the blood.

"Thou dying Lamb, Thy precious blood, Shall never lose its power Till all the ransomed Church of God Are saved to sin no more."4

Dear Christian friend, it was through the perpetually fresh blood of Christ that you entered the Holiest of All in prayer this morning.

B. The Living Way

It is a wonderful joy to be a part of something throbbing with life and vitality. Imagine embracing faith in a dead Buddha or Confucius or another historical figure. What an exercise in futility it would be to attempt access to God through a memory or mere fact of the past. This is not the Christian's lot, for we can approach the Presence of God through a living way. The blood way is a living way, for it is hosted by a living Saviour. Jesus is our resurrected Lord. He was dead but is alive again and because He lives, He offers to mankind a life-giving means of approach.

Thomas was struggling with Jesus' announcement that He was going away and His further declaration, "whither I go ye know, and the way ye know". The distraught disciple said, "Lord, we know not whither Thou goest; and how can we know the way?" Note Jesus blessed reply: "I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by Me." (John 14:4-6) To cap this concept, the words of Dr. Richard Lenski thrill my heart when he says that this is "a way that is itself active and bears those who step upon it". 5 That reminds me of an escalator that carries you up to another level. This living way, will bear us into the presence of God if we will put our full weight upon it in faith, surrender and obedience.

C. The Consecrated Way

The blood way into God's presence is a "consecrated, dedicated or inaugurated" route. All of this suggests a ribbon cutting ceremony on the great inaugural day. That day of days, when the new and living way was consecrated, was none other than the day of Christ's death. On the cross, Jesus finished the plan to provide access to God and open up the Holy of Holies. You will remember that the great veil of the temple rent without human intervention. Perhaps, that might be considered the visible ribbon cutting on this great day. But, in actuality, a much better veil was being rent that day; for it was "through the veil, that is His flesh" that Christ dedicated the great means of approach. This awesome ceremony was attended by a few rough soldiers, some loyal followers and a ridiculing, mocking group of unbelievers. There were no dignitaries or kings to witness the consecration of an unheard of offer. Even God Himself had turned away as Christ bore the sins, and the rottenness of sin's festering sore for all mankind. Oh, day of days!

"The means for entrance into the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle was the great curtain that hung before it; the means for entrance into the heavenly Sanctuary is Jesus' flesh...As the veil in the tabernacle was the only means of entrance to the inner sanctuary, so Jesus' flesh is the only means of entrance to the Sanctuary of heaven. In other words, without Jesus' flesh, apart from that, there exists no means by which we may go into the heavenly Sanctuary, may get into saving communion with God."6

This is the concise conclusion of Mr. Lenski,and a very apt word picture for us.

Since Christ's flesh is the veil, do we push Jesus aside as we endeavour to come to God? No, we come through, or believing in, the death and broken body of Christ. Must we wear bells and a rope lest we die in the presence of the Holy One? No, we may enter freely and with a great trust. Is there some tangible blood that I must carry to the place of prayer like an Old Testament priest? No, I enter on the fresh and living merit of the blood of Jesus Christ, shed for one and for all.

III. The Call to Draw Near (10:21-22)

21 And [having] an high priest over the house of God;

22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

So, Friend, step in. Why hesitate any longer? Come on, step in. This is the writer's clarion call when he urges us to "draw near". How slow man is to enter. How reluctant many seem in coming to their only hope and help. How heavy the step of some who should be coming home. Of this throne room privilege, someone has said, "Here we see that child of God at home." May our spirits linger there longer through the day. May we live more in the presence of God.

Four guidelines are suggested in this exhortation to take advantage of our Christian privilege. We are told that our coming should be with a true heart, marking the sincerity of saints of the Old Covenant. This can be no pretence of piety or show of religion, but an honest approach to God. With this, must be coupled faith; the full assurance that God "is , and that he is the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him". The third point bespeaks the appropriation of the blood of Jesus in our own hearts. As believers, we have received the assurance of acceptance in our very consciousness, so that no longer does guilt weigh us down. As we have noted earlier, there is also cleansing from sin, such that our spirit's sense of defilement is purged away. It is "brethren" (vs.19) who are being addressed in these verses; those who have had the blood applied to their hearts. Notice, finally, that they must continue to live outwardly in an exemplary manner, that their "body's" actions and deportment not hinder their approach. May we give careful attention to the wisdom of Orten Wiley:

