Amplified: Let us all come forward and draw near with true (honest and sincere) hearts in unqualified assurance and absolute conviction engendered by faith (by that leaning of the entire human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness), having our hearts sprinkled and purified from a guilty (evil) conscience and our bodies cleansed with pure water. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: let us approach the presence of God with a heart wherein the truth dwells and with the full conviction of faith, with our hearts so sprinkled that they are cleansed from all consciousness of evil and with our bodies washed with pure water. (Westminster Press)
NLT: let us go right into the presence of God, with true hearts fully trusting him. For our evil consciences have been sprinkled with Christ's blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: let us draw near with true hearts and fullest confidence, knowing that our inmost souls have been purified by the sprinkling of his blood just as our bodies are cleansed by the washing of clean water. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: let us keep on drawing near with a genuinely true heart in full assurance of faith, having had our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and having had our body washed with pure water. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: may we draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having the hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and having the body bathed with pure water;
THE FIVE WARNING PASSAGES
|Heb 2:1-4 (notes)|
|Heb 3:7-4:13 (notes)|
|Heb 5:11-6:12 (notes)|
|Heb 10:19-39 (notes)|
|Heb 12:14-29 (notes)|
LET US DRAW NEAR WITH A SINCERE HEART: proserchometha (1PPMS) meta alethines kardias : (He 4:16; 7:19; Psalms 73:28; Isaiah 29:13; Jeremiah 30:21; James 4:8) (1Kings 15:3; 1Chronicles 12:33; 28:9; 29:17; Psalms 9:1; 32:11; 51:10; 84:11; 94:15; Psalms 111:1;119:2,7,10,34,58,69,80,145; Proverbs 23:26; Jeremiah 3:10; 24:7; Acts 8:21; Ephesians 6:5)
Let us exhortations in Hebrews (in the NASB). 13x in 12v - Heb 4:1, 11, 14, 16; 6:1; 10:22, 23, 24; 12:1 (2x), Heb 12:28; 13:13, 15
Wuest - The Jew is exhorted to draw near to the mercy seat as a believer-priest. (Hebrews Commentary online)
The writer began this section on the superiority of Christ High Priesthood with almost identical invitation in Hebrews 4:16 Because of the confidence we have from our grand Access and Advocate, “let us draw near..."
Draw near (4334) (proserchomai from prós = facing + érchomai = come) means literally to come facing toward and so to approach or come near. To come to visit or associate with. It describes the approach to or entry into a deity’s presence. In the Septuagint (LXX) proserchomai was the verb used to describe the approach of the priests to Jehovah for worship and to perform of their priestly (Levitical) functions. But here in Hebrews, under the New covenant, all seven uses of proserchomai refer to believers possessing the privilege of access to God the Father through Christ the Great High Priest.
Proserchomai - 86x in 85v - Matt 4:3, 11; 5:1; 8:2, 5, 19, 25; 9:14, 20, 28; 13:10, 27, 36; 14:12, 15; 15:1, 12, 23, 30; 16:1; 17:7, 14, 19, 24; 18:1, 21; 19:3, 16; 20:20; 21:14, 23, 28, 30; 22:23; 24:1, 3; 25:20, 22, 24; 26:7, 17, 49f, 60, 69, 73; 27:58; 28:2, 9, 18; Mark 1:31; 6:35; 10:2; 12:28; 14:45; Luke 7:14; 8:24, 44; 9:12, 42; 10:34; 13:31; 20:27; 23:36, 52; John 12:21; Acts 7:31; 8:29; 9:1; 10:28; 12:13; 18:2; 22:26f; 23:14; 28:9; 1 Tim 6:3; Heb 4:16; 7:25; 10:1, 22; 11:6; 12:18, 22; 1 Pet 2:4. NAS = agree(1), approached(2), approaching(1), came(64), came forward(2), come(2), comes(1), coming(3), draw near(4), go(1), visit(1), went(6).
It is notable that seven (almost 10% of the NT uses) of this verb are found in Hebrews which clearly make it a key word in this epistle. - Heb 4:16 (note); Heb 7:25 (note); Heb 10:1 (note), Heb 10:22 (note); Heb 11:6 (note); Heb 12:18 (note), Heb 12:22 (note)
Sincere (228) (alethinos from alethes = true, one who cannot lie from a = without + lêthô or lanthanô = to conceal = that which is out in the open) refers to words that conform to facts and thus are true, correct and dependable. And so alethinos describes that which conforms to reality, that which has not only the name and resemblance, but the real nature corresponding to the name. Alethinos is the opposite of counterfeit, imaginary or pretended. Alethinos speaks of that which measures up to or consists of all that would make a person that which is expected of him or her. And so when alethinos describes people as in this verse, it describes those who are characterized by integrity and trustworthiness, those who are true and dependable.
Sincere describes that which is genuine without superficiality, hypocrisy or ulterior motive.
Alethinos - 28x in 26v - Luke 16:11; John 1:9; 4:23, 37; 6:32; 7:28; 8:16; 15:1; 17:3; 19:35; 1 Thess 1:9; Heb 8:2; 9:24; 10:22; 1 John 2:8; 5:20; Rev 3:7, 14; 6:10; 15:3; 16:7; 19:2, 9, 11; 21:5; 22:6. NAS = sincere(1), true(26), true one(1).
Wuest - He is to (draw near) with a sincere (true) heart. The word “sincere” is alethinos, which means “true” in the sense of “genuine,” and speaks of that which measures up to or consists of all that would make that person or thing that which is expected of him or it. Vincent says, “A true heart is required to enter the sanctuary. The phrase means more than in sincerity. Sincerity is included, but with all that enters into a right attitude toward God as revealed in our Great High Priest,—gladness, freedom, enthusiasm, bold appropriation of all the privileges of sonship.” (Hebrews Commentary online)
Heart (2588) (kardia [word study) in Scripture never refers to the physical organ but is always used figuratively to describe the seat and center of human life, the center of one's personality, a person's "control center" which directs and guides the intellect, emotions, and will.
Paul had dealt with the "heart" of the matter in his discussion of genuine salvation of the Jews writing that...
This passage evokes the relationship of heart-obedience to God that Jeremiah envisioned in terms of the "new heart" God would create in his people (Jer 31:33). For the phrase compare the Septuagint (LXX) translation of Isa 38:3 (with a whole heart = en kardia alethine)
We are not to stand far off from God, as the Israelites had to do under the Mosaic Covenant (Nu 18:22) but are, rather, to “draw near.”
This “drawing near” must be the motive for all subsequent action. It includes more than formal prayer, since the present tense infers a continual drawing near. As the wick of a lamp continually draws oil for the light, so let us continually draw from God the strength and grace we need to function.
The nation of Judah, like many individuals, often had come to God with anything but a sincere heart (Jer 3:10). But a day was to come when His people would change (Jer 24:7).From the earliest days of the Old Covenant, God had demanded a sincere heart. “You will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul” (Dt 4:29). The people who find God are those who seek Him with their whole heart, with total genuineness.
There must be inner sincerity from one’s whole being. Although the language is different, the sixth Beatitude carries the same idea, where we are called to be pure in heart (see note Matthew 5:8). There are to be no mixed motives or divided loyalties. There must be pure and unmixed devotion, “sincere” love for God. Jesus makes essentially the same point in Jn 4:23 This is how we are to draw near to God in prayer—real, genuine, absorbed. The preacher sees this as being of key importance to those who are being distracted by the menacing waves. He knows that essential to their survival is the ability to perpetually come to God in prayer that is sincere and wholehearted, true and engaged. If they do this, they will emerge victorious.
G Campbell Morgan - In a previous note (Hebrews 7.25) we considered the fact that the intercessory work of our High Priest is only operative on behalf of those who draw near to God through Him. In these words we are called upon to avail ourselves of the privilege He has created of access to God. It is that possibility of approach and access which is the supreme and glorious fact resulting from the work of our Priest. The very nature of this appeal emphasizes this. The one thing we are called upon to do is to draw near. In God, and the eternal order, there is no reason why we should not do so. Everything which excluded men from God has been put away. The rending of the Temple veil at the death of Jesus was symbolic. That which, in its wholeness, had been the symbol of man's exclusion from God through sin, in its rent condition was the symbol of the open way to God. The life of Jesus in its final perfection was a perpetual message to men concerning their unfitness to enter the Divine Presence. Because He lived a life of unbroken fellowship with God, I know that I cannot do so; His fellowship resulted from His being well-pleasing to God. Nothing ever has separated between man and God, save sin. He was sinless, and so lived with God. But the death of Jesus has dealt with my sin, and so has made possible my return to God, my access to Him at all times and under all circumstances. Therefore the appeal tome is not a call to prepare myself, or to make a way for myself to God. It is simply to come, to draw near, to enter in. This I do only through my great High Priest, but this I may do through Him without faltering and without fear. (Morgan, G. C. Life Applications from Every Chapter of the Bible)
IN FULL ASSURANCE OF FAITH: en plerophoria pisteos: (He 10:19; Matthew 21:21,22; Mark 11:23,24; Ephesians 3:12; James 1:6; 1John 3:19,21,22)
Wuest - He is to draw near to God in full assurance of faith. The very thing which this Jew lacked was faith. And because he had no faith, he had no assurance of salvation. He should draw near in the attitude of full assurance which faith produces. (Hebrews Commentary online)
Spurgeon - God cannot talk with an imperfect being. He could talk with Adam in the garden, but he could not talk with you or with me, even in paradise itself, as imperfect creatures. How, then, am I to have fellowship with God, and access to his throne? Why, simply thus: “For by one offering he has perfected for all time those who are made holy” (Heb 10:14). Consequently, we have access with boldness to the throne of the heavenly grace, and may come boldly in all our time of need. And what is better still, we are always perfect, always fit to come to the throne, whatever our doubts, whatever our sins. Trembling though it be, our faith is true; and though it does not always work in us all the fruit we would desire, yet it does operate in a very blessed way upon our walk and conversation. We believe that Jesus is the Christ, and our trust for eternal life is in Him alone.
Full assurance (4135) (plerophoreo [words study] from pleres = full + phero = to bear or bring) means literally to carry fully and so to bring to fullness or to bring to a full measure. To fill completely. To satisfy fully. To be completely certain or absolutely sure as in Ro 4:21 which speaks of Abraham's faith. To fulfill or fully accomplish as in (2Ti 4:5-note) This verb is frequently used in the papyri in the sense of finishing off. All of the meanings of plerophoreo in the NT are figurative and can be divided into either (1) to fulfill, accomplish or achieve, carry out fully or (2) to be fully convinced, to be wholly certain or to be persuaded as in the present verse. The primary idea is, being filled with a thought or conviction.
Full assurance of faith - Full conviction engendered by faith. Faith is the basis of all right relation to God. The climax of faith is commitment, the follow through if you will. Professing Christ, without commitment to Christ, is not saving faith.
The story is told of a tightrope walker who liked to walk a wire across Niagara Falls-preferably with someone on his back. Many people on the bank expressed complete confidence in his ability to do it, but he always had a difficult time getting a volunteer to climb up on him.
See Related Resources:
Faith (4102)(pistis [word study]) is synonymous with trust or belief and is the conviction of the truth of anything, but in Scripture usually speaks of belief respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervor born of faith and joined with it.
It is notable that only the book of Romans surpasses the book of Hebrews (click to study the uses of pistis in Hebrews) in the number of uses of pistis (Romans = 35, Hebrews = 31, out of 243 NT uses) Click for links to all 243 uses of pistis (NAS) which is translated: faith, 238; faithfulness, 3; pledge, 1; proof, 1.
As pistis relates to God, it is the conviction that God exists and is the Creator and Ruler of all things well as the Provider and Bestower of eternal salvation through Christ. As faith relates to Christ it represents a strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through Whom we obtain eternal salvation and entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven. Stated another way, eternal salvation comes only through belief in Jesus Christ and no other way.
True faith that saves one's soul includes at least three main elements
Respected theologian Louis Berkhof defines genuine faith in essentially the same way noting that it includes an intellectual element (notitia), which is
Faith is relying on what God has done rather than on one’s own efforts. In the Old Testament, faith is rarely mentioned. The word trust is used frequently, and verbs like believe and rely are used to express the right attitude to God. The classic example is Abraham, whose faith was reckoned as righteousness (Ge 15:6). At the heart of the Christian message is the story of the cross: Christ’s dying to bring salvation. Faith is an attitude of trust in which a believer receives God’s good gift of salvation (Acts 16:30,31) and lives in that awareness thereafter (Gal 2:20; cf. Heb 11:1).
J. B. Lightfoot discusses the concept of faith in his commentary on Galatians. He notes that in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, the definition of the word for faith "hovers between two meanings: trustfulness, the frame of mind which relies on another; and trustworthiness, the frame of mind which can be relied upon...the senses will at times be so blended together that they can only be separated by some arbitrary distinction. The loss in grammatical precision is often more than compensated by the gain in theological depth...They who have faith in God are steadfast and immovable in the path of duty."
Faith, like grace, is not static. Saving faith is more than just understanding the facts and mentally acquiescing. It is inseparable from repentance, surrender, and a supernatural longing to obey. None of those responses can be classified exclusively as a human work, any more than believing itself is solely a human effort.
