Sunday: Hebrews 10:22
Verses 22-24 (introduction): In verses 22-24 the author summons us to respond to the truths he has presented in verses 19-21. Because a way has been opened into God’s presence, and because we have a high priest who continually atones for us, he says we ought to do three things: 1) draw near to God (v 22); 2) hold fast the confession of our hope (v 23); and 3) consider how to stimulate (lit. “sharpen”) one another to love and good deeds. Verse 22: First, we ought to draw near. Jesus has opened a pathway to God and it’s now our responsibility to make use of this. We must no longer hide from God in shame, assuming we are unwelcomed. If we wholeheartedly repent and believe the gospel, the new covenant miracle will take place inside us removing shame and fear and replacing it with boldness.
Monday: Hebrews 10:22
Verse 22 (continued): To make his point the author uses two levitical images. He speaks of having our hearts “sprinkled” and our bodies “washed.” The first is drawn from the high priest who sprinkled blood on the other priests and articles of the tabernacle to remove this spiritual uncleanness and make them presentable to God (Lev 16:14-19). The second image is washing, but it’s not clear to which Old Testament practice he’s referring. He may be thinking of the red heifer sacrifice (Nu 19:1-13) which was applied to someone who had touched a dead body, or the bathing of priests before ministering (Ex 29:4; 30:17-21), but I believe the author is thinking of the way Israel “consecrated” themselves in order to approach God.
Tuesday: Hebrews 10:22
Verse 22 (continued): We see this take place with Jacob when he and his household prepared to meet with God at Bethel (Ge 35:1-4) and then again when the entire nation prepared to meet with God at Mt. Sinai (Ex 19:9-14). This type of “consecration” probably included a bath, but it specifically stated they were to wash their clothes. If it’s this washing of consecration that is being pictured here then the author seems to be comparing Christian baptism with the washing which prepared people to draw near to God. He is telling us that Jesus has “sprinkled” our hearts so that our conscience is clean and “washed” our bodies with pure water so that we are “consecrated” and may come near to God.
Wednesday: Hebrews 10:23, 24
Verse 23: The second response to verses 19-21 to which the author summons us is that we ought to hold fast the confession of our hope. The hope he is talking about is the hope of eternal fellowship with God. We must be steady in confessing that Jesus’ death and resurrection are the only way to eternal fellowship with God. We must not allow doubts to shake us because God has given us promises He will certainly fulfill (Heb 6:17-20). Verse 24: The third response to verses 19-21 to which we are summoned is that we ought to consider (lit. “put the mind upon…”) how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds. The word translated “to stimulate” is derived from a word which means “to sharpen,” as in sharpening a sword or a sickle. In this case it refers to sharpening (stirring, provoking) someone to action. This picture of one person sharpening another reminds us of Proverbs 27:17, “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” With this image the author is telling us it isn’t enough to simply guard our own heart, we are responsible for the faith of others. We must not merely standby and watch when fellow believers lose faith in Him. If someone is struggling we must focus our minds on finding a way to help. In particular we should be concerned when someone’s love for other believers grows cold or they stop serving others (Heb 13:1, 16) or they become unwilling to suffer for Jesus (Heb 10:32-34).
Thursday: Hebrews 10:25
Verse 25: Undoubtedly one of the most common symptoms of a person’s declining faith in Christ is that they stop gathering with other Christians. This problem had already begun and was even a long-standing habit in some by the time this letter was written. As people moved away from Christ they also separated themselves from His people. The author is telling his readers that when they see this happen they should urge that person to repent, especially in light of the fact that Jesus’ return is drawing closer every day, and when He appears He will judge all unbelievers (Jn 5:22, 23, 25-29; 2Co 5:10). Those who have deliberately abandoned Him will deservedly face severe judgment (Heb 10:26-31). This thought should give us an additional motivation to pursue those who backslide. It ought to prompt us to do all we can to bring them back to faith.
Friday: Hebrews 10:26, 27
Verses 26-31 (introduction): Having just raised the prospect of people who have deliberately abandoned Christ someday facing His judgment (v 25), the author over the next six verses will explain how severe that judgment will be. In doing so he chooses his words very carefully so there will be no ambiguity. His words leave no doubt it is possible to abandon Christ. Up until now he has spent entire chapters assuring us that Christ will never abandon us, but here, using words even more aggressive than those he used earlier (Heb 6:4-8), he warns that it is possible to abandon Him. Verses 26, 27: Taken out of context and interpreting the word “sinning” to mean all general types of sin, these verses become a terrifying sentence of judgment on us all. On its surface they can be read to mean that the sins a person commits after becoming a Christian cannot be forgiven. Such an interpretation, of course, contradicts everything the author has already said about Christ’s atonement and intercession (Heb 2:17, 18; 4:14-16; 7:25; 9:28; 10:10-22).
Saturday: Hebrews 10:26, 27
Verses 26, 27 (continued): However, if these verses are placed back into the logical flow of thought which the author has been developing throughout this letter we quickly see that the “sinning willfully” about which he warns us specifically refers to the deliberate abandonment of Christ. That this is his intention will be made indisputably clear in shockingly vivid terms in verse 29 (Heb 10:29). The people being warned by this passage are not those who repeatedly succumb to sins of weakness even though they know what they are doing is wrong. This prophetic warning is directed to those who might willfully abandon Christ telling them what to expect when they stand before Him at the judgment seat (Rev 20:11-15). There will be no mercy for them because they deliberately rejected what they knew by personal experience to be true. Quoting from a passage in Isaiah (Isa 26:11), which describes God’s final judgment on His adversaries the author says they will have become one of these adversaries.