God's presence

A New and Living Way

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Life is full of symbolism but most of it is taken for granted. A clock or watch tracks time, yet time is an abstract concept marked in life by the rising and setting of the sun. Nowadays we use emoticons in place of words.

The Bible also contains much symbolic and figurative wording. This requires some thought and reflection to understand what they represent and mean. Understanding them brings insight of the truth they represent.

The book of Hebrews is a guide for understanding the Old Testament (covenant) in light of the new relationship with God believers experience through trusting in the Lord Jesus.

Just as the curtain in front of the Most Holy Place in the temple tore apart from top to bottom when Jesus exhaled His last breath on the cross, a new and living way opened up for all who trust in the Lord (Matt 27:50-51).

Scripture

Brothers and sisters, because of the blood of Jesus we can now confidently go into the holy place. Jesus has opened a new and living way for us to go through the curtain. (The curtain is his own body.) [vss 19-20]
We have a superior priest in charge of God’s house. We have been sprinkled ⌊with his blood⌋ to free us from a guilty conscience, and our bodies have been washed with clean water. So we must continue to come ⌊to him⌋ with a sincere heart and strong faith. [vss 21-22]
(Hebrews 10:19-22 GW) [Context– Hebrews 10]

Key phrase—

Jesus has opened a new and living way for us to go through

Digging Deeper...

Review the Scriptures above as you answer the following questions

  • What are Christian believers now free to do and in what way?

  • Why are believers able to enter this holy place of God's presence? 

  • What are the symbolic things Jesus does for believers that make this possible?

  • What is the final exhortation given here? In what way are we to come to the Lord?

Reflection...

The Christian faith is not a set of religious dogmas or mere beliefs. It is an ongoing personal relationship with God the Father through trust in His Son Jesus.

This relationship is made available by what Jesus did on the cross (atonement) for all humanity, all those who would trust in Him personally.

The way into God's presence is open but is only accessible with a sincere heart and strong faith—an honest, open and trusting heart (Heb 10:22). His poured out blood cleanses our conscience and the pure water of God's truth washes and renews our mind.

Jesus opened the way to God and He leads us through that way as both our Savior and High Priest who continually intercedes for us (prays on our behalf). It is a new and living way of life.

Make it personal...

Read through the Scripture text again as you consider and answer these questions

  • Do you understand the symbolism of the curtain and holy place of the temple?

  • Can you picture in your mindthe torn curtain and the way opened to God?

  • How does all of this encourage you personally? Have you experienced the freedom of God's forgiveness and acceptance?

  • Are you making time each day to enter into God's presence? Do you have this confidence deep in your heart?

©2017—Word-Strong


Here's a free introduction for the book of Hebrews— Intro to studying Hebrews

Confident to Enter

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Since the beginning, we humans invest a lot in our outward appearance. The first man and woman covered their shame of nakedness with fig leaves. Today, we Americans spend a lot of time and money on stylish clothing, even for work clothes.

A lot of sayings speak to this tendency—beauty is only skin deep, don't judge a book by its cover, or a house is not a home. Yet we spend a lot of time and money on skin products and houses! The point is that what's on the inside matters more than the outside.

This even truer when it comes to God and our spiritual life. God always looks at the heart—the inner person—not what is presented to others. This has always been true.

Many people are convinced they need to clean up their lives before God will accept them. But they are wrong. God works from the inside out. Just the opposite of us. He opens the way into His presence to those who let Him clean their lives up, beginning in their heart.

Scripture

With one sacrifice he accomplished the work of setting them apart for God forever.

The Holy Spirit tells us the same thing: “This is the promise that I will make to them after those days, says the Lord: ‘I will put my teachings in their hearts and write them in their minds.’ ” Then he adds, “I will no longer hold their sins and their disobedience against them.” (Jer 31:31-34) [vss 14-17]

When sins are forgiven, there is no longer any need to sacrifice for sins. Brothers and sisters, because of the blood of Jesus we can now confidently go into the holy place. [vss 18-19]

(Hebrews 10:14-19 GW) [Context– Hebrews 10]

Key phrase—

Because of the blood of Jesus we can now confidently go into the holy place

Digging Deeper...

Review the Scriptures above as you answer the following questions

  • What has been done forever? How was this done?

  • How does the Holy Spirit confirm this work of God?