Faith is manifest by not believing in spite of evidence but obeying in spite of consequence. John uses the related verb pisteuo to demonstrate the relationship between genuine faith and obedience writing..."He who believes (present tense = continuous) in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." (John 3:36)
Charles Swindoll commenting on faith and obedience in John 3:36 concludes that...In Jn 3:36 the one who “believes in the Son has eternal life” as a present possession. But the one who “does not obey the Son shall not see life.” To disbelieve Christ is to disobey Him. And logically, to believe in Christ is to obey Him. As I have noted elsewhere, “This verse clearly indicates that belief is not a matter of passive opinion, but decisive and obedient action.” (quoting J. Carl Laney)...Tragically many people are convinced that it doesn’t really matter what you believe, so long as you are sincere. This reminds me of a Peanuts cartoon in which Charlie Brown is returning from a disastrous baseball game. The caption read, “174 to nothing! How could we lose when we were so sincere?” The reality is, Charlie Brown, that it takes more than sincerity to win the game of life. Many people are sincere about their beliefs, but they are sincerely wrong!" (Swindoll, C. R., & Zuck, R. B. Understanding Christian Theology.: Thomas Nelson Publishers) (This book is recommended if you are looking for a very readable, non-compromising work on "systematic theology". Wayne Grudem's work noted above is comparable.)
Subjectively faith is firm persuasion, conviction, belief in the truth, veracity, reality or faithfulness (though rare). Objectively faith is that which is believed (usually designated as "the faith"), doctrine, the received articles of faith. Click separate study of "the faith (pistis)"
True faith is not based on empirical evidence but on divine assurance.
Spurgeon wrote that "Faith is the foot of the soul by which it can march along the road of the commandments."
ILLUSTRATION - When missionary John Paton was translating the Scripture for the South Sea islanders, he was unable to find a word in their vocabulary for the concept of believing, trusting, or having faith. He had no idea how he would convey that to them. One day while he was in his hut translating, a native came running up the stairs into Paton's study and flopped in a chair, exhausted. He said to Paton, “It’s so good to rest my whole weight in this chair.” John Paton had his word: Faith is resting your whole weight on God. That word went into the translation of their New Testament and helped bring that civilization of natives to Christ. Believing is putting your whole weight on God. If God said it, then it’s true, and we’re to believe it.
Nothing before, nothing behind,
Clearly faith is a key word in Hebrews. Study the 31 uses of pistis in Hebrews in context ...
HAVING OUR HEARTS SPRINKLED CLEAN FROM AN EVIL CONSCIENCE: rerhantismenoi (RPPMPN) as kardia apo suneideseos poneras: (He 10:9, 13,14,19;11:28; 12:24; Leviticus 14:7; Numbers 8:7; 19:18,19; Isaiah 52:15; Ezekiel 36:25; 1Peter 1:2) (John 8:9; 1Timothy 4:2; 1John 3:20)
Wuest - The words “having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” speak of the Levitical ceremonies with reference to the preparation of the priests for their priestly service (Ed: See Leviticus 8:1-36-note). Vincent puts this very succinctly: “This qualification for a right approach to God is stated typologically. As the priests were sprinkled with the sacrificial blood and washed with water before ministering, so do you who have now the privilege and standing of priests in approaching God, draw near, priest like, as sharers in an economy which purges the conscience (Heb 9:14-note), having your consciences purged. Your own hearts must experience the effects of the great sacrifice of Christ,—pardon, moral renewal, deliverance from a legal spirit.” Regarding the words “bodies washed with pure water,” Vincent says that most expositors refer that to water baptism. But the present writer agrees with Vincent when he says that they “indicate generally the thoroughness of the cleansing process undergone by one who surrenders himself, soul, body, and spirit, to God.” (Hebrews Commentary online)
Having...sprinkled (4472)(rhantizo from rhaino - to sprinkle; cp cognate = rhantismos) by implication meant to cleanse by sprinkling, purify, free from pollution. It was used in secular Greek to describe common sprinkling in a non-religious sense but there were uses in which sprinkling conveyed the idea of religious cleansing. Rhantizo speaks of internal (heart) cleansing in Heb 10:22).
The perfect tense of both verbs in this passage (sprinkled and washed) describes actions accomplished in past and continuing in the effect/benefit. In other words, Hearts sprinkled clean pictures our once for all past tense salvation (the act of having been justified) when we were declared righteous by faith & the Spirit circumcised (Dt 30:6) our hearts (Ro 2:28, 29-note, Colossians 2:11-note, Dt 30:6, Ezekiel 11:19,20-note, Ezek 18:31, Ezek 36:26,27-note) "transplanting" a new heart with this new heart exerting a continuing effect on our current and future behavior and actions (perfect tense).
A T Robertson adds that this is "an evident allusion to the sprinkling of blood in the old tabernacle (He 9:18, 19, 20, 21, 22) and the shedding of Christ’s blood for the cleansing of our consciences (He 10:1, 2, 3, 4, 1:3)."
This section recalls to mind Moses "sprinkling" the children of Israel in the 1st Covenant (Ex 24:8); High Priest once/year "sprinkling" the Mercy Seat w/ the blood of the sacrificial animal to cover the sins. Under the Old Covenant, when priests (cp 1Pe 2:9-note, Revelation 1:5-note) were consecrated they were sprinkled with blood (Ex 29:21, Lev 8:23,24, 30 1Peter 1:2-note)
We are to come “having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water,” which was typical of the high priest who, before he could approach God, had to be sprinkled with the blood of the sacrifice and wash his body at the laver. Then, and only then, could he enter the holy of holies with a pure conscience before God. We, too, must experience the cleansing power of Christ’s blood, freeing us from an evil conscience of sin, so that we can come into God’s presence with bold confidence in our worship. We are cleansed "positionally" when we first believe (justification), but we need to daily be cleansed by confessing our sins before entering boldly into the Holy of holies (1Jn 1:9, Heb 4:16).
This figure is taken from the sacrificial ceremonies of the Old Covenant. The priests were continually washing themselves and the sacred vessels in the basins of clear water, and blood was continually being sprinkled as a sign of cleansing. But all the cleansing, whether with water or blood, was external. Only Jesus can cleanse a man’s heart. By His Spirit He cleanses the innermost thoughts and desires.
Take me as I am, Lord,
Evil (wicked, bad) (4190)(poneros) from poneo = work or toil, Robertson says the idea is that labor is an annoyance, bad, evil; Noun poneria derived from poneros) means evil including evil, malignant character, pernicious (see Webster 1828 definition below), that which is morally or socially worthless, wicked, base, bad, degenerate. Poneros denotes determined, aggressive, and fervent evil that actively opposes what is good. Poneros is not just bad in character (like kakos - see below), but bad in effect (injurious)! Poneros describes evil in active opposition to good. It means not only evil in its nature but viciously evil in its influence and actively harmful. Poneros used to describe Satan (ho poneros = "Evil one"), the god of this age, who is corrupting man and dragging him to destruction. This denotes someone who is not content in being corrupt themselves. They seek to corrupt others and draw them into the same destruction! What a horrid description of a conscience!
The trouble with the advice, "Follow your conscience" is that most people follow it like someone following a wheelbarrow--they direct it wherever they want it to go, and then follow behind.
"Did you know that ever since 1811 (when someone who had defrauded the government anonymously sent $5 to Washington D.C.) the U.S. Treasury has operated a Conscience Fund? Since that time almost $3.5 million has been received from guilt-ridden citizens." (Chuck Swindoll, The Quest For Character)
Conscience (4893)(suneidesis [word study] from sun/syn = with + eido = know) literally means a "knowing with", a co-knowledge with oneself or a being of one's own witness in the sense that one's own conscience "takes the stand" as the chief witness, testifying either to one's innocence or guilt. It describes the witness borne to one's conduct by that faculty by which we apprehend the will of God. (Click for more on conscience)
Suneidesis - 30x in 29v -Acts 23:1; 24:16; Rom 2:15; 9:1; 13:5; 1 Cor 8:7, 10, 12; 10:25, 27ff; 2 Cor 1:12; 4:2; 5:11; 1 Tim 1:5, 19; 3:9; 4:2; 2 Tim 1:3; Titus 1:15; Heb 9:9, 14; 10:2, 22; 13:18; 1 Pet 2:19; 3:16, 21
The conscience is a key word in the epistle to the Hebrews.
Under the New Covenant, believing Jews who worshiped Jehovah had the guilt was completely gone, and their conscience could rest easy. This refers to the positional truth because of the cleansing provided by the blood of Christ. But there is also a practical (daily practice or sanctification) aspect to the conscience for Paul writes...
Webster defines "conscience" as the sense or consciousness of the moral goodness or blameworthiness of one’s own conduct, intentions, or character together with a feeling of obligation to do right or be good.
The Greek noun suneidesis is the exact counterpart of the Latin con-science, “a knowing with,” a shared or joint knowledge. It is our awareness of ourselves in all the relationships of life, especially ethical relationships. We have ideas of right and wrong; and when we perceive their truth and claims on us, and will not obey, our souls are at war with themselves and with the law of God
Suneidesis is that process of thought which distinguishes what it considers morally good or bad, commending the good, condemning the bad, and so prompting to do the former and avoid the latter.
To have a "clear conscience" does not mean that we have never sinned or do not commit acts of sin. Rather, it means that the underlying direction and motive of life is to obey and please God, so that acts of sin are habitually recognized as such and faced before God (1Jn 1:9)
A "clear conscience" consists in being able to say that there is no one (God or man) whom I have knowingly offended and not tried to make it right (either by asking forgiveness or restoration or both). Paul wanted Timothy to have no doubt that he endured his present physical afflictions, as he had countless others, because of his unswerving faithfulness to the Lord, not as a consequence of unfaithful, ungodly living. So as Paul neared his death, he could testify that his conscience did not accuse or condemn him. His guilt was forgiven, and his devotion was undivided. To continually reject God’s truth causes the conscience to become progressively less sensitive to sin, as if covered with layers of unspiritual scar tissue. Paul’s conscience was clear, sensitive, & responsive to its convicting voice. Click on the books below to study the NT picture of conscience.
Kenneth Osbeck writes that "The conscience has been described as the “rudder of the soul” or the believer’s “principle within.” One of the prime responsibilities of Christian living is to keep the conscience clear as to the things of God so that we might live worthy lives before our fellowmen. But the conscience must be continually enlightened and developed by an exposure to God’s Word if it is to serve as a reliable guide for our lives. A conscience that is allowed to become hardened and insensitive to sin will ultimately lead to spiritual and moral disaster. We must allow God to develop our consciences and then our consciences are able to develop us. (Osbeck, K. W. Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions. Kregel Publications)
I Want a Principle Within
Conscience is the judgment which we pronounce on our own conduct by putting ourselves in the place of a bystander. (Adam Smith.)
Conscience is a dainty, delicate creature, a rare piece of workmanship of the Maker. Keep it whole without a crack, for if there be but one hole so that it break, it will with difficulty mend again. (S. Rutherford.)
The Christian can never find a “more faithful adviser, a more active accuser, a severer witness, a more impartial judge, a sweeter comforter, or a more inexorable enemy.” (Bp. Sanderson.)
Conscience in everything: — Trust that man in nothing who has not a conscience in everything. (Sterne.)
Conscience makes cowards of us; but conscience makes saints and heroes too. (J. Lightfoot.)
Conscience is a marvelous gift from God, the window that lets in the light of His truth. If we sin against Him deliberately, that window becomes dirty, and not as much truth can filter through. Eventually, the window becomes so dirty that it no longer lets in the light. The Bible calls this a defiled, seared conscience...Do you keep a clean conscience? It is a part of your inner being that responds to God's truth. When you sin, the window of your conscience becomes dirty and filters out truth. Avoid sin in your life and live with a clean conscience. Every day feed yourself truth from the Word of God. (Wiersbe, W: Prayer, Praise and Promises: Ps 51:3-6)
S. Rutherford - Hurt not your conscience with any known sin.
“Conscience is that faculty in me which attaches itself to the highest that I know, and tells me what the highest I know demands that I do."
“When there is any debate, quit. There is no debate possible when conscience speaks.”
Sidney J. Harris - Once we assuage our conscience by calling something a “necessary evil,” it begins to look more and more necessary and less and less evil. -
Bob Goddard - As someone else has said, "She won't listen to her conscience. She doesn't want to take advice from a total stranger."
Leo Tolstoy - The antagonism between life and conscience may be removed in two ways: By a change of life or by a change of conscience. .
Conscience is God’s spy and man’s overseer. (John Trapp)
A good conscience and a good confidence go together. (Thomas Brooks)
Franklin P. Jones wrote that "Conscience is a small, still voice that makes minority reports."
Someone added "Conscience is also what makes a boy tell his mother before his sister does."
H. C. Trumbull wrote that "Conscience tells us that we ought to do right, but it does not tell us what right is--that we are taught by God's word.
Christopher Morley said about conscience Pop used to say about the Presbyterians, 'It don't prevent them committing all the sins there are, but it keeps them from getting any fun but of it.'
The late General Omar Bradley was more serious in commenting on conscience "The world has achieved brilliance without conscience," he conceded. "Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants."
On the subject of conscience Martin Luther declared before the court of the Roman Empire at Worms in 1521 "My conscience is captive to the Word of God. ... I am more afraid of my own heart than of the pope and all his cardinals. I have within me the great pope, Self."
When a person comes to faith in Christ, his conscience becomes acutely sensitive to sin. No longer as a Christian can he sin with impunity. The story is told about an old Indian chief who was converted. Later a missionary asked him:
Billy Graham set out the importance of a clear conscience "To have a guilty conscience is a feeling. Psychologists may define it as a guilt complex, and may seek to rationalize away the sense of guilt, but once it has been awakened through the application of the law of God, no explanation will quiet the insistent voice of conscience."
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C H Spurgeon spoke frequently about conscience as seen in the following quite pithy quotations...beloved if you are contemplating sinning as you read this or are caught in the web of some sin, may the Holy Spirit of the Living God convict you of sin, righteousness and the judgment to come, not only for your sake of your Christian life but even more so for the sake of His name...