"The whole life, outward as well as inward, is to be lived in the presence of God. Perhaps this explains why some who have sought so earnestly to enter into the holiest have failed; they have some idol of the heart which has not been cast down, or it may be some bodily practice which has not been brought under the sprinkling of the Blood. Perhaps we have not yet fully realized how our eating and drinking, the manner in which we dress or conduct ourselves in public and social life, our daily duties, and our season of recreation affect our spiritual lives. These things wisely used under the illumination of the Spirit are a source of spiritual blessing; used wrongly or to excess, they steal our fire, dampen our enthusiasm, and chill our ardor."7

We understand that some things are proper and other things are very unsuitable in approaching an earthly ruler. Blue jeans, a week's growth of whiskers, muddy shoes, and hidden contraband are not acceptable. Just so, some things are not justifiable in entering heaven's throne room. Some things will hinder or dampen our approach and other things will totally block it. We would do well to examine our bodies under the scrutiny of the Holy Spirit. As we come near the throne room in our attempt to pray, the Spirit's detector may sound an alarm that alerts us of hindrances in our lives. Are we carrying illegal images on our minds from things we have chosen to view? Have we spoken truth with our mouth? Do we need to make an apology for some hasty or harsh word? Have our ears been listening to and encouraging gossip? What have our hands done that might be offensive to God? Where have our feet taken us? Are our bodies clean from immoral acts, ruinous habits, careless sloth? Whatever will block us from entering the throne room, will also keep us out of heaven. If there is a problem to which the Holy Spirit alerts you, then hurry and bring it to the blood of Christ. Never fail to live in ready access of the throne room!

Some Bible scholars agree, that in the flow of the author's content, there is an urging to go on into the grace of entire sanctification found in these verses. They see this as a call into the holiest of Christian experience. Orten Wiley, Adam Clarke, Dale Yocum and Andrew Murray have espoused this opinion. Mr. Murray says, "It is a call to all lukewarm, half-hearted Christians, no longer to remain in the outer court of the tabernacle, content with the hope that their sins are pardoned...It is a call to all doubting, thirsting believers, who long for a better life than they have yet known, to cast aside their doubts, and to believe that this is what Christ has indeed done and brought within the reach of each one of us."8

Pastoral Admonitions (10:23-25)

I. Faithful Continuance (10:23)

23 Let us hold fast the profession of [our] faith without wavering; (for he [is] faithful that promised;)

It is the pastor's ardent desire that his people be faithful to Jesus Christ. John wrote, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth" (III John 3:4). In this time of undisciplined "go by feeling" living, we must uphold the need for diligent faithfulness. It seems that it is in the areas of prayer, matters of personal convictions, and obedience in what others may consider insignificant, that the real heart of holding fast is developed. We need:

  1. a warm devotion to Jesus Christ,

  2. a solid determination to follow Him,

  3. a keen discretion of surrounding perils,

  4. a humble dependence on the help of the Holy Spirit,

  5. a marked direction to our lives and goals and

  6. a growing discipline of personal and social living.

Oh, that these Hebrews would not shed their faith in Jesus Christ. A great reward awaits them if they will be true, "for He is faithful that promised".

II. Considerate Inter-personal Relationships (10:24)

24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

I remember Dr. Dale Yocum saying that if our one-another relationships were what they ought to be, we would be in the midst of revival. How often has the Holy Spirit been grieved by God's people in their lack of consideration for one another. We are the ones who should be demonstrating to the world the beauty of brotherly love and tender compassion. I wonder, in the light of this 24th verse, how much responsibility do we carry for the spiritual well being of other Christians? What will the judgement reveal?

Some are returning to modern churches that have long since lost the glory. Preachers and preacher's wives are leaving what they once taught and practiced, and promoting a growing fog of confusion for young people. We can point a bony finger at these who have not been faithful, but that is not the whole story! In too many cases, there has been unnecessary suspicion, verbal campaigns of slander, cruel and cutting harshness, stiff and unbending leadership, miserable smearing of reputations, failure to make apologies, hounding phone calls, nasty letters, and cold shoulders. Where, may I ask, is Christian consideration in the lives and attitudes of these who call themselves by the name of Christ?

Perhaps consideration should begin with a real soul searching of our own spirituality and relationship to the Holy One. If we want to be a blessing to others, then we need to be well blessed ourselves. "You may be able to compel people to maintain certain minimum standards by stressing duty, but the highest moral and spiritual achievements depend not upon a push but a pull", says Reinhold Niebuhr. "People must be charmed into righteousness."9 Could it be that this attractive, pulling charm of a godly character, life and attitude might be what is meant by the writer's call to "provoke". It is a holy graciousness and encouragement that arouses the best in fellow believers. It is an inspiring example that lifts others to higher pursuits of godliness. This type of consideration should be ethical, reasonable and sweetly sanctified. Military starch and bark will not make it in this kind of sweet reasonableness. Gossip will provoke to disgust rather than to love. Sunday smiles and handshakes will be lifeless unless there is warm consideration for the needs of others through the week. The saintly John Fletcher asked himself each night "what he had done for the souls and bodies of God's dear saints".10

May we not be holy in name only but in our "charming" love for God and each other.

