Hebrews 10:19-25.19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 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. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 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.
What happens when someone is finally set free from their evil conscience? Or to ask it another way, what happens when someone has a clear conscience? A true heart? No more guilt on their record? How might that person live?
You might be thinking that no one fits this description. No one is free from their condemning conscience. No one is living from a pure heart.
But in Christ this is our new reality. We are cleansed. We are washed. We have been baptized into Christ. We have seen the heavens open, and we have heard the Father declare his love for us as his beloved sons and daughters. We have received the Spirit of God and of Christ. We have confidently entered the Holiest Place, the very presence of God himself, without anything in our hands. No payment for unsettled debts. No gift of appeasement. No offering of recompense. Just a full assurance of faith and a confident confession of hope in our faithful God.
So now what?
What do you do once all the striving to gain a clear conscience is removed from the equation? How do you live once all the ritualistic, repetitive, religious “cleansing” is over? If I’m not trying to maintain purity and holiness, if I’m not appeasing God anymore, if I’m no longer in the sin management business, if I’m not spending all day comparing myself to other Christians or even Christ himself, then what on earth am I supposed to be doing as a Christian?
Three times the author of Hebrews will use these words in our passage above. Here are three answers to our question – How is a religion free, gospel centered, Spirit-filled, Christian to live each day in their union with Christ?
- Let us draw near to God in full assurance of faith.
- Let us hold fast to our hope in Christ.
- Let us consider how to stir up love and good works in one another.
In the Old Covenant, the sin offering or guilt offering was followed by a peace offering or a fellowship offering. This peace offering was never offered alone, or separate from the sin offering. But once the sin offering had been made it was then time for a sacrifice to God of thanksgiving, praise, and worship. A hope filled rejoicing with the high priest who just survived another Day of Atonement. This peace offering was literally a feast of the people with God himself. Now that sins had been covered for another year, they could “draw near to God,” and be welcomed at his table with a sprinkled clean conscience, washed clean bodies, and confident assurance of hope.
Now that our great High Priest, Jesus, has offered himself once-for-all as our sin offering, and that offering has been accepted by God in the heavenly tabernacle as the final atonement for our sins, we now live together in an unending, joyous state of “peace offering” to God. Constantly drawing near to him as a confident community of grace. Feasting as a family at the Lord’s table. Finding peace and rest as we gather around his feet to hear his word, in full assurance of our common faith. Holding fast to our confession of new covenant hope. Our confident hope of sins forgiven. Our confident hope of the cleansed heart. Our confident hope in the Day drawing near.
And once we have feasted on our faith and hope in Christ, we can now move forward in his love. Drawing near to God expressed as drawing near to one another – not neglecting to meet together. The received love of Christ expressed as shared love for one another – let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works. Assured faith and confident hope in our faithful God expressed as encouragement for one another – encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
How do you live when your conscience is finally clear? Faith, hope, and love. Unwavering hope in eternal life earned for us by Christ, and given to us in Christ. Fully assured faith ever drawing us toward our faithful God with all confidence. And thoughtful love that purposefully moves us toward each other in courage and kindness. This is the religion free life. This is Christ’s church. This is “to live is Christ.”
Are you living from a clear conscience?
You in Christ
How does your union with Christ make your life a peace offering instead of a sin offering?
Christ in you
How can you stir up fellow church members to love and good deeds this week?
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