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When Sgt. Ray Baarz of the Midvale, Utah, police department opened his wallet, he noticed his driver's license had expired. Embarrassed at having caught himself red-handed, he had no alternative. He calmly and deliberately pulled out his ticket book and wrote himself a citation. Then Baarz took the ticket to the city judge who fined him five dollars. "How could I give a ticket to anyone else for an expired license in the future if I didn't cite myself?" Baarz asked.
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In a number of languages it would be entirely misleading to speak of `a guilty conscience,' for this would seem to imply that there is something sinful about the conscience itself. In reality, it is the conscience that says that a person is guilty, and therefore it may be necessary to translate Heb10:22 as `with hearts that have been purified from a condition in which their conscience has said that they are guilty.
There is a treasure you can own
See 1Pe 3:19 where Peter is encouraging the believers who are suffering (or will soon go thru a fiery trial) with the doctrinal truth that "baptism now saves you" and he equates this "baptism" not with water baptism of Christianity or ritual Jewish baptismal washing for "purification" but with the obtaining of a "good conscience". And in these verses in Hebrews we see the only way one can obtain a clean conscience is by having one's heart sprinkled (with the blood of Jesus) (1Pe1:2) representing the blood of the New Covenant in which the unregenerate person is born from above and receives a new heart (with a new conscience).
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Our Daily Bread - A Clear Conscience
Now in His mercy He waits to impart
A clear conscience is a soft pillow.
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The 50-Year Desire -- Years ago I was standing by the deathbed of an old minister down in Alabama. The old man had been a preacher for fifty years. I saw his son, who also was a minister, kneel by his father’s bed. “Father, you have preached for fifty years, and have done more good than any man I know.” The old man, with feeble but distinct voice, said: “Don’t tell me about that, son. Tell me about the blood of Jesus. Nothing but the blood of Jesus will do for a dying man.” If a man who had preached for fifty years and who had lived a pure, straight life, in his dying hour had to rely upon the blood of Jesus Christ, don’t you ever think there is any hope for you aside from this atoning blood?
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Example of conscience that cannot be cleansed: Albert Speer was once interviewed about his last book on ABC’s “Good Morning, America.” Speer was the Hitler confidant whose technological genius was credited with keeping Nazi factories humming throughout World War II. In another era he might have been one of the world’s industrial giants. He was the only one of twenty-four war criminals tried in Nuremburg who admitted his guilt. Speer spent twenty years in Spandau prison. The interviewer referred to a passage in one of Speer’s earlier writings: “You have said the guilt can never be forgiven, or shouldn’t be. Do you still feel that way?” The look of pathos on Speer’s face was wrenching as he responded, “I served a sentence of twenty years, and I could say, ‘I’m a free man, my conscience has been cleared by serving the whole time as punishment.’ But I can’t do that. I still carry the burden of what happened to millions of people during Hitler’s lifetime, and I can’t get rid of it. This new book is part of my atoning, of clearing my conscience.” The interviewer pressed the point. “You really don’t think you’ll be able to clear it totally?” Speer shook his head. “I don’t think it will be possible.” For thirty-five years Speer had accepted complete responsibility for his crime. His writings were filled with contrition and warnings to others to avoid his moral sin. He desperately sought expiation. All to no avail.
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Charles Simeon, one of the greatest preachers of the Church of England, explained his coming to Christ like this: As I was reading Bishop Wilson on the Lord’s supper, I met with an expression to this effect—“That the Jews knew what they did, when they transferred their sin to the head of their offering.” The thought came into my mind, “What, may I transfer all my guilt to another? Has God provided an Offering for me, that I may lay my sins on His head? Then, God willing, I will not bear them on my own soul one moment longer.” Accordingly I sought to lay my sins upon the sacred head of Jesus.
AND OUR BODIES WASHED WITH PURE WATER: kai lelousmenoi (RMPMPN) to soma hudati katharo: (He 9:10; Exodus 29:4; Leviticus 8:6; Ezekiel 16:9; 36:25; Zechariah 13:1; Matthew 3:11; John 3:5; John 13:8-10; 1Corinthians 6:11; 2Corinthians 7:1; Ephesians 5:26; Titus 3:5; 1Peter 3:21; Revelation 1:5) (cp Jn 13:8, 9, 10, Ep 5:26; Titus 3:5)
Spurgeon - It is the washing that enables us to draw near. We shrink, we tremble, we find communion impossible until we are made clean.
As noted above with the verb sprinkled, the verb washed is also in the perfect tense, which describes action accomplished in past and continuing in the effect/benefit. Aaron was inaugurated into the Levitical priesthood with washing - "Then Moses had Aaron and his sons come near, and washed them with water." (Lev 8:6-note) In addition, the priests were constantly "washing" at the bronze laver. Keeping in mind that the writer is primarily addressing individuals (Hebrews) who were very familiar with the OT ordinances the writer is saying in essence that the OT ordinances were but shadows which have The “washing with pure water” does not refer to Christian baptism, but to the Holy Spirit’s purifying one’s life by means of the Word of God (cf. Ep 5:25,26-note; Titus 3:5-note). This is purely a New Covenant picture (Jer 31:33; Ezek 36:25,26-note).
In the Septuagint the Greek phrase for pure water (hudor katharon) is the same expression used for water used in ritual purification (Nu 5:17 "holy water" cp prophesy in Ezek 36:25). Washings were commonly alluded to in OT: (cf. Lev 14:9; Lev 15:11, 13, 16, 27; Lev 16:4, 24, 26; Nu 19:7,8).
See Ep 5:26 and Titus 3:5 for the use of loutron related to louo used in this verse.
Hebrews 9:13,14 contrasts EXTERNAL RITUAL cleansing (v13) with the INTERNAL CLEANSING provided by THE BLOOD OF CHRIST (v14), this cleansing reaching to the conscience and making possible the (latreuo = worshipful) service of God.
Another example of the danger of reading commentaries and not reading what God says: Word Biblical Commentary makes the following statement re "washed with pure water": "The reference in v22b is almost certainly to CHRISTIAN BAPTISM…." This interpretation however does not fit well with the contextual flow of the book. The author has been trying to move the reader away from EXTERNAL ritual (cp Heb 9:13,14) and to the REALITY and sufficiency of the PROPITIATORY effect of Christ's once for all sacrifice. Why would he so quickly interject an external work like baptism? Witness my own personal case where I was baptized at least twice BEFORE I was actually regenerated by the Spirit at age 39. Certainly baptism is commanded & true believers should joyously receive water baptism but it does not make the recipient more acceptable in the throne room of God. Our acceptability before God's Throne is based ONLY on the sufficiency and eternality of Christ's blood sacrifice.
Robertson says in regard to whether writer meant to refer to baptism "quite doubtful".
Vincent comments: "Most, expositors refer to baptism. The most significant passage in that direction is 1Pe 3:21; comp. Eph 5:26; Titus 3:5. It may be, though I doubt if the idea is emphasized. I incline, with Dr. Bruce, to think that it indicates generally the thoroughness of the cleansing process undergone by one who surrenders himself, soul, body, and spirit, to God." Kindred spirits!
Vincent comments: This qualification for a right approach to God is stated typologically. As the priests were sprinkled with the sacrificial blood and washed with water before ministering, so do you who have now the privilege and standing of priests in approaching God, draw near, priest like, as sharers in an economy which purges the conscience (Heb 9:14), having your consciences purged. Your own hearts must experience the effects of the great sacrifice of Christ,—pardon, moral renewal, deliverance from a legal spirit. On the priesthood of believers see [1Pe 2:5, 9; Ex 19:6; Isa 61:6]. This idea is dominated in our epistle by that of Christ’s priesthood; but it is not excluded, and is implied throughout. [Heb 13:15].
F B Meyer...
THE WITNESS OF CONSCIENCE
CONSCIENCE HOLDS the mirror to the inner life, and shows us just what we are in the light of God's infinite purity and righteousness. The word is derived from the Latin con, with; scio, I know. Conscience is what a man knows with or against himself.
Sometimes we can meet ourselves with a smile; this is what we term a good conscience; at other times we do not like to meet ourselves, but feel ashamed--we cannot deceive ourselves, or hoodwink conscience. We know, and we know that we know, that this is right and that wrong; this is good, and that evil. Conscience is an ill bed-fellow, says the old proverb, and when we are troubled with evil dreams, turning, tossing, starting up in fear, rest becomes impossible. It is very necessary to keep on good terms with your conscience, and we do not wonder that the Apostle made it his aim to preserve a conscience void of offence towards God and man (Acts 24:16).
All men have a conscience, else God could not judge them; there would be no standard by which to try or convict, but in most cases conscience is uninstructed. It judges rightly, so far as it knows, but its knowledge is scant, and its power of making accurate distinctions is limited. The Christian conscience is illumined and instructed by the light that falls on it from the face of Christ. See to it that your conscience is constantly corrected by Christ's standard. Never tamper with conscience, nor gag her protestations, nor drown her voice. Never say it does not matter for once in a way. Never dare to let her voice wear itself out. To behave thus is to tamper with the most delicate moral machinery in the universe. Let us see that our hearts are sprinkled from an evil conscience in the blood of Jesus, so that we may draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith (Heb. 10:19, 20, 21, 22, 23).
PRAYER -O Lord, give me Thy Holy Spirit in greater measure, that His saving presence may cleanse my conscience, and His holy inspiration enlighten my heart. AMEN. (F. B. Meyer. Our Daily Walk)
Amplified: So let us seize and hold fast and retain without wavering the hope we cherish and confess and our acknowledgement of it, for He Who promised is reliable (sure) and faithful to His word. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: Let us hold fast to the undeviating hope of our creed, for we can rely absolutely on him who made the promises; (Westminster Press)
NLT: Without wavering, let us hold tightly to the hope we say we have, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: In this confidence let us hold on to the hope that we profess without the slightest hesitation - for he is utterly dependable - (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: Let us constantly be holding fast our confession of the hope, doing so without wavering, for faithful is He who promised. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: may we hold fast the unwavering profession of the hope, (for faithful is He who did promise),
LET US HOLD FAST THE CONFESSION OF OUR HOPE WITHOUT WAVERING: katechomen (1PPAS) ten homologian tes elpidos akline: (Heb 3:6,14; 4:14; Revelation 3:11) (James 1:6)
Let us - exhortations in Hebrews (in the NASB). 13x in 12v - Heb 4:1, 11, 14, 16; 6:1; 10:22, 23, 24; 12:1 (2x), He 12:28; 13:13, 15
Spurgeon - We have a blessed hope—a hope most “firm and steadfast, and entering into the inside of the curtain” (Heb 6:19). If I begin to describe our hope, I must begin with what, I think, is always the topmost stone of it: the hope of the second advent of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; for we believe that when He shall appear, we shall also appear with Him in glory (Col 3:4). Hope in Christ, and in His coming, and in the victory of the truth. If the storms lower, believe that there is fair weather yet ahead; and if the night darkens into a sevenfold blackness, believe that the morning comes despite the darkening glooms. Do you have faith and trust in Him Who lives, and was dead, and is alive for evermore? Let your hope begin to hear the hallelujahs, which proclaim the reign of the Lord God omnipotent; for reign He must, and the victory shall be unto Him and to His truth. Hold fast your faith. Hold fast your hope. Not only hold it, but hold it fast without wavering. Let us never have a question about it. God grant that we may have an unquestioning, unstaggering faith! To hold fast the profession of our faith seems enough, but to hold it fast without wavering is better still; and so we ought to do.
Hold fast (occupy, restrain, possess) (2722) (katecho [word study] from katá = intensifies meaning + écho = have, hold) means to retain as by avoiding the relinquishing of something. It was used literally of holding one to keep them from going (Lk 4:42). Katecho was used figuratively in this verse (cp similar use in 1Co 15:2-note) meaning to adhere firmly to the teaching, one's convictions, and one's beliefs. Please do not misunderstand what the writer is teaching. Our salvation is kept by Christ’s holding us fast, not primarily by our holding Him fast. Our holding onto Him is evidence that He is holding onto us! The present tense calls for the hearer to keep on holding on to the One Who will never leave us nor forsake us.
Wuest - The words “hold fast” are the translation of katecho which means literally “to hold down.” It speaks here of a firm hold which masters that which is held. (Hebrews Commentary online)
Hold fast is literally “hold down” and speaks of a firm hold which masters that which is held. Holding on is the human side of eternal security. The Reformers called it “the perseverance of the saints”, a topic with which not everyone agrees but which has Biblical support (cp He 3:6-note, He 3:14-note, He 4:11-note, He 6:11-note, He 10:38, 39-note). Holding on is not something believers do to keep themselves saved, but it is evidence from the human perspective that one is saved. Unsaved people would not keep on holding on, especially when the going gets "tough" and persecution begins to rise. They are like those Jesus described in His parable of the "soils"...
Steadfast faith marks the elect. Persistence and hope characterize members of God's family. (holding fast to the end - see Mt 10:22, 24:13,Lk 8:15, 2Jn 9, Col 1:23-note, 1Co 15:2-note, Rev 2:25-note, Re 3:11-note). The greatest American theologian Jonathan Edwards once said that the sure proof of election is that one holds out to the end. How sad that many individuals come to Christ and say they believe and yet are gone so soon. Mass evangelistic campaigns that have followed up the "decisions" several years latter usually reveal a significant number who fail to hold fast.
In the parable of the sower, Jesus described four kinds of soil representing four different responses to the sowing of the seed of the Gospel. Some people are so far from wanting salvation that the devil simply takes away the seed of God’s Word before it has time to germinate (Mt 13:19). Others hearers respond with joy when they hear the Word, but their “belief” is only short lived and they fall away when their holding fast to the Word begins to bring affliction or persecution (which it will always bring! - Mt 13:20, 21). Others hear the Word but the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke out the Word (Mt 13:22), so that they bring forth no spiritual fruit (cp how to discern false teachers - Mt 7:15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20). The fourth group constitutes genuine believers who hear the "word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance” (Lk 8:15, Mt 13:23).
