Hebrews 10:19-23 ESV
“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 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 with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”
Under the Old Covenant, the temple of God was a physical building. Within that building was a porch, and a Holy Place (the main room of religious service), and the Holy of Holies, which is where the Ark of the Covenant was housed. The Holy of Holies was covered with a veil and no one was allowed to enter except the High Priest, and he would enter only once a year to offer the blood sacrifice for his sins and for the people’s sins.
But when Jesus Christ died on that cross for our sins he became not only the last and only High Priest to offer that final sacrifice for our sins, but he was that final sacrifice. His death on that cross provided the final sacrifice for our sins so that by faith in him we can be saved from our bondage to sin and walk in his holiness and righteousness. For he shed his blood for us on that cross to buy us back for God so we would now honor God with our lives.
And when Jesus died on that cross, that veil that covered the Holy of Holies was torn in two, and that opened the way for us now to enter into God’s holy presence. By genuine God-given faith in Jesus Christ we can now come into God’s presence, and we need no more human mediators (no priests), for we are now God’s kingdom priests. And now we are to serve God with our lives in doing what he has called us to do and to become for his glory and praise.
And what happens when we believe in Jesus with God-given faith is that we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Our old self is crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we will no longer be enslaved to sin. So we are to consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ.
Therefore, we are to not let sin reign anymore in our mortal bodies, to make us obey its passions. We are to present ourselves to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin shall no longer have dominion over us. For we are slaves of the one whom we obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness and sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God, which is our deliverance from slavery to sin, is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
And we are to hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And this means that daily by the Spirit we are to be putting the deeds of the flesh to death, and daily we are to be walking (in conduct, in practice) according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh. Daily we are to be denying self and dying to sin and walking in obedience to our Lord Jesus, for if sin is our practice we don’t have eternal life with God.
[Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 3:4-10]
Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
The temple of God is now no longer a physical building. We who are the Lord’s via genuine believing faith in Jesus Christ are that temple, for now God dwells within us by his Spirit. The church is people, not a building. But the people are those who have died with Christ to sin and who are daily, by the Spirit, putting to death the deeds of the flesh, and who are walking according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh, in practice.
This isn’t saying that we are perfect or that we never sin, but according to the Scriptures those of genuine faith in Christ no longer live in sin. They no longer make sin their practice, but holiness is now their practice. Now I know that a true believer can wander for a time and must be brought back to repentance (example Rev 2-3), but a true believer in Jesus is not one who continues in deliberate and habitual sin as a matter of life course.
Okay, now going back to the building thing. We who believe in Jesus collectively are the church, the body of Christ. So if you were to draw a picture of a church, what would it look like? If you draw a physical building, that is wrong. Sorry! That little rhyme I learned as a child is wrong, too. It went something like this (with hand motions): “Here’s the church” (the building) “and here’s the steeple” (on top of the building), “open the doors and see all the people” (inside the physical building). Totally wrong!
We the people of God ARE the building made up of living stones with Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone. We have to move away from this concept that a building or a church denomination or a business called “church,” which is incorporated under the state, and which is being marketed to the world, is “the church.” It is NOT! God sees it as Babylon and he is calling his people to come out of Babylon so that we do not share in her sins and in her punishment, for her sins are piled high to heaven (Revelation 18:1-6).
So, why do I say God sees the institutional church as Babylon? Because she is not the body of Christ. She is an institution (business) of man created in the minds of human beings being marketed to the world like any other business and being conducted as a secular business designed to attract the people of the world to her gatherings. So “the building” is not a gathering of “the church” but it is a public gathering which includes Christians and non-Christians and people who give lip service to God only.
[1 Co 1:10-17; Jn 2:13-17; 2 Co 6:14-18; Rev 18:1-5]
And it is not designed for us, the body of Christ, to stir up one another to love and good works. It is not designed to be the body of Christ operating as the Scriptures teach we, as the body, are supposed to function and work together. But these “churches” are mostly worldly businesses which are being patterned after what the world craves and so they are more about entertainment and having fun and cracking jokes and not offending anyone.
So, when this encourages us to not neglect to meet together, this is NOT talking about meeting together in these institutional businesses called “church.” For they are not the church. They are not the temple of God, though some true believers may be gathering with them. This is encouraging us to meet together with other true followers of Christ so that we can stir one another up to walk in holiness and in purity of devotion to Christ.
So please get together with other mature believers who will help you to follow Jesus in obedience to his ways and who will not lead you to be like the world. And it doesn’t matter where you meet or how often, just do it!
[Ac. 2:42-47; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 3:9,16-17; 1 Co 6:19-20; 1 Co. 12:1-31; 2 Co 5:1; 2 Co 6:14-16; Eph 1:4,22; Eph 2:19-22; Eph 4:1-32; Eph 5:17-30; Col 1:18-24; Col 2:19; Col 3:12-16; 2 Tim 1:9; 2 Tim 2:21; 1 Pet 1:13-16; 1 Pet 2:4-9; Titus 2:11-14; Heb 3:13; Lu 9:23-26; Jude 1:20-21; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10]
He Reached Down
An Original Work / February 3, 2014
Based off Psalm 18
How I love You, Lord, my Rock and my strength.
My God is my fortress; I hide in Him.
He is my shield and the horn of
My salvation, whom I praise.
I have found my refuge in Him.
He reached down from heaven and rescued me;
Drew me out of waters so deep, I’d sink.
He delivered me from Satan
And my slavery to sin;
Gave me hope of heaven with Him.
My God turned my darkness into His light;
Opened up my blinded eyes; gave me sight.
As for God, his way is perfect.
He gives strength to stand secure.
I have found my vict’ry in Him.
My Lord lives! Praise be to my Savior God,
Jesus Christ, who died on a cruel cross.
He is my Rock and the source
Of my salvation, whom I trust.
I will give praise always to Him.