Having spent the previous few chapters comparing and contrasting the glory that we have in Christ with the situation for those under the old covenant, we now come to the application of those truths as the writer urges his or her recipients to press on in their devotion to Jesus.
First, there is an encouragement for us to draw near to God. Since our great high priest has opened the way for us, we should avail ourselves of the access that we have to God and make a practice of regularly drawing near to him. As it says elsewhere in the Scriptures, as we draw near to God, he will also draw near to us.
This drawing near is not just an individual thing. There is a corporate dimension to it that the passage picks up on. As we hold fast to the confession of our hope, we should think about how we can encourage each other in love and good works too. Meeting together is a crucial part of this. Prioritising Sunday gatherings, midweek groups and other fellowship is of fundamental importance in remaining strong in the faith and helping others to do so as well.
We also have the author urging us to turn away from sin. By pointing out the severity of the punishment in the Old Testament, there is a warning for those who deliberately remain in sin after receiving the gospel. We should not be fooled into thinking that grace means that anything goes, but rather the grace we have received empowers us as we live for God.
Finally, the author speaks into the suffering that the recipients have been through and reminds them of how they have endured well in the past, even through great hardship. They are not to throw it all away now, but to continue to endure, and to receive all that has been promised.
Some Key Points:
- Because of all that we have in Christ, we should draw near to God. This includes a corporate focus on meeting together and encouraging one another in the faith.
- As those who have received the gospel, we must not continue in deliberate sin. This is ‘profaning the blood of the covenant’ and would lead to judgement.
- When suffering for the faith comes our way, even public reproach or loss of property, we should endure with faith. As we do so, we will receive all that God has promised.
- Draw Near to God – We have access to the throne. Help people think through what it looks like to draw near and encourage them to do so on a regular basis.
- Keep Meeting Together – For some, gathering with other Christians is an intermittent activity rather than a priority. Urge people to make meeting together a priority – including Sundays, midweek groups and other fellowship. Help people think about how they can use these times together to stir each other up to love and good works.
- Turn Away From Sin – The passage is clear and also very stark about persistent deliberate sin. This is different from a scenario where a Christian is wrestling against sin but sometimes stumbles. A warning needs to be given to those who have adopted patterns of deliberate sin in their life even after receiving the knowledge of the truth. The author makes clear that there is no longer a sacrifice for those sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment.
- Endure Suffering – As culture shifts, Christians may find themselves increasingly opposed and subject to public reproach. The calling in these moments is to endure with faith.