During the month of July, I can’t help but think of one of my favorite childhood memories. It is when my dad and mom drove our family down a windy blacktopped road to a private golf course near town. It was July 4, and cars lined the side of the road. It seemed as if everyone from our small town had come out to watch the country club’s display of red, white and blue. Once we arrived at our typical spot, dad parked the car on a grassy noll, and we proceeded to lay down blankets, eat snacks and watch the fireworks. It’s one of those special moments I’ll never forget, and for me, another reason I love summertime.
As we move forward in our discussion of the book of Hebrews, the author encourages his readers to spend time loving God and his people. Once again, the faithfulness of the great high priest, Jesus Christ is the author’s basis for his exhortations to his readers.
The Letter to the Hebrews
Recall that the author constructs his letter by using sections of exposition followed by exhortation. The sections of exposition primarily utilize truths from the interpretation of Scripture to communicate the author’s point, while exhortation sections motivate the reader to action based upon the truth already presented. The author desires to encourage and strengthen the weak believers of a small Jewish community (13:22) so that they might stand fast in their faith during times of affliction.
The author writes to a congregation in crisis (10:32-33) pointing them to the superior and great high priesthood of Jesus Christ as their motivation for endurance. For the “Let us . . .” commands in 10:22-25, the author of Hebrews draws upon a lengthy section of exposition (7:1-10:18) detailing Christ’s high priestly office. Christ’s death and exaltation to heaven serve to motivate a loyalty to Christ and an urgency to serve others (10:22-25). Christ’s obedience to the cross (experiencing death and putting away sin, 7:27; 9:26) offers salvation (7:24-25) and sanctification (10:10) to the believer. His exaltation to God’s right-hand (passing through the heavens and offering one sacrifice, 9:11-12; 10:12-13) provides access to God (9:12, 24) and authority to worship continually (10:14). The one who worships is now emboldened to enter the divine presence because Jesus Christ is the new and living way who also exercises administration over and currently sustains his own people (10:19-21).
Hebrews 10:22 – “Let Us Love God”
Due to Christ’s one-time sacrifice, we can constantly approach God. As a matter of fact, we have a closeness to God that is unhindered. This “approaching,” or “drawing near” to God is a cultivated daily practice of knowing and worshipping Him intimately, as well as trusting his unfailing work in our lives. In a sense, it’s loving God.
Now, how are we to do this? The rest of the verse says to love God sincerely and faithfully. It is simply bringing a heart to God that is genuinely committed, intensely loyal and utterly trustworthy. Why? Because God has shown himself faithful to his people.
Hebrews 10:23 – “Let Us Hold Fast”
Along with loving God, he encourages us to keep a tight grip on our confession of hope (cf. 2:1-3). In short, he admonishes his audience to “Not let it slip away.” We are to maintain an on-going confidence in the hope that has been graciously given to us through the sacrifice of Christ. But not just “tightly grip it”—hold on to it without swerving from side-to-side. Or as George Guthrie aptly writes, “Hold onto the Christian hope, which is grounded in the person and work of Christ, without being moved by changing circumstances” (NIV Appl. Com., 344).
Hebrews 10:24-25 – “Let Us Love People”
Finally, the author encourages his readers to give careful give thought to one another for the purpose, or goal of aggressively stirring up each other in the flock to love and good deeds. This means to act in a loving way regardless of the circumstances and to do good for others. Simply put, care and love others. Have a concern for the welfare of others, especially during times of testing and disappointment.
Guthrie’s comment is appropriate:
“Our associations in life can make a tremendous difference, for good or for ill, in our outlook and our endeavors . . . Peers can wield heavy influence on our actions, our goals. Thus, for the believer who wishes to hold to the Christian hope, the community of saints is vital, offering the needed mix of accountability and encouragement . . .We need others spurring us on toward love and good deeds in a world so bent on self-centeredness and self-gratification” (352).
Now, how are we to do this? Do not neglect to meet or gather as a body of Christ. I don’t think this principle is related to church attendance every time the church doors are open. But I do think that his point is for his readers is to have a consistent involvement in the life of the church, the people! Are we coming alongside one another in order to be meaningfully engaged in the life of the body on a weekly basis?
Questions for us as we consider following these “let us” commands:
- To what are my energies and efforts being drawn? Am I continually drawing closer to God because I love Him?
- To what am I committed? When life throws obstacles, and difficulties at you, what is your anchor? To whom (or to what) is your hand, your emotions, your heart clinging to?
- Who am I encouraging this day, this week? How are my words, actions and presence encouraging others?
by Wayne Slusser, Ph.D., Dean of Baptist Bible Seminary