“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.”(NIV)
This month the theme for our prayer and verses was faithfulness. We looked at verses from both the Old and New Testament that exhibit the faithfulness of the Lord and call us to reflect His character. The passage above expands the context of one of our verses from this month. The passage is often titled “Full Assurance of Faith,”(ESV) or “Call to Preserve in Faith.”(NIV). These two titles place the emphasis on different parts of the passage, but both are equally important. The first emphasizes the confidence we can have in our faith because of Christ’s work on the cross and the second encourages us to model ourselves after Christ as a response to His work.
The passage begins with a “therefore,” which follows verse 18, where the author (likely Paul) explains that there is no longer a need for sacrificial offerings. Then, there is a “since,” which reminds us of the gift given to us through Christ’s sacrifice, the access we were given into the Most Holy Place, and that Jesus even acts as a mediator, to help us communicate with the Father.
The “since” points us to the three “let us” statements. These three exhortations are the response the author calls us to have. Go back and read those three statements. Consider what stands out to you in that passage.
The ESV Gospel Transformation Bible tells us, “These gospel-driven exhortations provide inspiration based on the self-offering of Jesus, the divine-human Mediator. And each time the writer refers to one of the three cardinal Christian virtues: “faith,” “hope,” and “love.”” Look back at the passage, can you see where each of these virtues are implied?
In this passage we see a challenge, one to grow in our walk with the Lord through the cultivation of virtues. It is because of what the Lord has done that we can be made new and to be cleansed of all unrighteousness. But our spiritual walk does not end there, we must hold fast and be faithful, we must love the Lord and our communities more each day, and we must hope in the future that the Lord has planned.
Read through the passage again. Pray and ask the Lord to search your heart. Ask Him if there are any of these “let us” statements that you struggle with. Perhaps you find it difficult to hope in the future, or encourage others, or invest in Christian community. Whichever you choose, take that with you throughout the week. Pray for the Lord to strengthen you in that area and make an effort to follow His leading in obedience.