When Jesus spent His ministry on earth His ways, doctrines and lessons marked radical departures from the ancient world’s ideas, theories and knowledge. His way was (and still is) a new way.
Jesus’ way turns mans ideas upside down and also makes them right side up. For instance Christianity is not a religion but a restoration of relationship to God. It is not works to earn salvation but grace and trust, and it is not about ritual but instead is about sanctification. It is a new way, and perhaps reader it is a new way for you today?
The new way is mentioned by that title in Hebrews 10, and today we will be looking at what this new way looks like for the Christian. What does a Christian need to know to travel along the new way?
It takes knowledge of God, a commitment to faith and service to others. The new way is many things and certainly there are more than just these three tenants however reader let this blueprint be a suitable guide for you along the new way.
Let’s look at each of these tenants in detail and how God uses them to make us motivated, consistent and effective servants for Him.
19) Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
20) By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
21) And having an high priest over the house of God;
22) Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.Hebrews 10: 19-22 (KJV)
The first tenant of the new way is that you must understand your faith; you must know it and have knowledge regarding it.
Christian reader, do you know you are born again? Do you know what Jesus thinks of you? Do you know what it is all about? How do you know what you know about your salvation and God? Is it based on facts or feelings?
These are necessary questions for they are foundational to everything else that flows from your life as a Christian. Knowledge of God and His word are essential to the Christian life.
Did you know that you can enter into God’s presence with boldness? Verse 19 opens with a striking statement about boldness and that we can enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus out of boldness. Why can we be bold when it comes to entering into the holiest by the blood of Jesus? What is the holiest?“Christians can enter into God’s presence with boldness and non-Christians can come to Him for the very first time for salvation with that same boldness…”
Hebrews as we have mentioned before was written with Jewish audiences in mind and the holiest refers to the Holy of Holies or the most Holy Place (Exodus 26:33 KJV).
In the Old Testament it was a section of the Tabernacle where the high priest would make an atonement for God’s people once a year through the sprinkling of animal blood to cover the sins of God’s chosen people (the Jewish nation).
It was strictly forbidden however for anyone other than the high priest to enter and even he had great qualifications for entrance. However in the New Testament and because of Jesus this is no longer the way by which man’s sins are washed away. Jesus’ blood on the cross has paid for all of our sins.
You see, as verse 20 points out, Jesus is a new and living way for us, put plainly Jesus is the way into God’s presence be that while we are on this earth (through prayer for instance) or in heaven in which we will be in His very presence.
So you see Christian reader you can enter into God’s presence with boldness and non-Christian reader you can come to Him for the very first time for salvation with that same boldness, you need not do anything but ask Jesus to save and forgive you from your sins and accept in belief and faith that He died for you.
When we come to Jesus for salvation I like to picture Him taking us by the hand and walking us towards God the Father in the holiest, that is in heaven, and introducing us to God as a new man.
This is because Jesus is our high priest. Did you know that He is your high priest? He is the one who permits you to enter into God’s house and presence be it for salvation when we come to God for the first time or anytime during our Christian life and for anything.
You see because of Jesus’ death on the cross for mankind anyone can enter God’s presence and once more with boldness! You see, regarding your faith you must understand that God is approachable, in fact He comes to us first and draws us near to Him and what is more He desires us to come to Him for any need we may have.
In addition to Jesus’ atoning work on the cross for us, He has also, as stated in verse 22, sprinkled our hearts from an evil or guilty conscience (again a reference to the Old Testament where animal sacrifices’ blood was used as an atonement for one’s sins) and has washed us clean with pure water. Reader do you know this?
This is why we can enter into God’s presence with boldness, because we are God’s children, we are clean, even when we do not feel like it. We can enter the royal court because we not only look the part but because we are part of the royal court. He is our King and we His servants.
Perhaps the most important things to know here are that when we draw near to God we can do so not only with boldness but with a heart full of assurance. We can be assured that we can come into His presence and we can be assured of our very faith in Him (“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith”).