III. Regular Church Attendance (10:25a)

25A Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is];

Although Christianity is a very personal relationship with Christ, it has, none-the-less, much to do with the united body of Christ. For our own benefit, and for the mutual benefit of the local congregation, we are urged, yea, commanded to continue assembling together as believers. In such an arrangement, there is accountability, balance, blessing, insight and the promise of Christ's presence. We need one another for a complete working together of the body functions.

Mr. Lenski has aptly noted that failure to gather together "is more than just carelessness; it is the beginning of apostasy."11 This very issue has become, in many lives, the thermometer of their love for Christ. First prayermeeting is crowded out and then the Sunday evening service. It is not long, if steps are not taken to awaken spiritual sensibilities, until mutual worship is a thing of the past. What a toll such behaviour takes on the individual and his family. When pleasure and business take a higher place than the Lord, trouble is in sight. From whatever motive such a failure arises, it is a signal of spiritual regression, a dangerous example, a breaking of this directive and disappointing to the Lord.

Yes, many claim they can best worship alone in their living room or in the woods, but they need to be challenged to answer honestly some probing questions. How much do they really worship? Our homes are filled with distractions and diversions. Our minds will offer us enough trouble in the best of circumstances. How soon do they distort truth; taking one part and ignoring the other, losing Biblical balance and becoming a law unto themselves? Hermit type Christians, self-taught, and misguided, are like tires with a dangerous bulge on the side. They may soon blow out. How often do they come from their "single assembly" with a sense of the melting presence of God? How often are they lifted in prayer? Do they not feel the lack of edification of other believers? Do they not sense their responsibility to encourage the saints? Upon what authority can they violate God's command?

To the dear shut-ins and invalids of God's great family, may the Lord add to them what they are forced to miss in united worship and fellowship. May God strengthen and support the working force of Christians who, on the afternoon shift, miss so many revival services and prayermeetings. Some of the men in my congregation pay their co-workers to trade to day shift at revival times.

Church hoppers who share a service with one congregation one Sunday, another church the next, and so on, need to see clearly the responsibility of considerate edification. They do not realize that the example of consistency, and being able to be counted on, is a higher principle than simply whether or not they are members of a local church.

IV. Sharing Words of Encouragement (10:25b)

25b but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Barnabas, the exhorter, is one of my favourite Bible characters. His life and, apparently, his gifts were built upon the grace of encouragement, affirmation, confirmation and exhortation. These are beautiful traits in any congregation. Some new converts have been force fed until they choked to death. Thank God for the fathers and mothers in Israel who nurture and pray for Zion's young.

Here is a word of caution for the pastor of the flock. Exhortation is not a tyrannical barrage of ministerial power and privilege. If the purpose is to gain personal adherents, then true exhortation has been lost. If a personal gripe is being aired, then get out of the pulpit.

The "teaching-priest", the pastor-evangelist, has one main goal; that being to lead men and women, boys and girls, to the very presence of God and to teach and affirm holy living in their daily lives. When a rebuke is necessary, it should be done at the right place, with the right ones present, and in a right attitude. Pastoring should involve far more feeding than fleecing. Find it in this verse!

The worship service that shares public involvement and personal testimonies presents a wonderful opportunity to fulfil this text. Those with the gift of exhortation may urge the careless or sluggish ones on to greater heights in Christ. At times, warnings and broken-hearted lamentations may be expressed by the parishioner-exhorter. However, care needs to be taken that the pastor's role is not being usurped, and that a non-critical spirit is shown. Some people who have claimed the unction of the Holy Spirit were merely showing their true colours, putting a damper on the service, and being a great hinderance to young people and new converts. Exhortation is not to be understood as man's privilege to take the role of the Holy Spirit upon himself. Rev. C. K. Carlisle taught us to be wary of those claiming, "God told me...". May our services be graced by considerate, loving words of exhortation for the purpose of edification and encouragement.

The vestibule service also holds untold opportunities to fulfil this admonition. By that, I mean that valuable ministry does not just take place in the sanctuary during the set hour of worship. By no means! The time following the church service may be the true expression of the spirit of exhortation in some instances. There, in the church foyer, a gracious saint may ask a young person if they have the victory. The saints of yesteryears did that. They were establishing accountability at the same time as they were affirming and encouraging the object of their loving concern. A strong hug and the whispered words, "I'm praying for you; be encouraged", may offer tangible meaning to a hurting brother or sister in Christ. This is no time to lose the heart of true exhortation and miss the opportunity to bond and blend together. If people can not find loving care in the church, they'll find mutual camaraderie, as poor as it is, at the bar, the night club or some other place of ill repute.