We see a similar description of "belief" that falls short of salvation in John 2, during the first Passover when “many believed in His name, beholding His signs which He was doing.” But Jesus, knowing their hearts were not with Him, “was not entrusting Himself to them” (Jn 2:23, 24). Jesus could see their hearts and knew they were not sincere believers See also Jn 8:30,31, and compare it with the actions of this same group of Jews in Jn 8:58, 59 (and Jesus' assessment of their "belief" in Jn 8:44, 50).
To reiterate holding fast to the confession is not a meritorious work and in no way keeps one saved, any more than good works can save a person. But both holding fast and good works are evidence that one is genuinely saved.
Professor William M. Marston of New York University asked three thousand people, “What have you to live for?” He was shocked to discover that 94 percent were simply enduring the present while they waited for the future…waited for “something to happen”…waited for “next year”… waited for a “better time”… waited for “someone to die”… waited “for tomorrow.” So many people live on so little, surviving in this world, just putting one foot in front of the other as they depend on unsubstantiated, ungrounded “hope.”
Draw near in FAITH
Confession (3671)(homologia [word study] from homoú = together with + légo = say) means literally to say the same and so to agree in one's statement. Homologia has strong legal connotations. A person can confess to a charge in court and thus openly acknowledge guilt. Or one may agree with a court order and thus make a legally binding commitment to abide by it. This last sense is implied in passages such as this one that call on us to acknowledge Jesus. We are to express our binding commitment to Jesus publicly and thus acknowledge our relationship to him as our Lord. The apostle John puts the importance of this issue succinctly writing that "No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also" (1John 2:23-see in depth note). Commitment to Jesus brings us into full relationship with God.
Wuest - Confession is the translation of homologia, the verb form of this word being homologeo which means, “to say the same thing” as another, thus “to agree with the statement of another,” thus “to confess one’s faith in the statements of another.” Here the confession is that of the recipient’s professed faith in the Messianic sacrifice of the New Testament, on the part of some, a heart faith, on the part of others, a mere intellectual assent. It was this latter class which the writer was especially desirous of reaching. Under stress of persecution, these were wavering. (Hebrews Commentary online)
Homologia is a key word in Hebrews (see below) with an urgent appeal to HOLD FAST.
The confession of our hope - Hope is the desire of some good with an expectation of obtaining it. Even when faith falters, hope comes to the rescue. Hope is analogous to a "long rope" (a "spiritual rope") that keeps us attached to the sovereignty and power of God. Victory over present circumstances comes when you focus on your eternal inheritance and praise God regardless of your circumstances. A Christian's hope is grounded on the historical facts of the life, death, resurrection, ascension, and intercession (He 7:25-note) of our Lord Jesus Christ. And so the believer's hope is sure, steadfast and anchored within the veil (see He 6:18, 19, 20-see note He 6:18; 19; 20) at the right hand of the Father's Throne in heaven.
We see the need for the call to hold fast exemplified in the OT, where many of the Hebrews who left Egypt, quickly returned in their hearts to Egypt. The writer is issuing this exhortation to encourage the Jewish readers who might be wavering (some of whom are likely simply professors but who have never truly believed in Jesus) might hold fast to their confession. Apparently, a number of the Jewish readers were wavering between faith in Messiah versus returning to the Law and the Old Covenant rituals.
Spurgeon - You are Christians, not for a time, but for eternity. Your new birth is not into a dying existence but into life everlasting. Continue your confession, and never conceal it. There are times when you will be inclined to put your flag away into the canvas case and hide your coat of arms in the cellar. Then you may fitly judge that the devil is getting advantage over you, and that it is time that you ceased to be beguiled by his sorceries. Tear up the wrappings, throw the bag away, and nail your flag aloft where every eye can see it. Whenever you feel inclined to be ashamed of Christ, do not deliberate but say, “This is wrong. There is coming over me something that I must not endure. If I were in a right state of mind I should never feel like this.” Never yield to shameful cowardice; scorn such detestable meanness. Perhaps you may have to go into a certain company where you do not want to have it known that you are a Christian. It is imperative that you break through that snare and put the case beyond debate. If I were you, I would make my profession known in that very company, because the idea that you must not be known to be a Christian will be very dangerous to you. I cannot exactly tell in what way it may endanger you, but it will surely do so. Therefore, whenever the thought of concealment crops up, down with it, and come out clear and straight for Jesus. Only when you are out-and-out for Jesus can you be in a right condition. Anything short of this is full of evil. Since Satan tempts you to hide your faith, feel that he seeks your harm, and therefore come out all the more decidedly. (Holding Fast our Profession)
Hope (1680) (elpis) in Scripture is not the world's definition of "I hope so", with a few rare exceptions (e.g., Acts 27:20) but is is an absolute certainty of future good. Hope is defined as a desire for some future good with the expectation of obtaining it. Hope is confident expectancy. Hope is the looking forward to something with some reason for confidence respecting fulfillment. See related study on the Believer's Blessed Hope.
Hope as the world typically defines it is a desire for some future occurrence of which one is not assured of attaining. The ancient world did not generally regard hope as a virtue, but merely as a temporary illusion. Historians tell us that a great cloud of hopelessness covered the ancient world. Philosophies were empty; traditions were disappearing; religions were powerless to help men face either life or death. People longed to pierce the veil and get some message of hope from the other side, but there is none outside of Christ.
In the OT there are several Hebrew words translated hope but each has the idea of inviting us to look ahead eagerly with confident expectation, the same idea conveyed by elpis. Each Hebrew word for "hope" calls for patience, reminding us that the fulfillment of our hope lies in the future ("hold on...the best is yet to come").
Hope is a repeated theme in Hebrews. Study the 5 uses in context...
Gabriel Marcel said, “Hope is for the soul what breathing is for the living organism.”
A study of concentration camp survivors found that those prisoners who were able to hold onto their sense of hope (‘things are going to get better’ or ‘we’re going to get out of here one day’ ) were much more likely to survive. Hope then is not optional but for these prisoners proved to be a matter of life and death.
Vincent writes that hope "in classical Greek, has the general signification of expectancy, relating to evil as well as to good. Thus Plato speaks of living in evil hope (“Republic,” i., 330); i.e., in the apprehension of evil; and Thucydides, of the hope of evils to come; i.e., the expectation or apprehension. In the New Testament the word always relates to a future good." (Vincent, M. R. Word Studies in the New Testament Vol. 1)
Seneca, Rome's leading intellectual figure, tutor of the depraved emperor Nero (who forced Seneca to commit suicide!) and contemporary of Paul tragically defined hope as “an uncertain good”, the antithesis of Biblical hope! What a difference the new birth in Christ makes in one's perspective.
The cynical editor H. L. Mencken also inaccurately defined hope as “a pathological belief in the occurrence of the impossible.”
His cynical definition does not even agree with the secular Webster's Collegiate dictionary which defines "Hope" much like the NT declaring that hope means "to cherish a desire with anticipation, desire with expectation of obtainment, expect with confidence."
Biblical hope is not "finger crossing", but is alive and certain because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Life without Christ is a hopeless end whereas life in Christ is an endless hope.
The book of Hebrews defines hope as that which gives "full assurance" (see note Hebrews 6:11). Thus we can have strong confidence that God is going to do good to us in future. The opposite of hope is despair, (hopelessness; a hopeless state; a destitution of hope or expectation) which is all that those without Christ as Savior can know, for Paul defines hope as "Christ Jesus, Who is our Hope" (1Ti 1:1). Thus genuine Biblical hope is not a concept but a Person, Christ Jesus!
Jeremiah pleaded with God on the basis of His Name, "Hope of Israel" (God's Names all reveal some aspect or attribute of His character), declaring "Thou Hope of Israel, its Savior in time of distress. Why art Thou like a stranger in the land Or like a traveler who has pitched his tent for the night?" (Jer14:8)
Again Jeremiah says "O LORD, the hope of Israel, all who forsake Thee will be put to shame. Those who turn away on earth will be written down, because they have forsaken the fountain of living water, even the LORD." (Jer 17:13)
The psalmist declares "Thou art my hope; O Lord GOD, Thou art my confidence from my youth." (Ps 71:5)
Paul uses makes an allusion to this OT name ("Hope of Israel") speaking to the Jews explaining that "I requested to see you and to speak with you, for I am wearing this chain for the sake of the hope of Israel." (Acts 28:20)
Although the Old revealed spoke of the Hope of Israel and predicted His coming to save His people as well as Gentiles, there was no mention that the Messiah of hope would actually live within each member of His redeemed church. Paul explained that in the New Covenant, "God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Col 1:27-note) The unsaved are born into the world but have "no hope and (are) without God in the world" (Ep 2:12-note, 1Thes 4:13-note) and if they die without Christ, he will be hopeless forever.
The Italian poet, Dante, in his Divine Comedy, put this inscription over the world of the dead: “Abandon all hope, you who enter here!”
In other words, life without Christ is a hopeless end whereas life in Christ is an endless hope.
Hope in Scripture is the absolute certainty of future good and believers are to be continually, actively, expectantly "looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus." (Titus 2:13-note).
A living hope should motivate a "looking" hope, so that we are waiting anxiously for Christ's return at any time, this event providing great incentive to "discipline (one's self) for the purpose of godliness" (1Ti 4:7-note) knowing that godliness "is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come." (1Ti 4:8-note)
G K Chesterton said that "Hope means hoping when things are hopeless or it is no virtue at all...As long as matters are really hopeful, hope is mere flattery or platitude. It is only when everything is hopeless that hope begins to be a strength."
Hope is an essential and fundamental element of Christian life, so essential indeed, that, like faith and love, Peter refers to it in this verse to designate the essence of Christianity
Hope is one component of the great triad of Christian virtues, along with faith and love. “But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1Cor 13:13; see note 1Thessalonians 1:3; 5:8; Gal 5:5, 6; Ep 1:15, 16, 17, 18-see notes Ep 1:15 16; 17; 18, Ep 4:2, 3, 4, 5-see notes Ep 4:2; 3; 4; 5; Col 1:4,5- notes; He 10:22, 23, 24-see notes He 10:22; 10:23; 10:24; 1Pe 1:21, 22- see notes 1Pe 1:21; 22).
Faith and hope are inseparably linked. We believe and so we hope.
Paul prayed for believers "that the eyes of (our) heart may be enlightened, so that (we) may know what is the hope of His calling." (Ep 1:18-note)
Hope is a "helmet of salvation" for we know that "God has not destined us for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1Th 5:8-note).
Hope as you can see is a deep well, which is well worth lingering over if you have time. To renew your mind with this great Biblical truth go over the following Scriptures, asking what each teaches about the "source" of hope, the stabilizing effect of the truth, the sanctifying effect, etc. --; ;(Job 8:13, 27:8, Ps 31:24,; 42:5, 6, 71:5,;119:49, 50;130:7, 146:5, Pr 10:28, 13:12 ;Jer 14:8, 29:11; Jn 5:45 Acts 2:26,;23:6, 24:15, 26:6, 28:20; Ro 4:18, 5:1, 2; 8:25, 12:12, 15:4, 13 1Co 13:13, 15:19, 21, 22, 23 2Cor 3:12 Ep 1:15, 16, 17, 18, 2:12 4:2, 3, 4, 5; ;Gal 5:5, 6 Col 1:4, 5, 1:27, ;1Th 1:3 2:19; 4:13, 14,1 5, 16, 17, 18, 5:8; 2Th 2:16 1Ti 1:1; Titus 2:11, 12, 13; 3:7 He 6:11; 6:18, 19, 20, 7:19, 10:22, 23, 24; 1Pe 1:3, 1:21,22; 3:15; 1Jn 2:25; 1Jn 3:2, 3 ; Jude 1:21)
Without wavering (186)(aklines from a = without + klíno = to cause to bend, to slant, slope, incline) means literally not leaning, without wavering, without inclining or giving way and thus steady or firm. These Hebrew readers were not to bend back toward Judaism with all the rituals and sacrifices and offerings. They were to steadfastly hold on to Jesus and His once for all sacrifice for sins!
The only other use of aklines is in the Apocrypha - 4 Maccabees 6:7 = And though he fell to the ground because his body could not endure the agonies, he kept his reason upright and unswerving. and 4 Maccabees 17:3 = Nobly set like a roof on the pillars of your sons, you held firm and unswerving against the earthquake of the tortures.
Wuest - The word “without wavering” is the translation of aklines. The word is made up of klino “to incline, bow,” thus “to lean towards,” and Alpha privative, which when prefixed to a word makes it mean the opposite to what it meant originally. The writer urges the recipients not to lean back towards the First Testament. Like the generation which left Egypt, who in their hearts were returning to that place of slavery, so these unsaved Jews under stress of persecution were leaning back in their hearts to the First Testament. The Holy Spirit was leading them on toward the act of faith in the Lord Jesus, while at the same time there was that tug of the evil nature urging them to return to the temple sacrifices and escape the persecution. Thus, they were wavering between two things, either to go on to the act of faith in Messiah or to go back to the First Testament. (Hebrews Commentary online)
FOR HE WHO PROMISED IS FAITHFUL: pistos gar o epaggeilamenos: (He 6:18; 11:11; 1Corinthians 1:9; 10:13; 1Thessalonians 5:24; 2Thessalonians 3:3; Titus 1:2)
For (gar) is a which is a term of explanation that always worth prayerfully pondering and interrogating.
