SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- The first section of this chapter picks back up the same theme of how superior Jesus and the new covenant are compared to the old covenant. In the past, priests had offered sacrifices "day after day," sacrifices which could "never take away sins" (verse 11). Jesus came and offered himself as the ultimate sacrifice, once and for all, and it truly took away people's sins. Therefore, our sins can be removed permanently, and no more sacrifices are necessary.
- The focus changes in the second half of the chapter to encouragement to remain faithful to God. We're encouraged to draw near to God, knowing that we have forgiveness through Jesus' sacrifice and to hold on to the hope of the resurrection. We're also told to "spur one another" on to doing good deeds, and that Christians should make meeting together a priority.
- We’re then warned to avoid deliberately sinning after we know the truth about Jesus. For those that consider Jesus’ sacrifice an excuse to live any way they want ("Because hey, I’m forgiven!") it will be a “dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
- Verse 14 says, "He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy." This is a key principle to understand. If we sincerely put our faith in Jesus our sins are taken away and we are made perfect (in God's sight) instantly. But then we start "being made holy." That is a process. So we are "saved" completely and instantly. But we are "sanctified" (we become like Jesus and live without sin) little by little over time.
- Believing in Jesus and having a relationship with God is serious. It's all encompassing. We need to stay faithful to God, and help others to do so as well.
- How is your "sanctification" going? Are you becoming more and more like Jesus? Less and less likely to sin? If you're in relationship with God, that should be what's happening. If it is, thank God for that. If it's not, why not? What's wrong? And what can you do about it?
- How are you doing at meeting with other Christians (church services, micro group, etc.) and spurring them on to live the life God has for them, and allowing them to do the same in your life?