I really like the way Chuck Swindoll sums this all up:

"Marbles or grapes, which will it be? Every congregation has a choice. You can choose to be a bag of marbles...independent, hard, loud, unmarked, and unaffected by others. Or you can be a bag of grapes...fragrant, soft, blending, mingling, flowing into one another's lives. Marbles are made to be counted and kept. Grapes are made to be bruised and used. Marbles will scar and clank. Grapes yield and cling."12

For those who have spent time in the throne room of God's presence and found the comfort of their heavenly Father, it should come natural to "yield and cling". Each of these pastoral admonitions will find establishing grace in the presence of God. Our grip on faithfulness will tighten; our gracious considerateness will blossom; we will want to be in the house of worship regularly; and encouragement will flow from us for we have been encouraged by the Lord.

A Solemn and Stunning Warning (10:26-31)

I. Man's only Hope (10:26-27)

26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

No one who has been illuminated by the truth should ever, for a moment, expect to find salvation outside of Jesus Christ. There is no other sacrifice. If these Hebrew people could have gone back to Old Testament sacrifices and blood offerings now, it would have done them absolutely no good. To do so now would have been turning their back on Christ.

This is not to say that a backslidder cannot come back to God and be restored among the blood-washed. Nor is it suggesting that one who has long rejected the truth of redemption is beyond hope. Nevertheless, it is saying that willful transgression will negate the continued coverage of the soul in the saving blood of Christ. The backslidder will find no other source of hope or pardon aside from Jesus Christ. Unless he returns, in broken confession and humble repentance, he can expect nothing but fearful "judgement and fiery indignation". It may be that the subject of hell is no longer popular and palatable to "itching ears" but that has not changed God's judgment. There is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun, and the only way to do so is through the sacrifice of the Son of God.

II. Punishment under Moses' Law (10:28)

28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

A gripping story is told in Numbers 15:32-36. In previous verses it had been declared that defiant disobedience was to be dealt with by death. Here, a man was found gathering sticks on the Sabbath day and was apprehended and held until God made the man's sentence clear. When God spoke, the verdict was stoning outside of the camp.

The Scripture mentions such a penalty for cursing and for 'sassing' parents. Imagine the thuds of stones, the shrieks of pain and the gasps for breath as the condemned dies for breaking the law of Moses. A second chance? No! An offer of appeasement? No! Nothing but death without mercy.

III. A Greater Crime (10:29)

29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

Where the offer of mercy is great, the crime of rejecting it is greater. Rebelliously strutting over the offers of grace and the blood of Christ, with a stiff, defiant and sullen sneer, is asking for "sorer punishment". And so is simply doing nothing about the offer of mercy! It is not just rejecting a gift or an offer, it is rejecting God Himself in the Person of Jesus Christ. So, in this graphic verse, to turn one's back on the salvation offered in the New Covenant is tantamount to stomping on Christ, spitting on the blood and slapping the Holy Spirit in the face. The blessed condescending Saviour has already suffered immeasurably at the hands of sinners for the very sins that are here referred to, yet mercy is held out still. The shed blood that is now valued as useless by these, was spilt as an appeasement for their very attitude of insolence. Jesus had returned to heaven in order that He might send another Comforter to the very individual who is turning a cold shoulder to Him. For these, what is sorer punishment but the second death; beyond the reach of hope, help or God? Hell may not have popular, theological endorsement, but the Scripture has not changed its proclamation of a punishment sorer than what was experienced in the Old Testament.

IV. God's Threat (10:30-31)

30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance [belongeth] unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.

31 [It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Somehow God has become a soft, old, doting grandfather in the eyes of many today; and it cannot be thought that such a God would ever punish a poor, little human being. But God is no "wimp"! As a holy God, He is not fooled by sin, nor does He fool around with it.

It is the preacher's call to warn the people of a God of vengeance and, at the same time, not to leave them in despair. There is hope if the backslider will come back to Christ and the blood of the covenant. There is yet hope of a blessed influence reaching out from their life through the power of Jesus Christ. However, if they refuse this offer of mercy, there is no other alternative; there is nothing to offer them but the vengeance of an Almighty God; and they have nothing to offer others but a blighted influence that is leading them hell-ward.

You've Come Too Far to Turn Back Now! (10:32-39)

I. Picture former Persecutions (10:32-34)

32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;

33 Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.

