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 (Hebrews 10:19-25).
Most of Hebrews is gospel exposition from which it is not difficult to derive gospel application. But this passage is gospel application already. The writer himself applies his teaching concerning Christ’s person and work to his readers and us. Three times he exhorts his audience with the words “Let us . . .” (vv. 22, 23, 24). 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” (vv. 22, 23, 24).
First, he urges true knowledge and worship of God. The basis for this exhortation is that Christ, our Great High Priest, authorizes us to enter God’s heavenly presence through his blood (vv. 19–21). “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith,” having experienced Christian conversion (pictured by hearts cleansed and bodies washed in baptism; v. 22). Because of Christ’s priestly work we have the privilege of drawing near to God in worship, prayer, and faith.
Second, he urges perseverance. “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful” (v. 23). Once again the author, writing to Hebrew Christians, a minority of whom are tempted to turn from Christ to escape persecution, urges them to continue in the faith, “for he who promised is faithful.” We have strong incentive to persevere in faith because our God is absolutely faithful and “it is impossible for God to lie” (6:18). We are to imitate Sarah, who “considered him faithful who had promised” (11:11). God will never fail us; therefore, we must be steadfast to the end in faith, holiness, and love.
Third, he urges love. “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works” (10:24). Amid trials, believers are to show practical concern for one another. This expresses itself in “good works,” such as those formerly done by the first readers of this letter (vv. 33–34). They are to continue caring for each other, whatever the cost. Such care is stimulated by meeting together for worship, fellowship, and mutual encouragement (vv. 24–25). Here the writer supplements the second coming of our heavenly High Priest to bring salvation (9:28) with the Old Testament idea of “the Day” of the Lord (10:25). He thereby offers both reassurance and a warning of the need to persevere until that Day. Verse 25 thus serves as a bridge to the severe warning that follows in verses 26–31.
God lavished his grace on his people for many wonderful purposes. Here the Lord assures us of our acceptance through Christ that leads us to know and worship God; to persevere in believing the gospel, even in difficult times; and to show practical care for one another. In short, by underscoring the grace of God in the work of Christ, our Great High Priest, Hebrews seeks to motivate us in faith, hope, and love.
Adapted from the Gospel Transformation Bible