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
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.
I’m in the middle of writing a 31 day series for October. Frankly, it is eating my lunch! But it is also challenging me in good ways and in places I need challenging.
So I’m trudging on. I’m also thinking through things I believe and trying to think of ways to talk about them that will make them easier to understand and more useful to my readers.
[bctt tweet=”Because of the work of Christ for us, we have confidence to come to GOD with a true heart and clear conscience.” via=”no”]
I started to quote one verse, but then…
This passage was so interesting to me today in that regard. In talking about ways to enrich our growth in grace, the topic of worship, spending time with GOD’s people, etc. come into play. Of course verse 24 above was what came to mind initially. (starting with …not neglecting...)
But since it begins in the middle of a sentence, I needed to go back and see where it was in context. And that is quite a context isn’t it?
Chapter 9 ends with talking about the once-for-allness of Christ’s redemptive work on the cross. Then this passage begins with “therefore.”
- We have confidence to enter His holy presence because of Jesus’ blood that completed our redemption…
- We can draw near to GOD by faith because we have been cleansed from an evil conscience…
- We can hold fast to our confession without wavering and with hope because of His faithfulness…
All of these have nothing to do with us! They are based solely on the work and attributes of Jesus! We did nothing to earn any of it. We do nothing to complete it either. It is His work.
Now, we need to consider how to stir each other to love and good works.
For some of us this seems like such a drag, for others something we hate to invest in, but even here, we must trust GOD that He has a better plan than we do!
The important involvement we all need to take seriously is our involvement in a local church. It plays a large part in enriching our growth in grace. This and other passages remind us that we need to get together with other believers for worship. We don’t always think of this as a way to enrich our growth in grace, but according to GOD’s Word, it does.
The context of a local church is the perfect breeding ground for encouragement and learning to love others that we may find difficult or at least challenging to love…as well as those we can easily love. It is a place where we always have people we love naturally and people we’re not crazy about.
But this is where we can give and receive stirring up...both opportunities to love people we might not rub up against and the encouragement to love people we don’t want to love but are reminded that we need to anyway!
As we talk with friends in groups at church, are involved in a variety of groups there where we are taught, minister to others in the name of Christ and pray for others. of course all our ministry isn’t through our local church, but often our local church is where we receive encouragement to step out and do things we feel GOD nudging us to do!
So think about this passage this week. In light of the full redemption GOD provided for you, what do you need to do in response?
Are you involved in regular worship with GOD’s people?
What aspect is difficult for you?
Can you talk about it to GOD?
- Seeing all the families together while you are alone?
- Being with people when you are more introverted?
- Are there people you don’t want to run into?
Whatever the reason, find a way to rearrange your life in a way to lessen the problems for now. Get to know some friends or a family you can sit with.
Ask GOD to open your eyes to people who are in need around you so you don’t have to focus on your own discomfort or deficiencies.
It is a time to focus on His sufficiency in light of your need.
I apologize for the publishing glitch. This post was published prematurely before my final edit. The edit is now complete 8/22/15 1500. martha