Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Don't neglect this important step

So, friends, we can now—without hesitation—walk right up to God, into "the Holy Place." Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifice, acting as our priest before God. The "curtain" into God's presence is his body. So let's do it—full of belief, confident that we're presentable inside and out. Let's keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let's see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.

(Hebrews 10:19-25)


The context of this passage comes upon the summation of the necessity of Christ's birth, death, and resurrection.  Unfolded in these passages are the truths behind the old covenant of the Law of Moses (a set of sacrifices, feasts and ways of worship) and the total fulfillment of that Law by Christ.  The shedding of his blood was the perfect sacrifice, negating the need for any other work, sacrifice, or performance of feast days in order to approach the throne of a holy God.  Now, we are about to learn we can walk right up to God - into the place God calls holy - his presence. We do this without hesitation because we have been made pure in Christ's sacrifice for our sins, We may not look pure to the outsider (I know I don't) - but IN CHRIST all things are new, the old is passed away, and all that remains is new in him (even though what comes across at times still seems a little 'tarnished' by bad behavior).  It is at the moment of salvation that we are made "presentable" inside and out.  God takes messed up lives - lives focused on our own destruction - and turns them inside out.  In the doing of that, he purifies our lives by the blood shed for the forgiveness of our sins.

That very action of Christ's sacrifice gives us the ability to be both full of belief and confident in our approach to a holy God.  So many times, we form thought patterns that "limit" our approach to God because we don't feel "good enough" or "worthy" to enter into his holiness. So, we go about the day trying to "work" ourselves into a place of "worth" - through good deeds, pumping ourselves up with words that 'tell us' we are 'good enough' and the like. That was never God's intention for us - he provided the perfect sacrifice, opened the doors wide into his courts, and stands ready to embrace even the worst of sinners IN CHRIST. The worst includes even those who may not see themselves as needing a Savior - even those who consider themselves 'the best'. 

It is in the presence of a holy God that we become acquainted with his very nature.  His nature is always focused on provision - he provided what we were incapable of providing by any action of our own and that provision never ceases.  His nature is one of compassion - he reached out to us even before we knew we had need of his love - that is a true heart of compassion, for reaching out to someone who doesn't want to be reached might just seem a little futile to some, but he does it time after time again.  His nature is one of fullness - he opens the very throne room of his presence in order that we might have full and immediate access to all he is and all he provides.  Let's not lose sight of the fact that his nature is such that he cannot go back on a promise - he is fully and completely trustworthy. Unlike we humans, it is impossible for God to break his promise and when he gives it, it is with purest of intent.

No wonder we can be both bold and fully convinced of the love and care of our God!  It is time that we do our part in this salvation experience - God has done the rest!  Our part is clearly defined for us in this passage - keep encouraging one another in living right, making right choices, being built up in the faith.  How do we do this?  By frequently gathering together, taking accountability for the growth of each other through specific times set aside to really focus on relationship with each other, and by continual openness to being renewed both inside and out.  We are to be instruments of encouragement and exhortation at the same time.  Spurring one another on to the fullness of salvation - being transformed day by day into the very image of the Son of God. 

We need to take this warning seriously - DON'T forsake the gathering of ourselves together - nor relationships that require our focus and intentional engagement in order to be nurtured! The Body of Christ is a place of safety, but it is also a place of intimate encounter with the holiness of God.  We need each other - so don't neglect the relationships God has placed you in. Especially those he has given you as unique, challenging, and nurturing. For me, that is my BFF - she knows who she is. We need to be as bold in our relationships with each other as we are in our boldness we now possess in Christ to enter fully into all that God intends for us. Just sayin!