In this passage the writer emphasizes the complete reliability of God (Heb 6:17, 18-see notes He 6:17; 6:18). He can be trusted to complete the good work He began. His promise is absolutely certain because "it is impossible for God to lie" (He 6:18-note). To place one's unwavering trust in the unwavering God is not a gamble, but a sure thing! The practical effect of trusting God's trustworthiness is that our fears tend to dissipate.
I love Jesus' Name, "Faithful and True" when He returns as Victor over all His enemies. (Rev 19:11-note)
Faithful (4103) (pistos from peitho = to persuade - induce one by words to believe, have confidence) is something or someone who is worthy of faith or keeps promises and is applied to God, humans, His Word, etc
Vincent gives a nice summary on the meaning of pistos, faithful, writing that it is used "(1), of one who shows Himself faithful in the discharge of a duty or the administration of a trust (Mt 24:45). Hence, trustworthy (2Ti 2:2). Of things that can be relied upon (2Ti 2:11). (2), Confiding; trusting; a believer (Gal 3:9; Acts 16:1; 2Cor 6:15; 1Ti 5:16)" (Word Studies in the New Testament)
Webster says that "Faithful" means firm in adherence to whatever one owes allegiance and implies unswerving adherence to a person or thing or to the oath or promise by which a tie was contracted.
Pistos is used in two senses in the NT - (1) An active meaning = trusting or believing - This is the less frequent usage. This sense speaks of a sinner exercising faith in the Lord Jesus. In the first NT use in this sense, Jesus "said to Thomas, “Reach here your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing." (Jn 20:27) Paul instructs Timothy to "let those who have believers (pistos) as their masters not be disrespectful to them because they are brethren, but let them serve them all the more, because those who partake of the benefit are believers (pistos) and beloved. Teach and preach these principles." (1Ti 6:2) When pistos is used in this active sense to refer to the faith which a lost sinner must place in the Lord Jesus in order to be saved, it includes the following ideas -- the act of considering the Lord Jesus worthy of trust as to His character and motives, the act of placing confidence in His ability to do just what He says He will do, the act of entrusting the salvation of his soul into the hands of the Lord Jesus, the act of committing the work of saving his soul to the care of the Lord. This means a definite taking of one’s self out of one’s own keeping and entrusting one’s self into the keeping of the Lord Jesus. Thus Paul says "So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer (pistos)." (Gal 3:9) Using a striking contrast, Paul asks "what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?" (2Cor 6:15) Luke records that Paul "came also to Derbe and to Lystra. And behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek." (Acts 16:1) Note also that with regard to believers, they are spoken of sometimes in the Active sense (as "believers") and sometimes in the Passive (as "faithful").The New Testament concept of faith includes three main elements, mutually connected and requisite, though according to circumstances sometimes one and sometimes another may be more prominent - (1) a fully convinced acknowledgement of the revelation of grace; (2) a self-surrendering fellowship (adhesion); and (3) a fully assured and unswerving trust (and with this at the same time hope) in the God of salvation or in Christ. (Modified from Cremer) (2) A passive meaning = trustworthy or faithful - which is the use here in Hebrews 11 - Here the basic idea is that of trustworthiness. In this sense pistos describes God, Christ, servants, His Word as faithful, reliable, worthy of belief or trust, , , dependable.
Marvin Vincent adds that pistos used of God describes Him as "True to his own nature and promises; keeping faith with Himself and with man."
Paul writes that even "if we are faithless, He remains faithful; for He cannot deny Himself." (2Ti 2:13-note)
Pistos in this passive sense is used of one who shows Himself faithful in the discharge of a duty or the administration of a trust "Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time?" (Mt 24:45).
Hence, pistos describes the one who is trustworthy "And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also." 2Ti 2:2-note).
Of the Word of God (which is the sense pistos is used in Titus 1:9) that can be relied upon
In this passive sense of trustworthy or faithful, pistos is applied to God as fulfilling His own promises (He 10:23-note; He 11:11-note), as fulfilling the purpose for which He called men (1Th 5:24-note; 1Cor 1:9), as responding with guardianship to the trust reposed in Him by men (1Cor 10:13-note; 1Pe 4:19-note). Christ is faithful (2Thes 3:3; He 3:2-note; Heb 2:17-note Revelation 19:11-note) Christ as the faithful witness (Rev 1:5; Rev 3:14). God’s and Christ's faithfulness in these verses speak not only of His essential being (faithful is Who He is), but also of His faithfulness toward us, as shown for example in the famous verse "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1Jn 1:9)
In the papyri, we find the following illustrations of the use of pistos -- "Whom no one would trust even if they were willing to work" = confidence in the person’s character and motives. "I have trusted no one to take it to her" = confidence in the ability of another to perform a certain task.
Moses in turn records the following of God writing "Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful (Lxx = pistos) God, Who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments." (Dt 7:9)
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Our Daily Bread - "A young paratrooper admitted that he had been frightened the first time he jumped. There was nothing but a big piece of fabric between him and death. What if that fabric accidentally tore apart? What if his ripcord didn't work and the parachute failed to open? But when he jumped, everything functioned perfectly. Supported by that life-preserving umbrella over his head, the man floated earthward. He said, "I had a release from fear and a marvelous feeling of exhilaration." What about the promises God makes in the Bible? Will they uphold us in times of crisis? It all depends on whether we believe them to be God's promises--not merely printed words, black marks on white paper, nor simply the guesses of fallible human beings like ourselves. Because they are the promises of God, we can cling to them with assurance. This will bring relief from fear and impart a deep inner peace. Throughout the ages, our God has been trusted millions upon millions of times. And He has never been proven untrustworthy. So let's trust Him today and add our personal testimony to that of the countless host of fellow believers who have found that our promise-keeping God is unfailingly faithful. --VCG (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
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There was once a young boy whose dad left him on a downtown corner one morning and told him to wait there until he returned in about half an hour. But the father’s car broke down and he could not get to a phone. Five hours went by before the father managed to get back, and he was worried that his son would be in a state of panic. But when the father got there, the boy was standing in front of the dime store, looking in the window and rocking back and forth on his heels. When the father saw him, he ran up to him and threw his arms around him and hugged and kissed him. The father apologized and said, “Weren’t you worried? Did you think I was never coming back?” The boy looked up and replied, “No, Dad. I knew you were coming. You said you would.”
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PROMISE KEEPERS - He who promised is faithful.- Hebrews 10:23
Joe was a behind-the-scenes kind of person - quiet, unassuming, often unnoticed. To see him, you wouldn't think he had been carrying a heavy burden for more than 11 years. But Joe carried it well.
Every so often I would think about Joe. I hardly knew him, but just knowing what he had to live with encouraged my faith in God. Joe was being faithful to his wife, who for 11 years lay in the hospital following brain surgery. With the exception of just 2 or 3 days, Joe visited her in the hospital every day until she died.
Such unfailing fidelity is the stuff God-fearing men and women are made of. It's the fruit of the Spirit rooted in the hearts of people who hold firm to God's love through life's trials. And when you talk with these people, they take no credit for their fidelity but give God all the credit. One Sunday at church before Joe's wife died, I told him what an inspiration he was to me. He said humbly, "It's all by God's grace."
As we appropriate God's grace in Jesus Christ and persevere in faith, He gives us what we need to keep the promises we make according to His will. And when one day He says to us, "Well done," we will respond, "It's all because You were faithful in keeping Your promises to us." Dennis J. DeHaan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
In scenes exalted or depressed,
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GOD IS A FAITHFUL PROMISER - It has been said that God’s promises are dated in heaven. And since we know only “in part,” as the Bible says (I Cor. 13:12), we don’t always know then they will be fulfilled. But that shouldn’t matter, for we do have the confidence that God will keep them. Suppose a wealthy man were to give you a note saying, “Sometime in the future, a time I’ve decided upon, you will receive $50,000 that I have set aside for you.” Although you might become impatient as you wait for the money, you confidently expect to get it. But if that same man were to say, “If everything works out, I might give you $50,000,” you’d expect the money only if he didn’t go bankrupt, change his mind, forget his promise, or die. Of course, the first situation carries the greatest certainty. And that’s the way it is in God’s economy. He dates, as it were, many of His promises according to His sovereign will and in keeping with His perfect knowledge of what is best for us. This in no way diminishes the value of God’s promises, for He backs them all with the infinite riches of His character. He never changes His mind. He never forgets His word. He never dies. God may seem to delay the fulfillment of a promise, but we can be encouraged that every promise is as good as His word.
Most of us have come to the end of our resources and then have discovered that at the right time and in the right way God imparted His strength. He was neither slow nor tardy. So don’t be discouraged, Christian. Keep on claiming the promises. God is the faithful Promiser. - P. R. Van Gorder. (Ibid)
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Wait for the Promises - Suppose a wealthy man were to give you a note saying, "Sometime in the future, a time I've decided upon, you will receive fifty thousand dollars that I have set aside for you." Although you might become impatient as you wait for the money, you would confidently expect to get it. But if that same man were to say, "If everything works out, I might give you fifty thousand dollars" you'd expect the money only if he didn't go bankrupt, change his mind, forget his promise, or die. The first situation carries the greatest certainty.
That's the way it is in God's economy. His promises are dated in heaven. And since we know only "in part" (1Co 13:12), we don't always know when they will be fulfilled. But that doesn't matter, for we do have the confidence that God will keep them. Nor does this diminish the value of God's promises, for He backs them all with the infinite riches of His character. He never changes. He never forgets His Word. He never dies. God may seem to delay the fulfillment of a promise, but we can be encouraged that every promise is as good as His word.
Most of us have come to the end of our resources. And there we have discovered that God, at the right time and in the right way, imparted His strength. He was neither slow nor tardy. So we need not be discouraged. We can keep on claiming the promises. God is the faithful promiser. —P. R. Van Gorder (Ibid)
Our prospects are as bright as the promises of God.
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John Bunyan, author of The Pilgrim's Progress, once wrote that when Christians begin to lose communion with God, one of the first things forgotten is that they live in God's very presence and their lives are in God's hands.
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As Good As His Word - Insurance agent Ken Specht had called on Medicus Robertson at the TV store where he worked. Robertson agreed to purchase a $5,000 life insurance policy, which would double in value in case of his accidental death. Mr. Specht said that his company would cover the client until the formal policy application could be issued.
Just then an irate customer burst through the door and shot Robertson, killing him instantly. The insurance company later paid the widow $10,000, minus the $10.50 premium Robinson had not paid. Instead of seeking a legal loophole, the agent kept his word.
We who have put our trust in Jesus Christ for our salvation can be sure that God will keep His word. Because "He who promised is faithful" (He 10:23), the author of Hebrews encouraged believers to boldly "draw near" to God, confident that He has accepted us and our sins have been forgiven (He 10:22). And we are to encourage one another to be faithful to Him because we know that He will one day return for us (He 10:24, 25).
We have a hope that is based on the trustworthy promises of God. Our future is secure. God has always proven Himself to be as good as His word. --D C Egner (Ibid)
Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
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MARTIN LUTHER HELD FAST AT WORMS - Still, Luther had deeply rocked the boat of the church world. The full imposing might of a papal council was called against him; they summoned him before them to Worms, demanding he recant. Terrified, some of his best friends left him. Yet Luther set his face like a flint. He bravely set out for the trial with a: "If there be as many devils at Worms as tiles on the roof-tops, I will enter!" There on that awesome day they pointed to a row of his books; he was asked whether he would retract them or not? Faced with the combined might of his intellectual and theological peers, his courage almost failed him. He requested time to think it over. They gave him a day. Friends came to encourage him and next afternoon he was once more before the assembly. He acknowledged in the heat of controversy, he had expressed himself too strongly against persons. But the substance of what he had written he could not retract, unless convinced of its wrongfulness by Scripture or adequate argument. The Emperor could hardly believe someone, would dare deny the infallibility of a general council and cut the discussion short. Eck, a chief Church official, told him (in Latin) "Martin, your plea to be heard from Scripture is the one always made by heretics. You do nothing but renew the errors of Wycliffe and Huss . .. would you put your judgment above that of so many famous men and claim you know more than any of them? . . . I ask you, Martin - answer candidly and without distinctions - do you or do you not repudiate your books and the errors they contain?" In German Luther replied, ". . . Unless I am convicted by the testimony of Sacred Scripture or by evident reason . . . my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against my conscience is neither right nor safe." Then, fully prepared to die for what he believed, Luther supposedly cried out the words engraved on his memorial at Worms: "Here I stand; I can do no other. God help me. Amen."
F B Meyer...
JESUS, THE MEDIATOR
THIS IS called the Better Covenant. There are no ifs; no injunctions of "'observe to do"; no conditions of obedience to be fulfilled. From first to last it consists of the I Wills of the Most High.
I will put my laws into their minds, refers to the intellectual faculty, which thinks, remembers, and reasons.
I will write them upon their hearts, the seat of the emotional life and affections. What a man loves, he is pretty certain to follow and obey. "A little lower," said the dying veteran, as they probed for the bullet, "and you will find the Emperor." So with the Christian who has been taken into the Covenant with God, the law is inscribed on the deepest affections of his being. He obeys because he loves.
I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people. This last clause is even better than the first, because it implies the keeping power of God. If we are to be a people for His peculiar possession, it can only result from the operation of His gracious Spirit, who keeps us, as the sun restrains the planets from becoming wandering stars.
All shall know Me. Oh, wonder of wonders. Can it be? To know God! To know Him as Abraham did, to whom He told His secrets; as Moses did, who conversed with Him face to face; or as the Apostle John did when he beheld Him in the visions of the Apocalypse. And that this privilege should be within the reach of the least!
I will be merciful to their iniquities, and their sins will I remember no more. As a score is forgotten when blotted from a slate, so shall sin be obliterated from the memory of God. It will be forgotten as a debt paid years ago.
