Reading through the Bible together
Chapter 10 invites us to accept Jesus’ sacrifice in our behalf and advance with faith into the presence of God.
Verses 1–10 remind us that the sacrifices of the earthly sanctuary were only shadows (prefigurations) of the true sacrifice that Jesus offered to God in perfect obedience. Verses 11–14 remind us that Jesus’ ministry is effective because of His perfect offering in contrast to the ministry of the earthly priests who were constantly offering sacrifices that could not cleanse the conscience. Verses 15–18 say that the new covenant promise has abolished the sacrifices because it provides forgiveness through the sacrifice of Jesus. In view of this, vv. 19–25 provide a rousing call to us to approach with confidence into the very presence of God because we have been washed clean through Jesus’ blood. Verses 26–31 say that those who reject Jesus’ sacrifice and ministry in their behalf have no other sacrifice to present that can bring forgiveness. There will be only judgment for them. So, vv. 31–39 invite the readers to advance in faith into the presence of God, despite persecutions and hindrances from the world around them.
This is a lesson difficult for us to learn. We always want to bring a present, a gift, or a sacrifice that may render us acceptable before God. The book of Hebrews states that no human sacrifice is good enough to cleanse the conscience. No human sacrifice that we bring can make us acceptable in His presence. God has provided in Jesus the only sacrifice that can really cleanse us and make us acceptable before Him. “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (1 Pet 5:5).
Let me suggest that we, together, accept Jesus’ sacrifice and approach God “with confidence,” in the “full assurance” that faith provides, so that we may bask in the light that shines from His face.
Felix H. Cortez
Andrews University Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary