Hebrewsby Robert M. Solomon
This passage begins with ″therefore″, referring to the previous discussion about the unique Melchizedek priesthood of Christ. It encourages readers to persevere in their faith in Christ. The previous truths are summarised in two ″we have″ statements. First, we have unshakeable ″confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus″ (Hebrews 10:19). Christ has opened up a new access into God's presence through the sacrifice of himself (His tortured body reflecting the tearing of the temple curtain; v. 20).41 All this should help us respond with confident faith. Second, ″we have a great priest″ (v. 21) whose sacrifice has brought inner cleansing (of the conscience; v. 22). The phrase ″having our bodies washed with pure water″ (v. 22) refers to baptism, a sign of the inner spiritual cleansing from sin (see Ephesians 5:26 and Titus 3:5).
After reiterating these central truths, the passage goes on to three exhortations beginning with the phrase ″Let us″. First, we must ″draw near to God″ (Hebrews 10:22). Second, we are to hold ″unswervingly to the hope we profess″ (v. 23). The word for ″profess″ is homologia, which means ″rang out″ (see 1 Thessalonians 1:8). Our proclamation of the gospel of Jesus must grow in conviction, because God is faithful. Third, ″let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds″ (v. 24). Confident of God's work for us in Christ, we can then as God's ″fellow workers″ (1 Corinthians 3:9), do all good works that God has prepared for us in Christ (Ephesians 2:10). Such works must be motivated by God's love. As Christians, we are responsible to encourage one another to live in this way. Continuing on to verse 25, we must ″not [give] up meeting together″. This is necessary for us to remain in Christ. This is a vital source of strength to help us remain faithful to Christ. Some of the original readers were apparently neglecting the spiritual discipline of gathering in the church for worship, prayer, teaching, and mutual encouragement.
There is no such thing as lone ranger Christianity, for we are all baptised into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). There is danger in neglecting community life,42 for our faith can become shaky as we forget the great truths about Christ that are meant to be repeated in church meetings. We must meet together so that we can encourage one another toward love and good deeds, especially since the return of Christ is approaching (Hebrews 10:25). There should be a sense of expectation and urgency.
41Hughes, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, 410.
42D. Stephen Long, Hebrews (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2011), 243-244.
Consider the two ″we have″ statements (Hebrews 10:19, 21). They speak of our competent High Priest and the resulting confident faith we should have. Reflect on these truths and pray them into your life.
Reflect on the three ″we have″ exhortations in relation to your discipleship. Which of these are most needed for you? How important is corporate worship and fellowship, and how can you encourage faltering fellow Christians?