Pg 34 Draw near with confidence
But our sin and covenant unfaithfulness must not make us stay away from Christ. Instead we must draw near to His throne. Christ has opened up the Holy of Holies to us through His death on the cross. We do not send Aaron into the holy place in our stead anymore. We can go in ourselves if we have been covered by the blood of Christ.
Not only must we draw near to Christ, we must draw near to Him in confidence. This does not mean that we come arrogantly demanding forgiveness as a right. We draw near in confidence not because of our own “rights” but because of the person and work of Christ. We are confident because God, who was not obligated to redeem us, nonetheless promises to forgive us if we submit to Christ. Drawing near in confidence means that we firmly believe God’s promise of grace in Christ.
Because he is alive, and in the presence of God with the sacrifice of the blood of the Son of God, and full of sympathy for his people, therefore two things:
- Verse 14b: “Let us hold fast our confession.”
- Verse 16: “Let us come draw near with confidence to the throne of grace.”
The confession is simply our unshakable hope (Hebrews 10:23) that God is for us and will work to bring us into his final rest and joy. Hold fast to that because you have a great High Priest.
So what accounts for this confidence? How is it that people who sin in word and deed can be said to have objective confidence to enter the holy places, a confidence that doesn’t dissipate in the wake of personal sin and in the contemplation of the God who is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29)? The writer answers this question for us: “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” (Hebrews 10:19-20). Our confidence to enter is not based upon what we’ve done or not done but upon what Christ has done through the shedding of his own blood. Our confidence is based upon the work of Christ. It is Christ who “entered once for all time into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:12).
Pg 34 Mercy and Grace
Mercy and grace are the utmost attributes of love. The essence of the Bible is loving God and loving people through the lens of Jesus Christ. Two grand works of God have displayed His all-powerful, gracious, and merciful nature: creation and redemption.
Mercy is the act of withholding deserved punishment, while grace is the act of endowing unmerited favor. In His mercy, God does not give us punishment we deserve, namely hell; while in His grace, God gives us the gift we do not deserve, namely heaven.
Mercy is a compassionate love to the weak, and grace is a generous love to the unworthy. Humans are weak and unworthy – we all need God’s mercy and grace. Mercy takes us to the path of forgiveness, while grace leads us to reconciliation.
Both perfect mercy and perfect grace are found in Jesus Christ. Through His sacrifice on the cross, He has provided a way of escape or mercy from the consequences of sin (John 3:16, Romans 5:8). God has extended grace by providing salvation and proclaiming salvation to us through the Son, His teaching in Scripture, and through the Spirit of God at work among us. Hebrews 4:16 blends these two ideas in one powerful statement, teaching, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
God’s grace and compassion are cited as of great importance in the Minor Prophets. Thus Joel in Joel 2:12-13 instructs his people to have “a total re commitment on the part of the whole populace … is reassuring for the believer to understand something of God’s character so as to be able to rely on his perfect response to any situation. God is consistent in his character: he is gracious and merciful, not easily angered, and full of kindness.”
May we, then, ourselves likewise follow the reassurance of Hosea’s charge to his people, “Say to him: ‘forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips’” (Hos 14:2). Thus Israel “was to come into God’s presence with heartfelt confession on their lips” … and “having repented and come to God with proper intentions, they were to petition God for forgiveness of their sins and guilt.”
Pg 36 Walk in the Light / Honesty
To “walk” is, in short, to live one’s life. One’s lifestyle or way of life can be considered a “walk.” The word also indicates progress. Walking is related to growth; it is taking steps toward maturity. “Light” in the Bible can be a metaphor for life, happiness, righteousness, or understanding. The Bible is clear that light comes from the Lord God, the “Father of the heavenly lights” (James 1:17). He is the opposite of evil. Putting it all together, “walking in the light” means “growing in holiness and maturing in the faith as we follow Jesus.”
Becoming a Christian is not so much a matter of adding Christ to your life as it is abandoning your life to find true life in Christ. And when one thus trusts in the person and work of Jesus Christ, the change is not small. It is a radical transformation. It is a change from death to life, from darkness to light. Paul’s words indicate that our calling as Christians should have a radical impact on our conduct. We will never be the same again. We should never think or act the same. Our thinking and our behavior after our conversion should compare to our former “walk” as though it were night and day. Anyone who thinks of salvation differently would seem to do a disservice to the teaching of our Lord, and of the Old and New Testament writers.
But without being honest with people, we prohibit ourselves from pursuing authentic relationships with others and with God. In the same way that we avoid being truthful with our friends, family members and any other people we engage with, because we’re afraid of any number of possible consequences of our openness, so too can we avoid being honest with God. Sometimes we worry about fully opening up to God because we think he’ll get mad at us or we’re mad at him but we think we shouldn’t be so we try to steer clear of discussing it as this means we’ll have to accept and confront our emotions.
Our most powerful relationships are built upon trust, and it’s no different when we consider the one that we have with God. Often, a reluctance to speak honestly with God points to a lack of trust in him. We can fail to trust him to be just, to be forgiving or to be helpful when in fact he is all of these things. God wants us to come to him with everything that’s on our minds and even though we might not be able to see a way through, he always can. “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3).
Chapter 3 Questions
Pg 34 The author poses this question……. “ How do I come to God with confidence when I am thinking the wrong things and I know I have the wrong attitude? “ What do we do?
Pg 35 “ How has God used the past and present difficulties of your life to lead you into a life of prayer?
Pg 36 Agree or disagree /discuss …. “Temptations are an appeal to meet righteous needs in an unrighteous way . “
Pg 38 How will you “ walk in the light” with each temptation of your life?
“ Purpose to let every point of temptation lead you into a conversation with God and trust Him to meet the deepest thirsts of your heart . “ – Bill Thrasher