34 For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.

These dear Hebrew believers have not come through easy street! They have struggled through some rugged circumstances that grew out of their Christian profession. They have been made spectacles by the treatment they received. They have been afflicted and lost their earthly goods. They are worthy of a warm endorsement by the writer since, during his own imprisonment, they had endeared themselves to him. Perhaps their identifying with him had cost them dearly. Yet, through it all, they kept an eye for treasures in heaven that could not be spoiled.

Reader, are you tested and tempted to give up in the battle you are facing? Take a quick glance backward and recall the victories of the past. Recount the times when ample grace was meted to you and God came to your rescue right on time. Remember that "God seldom comes early, but He is always on time". As you look back, you will see you've "come too far to turn back now".

II. Persevere for the Prize (10:35-37)

35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.

36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.

37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.

It has been said that "God does not pay all His bills on Friday night". This is true in the sense that unbelievers are usually not cut off immediately for their rebellion and defiance of God. Often, pay is not handed out in this life and it seems that they go on hale and haughty in their pride and self-sufficiency. But a payday will come!

As true as this is for the stiff and unbending sinner, just so, it is a positive verity for God's people. There is a payday coming. It will all be worthwhile. There will be no disappointment in the final reward. Oh, the glory awaiting in response even to a "cup of cold water" that has been given for Jesus' sake. Christian Friend, don't give up! Hang on to everything God has done for you. Yield nothing to the trick and taunt of your enemy. Resist him. Fight back. Refuse to give in. You won't be sorry!

In our day of "instant everything", we need to develop Christian patience and perseverance. We must not yield to the desire for instant gratification, instant relief, and instant reward. Be faithful; Christ will be true to His promise to return for His own.

III. Progress by Faith (10:38-39)

38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if [any man] draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

Christianity is not always a mountain-top experience of overflowing joy, exuberance and heavenly glory. Probably, if that were the case, we would be useless blimps with no spiritual muscle or stamina. Sometimes we must simply be faithful and obedient, feelings or no feelings. Richard Taylor has said that "the soul must learn to keep itself committed to God and 'trust when it cannot trace'".13 For both the saved and the entirely sanctified persons, there will be times when faith is the only thing to which they can cling. But hold on; soon light will dawn again. In the case of many conscientious hearts, this has proven to be a real struggle. They feel no particular assurance of the smile of God. They conclude that they must have sinned somewhere; and thus they throw up their hands in despair. This is not right. It is not pleasing to the Lord; it is disaster to the ongoing growth of stability in their personal lives; and it is devastating to their character. A wise comment is given by C. D. Hansen when he notes that "faithfulness is a mark of character. If a man is unfaithful, he mars his character, thereby losing his own sense of self-respect as well as losing the respect of others."14 If you know God has saved you and you are following Him, then refuse to back down for the devil. If you know God has cleansed your heart, then walk on by faith. You've come too far to quit now!

End Notes

1. Quoted in Ray Crooks, Ed., Adult Teacher's Insights, Studies in Hebrew, (Overland Park, Kansas: Herald and Banner Press, 1992) Vol. 15, No. 3, p. 70.

2. Albert Barnes, Barnes' Notes on the New Testament, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Kregel Publications, 972) p. 1306.

3. Luther, source not known.

4. Cowper, Praise and Worship Hymnal, (Kansas City, Missouri: Lillenas Publishing Co., n.d.) p. 87.

5. R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of the Epistle to the Hebrews and the Epistle of James, Minneapolis, Minnesota: Augsburg Publishing House, 1966) p. 344.

6. Lenski, p. 345.

7. H. Orten Wiley, The Epistle to the Hebrews, (Kansas City, Missouri: Beacon Hill Press, 1959) p. 340.

8. Andrew Murray, The Holiest of All, (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Co., n.d.) pp. 353-354.

9. Quoted in Charles R. Swindoll, The Quest for Character, (Portland, Oregon: Multnomah Press, 1987) p. 146.

10. John Fletcher, article in The Gospel for Youth, (n.d.) n.p.

11. R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of the Epistle to the Hebrews and the Epistle of James, (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Augsburg Publishing House, 1966) p. 354.

12. Charles R. Swindoll, The Quest for Character, (Portland, Oregon: Multnomah Press, 1987) p. 144.

13. Richard S. Taylor, Preaching Holiness Today, (Kansas City, Missouri: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 1987) p. 234.

14. Quoted in Ray Crooks, Ed., Adult Teacher's Insights-Marks of a Christian, (Overland Park, KS: Herald and Banner Press, 1992) Vol. 16, No. 1, p. 71.