I remember growing up being able to go to the lake in the summer with several family friends. My family has never owned a boat or lake house, so anytime we were able to go, it was through our friendship connections. Some of my best memories with my family are from these lake trips. We would wake up early to Jet Ski on the calm water, spend the entire day smashing our faces as we face planted at 40 MPH while tubing, and relax while riding the water at sunset to get to the boat dock before getting a good nights rest in preparation for another adventurous day on the lake. There are many things in life we receive as perks because of the connections we have: receiving VIP tickets to a sold-out show, skipping the mile-long food line, or going on the coolest all-paid vacation with your bestie – just to name a few.
I was recently reading the book of Hebrews in my quiet time, and I was amazed at the perks we have as followers of Christ. Hebrews tells us how Christ is superior to all things in heaven and on earth, and His ultimate sacrifice on the cross made Him our eternal High Priest. In the Old Testament, the Israelites had one High Priest who would represent them before God once a year for the forgiveness of sins. Now, we don’t have a sinful man as that High Priest. We have Jesus Christ, the perfect High Priest of the Church. Just as our friend connections brought great perks to our family, Hebrews 10:19-25 tells us that Christ as our High Priest brings great spiritual rewards and opportunities to His Church.
Draw Near to God
The first advantage this passage says we have because of Christ is the opportunity to draw near to Him. The present tense of “draw near” also implies continual or repeated approaching. Ladies, we as finite and sinful human beings, have the distinct privilege to draw near to God whenever we want! We can draw near to Him when we are sad, having a bad day, happy, when things are going our way, when we have the worst day of the year, and every day in between. We can draw near to Him because He lives within us in the form of His Holy Spirit. His presence is ALWAYS with us, and He rejoices with us when we rejoice and weeps with us when we weep (Romans 12:15). What an amazing friend!
So how do we draw near to God? One way, of course, is to read His Word. John 17:7 says, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” When God’s Words are in us, His desires will be ours as well. Then, we will be obedient to Him and in His will. Another way to draw near to God is through prayer. The identical verb form of “draw near” is used earlier in Hebrews focusing specifically on prayer. As John 15:7 says, when we pray God’s Words, He will answer them. We not only draw near to God through personal spiritual disciplines like reading the Bible and prayer, but we draw near to Him by being a part of His Church. I am never closer to the Lord than when I am active in His body of believers learning, serving, and giving. The end of verse 22 tells us to draw near to God with “a true/sincere heart in full assurance of faith”. We must come to Christ genuinely seeking Him with complete confidence and certainty that He is there, listening, and caring about what we are bringing to Him.
Hold Fast to Our Confession
Another benefit of being in Christ’s Priesthood is the ability to “hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” “Our confession” is the distinct belief we have in Christ and the gospel. We can hold fast to our belief in Christ and the hope we have in Him of purposeful and eternal life because “he who promised is faithful”. This denotes constancy – we can count on God standing behind His promises because He always has and always will fulfill them (Numbers 23:19). He is the source of faithfulness (Psalm 145:13).
There are a lot of things in life that are insecure. Circumstances are never certain and we have no idea what our future holds – what job we will have, who we will marry, if we will get a disease… – and even relationships often make us insecure with lack of communication and trust. Security in Christ is one of my favorite things about Christianity. No matter how unsure everything around me in this world is, my hope in my God is always sure because HE IS FAITHFUL. I don’t have to wonder what will happen when I die. I know I will be in the best place ever – in the very presence of my Savior. I don’t ever have to wonder who is in control of my life (even though I often pretend it is me) – I know it is my all-powerful, all-loving, and full of goodness Creator. This security I have in Christ as my High Priest enables me to trust Him no matter the painful circumstances, no matter the stressful decisions, no matter my fear of the unknown because “he who promised is faithful”!
Consider One Another
The last perk mentioned in this text is the privilege to “consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.” As a part of the messianic priesthood, we are never alone in this life. We always have believers around us who can encourage us and equip us to do the Kingdom work God has called us to do. We get to carefully consider with deep attention how to spur on one another in thoughts, beliefs, and desires to initiate good actions in our lives. Sometimes this process is a little painful (Proverbs 27:27), but it should always result in good fruit in our lives. I recently had a difficult conversation with a close sister in Christ about outward sin I saw in her life. The conversation was awkward and uncomfortable for us both, but she told me at the end, “it means a lot that you love me enough to point out my sin and draw me closer to Christ.” This is what “spurring on to love and good works” means in the body of Christ. It isn’t always joyful and celebratory conversations, which are also beneficial to the church. Oftentimes, it is speaking the truth in love just as Christ did to point people to our High Priest rather than our own advice (Ephesians 4:15).
Verse 25 cautions us not to neglect meeting together as the church but to encourage one another as we wait for Christ to return. God has blessed us with each other, and we need each other to obey Christ on earth. How are you contributing to and being a part of this “one another” community we call “church”?
Because Christ is our High Priest, we have the incredible privileges of drawing near to God, holding fast to our confession, and considering one another. Are you taking advantage of these privileges that are yours in Christ? How often are you drawing near to God? Ask God to give you the discipline to do this daily. Are you acting in faith because of your security and hope in Christ? Ask God to help you “set your mind on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:2). Are you considering other believers and how to spur them on in their faith? Ask God to connect you with a body of believers to live out this command. Remember, “he who promised IS FAITHFUL.”
Faithful High Priest, thank You for Your sacrifice for my sins! Thank You for continually representing me before the throne of God with mercy and grace. Give me the discipline to draw near to You daily, the faith to hold fast to my confession of hope in You, and the encouragement to meet with other believers and consider how to spur them on.
1 Peter 5:7
2 Peter 1:4