Do you ask how God can call this a covenant, in which there is no second covenanting party? The answer is easy: Jesus Christ has stood in our stead, and has not only negotiated this covenant, but has fulfilled in our name, and on our behalf, all the conditions which were necessary and fight. He has become our Sponsor and Surety, so God is able to enter into these liberal terms with us, if we will identify ourselves with Him by a living faith. This is the new and better covenant.
PRAYER - Holy Father! I claim from Thee the fulfilment of Thy Covenant Promise, that Thou shouldst write Thy law upon my heart, and remember my sins and iniquities no more. May I hear Thee say: "Thy faith hath saved thee; Go, and sin no more!" AMEN (F. B. Meyer. Our Daily Walk)
THE RECEPTIVITY OF FAITH
"'Let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith."--Heb. 10:22.
"That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith."--Eph. 3:17.
FAITH IS our power of appropriation. The pity is that we are so slow to make use of our Lord s resources! He does not force Himself upon us. Though He brings with Him gold tried in the fire that we may be enriched, and white raiment for our clothing, and eye-salve for our blindness; and though He knows how urgently we need these things, He will not force them on our acceptance. Rather, He stands and knocks, as a travelling merchant knocks at the door, who has wares to dispose of, and we need to open the door and receive the gifts which are offered, without money and without price (Rev. 3:18, 19, 20; Isa. 55:1, 2).
Faith is our reception of the spiritual to make good the lack of the physical. It is a drawing on the Eternal for the deficiencies of our earthly pilgrimage. Probably when we look back on our present life, we shall find that our deficiencies were permitted, and even assigned, that we might be driven to avail ourselves of the fullness of the Lord Jesus (John 1:16; Eph. 3:19). We were allowed to wander in the sultry heat, that we might know Him as the shadow of a great Rock in a weary land; we were exposed to wild tempests and storms, that we might make for alcoves and harbours in Him that we should otherwise have missed.
It has been truly observed that Job's rebellious moods arose when he thought that God was afar off, but there was a difference when he realised that God was suffering with him. Remember that you are not divided from God by a deep chasm. He knows your sorrows. In all your afflictions He is afflicted. We have not a High Priest, who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. When Jesus saw the sisters weeping, He not only succoured them, but entered into their distress, and wept with them.
Are you weary with burdens that are crushing you? Is your lot cast with them that hate peace? Is your heart oppressed with loneliness? Take Jesus into account. Don't face your difficulties alone, but meet them in the fellowship of your Saviour. Have faith, i.e., reckon on God. Let the Lord Christ dwell in your heart, and He will be responsible for all, as you reckon on Him for all.
PRAYER - O Lord, I open my nature, and since my capacity is small, I pray that by love and faith, by patience and suffering, Thou wilt enlarge my heart, that it may be filled with all the fullness of God. AMEN. (F. B. Meyer. Our Daily Walk)
THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT--FAITH
FAITH IS an attribute of the heart, rather than of the head. It is largely intuitive in its first promptings. It is impossible to argue men into faith. Do not think, discuss, or reason too much about Faith, or you will miss it. It is like Love in this, that when you turn the dissecting knife on it for the purpose of analysis, its spirit and life vanish, leaving only the faded relics of what was once a thing of beauty and a joy for ever. If, however, turning from Faith to any object which is worthy of it, you concentrate heart and mind there, almost unconsciously Faith will have arisen and thriven to maturity.
Faith has two kinds of objective, first a person, and secondly a statement. When we are drawn powerfully towards a person, so as to feel able to entrust our soul, our destiny, our most precious possessions to His care, with an inward feeling of tranquillity and certainty that all is safe with Him, and that He will do better for us than we could do for ourselves, that is faith.
We may be attracted by a statement, which appeals to our moral sense; it is consistent with the decisions of our conscience; or perhaps, as the utterance of One in whom we repose utter confidence, it commends itself to us for His sake. We accept that statement; we rest on it. We believe that what it attests as fact either did happen or will happen. We are as sure of it as though we have been able to attest it by our senses of sight, hearing, or touch. That also is faith. "Faith is a well grounded assurance of that for which we hope, and a conviction of the reality of the unseen" (Heb. 11:1. Weymouth).
We must indicate a difference between this faith and "the faith once delivered to the saints." The former is the heart that accepts, and the hand that reaches out to obtain; the latter is the body of Truth to be accepted.
Out of faith comes faithfulness. Faith is your trust in another; faithfulness is your worthiness to be trusted. A faithful soul, one that can be absolutely relied upon, is of great price. Nothing so quickens our faith as to meditate on God's absolute trustworthiness. "Blessed is the man that trusteth in Him."
PRAYER - Give us faith in Thy love that never wearies or faints. Whatever else we doubt, may we never question the perfectness of Thy lovingkindness. Fulfil in US the good pleasure of Thy will, and the work o f faith with power. AMEN. (F. B. Meyer. Our Daily Walk)
THE NEW AND LIVING WAY
THE Holiest of All is opened for us to enter in and appear before God, to dwell and to serve in His very presence. The blood of the one sacrifice for ever, taken into heaven to cleanse away all sin for ever, is our title and our boldness to enter in. Now comes the question, What is the way that leads up and through the opened gate, and in which we have to walk if we are to enter in. This way, the only way, the one infallible way is, a new and living way, which Jesus dedicated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh. The boldness we have through the blood is the right or liberty of access Jesus won for us, when we regard His death as that of our Substitute, who did what we can never do--made redemption of transgressions, and put away sin for ever. The new and living way, through the rent veil, that is, His flesh, has reference to His death, regarded as that of our Leader and Forerunner, who opened up a path to God, in which He first walked Himself, and then draws us to follow Him. The death of Jesus was not only the dedication or inauguration of the new sanctuary and of the new covenant, but also of the new way into the holy presence and fellowship of God. Whoever in faith accepts of the blood He shed as His boldness of entrance, must accept, too, of the way He opened up as that in which he walks.
And what was that way? The way through the veil, that is, His flesh The veil is the flesh. The veil that separated man from God was the flesh, human nature under the power of sin. Christ came in the likeness of sinful flesh, and dwelt with us here outside the veil. The Word was made flesh. He also Himself in like manner partook of flesh and blood. In the days of His flesh, He was tempted like as we are; He offered prayer and supplication with strong crying and tears. He learned obedience even to the death. Through the rent veil of His flesh, His will, His life, as yielded up to God in death, He entered into the Holiest. Being made in likeness of men, He humbled Himself, becoming obedient even unto death. Whore-fore also God highly exalted Him. Through the rent veil He rose to the throne of God. And this is the way He dedicated for us. The very path in which, as our Substitute, He accomplished redemption, is the path which He opened for us to walk in, the path of obedience unto death. "Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that ye should follow His steps." Christ our High Priest is as literally and fully Leader and Forerunner as He is Substitute and Redeemer.
His way is our way. As little as He could open and enter the Holiest for us, except in His path of suffering and obedience and self-sacrifice, as little can we enter in unless we walk in the same path. Jesus said as much of His disciples as of Himself: Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground, and die, it abideth alone. He that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. Paul's law of life is the law of life for every believer: Bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our body. The way into the Holiest is the way of the rent veil, the way of sacrifice and of death. There is no way for our putting away sin from us but the way of Jesus; whoever accepts His finished work accepts what constitutes its Spirit and its power; it is for every man as for the Master--to put away sin by the sacrifice of self. Christ's death was something entirely and essentially new, and so also His resurrection life; a life out of death, such as never had been known before. This new death and new life constitute the new and living way, the new way of living in which we draw nigh to God.
Even as when Christ spoke of taking His flesh as daily food, so here where the Holy Spirit speaks of taking the rent veil of His flesh as our daily life, many say: This is a hard saying; who can bear it? Who then can be saved? To those who are willing and obedient and believe, all things are possible, because it is a new and living way. A new way. The word means ever fresh, a way that never decays or waxes old (Hebrews 8:13) but always retains its first perfection and freshness. A living way. A way always needs a living man to move upon it; it does not impart either life or strength. This way, the way of obedience and suffering and self-sacrifice and death, however hard it appears, and to nature utterly impossible, is a living way. It not only opens a track, but supplies the strength to carry the traveller along. It acts in the power of the endless life, in which Christ was made a High Priest. We saw how the Holy Spirit watches over the way into the Holiest, and how He, as the Eternal Spirit, enabled Christ, in opening the way, to offer Himself without spot unto God; it is He whose mighty energy pervades this way, and inspires it with life divine. As we are made. partakers of Christ, as we come to God through Him, His life, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, takes possession of us, and in His strength we follow in the footsteps of Christ Jesus. The way into the Holiest is the living way of perfect conformity to Jesus, wrought in us by His Spirit.
The new and living way through the rent veil into the Holiest. We now know what it is: it is the way of death. Yes, the way of death is the way of life. The only way to be set free from our fallen nature, with the curse and power of sin resting on it, is to die to it. Jesus yielded Himself absolutely to the will of God, even unto death. Let us not fear to yield ourselves in full surrender to that will, even unto death. The Spirit of Jesus will make it to us a new and living way. As we know Him in the power of His resurrection, He leads us into the conformity to His death. He does it in the power of the Holy Spirit. So His death and His life, the new death and the new life of deliverance from sin, and fellowship with God, which He inaugurated, work in us, and we are borne along as He was to where He is. Having therefore boldness, to enter in by the new and living way, let us draw nigh.
1. When first a believer avails himself of the boldness He has in the blood, and enters into the Holiest, he does not understand all that is meant by the new and living way. It is enough if his heart is right, and he is ready to deny himself and take up his cross. In due time it will be re-sealed what the full fellowship is with His Lord in the way He opened up, of obedience unto death.
2. The new and living way is not only the way for once entering in, but the way for a daily walk, entering ever deeper into God's love and will.
3. The Way of life is the way of death. This fallen life, this self, is so sinful and so strong, there is no way of deliverance but by death. But, praise God! the way of death is the way of life; in the power of Christ's resurrection and indwelling we dare to walk in it.
Andrew Murray. The Holiest of All
WITH A TRUE HEART
WE have been looking at the four great blessings of the new worship by which God encourages us to draw near to Him. We shall now see what the four chief things are that God seeks for in us as we come to Him. Of these the first is, a true heart.
In man's nature the heart is the central power. As the heart is so is the man. The desire and the choice, the love and the hatred of the heart prove what a man is already, and decide what he is to become. Just as we judge of a man's physical character, his size and strength and age and habits, by his outward appearance, so the heart gives the real inward man his character; and "the hidden man of the heart" is what God looks to. God has in Christ given us access to the secret place of His dwelling, to the inner sanctuary of His presence and His heart; no wonder that the first thing He asks, as He calls us unto Him, is the heart--a true heart; our inmost being must in truth be yielded to Him, true to Him.
True religion is a thing of the heart, an inward life. It is only as the desire of the heart is fixed upon God, the whole heart seeking for God, giving its love and finding its joy in God, that a man can draw near to God. The heart of man was expressly planned and created and endowed with all its powers, that it might be capable of receiving and enjoying God and His love. God's great quarrel with His people is that their heart is turned from Him. In Hebrews 3. we heard Him complain of the hardening of the heart, the wandering heart, the unbelieving heart. No wonder that the first requisite for entering the Holiest of All should be a true heart. It is only with the heart that religion, that holiness, that the love and the will of God can be known. God can ask for nothing else and nothing less than the heart--than a tame heart.
What the word true means we see from the use of it made previously (Hebrews 8:2 and Hebrews 9:24), the true tabernacle, and, the Holy Place, which are figures of the true. The first tabernacle was only a figure and a shadow of the true. There was, indeed, a religious service and worship, but it had no real abiding power; it could not make the worshipper perfect. The very image, the substance and reality, of the heavenly things themselves, were only brought by Christ. And God now asks that, to correspond with the true sanctuary, there shall be a true heart. The old covenant, with its tabernacle and its worship, which was but a shadow, could not put the heart of Israel right. In the new covenant God's first promise is, I will write My law in the heart: a new heart will I give thee. As He has given His Son, full of grace and truth, in the power of an endless life, to work all in us as the Mediator of a new covenant, to write His law in our hearts, He calls us to draw nigh with a true heart.
God asks for the heart. Alas, how many Christians serve Him still with the service of the old covenant. Religion is a thing of times and duties. There are seasons for Bible-reading and praying and church-going. But when one notices how speedily and naturally and happily, as soon as it is freed from restraint, the heart turns to worldly things, one feels how little there is of the heart in it: it is not the worship of a true heart of the whole heart. The heart, with its life and love and joy, has not yet found in God its highest good. Religion is much more a thing of the head and its activities, than of the heart and its life, of the human will and its power, than of that Spirit which God gives within us.
The invitation comes: Let us draw near with a true heart. Let no one hold back for fear, my heart is not true. There is no way for obtaining the true heart, but by acting it. God has given you, as his child, a new heart--a wonderful gift, if you but knew it. Through ignorance or unbelief or disobedience it has grown feeble and withered; its beating can, nevertheless, still be felt. The Epistle, with its solemn warnings and its blessed teaching, has come to bring arousing and healing. Even as Christ said to the man with the withered hand, Stand forth, He calls to you from His throne in heaven, Rise, and come and enter in with a true heart. As you hesitate, and look within to feel and to find out if the heart is true, and in vain to do what is needed to make it true, He calls again, Stretch forth thy hand. When He spake that to him of the withered arm, whom He had called to rise up and stand before Him, the man felt the power of Jesus' eye and voice, and he stretched it forte Do thou, likewise. Stretch forth, lift up, reach out that withered heart of thine, that has so been cherishing its own impotence,--stretch forth, and it will be made whole. Yes, in the very act of obeying the call to enter in, it will prove itself a true heart--a heart ready to obey and to trust its blessed Lord, a heart ready to give up all and find its life in the secret of His presence. Yes, Jesus, the great Priest over the house of God, the Mediator of the new covenant, with the new heart secured thee, calls, Draw nigh with a true heart.