  • For how long will "their sins and their disobedience" be forgiven?

  • What are we able to do because of the blood of Jesus? Why?

Reflection...

God intends for His truth to live and remain in our hearts, as well as our minds. This is true when a person accepts God's perfect forgiveness through the perfect reconciliation made by the Lord offering Himself as the perfect sacrifice (atonement).

Being "set apart...forever" is God's work. It's not based on any effort from us but on the gracious gift of God. The blood of Jesus—through His death on the cross—cancels the debt and power of sin for those who accept it.

The presence of God, through the Holy Spirit who is given to dwell in us when we experience new birth, continues this work of setting us apart for God and His purposes (Titus 3:4-7).

This is why a genuine believer has the confidence to enter the presence of God (the Holy Place). Just as the blood of atonement under the Old Covenant brought forgiveness for a year, the blood of Jesus brings forgiveness forever—once for all (Heb 9:14).

Make it personal...

Read through the Scripture text again as you consider and answer these questions

  • How is this prophetic promise of forgiveness connected to Christ's once and for all sacrifice?

  • If we are forgiven fully of our sin, what does this tell us about how to handle guilt and shame?

  • Do you have this confidence to go into the very presence of God?

  • How would you explain this blessing of entering God's presence in your own words (IYOW)?

©2017—Word-Strong


Here's a free introduction for the book of Hebrews— Intro to studying Hebrews

His Own Blood

Most, if not all, religions are focused on appeasing an angry God or finding a way to gain God's acceptance or a combination of both. In most religions, God is either distant and unreachable or an impersonal spiritual force.

A relationship with God is only possible if He is personal and living. But access into the presence of God may appear impossible without some extraordinary means to gain that opportunity.

Religion is humanity's attempt to build a bridge up to God based on a person's best efforts at being good, or at least reaching some minimum requirement. But these efforts and requirements are just arbitrary hopeful guesses at what God desires.

Can a person have any certainty of reaching out to God and being accepted? Yes, and much more!

Scripture

But Christ came as a chief priest of the good things that are now here. Christ went through a better, more perfect tent that was not made by human hands and that is not part of this created world. He used his own blood, not the blood of goats and bulls, for the sacrifice. He went into the most holy place and offered this sacrifice once and for all to free us forever. [vss 11-12]
The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of cows sprinkled on unclean  people made their bodies holy and clean. The blood of Christ, who had no defect, does even more. Through the eternal Spirit he offered himself to God and cleansed our consciences from the useless things we had done. Now we can serve the living God. [vss 13-14]
(Hebrews 9:11-14 GW) [Context– Hebrews 9]

Key phrase—

He went into the most holy place and offered this sacrifice once and for all to free us forever

Digging Deeper...

Review the Scriptures above as you answer the following questions

  • What are we told Jesus did when He came as a chief (high) priest?

  • Where did Christ enter and what did He use to offer as a sacrifice? How often did this happen?

  • Why is the blood Christ offered so much more valuable and powerful than other sacrifices?

  • What great benefit does the Lord's sacrifice provide for those who trust in Him and why is this so?

Reflection...

Our own efforts at purifying ourselves are useless, just as all the sacrifices under the Old Covenant Law which were only temporary. None of them could make a person pure or free on a continuing basis.

The perfect sacrifice of Jesus—the Victor over sin, death, and the devil by His sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection from the dead—brings true freedom. God's Spirit dwelling in those who are true believers empowers them to live in the victory Jesus won.

God built the bridge between humanity and Himself. He came as a person to do what no other person could do. Jesus the Messiah (Christ) fulfilled all the requirements of the Law (Matt 5:17) so we no longer need to try to meet its perfect demands.

Not only are we free from the requirements of perfect obedience and continual sacrifices, we are free to know and serve the true and living God with a clean heart and conscience.

Make it personal...

Read through the Scripture text again as you consider and answer these questions

  • Which do you choose—religious ceremony or genuine spiritual freedom?

  • Which is better—an appearance of righteousness or a right relationship with God and a clear conscience?

  • Have you learned and become convinced that the grace of God is far superior to any religious effort on your part?

  • In what way have you experienced personal freedom to worship and serve the one true and living God through His Son Jesus?

©2017—Word-Strong


Here's a free introduction for the book of Hebrews— Intro to studying Hebrews