We’ve thought about confidence in Hebrews before, but it is worth returning to today. Confidence is either the feeling or belief that one can have faith in or rely on someone or something. Or it is a feeling of self-assurance arising from an appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities. According to that standard dictionary definition, how confident are you as a person or in your abilities? As a Christian, is it ever right to have self-confidence? Where is it definitely wrong? Where should our confidence as Christians come from?
We’re told in today’s reading that we can have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place. Think about that for a second. This is the place where you either will live, or you will die. Remember that scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark (and think for a second how pointless Indiana Jones is to the ending of the film) – the bad guys are all burned up as the Ark is opened. This is a great visualization of the Holiness of God. Or think back to Isaiah 6 where even this man of God is terrified as he encounters God’s Holiness! God is so good and perfect and pure, and you are not. So, how confident are you to enter the Most Holy Place? Would you survive that encounter?
The answer to that question depends on whether or not you have placed your confidence in Jesus. Remember the law written on our hearts from yesterday and reflect on what Paul writes in Romans 10:8-10: ‘“The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.’ This is the hope we profess (vs. 23).
This confident hope is ours because God is faithful to his children. We are not holding on to our faith as if we were holding a rope tightly hung over a perilous cliff. No! We are instead safely secured by the iron-grip of Christ who has already lifted us up and placed on the solid foundation that is Himself. It is a promise already fulfilled!
But the author knows that our present struggles are real and Satan prowls around looking to cause us to stumble and fall. Our assurance and confidence then must be presently found, not in isolation, but in herd immunity! We cannot have assurance and confidence apart from the church. Each of us desperately needs the body of believers to encourage one another and cause us to persevere.
- Considering everything that we have learnt until now about Jesus’ sacrifice, what do vs. 19-23 teach us about the confidence we can have in Jesus?
- Why does a Christian need the church? What does the church offer to an individual believer that he cannot get elsewhere or on his own? How does the local church help us endure in the faith and hold on to the hope we profess?
- In this time of isolation, what can you be doing to ensure that you do ‘not give up meeting with one another’?
Father God, thank you for the gift of your Church. Thank you that I don’t need to walk this life alone, but that you give me brothers and sisters all over the world! Help me to be a faithful member of your church, to love and encourage others around me to walk with you. Amen.