During these last years God has been rousing His people to the pursuit of holiness, that is, to seek the entrance into the Holiest, a life in full fellowship with Himself, the Holy One. In the teaching which He has been using to this end, two words have been very much in the foreground--Consecration and Faith. These are just what are here put first, a true heart and the fulness of faith. The true heart is nothing but true consecration, the spirit that longs to live wholly for God, that gladly gives up everything that it may live wholly for Him, and that above all yields up the heart, as the key of the life, into His keeping and rule. True religion is an inward life, in the power of the Holy Spirit. Let us enter in into the inner sanctuary of God's love, and the Spirit will enter into the inner sanctuary of our love, into our heart. Let us draw nigh with a true heart--longing, ready, utterly given up to desire and receive the blessing.
1. If you look at your own constitution, you see how the head and the heart are the two great centers of life and action. Much thought and study make the head weary, Strong emotion we excitement affects the heart. It is the heart God asks--the power of desire and affection and will. The head and the heart are in partnership. God tells us that the heart must rule and lead, that it is the heart He wants. Our religion has been too much that of the head--hearing and reading and thinking. Let us beware of allowing these to lead us astray. Let them stand aside at times. Let us give the heart time to assert its supremacy. Let us draw nigh with a true heart.
2. A true heart--true in what it says that it thinks of Itself; true in what it says that it believes of God; true in what it professes to take from God and to give to Him.
3. It is the heart God wants to dwell in. It is in the state of the heart God wants to prove His power to bless. It is in the heart the love and the joy of God are to be known. Let us draw near with a true heart.
THE FULNESS OF FAITH.
THIS translation, the fulness of faith, is not only more correct than that of, full assurance of faith, but much more significant. Full assurance of faith refers only to the strength and confidence with which we believe. The truth we accept may be very limited and defective, and our assurance of it may be more an undoubting conviction of the mind than the living apprehension of the heart. In both respects the fulness of faith expresses what we need,--a faith that takes in objectively all that God offers it in its fulness, and subjectively all the powers of our heart and life in their fulness. Lot us draw near, in fulness of faith.
Here, if anywhere, there is indeed need of fulness of faith, that we may take in all the fulness of the provision God has made, and of the promises that are waiting for us to inherit. The message comes to a sinful man that he may have his continual abode in the Most Holy; that, more real and near than with his nearest earthly friend, he may live in unbroken fellowship with the Most High God. He is assured that the blood of Christ can cleanse his conscience in such power that he can draw nigh to God with a perfect conscience and with undoubting confidence, and can ask and expect to live always in the unclouded light of God's face. He receives the assurance that the power of the Holy Ghost, coming from out of the Holiest, can enable him to walk exactly in the same path in which Christ walked on His way to God, and make that way to him a new and living way, with nothing of decay or weariness in his progress. This is the fulness of faith we are called to. But, above all, to look to Jesus in all the glory in which He has been revealed in the Epistle, as God and Man, as Leader and Forerunner, as Melchizedek, as the Minister of the sanctuary and Mediator of the new covenant--in one word, as our great Priest over the house of God. And, looking to Him, to claim that He shall do for us this one thing, to bring us nigh, and even on earth give us to dwell for ever in the presence of God.
Faith ever deals with impossibilities. Its only rule or measure is what God has said to be possible to Him. When we look at our lives and their failures, at our sinfulness and weakness, at those around us, the thought will come up--Is it for me? Dare I expect it? Is it not wearying myself in vain to think of it or to seek for it? Soul! the God who redeemed thee, when an enemy, with the blood of His Son--what thinkest thou? would He not be willing thus to take thee to His heart? He who raised Jesus, when He had died under the curse of thy sins, from the death of the grave to the throne of His glory, would He not be able to take thee, too, and give thee a place within the veil? Do believe it. He longs to do it; He is able to do it. His home and His heart have room for thee even now. Let us draw near in fulness of faith.
In fulness of faith. The word has also reference to that full measure of faith which is found when the whole heart is filled and possessed by it. We have very little idea of how the weakness of our faith is owing to its being more a confident persuasion of the mind with regard to the truth of what God says, than the living apprehension and possession of the eternal spiritual realities of the truth with the heart. The Holy Spirit asks us first for a true heart, and then at once, as its first exercise, for fulness of faith. There is a faith of insight, a faith of desire, a faith of trust in the truth of the word, and a faith of personal acceptance. There is a faith of love that embraces, a faith of will that holds fast, and a faith of sacrifice that gives up everything, and a faith of despair that abandons all hope in self, and a faith of rest that waits on God alone. This is all included in the faith of the true heart, the fulness of faith, in which the whole being surrenders and lets go all, and yields itself to God to do His work. In fulness of faith let us draw nigh.
In fatness of faith, not of thought. What God is about to do to you is supernatural, above what you can think. It is a love that passes knowledge is going to take possession. God is the incomprehensible, the hidden One. The Holy Spirit is the secret, incomprehensible working and presence of God. Do not seek to understand everything. Draw nigh--it never says with a clear head, but with a true heart. Rest upon God to do for you far more than you understand.
In fulness of faith, and not in fulness of feeling. When you come, and, gazing into the opened Holiest of All, hear the voice of Him that dwells between the cherubim call you to come in; and, as you gaze, long indeed to enter and to dwell there, the word comes again, Draw nigh with a true heart! Your answer is, Yes, Lord; with my whole heart with that new heart thou thyself hast given me. You make the surrender of yourself, to live only and always in His presence and for His service. The voice speaks again: Let it be To-day--Now, in fulness of faith. You have accepted what He offers You have given what he asks. You believe that He accepts the surrender, You believe that the great Priest over the house takes possession of your inner life, and brings you before God. And yet you wonder you feel so little changed. You feel just like the old self you were. Now is the time to listen to the voice--In fulness of faith, not of feeling! Look to God, who is able to do above what we ask or think. Trust His power. Look to Jesus on the throne, living there to bring you in. Claim the Spirit of the exalted One as His Pentecostal gift. Remember these are all divine, spiritual mysteries of grace, to be revealed in you. Apart from feeling, without feeling, in fulness of faith, in bare, naked faith that honours God, enter in. Reckon yourself to be indeed alive to God in Christ Jesus, taken in into His presence, His love, His very heart.
1. Be followers of those who, through faith and longsuffering, inherited the promises. Faith accepts and rejoices in the gift; longsuffering waits for the full enjoyment; and so faith in due time inherits, and the promise becomes an experience. By faith at once take your place in the Holiest; wait on the Holy Spirit in your inner life to reveal it in the power of God; your High Priest will see to your inheriting the blessing.
2. In the fulness of the whole heart to accept the whole fulness of God's salvation--this is what God asks.
3. As in heaven so on earth. The more I look at the fulness of grace in Christ, the more the fulness of faith will grow in me. Of His fulness have we received, and grace for grace.
4. A whole chapter is to be devoted to the exhibiting of what this fulness of faith implies, Let us go on to study it with the one object for which it is given--our entering into that life in the will and love of God which Jesus has secured for us..
OUR HEARTS SPRINKLED
IN Hebrews 10:19 we had boldness through the blood of Jesus, as one of the four precious things prepared for us by God. It is that actual liberty or right which the blood of Jesus gives, apart from any use we make of it. Along with the opened sanctuary, and the living way, and the great Priest, the blood and our boldness in it is a heavenly reality waiting our faith and acceptance. Here the blood is mentioned a second time, and our being sprinkled with it as one of the things God asks of us. It is in the personal application and experience of the power of the blood we are to draw nigh. This second mention of the blood is in accord with what we had in Hebrews 9. of its twofold sprinkling. First, Christ entered with it into heaven, to cleanse the heavenly things, and fulfil the type of the sprinkling on the mercy-seat. It proved its power with God in putting away sins. And then we read of its cleansing our conscience. The blood which has had its mighty operation in heaven itself has as mighty power in our hearts. It makes us partakers of a divine and eternal cleansing. In heaven the power of the blood is proved to be infinite and immeasurable, never-ceasing and eternal, giving boldness to enter even as Christ did. As the soul learns to believe and rejoice in this heavenly power of the blood, it will claim and receive the very same power in the heart; as Jesus washes us in His blood, we know by faith what it is to have, in a heavenly reality, a heart sprinkled from an evil conscience.
There will ever be harmony between a home and those who dwell in it, between an environment and the life that is sustained by it. There must be harmony between the Holiest of All and the soul that is to enter in. That harmony begins with, and has its everlasting security in, the blood of sprinkling. The ever-living and never-ceasing energy of the blood, ever speaking better things than the blood of Abel and keeping heaven open for me, has a like effect on my heart. The blood has put away the thought of sin from God; He remembers it no more for ever. The blood puts away the thought of sin in me too, taking away the evil conscience that condemns me. The better things which the blood speaks in heaven, it speaks in my heart too; it lifts me into that heavenly sphere, that new state of life and intercourse with God, in which an end has been made of sin, and the soul is taken in to the full and perfect enjoyment of the love of God.
The action of the blood in heaven is unceasing--never a moment but the blood is the delight of the Father and the song of the ransomed. Draw nigh when thou wilt, the blood is there, abiding continually; not a moment's interval. And even so will it be in the soul that enters in. The difficulty that staggers the faith of many lies just here: they cannot understand how one who has to live amid the cares and engagements and companionships of this daily life can every moment maintain heart sprinkled from an evil conscience. They do not know that, if once, with a heart sprinkled they enter in, they are in an inner sanctuary, where everything acts in the power of the upper world, in the power of an endless life. They breathe the inspiring, invigorating air of the Holiest of All; they breathe the Holy Spirit, and enjoy the power of the resurrection life. The Minister of the heavenly sanctuary is also the Mediator of the new covenant in our hearts. All He does in heaven He does each moment on earth in our hearts, if faith will trust Him; for the blood of sprinkling is the blood of the covenant.
And what may be the reason that so few Christians can testify of the joy and the power of a heart at all times sprinkled from an evil conscience? The answer is, That in the apprehension of this, as of every other truth, there are stages according to the measure of faith and faithfulness. See it in Israel. There you have three stages. The Israelite who entered the outer court saw the altar and the blood sprinkled there, and received such assurance of pardon as that could give him. The priest who was admitted to the Holy Place not only saw the blood sprinkled on the brazen altar, he had it sprinkled upon himself, and might see it sprinkled on the golden altar in the Holy Place. His contact with the blood was closer, and he was admitted to a nearer access. And the access of the high priest was still more complete; he might, with the blood for the mercy-seat, once a year enter within the veil. Even so there are outer-court Christians, who trust in Christ who died on Calvary, but know very little of His heavenly life, or near access to God, or service for others. Beyond these there are Christians who know that they are called to be priests and to live in the service of God and their fellow-men. They know more of the power of the blood as setting apart for service; but yet their life is still without the veil. But then come those who know what Christ's entering with His blood implies and procures, and who experience that the Holy Spirit applies the blood in such power, that it indeed brings to the life in the inner sanctuary, in the full and abiding joy of God's presence.
Let us draw near, with a true heart, in fulness of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience. Oh, let us not bring a reproach upon the blood of the Lamb by not believing in its power to give us perfect access to God. Let us listen and hear them sing without ceasing the praise of the blood of the Lamb in heaven; as we trust and honour and rejoice in it we shall enter the heaven of God's presence.
1. "Wherein is the blood of Jesus better than the blood of goats and bulls, If it cannot free us from the spirit of bondage and the evil conscience, if It cannot give as a full glad confidence before God? What Jesus hath perfected we can experience and enjoy as perfect in our heart and conscience. You dishonour your Saviour when you do not seek to experience that He has perfected you as touching the conscience, and when you do not live with a heart entirely cleansed from the evil conscience."--STEINHOFER.
2. A true heart--a heart sprinkled: you see everything depends upon the heart. God can do nothing for us from without, only by what He can put into the heart. Of all that Jesus is and does as High Priest in heaven I cannot have the least experience, but as it is revealed in the heart The whole work of the Holy Spirit is in the heart. Let us draw nigh with a true heart, a sprinkled heart, our inmost being entirely and unceasingly under the heavenly power of the blood.
OUR BODY WASHED
MAN belongs to two worlds, the visible and the invisible. In his constitution, the material and the spiritual, body and soul, are wonderfully united. In the fall both came under the power of sin and death; in redemption deliverance has been provided for both. It is not only in the interior life of the soul, but in that of the body too, that the power of redemption can be manifested.
In the Old Testament worship the external was the more prominent. It consisted mostly in carnal ordinances, imposed until a time of reformation. They taught a measure of truth, they exercised a certain influence on the heart, but they could not make the worshipper perfect. It was only with the New Testament that the religion of the inner life, the worship of God in spirit and truth, was revealed. And yet we need to be on the watch lest the pursuit of the inner life lead us to neglect the external. It is in the body, as much as in the spirit, that the saving power of Christ Jesus must be felt. It was with this view that our Lord adopted one of the Jewish washings, and instituted the baptism with water. He that believed with the heart, came with the body to be baptized. It was a token that the whole exterior physical life, with all its functions and powers, was to be His too. In was in this connection John wrote: There are three who bear witness, the Spirit and the water and the blood. The same Spirit who applies the blood in power to the heart, takes possession and mastery of the body washed with water. And where in Scripture the word and water are joined together (Eph. 5:26; John 13:10; 15:3), it is because the word is the external manifestation of what must rule our whole outer life too.
