Readings for the Day
Isaiah 15-18, Hebrews 10
Verses for the Day
24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Thoughts for the Day
The main purpose of the book of Hebrews is to show the relationship between the Old Covenant given to the Jewish people through Abraham, David and Moses, with the new covenant God has made with all mankind through Jesus. And at the heart of these two systems of how God relates to us, is how our sins are forgiven. The sacrifices in the Old Testament that God commanded his people to conduct, through the priests appointed to serve in the temple, were only a foreshadowing of the one, true and final sacrifice that was to come.
And Jesus fulfilled the new covenant, or promise God made, by offering his life as a perfect sacrifice. This sacrifice does not be repeated, and is God's final act of reconciliation with the world he made, and specifically human beings who were made in His image. As we trust in this sacrifice Jesus has made for us in faith, we can have confidence that we are saved and fully forgiven of our sins past, present and future. Any sacrifice we might try to make to God are abhorrent to him, because they negate the sacrifice Jesus made for us.
So what is the above verse all about? As the writer moves toward the end of the letter, he urges these people to persevere in their confidence because of what Jesus has done. And specifically he says, that even though we have been forgiven once and for all, we are still in process of being made holy. Meaning just because our sins are forgiven, doesn't mean we are perfect, and don't still sin. But this doesn't mean we don't need to persevere in our faith, and as the above verses say, we need each other.
How do we do that? By spurring each other on to good deeds. Even though good deeds don't justify us, they are still good. And as we do them together we spur each other on to do more. And guess what? When you are doing good deeds you are a lot less likely to do bad deeds. Second, the writer says, "don't give up the habit of meeting together." Some people say, "I don't need to go to church to be a Christian!" And while this is true, you need others to remain a Christian. A Christian without others is like a coal outside of the fire. It eventually goes out. Finally, the writer says, "encourage each other all the more as the day approaches." We will all go through times of discouragement and doubt. Some of it due to our own sin, and sometimes as a result of the sin of others. But encouragement keeps us focused on the prize and how even our trials are solidifying our faith and making us more like Christ.
I hope you are encouraged that Jesus has given you the "once and for all sacrifice" for your sin. You will forever reside in Heaven if you trust in Jesus as your only Savior. Second, until Jesus comes back, we need to persevere in our faith, primarily aided by being a part of a vibrant faith community. A community that provides an environment for us to grow in our faith and be encouraged as we don't neglect meeting together.