Hebrews 10 begins by reminding us how good we have it under the law of Christ. In the first several verses, the author talks about how much better Jesus’ sacrifice is than the bulls and goats offered up under the law of Moses. He talks about the abolition of the first covenant in the creation of the second – one that can wipe away sin, one that makes us a nation of priests, that resides in our hearts and minds, that grants us the confidence to approach the throne of God with a high priest who knows all the challenges we face.
It’s a chapter full of big ideas that tell us all we have to be thankful for in the sacrifice of Christ. It’s a chapter that contrasts the shadows of God’s kingdom with the reality of His true spiritual kingdom established under Christ. It contrasts the rolling forward of sin with the eternal forgiveness and abolition of sin. The author tells us of how the Old Testament law pointed toward Christ and how Jesus brought us something that both fulfilled and replaced the ancient system of sacrifices.
A Better Sacrifice and Priesthood
In this, the author quotes Psalms 40:6-8:
Sacrifice and offering you have not desired, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required.
Then I said, Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me: I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.
He then explains the insufficiency of those sacrifices. They could not take away sins with imperfect sacrifices administered by imperfect priests. In contrast, Jesus stands as our perfect priest and our perfect sacrifice, bringing true forgiveness. When we accept that law, we then accept His law into our hearts, submitting to Him obediently, abandoning the lawless deeds God has promised to forgive.
Because of that forgiveness, because of that better sacrifice and priest, we can have confidence to approach God. Previously, no one could approach the Holy Place, except for the High Priest once a year. Our new high priest, one who has been through all the trials and challenges we face, grants us direct access to the Father in a way those living under the Levitical priesthood could not. Because of this, the author encourages us draw near to our High Priest, holding fast to our faithful confession, encouraging one another to live worthy of that calling.
Helping Each Other to Heaven
Sometimes, however, we forget what we have. We take those blessings for granted, and the Hebrew author warns against neglecting each other’s spiritual needs. He warns that we should continually encourage one another and to avoid falling back into the traps of sin. We need to be stirring up one another. We need each other’s help in drawing nearer to God, and this is one of the reasons we meet together, whether in the assembly or in social settings.
When we neglect our worship services, we neglect the needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Instead of approaching worship and Bible study with the attitude of, “What can I get out of it,” we should be attending for each other’s sake. The same is true if we are avoiding each other outside the assembly. We need to take every opportunity to build each other up, and verses 22-24 bring faith, hope, and love into the equation. We have hearts full of faith, hold fast to hope, and stir up love. But we need to be working together to accomplish these things.
The Dangers of Neglect
When we fall into the traps of sin, we fall into danger of losing our souls, but we can help each other avoid the pitfalls of sin. When we neglect spending time together, when we neglect assembling together, we are showing a lack of concern for the souls of our fellow Christians. When you are present to lift me up spiritually, we are both less likely to fall into patterns of neglect. Hebrews 10 gives us a picture of how much better Christ’s law is than that of Moses, and we should live gratefully for that new covenant. Let’s avoid neglecting these blessings and neglecting each other, and let’s instead push each other toward Heaven and rededicate ourselves to His service each day.