As I finish up Hebrews 4 this morning, two penetrating commands to obey, one preeminent reason.
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
(Hebrews 4:14-16 ESV)
Hold fast. Draw near. Our confession. With confidence. How come? Burst forth with the tested and tried Sunday School 101 answer: Jesus!
They were wavering. Teetering between going on for Jesus, which was hard, and going back to the old ways which, though easier, would have forfeited the rest they were promised (Heb. 4:9). “Strive to enter the rest” (Heb. 4:11), is the exhortation to these Hebrews, “Harden not your hearts” (Heb. 4:7).
And that’s what it was, a matter of the heart. To what were they going to direct the centrality of their being — hope in their good works or faith in the finished work of the Son of God? How would they set their internal GPS, to seek ease and the favor of man, or to seek first the kingdom of God? Whichever it was, the word of God would splay open “the intentions of their heart,” for “no creature is hidden from [God’s] sight” (Heb. 4:12-13).
But I know my heart. Even at its finest it is so often so fickle. Even though my heart’s desires might be pure at times, it is also so easily distracted. Even with the best of intentions, too often the center of my being is beset with self-affection.
So even if I have ears to hear that I should hold fast to my confession as a Jesus-follower, even if my desire is to draw near with confidence to His mighty throne, if you knew me the way I know me, and the way God knows me, you’d know why I’m tempted to ask, “Who am I to stand so firm? Who am I to confidently draw so near?”
Wrong questions, though. It’s not “Who am I?” It’s “Who is He?”
He is our great High Priest. So let’s hold fast our confession. He has offered the once for all sacrifice for all our sin — past, present, and future — atoning fully for our transgression before a Holy God and able to declare us fully justified in His sight. Thus, let us not lose our grip on the One who has promised never to lose His grip on us. He has passed through the heavens and is, even now, at the Father’s right hand actively interceding for His own. So, let us stand firm on our profession that, “Jesus loves me, this I know!” Holding fast not because of who we are, but because He is our great High Priest.
Drawing near with confidence. Not in my own merit or works, but in His. The Son of God come in the flesh that He might be tempted in every way as we are — yet without sin — thus able to identify to the depths of my humanity and weakness. Victor over temptation, sin, and death. Now reigning on high. His throne a throne of grace. His call to me an invitation to draw near with confidence so that I might receive mercy and find grace in time of need. Not because I deserve it, but solely because I need it. Not that I’ve shown myself good enough, but that His grace is always sufficient enough.
Hold fast your confession. Draw near with confidence.
Not because of who you are, but because of who He is. Our great High Priest.
Full of abounding grace. Worthy of everlasting glory.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!