It is in this connection the two expressions are used here: Our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, our bodies washed with pure water. The thought was suggested to our author by the service of the tabernacle. In the court there were only two things to be seen--the brazen altar and the laver. At the one, the priest received and sprinkled the blood; at the other, he found the water in which he washed, ere he entered the Holy Place. At the installation of the priests in their office they were first washed and then sprinkled with blood (Ex. 29:4, 20). On the great day of atonement the high priest, too, had first to wash ere he entered into the Holiest with the blood (Lev. 16:4). And so the lesson comes to us that if we draw near with hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, we must also have the body washed with pure water. The liberty of access, the cleansing the blood gives, can only be enjoyed in a life of which every action is cleansed by the word. Not only in the heart and the disposition, but in the body and the outer visible life, everything must be clean. Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in His Holy Place? He that hath clean hand,, and a pure heart. A heart sprinkled with the blood, a body washed with pure water from every stain,--these God hath joined together; let no matt separate them. There have been some who have sought very earnestly to enter into the Holiest of All and have failed. The reason was that they had not clean hands, they were not ready to have everything that is not perfectly holy discovered and put away. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners, and purify your hearts, ye double-minded--is a word that always holds. The blood of Christ has unspeakable and everlasting power for the soul that, with a true heart, is ready to put away every sin. Where this is not the case, and the body is not washed with pure water, the perfect conscience which the blood gives cannot be enjoyed.
Our body washed with pure water. It is not only in spirit, but with the body too, we enter into the Holiest of All. It is on as here, where we are in the body, that the presence of God descends. Our whole life in the flesh is to be in that presence; the body is very specially the temple, and in charge of the Holy Spirit; in the body the Father is to be glorified. Our whole being, body, soul, and spirit, is in the power of the Holy Spirit, a holy sacrifice upon the altar, a living sacrifice for service before God. With the body, too, we live and walk in the Holiest. Our eating and drinking, our sleeping, our clothing, our labour and relaxation, all these things have more influence on our spiritual life than we know. They often interrupt and break the fellowship we seek to maintain. The heart and the body are inseparably joined--a heart sprinkled from an evil conscience needs a body washed with pure water.
When He cometh into the world He saith, A body didst thou prepare for Me. This word of Christ must be adopted by each of His followers. Nothing will help us to live in this world, and keep ourselves unspotted, but the Spirit that was in Christ, that looked upon His body as prepared by God for His service; that looks upon our body as prepared by Him too, that we might offer it to Him. Like Christ we too have a body, in which the Holy Spirit dwells. Like Christ we too must yield our body, with every member, every power, every action, to fulfil HIS will, to be offered up to Him, to glorify Him. Like Christ we must prove in our body that we are holy to the Lord.
The blood that is sprinkled on thy heart came from the body of Jesus, prepared by God, and, in His whole life, even to His one offering, given up to God. The object of that blood sprinkling is that thy body, of which the heart sprinkled with the blood is the life, should, like His, be wholly given up to God. Oh, seek to take in this blessed truth, and to accept it fully. The heart sprinkled from the evil conscience will then become an unbroken experience, and the blood of the Lamb the ever-living motive and power for a life in the body, like Christ's, a sacrifice holy and acceptable to God.
1. I am deeply persuaded that in the self-pleasing which we allow in gratifying the claims of the body, we shall find one of the most frequent causes of the gradual decline of our fellowship with God. Do remember, it was through the body that Satan conquered in Paradise; it was in the body he tempted Christ and had to be resisted. It was in suffering of the body, as when He hungered, that Christ was perfected. It is only when the law of self-denial is strictly applied to the body, that we can dwell in the Holiest.
2. He was tempted in all points, like as we are--in His body very specially, and is able to succour us. Let the committal of our body into the keeping and the rule of Jesus be very definite add entire.
3. "If Miranda was to run a race for her life, he mould submit to a diet that was proper for it. As the race which is set before her is a race for holiness and heavenly affection, so her every Day diet has only this one end--to make her body fitter for this spiritual life."
LET US DRAW NEAR
WE have studied the four great blessings of the new worship, as the motives and encouragements for us to draw nigh. They are--the Holiest opened up, Boldness through the blood, the New and living way, and the Great Priest over the house of God. And we have considered the four great marks of the true worshipper--A true heart, Fulness of faith, The heart sprinkled, and The body cleansed. We now come to the four injunctions which come to us out of the opened sanctuary, and specially to the first Let us draw near. Both in speaking of the entering in of Christ, and the power of His blood in Hebrews 9., and in the exposition of our context, we have had abundant occasion to point out what is meant by this entering in, and what is needed for it. And yet it may be well to gather up all we have said, and in the very simplest way possible, once again, by the grace of God, to throw open the door, and to help each honest-hearted child of God to enter in, and take his place for life in the home the Father has prepared for him.
And first of all I would say: Believe that a life in the Holiest of All, a life of continual abiding in God's presence, is most certainly your duty and within your power. As long as this appears a vague uncertainty, the study of our Epistle must be in vain. Its whole teaching has been to prove that the wonderful priesthood of Christ, in which He does everything in the power of an endless life, and is therefore able to save completely; that His having opened a way through the rent veil into the Holiest, and entered in with His blood; that His sitting on the throne in heavenly power, as Minister of the sanctuary and Mediator of the covenant; that all this means nothing if it does not mean--the Holiest is open for us. We may, we must, and we can live there. What is the meaning of this summing up of all, Wherefore brethren, having boldness to enter--let us draw nigh, if a real entrance into and abode in the Holiest is not for us? No, beloved Christian, do believe, it can be. Let no thought of thy weakness and unfaithfulness hold thee back. Begin to look at God, who has set the door open and calls thee in; at the blood that has prevailed over sin and death, and given thee a boldness that nothing can hinder; at Christ the almighty and most loving High Priest, who is to bring thee in and keep thee in; and believe: yes, such a life is meant for me; it is possible; it is my duty; God calls me to it; and say, then, whether thy heart would not desire and long to enter into this blessed rest, the home of God's love.
The second step is, the surrender to Christ, by Him to be brought into the life of abiding fellowship with God. This surrender implies an entire giving up of the life of nature and of self; an entire separation from the world and its spirit; an entire acceptance of God's will to command my life, in all things, down to the very least. To some this surrender comes as the being convicted of a number of things which they thought harmless, and which they now see to have been in the will of the flesh and of man. To others it comes as a call to part with Some single doubtful thing, or some sin against which they have hopelessly struggled. The surrender of all becomes only possible when the soul sees how truly and entirely Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant, has undertaken for all, and engages to put His own delight in God's law into the heart, to give the will and the strength to live in all God's will. That faith gives the courage to place oneself before Christ and to say, Lord, here am I, ready to be led by Thee in the new and living way of death to my will, and a life in God's will alone: I give up all to Thee.
Then comes, accompanying this surrender, the faith that Jesus does now accept and undertake for all. The more general faith in His power, which led to the surrender, becomes a personal appropriation. I know that I cannot lift or force myself into the Holiest. I trust Jesus, as my almighty and ever-living Priest on the throne, even now, at this moment, to take me in within the veil, to take charge of me there, and enable me to walk up and down before the face of the living God, and serve Him. However high and impossible such a life appears, I cannot doubt but that He who with His blood opened the Holiest for me will take me in; and that He who sits on the throne as my great High Priest is able and faithful to keep me in God's presence. Apart from any feeling or experience of a change I believe He takes me in, and I say: Thank God, I am in the Holiest. Let us draw nigh in fulness of faith.
And then follows, the life of faith in the Holiest, holding fast my confidence and the glowing of hope firm to the end. I believe Jesus takes me in to the fulfilment and the experience of all the new covenant blessings, and makes me inherit all the promises. I look to Him day by day to seal my faith with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven in my heart, The disciples, when their Lord ascended the throne, kept waiting, praising, praying, (till the Spirit came as the witness and the revealer within their hearts of the glory of Jesus at the right hand of God. It was on the day of Pentecost that they truly entered within the veil, to which the Forerunner had drawn their longing hearts. The soul that gives itself over to a life within the veil, in full surrender and in simple faith, can count upon this most surely, that, in the power of the eternal, the Pentecostal Spirit in the heart, faith will become experience, and the joy unspeakable be its abiding portion--Wherefore brethren, let us draw near.
1. Having boldness to enter in is the summary of the doctrinal teaching of the first half of the Epistle; let us draw nigh, the summery of the life and practice which the second half expounds.
2. The faith that appropriates the blessing, Jesus now takes me in and gives me my place and my life in the Father's presence, is but a beginning. Faith must now count upon the Holy Spirit, in His Pentecostal power, bringing down the kingdom of heaven to us, to make it a personal experience. Until this comes, faith must in patience wait till it obtains the promise, in accordance with the teaching we had: " Cast not away therefore your boldness. For ye have need of patience, that, having done the will of God, ye may receive the promise."
THE CONFESSION OF OUR HOPE
THE three chief words of this injunction we have had before--Hold fast, Confession, Hope. If we hold fast the glorying of our hope firm to the end. Give diligence to the fulness of hope. Christ the High Priest of our profession. Let us hold fast our confession. A better hope, by which we draw nigh to God. We have now been brought to see what Christian perfection is, in that perfect life in God's presence to which Jesus brings us in: here, more than ever, we shall need to hold fast our hope.
Faith and hope ever go together. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for." Faith accepts the promise in its divine reality, hope goes forward to examine and picture and rejoice in the treasures which faith has accepted. And so here, on the words Let us draw near in fulness of faith, there follows immediately, Let us hold fast the confession of our hope. Life in the Holiest, in the nearness of God, must be characterised by an infinite hopefulness.
It is not difficult to see the reason of this. Entering into the Holiest is only the beginning of the true Christian life. As we tarry there God can begin to do His work of grace in power. There the holiness of God can overshadow us, and can be assimilated into our life and character. There we can learn to worship in that true humility and meekness and resignation to God's will, which does not come at once, but in which we may grow up even as Jesus did. There we have to learn the holy art of intercession, so as to pray the prayer that prevails. There we wait to receive in larger measure, in ever-fresh communication, that fulness of the Spirit which comes and is maintained only by close and living contact with Jesus on the throne. The entrance into the Holiest is only a beginning. It is to be a life in which we every hour receive everything from God, in which God's working is to be all in all. Here, if anywhere, we have need of an infinite hopefulness. After we have entered in, we shall very probably not find what we expected. The light and the joy and the power may not come at once. Within the veil it is still, nay rather it is eminently, a life of faith, not looking to ourselves, but to God, and hoping in Him. Faith will still be tried, will perhaps most be tried when God wants most to bless. Hope is the daughter of faith, the messenger it sends out to see what is to come: it is hope that becomes the strength and support of faith.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope. Men always speak out of the abundance of the heart of that which they hope for. We, too, must confess and give expression to our hope. The confession strengthens the hope; what we utter becomes clearer and more real to us. It glorifies God. it helps and encourages those around us. It makes God, and men, and ourselves, see that we are committed to it. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope, that it waver not. Let the better hope by which we draw nigh to God, by which we enter within the veil, be the one thing we hold fast and confess with a confidence that never wavers.
For He is faithful that promised. Study the references on the word "promise" in this Epistle, and see what a large place they take in God's dealings with His people, and learn how much your life depends on your relation to the promises. Connect the promises, as is here done, with the promiser; connect the promiser with His unchanging faithfulness as God, and your hope will become a glorying in God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Faithful is He that promised: that word lies at the root of the life within the veil. Just as it is God who speaks in Christ, who sent Him, who appointed Him Priest, who perfected Him, so it is God to whom Christ brings us into the Holiest, for Him now to work directly and continually in us that life in which, as His redeemed creatures, we are to live. This is the blessedness of being brought into the Holiest: Christ has brought us to God. And we are now in the right place and spirit for honouring Him as God--that is, for allowing Him to work freely, immediately, unceasingly in us such a life as He wrought in Christ. He is faithful that promised. God is going to fulfil His promises of life and love, of blessing and fruitfulness, in a way we have no conception of. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope, for He is faithful that promised.
My reader, thou hast heard the call, Let us draw near in fulness of faith. And hast obeyed? And hast believed that Jesus takes thee into a life of abiding in God's presence? And art, even amid the absence of feeling or experience, even amid the doubts and fears that threaten to press in, holding fast the confession of thy hope?--Listen, look up--He is faithful that promised! Let this be thy rock. Say continually--O my soul, hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise Him. Thou art my hope, O God! I will hope continually, and praise Thee yet more and more. This is the blessing of the inner sanctuary, that thou hast found thy true place at God's feet, there to wait in absolute dependence and helplessness on His working. Look up in the boldness the blood gives thee. Look up with a true heart, an which the Holy Spirit dwells and works. Look up with a heart sprinkled by thy blessed High Priest with the blood--and hope, yes hope, in God to do His divine work in thy soul. Let Him be to thee more than ever the God of hope. Claim the fulfilment of the promise of His word: The God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, in the power of the Holy Ghost. The infinite faithful God, as the God of our hope, filling us with joy and peace in believing, and we learning to abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost: Be this our life in the secret of God's presence!
1. Fulness of faith and fulness of hope are two dispositions that mark the true heart. It is because we are to have nothing in ourselves, and God is to be all and to do all, that our whole attitude is to be looking up to Him, expecting and receiving what He is to do.
2. That ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. See how the life of hope in the Holiest depends entirely upon the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. To live this life, we need to be filled with the Spirit. Not a moment can we dwell in the Holiest, but by the Holy Spirit. Not a moment but we can dwell in the Holiest, by the Holy Spirit. Let us abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Andrew Murray. The Holiest of All