Hello everybody, and welcome in to episode 74 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Hebrews 10 today and our focus is how we can draw near to God. We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Madhya Pradesh, India, Tamil Nadu, India, south east, U.K., St. Louis, Missouri, and Dallas, Texas and + shout out to Denmark and Belgium.) Thanks for listening! Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan
Before we get to our main topic, I’d like to mention the last verse of this chapter, and bring up a topic we’ve covered before. As you might remember, Hebrews 3, 6 and 10 are collectively known as the warning passages of Hebrews, because they are filled with some of the starkest, most pointed and most sobering warnings in the Bible not to fall away from Jesus. There is strong talk of judgment here and a powerful warning to Christians to not live a life of deliberate sin. Many have used these passages to argue that it is possible for a saved by Jesus person to become unsaved. As mentioned before, I do not believe a truly saved person will lose their salvation, because God is able to save to the uttermost, and because our salvation does not depend upon our strength to hang on to the saving rope of Jesus (so to speak), but it depends on the gracious and tenacious mercy of Jesus. That said, there is no doubt that the warning passages indicate that people who talk, look and appear as Christians in every way can and will fall away from Jesus. From the perspective of others, it might look like they have ‘lost their salvation,’ but I believe something different is at work, and vs. 39 seems to give us a clue as to what:
39 But we are not those who draw back and are destroyed, but those who have faith and are saved. Hebrews 10:39
Those with genuine and saving faith will be saved and those who draw back and are destroyed appear to lack that saving faith. Does that mean they had it and lost it? I don’t believe so. I believe in the perseverance of the saints. I also believe in the sobering warnings of Hebrews. so let them stir and exhort and awaken and warn us as we read them.
Here’s our big question of the day: How can humans draw near to God? This is not a trivial question. Ask the average Hebrew following Moses during the Exodus, and that Hebrew would probably shudder and express their disinterest and fear with the idea of following God. They wanted Moses to talk to God, because they were genuinely afraid of Him, and one other reason:
16 On the third day, when morning came, there was thunder and lightning, a thick cloud on the mountain, and a very loud blast from a ram’s horn, so that all the people in the camp shuddered. 17 Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. 18 Mount Sinai was completely enveloped in smoke because the Lord came down on it in fire. Its smoke went up like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain shook violently. 19 As the sound of the ram’s horn grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him in the thunder. 20 The Lord came down on Mount Sinai at the top of the mountain. Then the Lord summoned Moses to the top of the mountain, and he went up. 21 The Lord directed Moses, “Go down and warn the people not to break through to see the Lord; otherwise many of them will die. 22 Even the priests who come near the Lord must consecrate themselves, or the Lord will break out in anger against them.” Exodus 19:16-22
Why would God not want His people to come near Him? The answer is that God is completely and utterly holy and no sinful person can survive in His presence.
In the next chapter, we see the people’s response to God’s closeness to them:
18 All the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the sound of the ram’s horn, and the mountain surrounded by smoke. When the people saw it they trembled and stood at a distance. 19 “You speak to us, and we will listen,” they said to Moses, “but don’t let God speak to us, or we will die.” Exodus 20:18-19
They are so scared of God that they don’t want to even hear His voice. What changed? How did we get to where we are in Hebrews, in the New Covenant, where now we CAN draw near to God? Let’s reread a small part of Hebrews 10:
19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have boldness to enter the sanctuary through the blood of Jesus— 20 he has inaugurated for us a new and living way through the curtain (that is, through his flesh)— 21 and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. Hebrews 10:19-22
Jesus has opened a way into the direct and intimate presence of God. What’s more, His blood has cleansed us from our sin, so that we do not stand before God spiritually filthy and covered with our guilt. What’s even more is that His righteousness has been imputed or credited to us so that now we have the righteousness of Christ, as Paul says in 2nd Corinthians 5:21, “21 He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
How the tables have turned! (Or, how the turn tables, as my kids and Wayne Gretzky like to say)
How CAN we draw near to God? We are enabled to draw near to God by what Jesus has done. His blood has opened the door into the sanctuary – into the very presence of God. Praise His name, and do not become weary in following Him – He is the Way, the truth and the life!
End of the Show: Bible memory verse for March: Hebrews 7:25 “Therefore, [Jesus] is able to save completely those who come to God through him, since he always lives to intercede for them.”
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