The new way, that is Jesus, begins then with knowledge. Reader if you do not know what God has done for you or what is your new identity in Jesus you will not be able to travel with strength along the new way. Notice something about this knowledge however…it is not a limited knowledge. What do we mean by limited knowledge? It is not man’s knowledge but knowledge from and of God, of who He is and what He says.
Since man and the universe are tainted with sin from the fall in the garden of Eden our knowledge is by its very nature limited. Man has to rely on observations and feelings for knowledge, both of which are limited. Our eyes play tricks on us and our observations change over time.“Man has to rely on observations and feelings for knowledge, both of which are limited. Our eyes play tricks on us and our observations change over time.”
You see man’s knowledge changes. New discoveries bring about new knowledge and rid us of old knowledge, or sometimes the reverse takes effect, a new discovery shines light on a previously held knowledge that was once deemed correct showing now that it was in fact false. Also, man’s knowledge is limited by physical limitations and sin, we simply can’t understand everything either.
In addition knowledge of God is not knowledge limited to facts and experience, it is a knowledge that is filled with complete assurance of what we know. Why? Because we trust Jesus, His revealed words in the Bible and from Himself, of which all are one-hundred percent trustworthy and reliable.
Can you come to a knowledge of God through experience and feelings? They certainly play a part however the key here is that when the music stops and the feelings go away and you are left alone with your thoughts then your knowledge based on feelings can quickly disappear into the darkness of doubt. Why? Because it is your knowledge you are relying on, not God’s. It is your own understanding and not a true knowledge of God Himself and His words.
In fact that was how the first sin was committed in the Garden in which the serpent caused Eve to doubt if God really said what He said, and Adam who was right there as well wondered it too. They listened to the serpent and drew their knowledge from him and from their own selves, not on what God actually said.
This is why we have to rely on God’s word. God never changes, nor does the way, or the message. You see our knowledge looks like this…
Many Christians even after being born again struggle with thoughts like “why did God choose me?” or “why does God love me?” or even “does God love me? and “are His words in this matter really true, they can’t be can they?”“We do not have to strain our minds with questions that we cannot know the answer to, or serve doubts caused by the limitations of our own emotions, theories, or interpretations, rather we listen to what God says, trust what He says and know we can be assured of our faith. His is the knowledge we must rely on.”
This is when doubt creeps in because of our limited knowledge and slowly begins to take over. In times like these we have to go back to His words and immediately to Him in prayer. In moments like those know that you can enter His presence with boldness, that Jesus is on your side and that you have been made clean, that is true knowledge based on what Jesus and the Bible say.
This is one of the many amazing things about Christianity, our knowledge is based on truth, that is God’s truth and we only have to accept it and be assured of it because only He is true. It is knowledge we can be assured of because we rely on what He says, not on ourselves.
We do not have to strain our minds with questions that we cannot know the answer to, or serve doubts caused by the limitations of our own emotions, theories, or interpretations, rather we listen to what God says, trust what He says and know we can be assured of our faith. His is the knowledge we must rely on.
Knowledge is the first step on the new way because it is the foundation that sustains us through assurance and it is this assurance that motivates us. Knowledge of God and His word allows us to follow the next key tenant of the new way: being committed to a life of faith.
23) Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)Hebrews 10:23 (KJV)
Reader the next step to take on the new way is to keep to your faith through a commitment to your profession (or hope).
What does this look like? It looks like stability. Will you have ups and downs? Of course and you will take many steps back while taking many more forward however the one thing to remember is that God is faithful and has promised us many wonderful things. Think back again to the knowledge that you have of His promises, let that guide you.
Also do not waver. Because of His promises we can stay committed to Him and to our faith for our profession (our hope) is assured and we do not have to waver because His attributes, promises and statues never change or waver.
Still you must hold fast, not loosely, not occasionally but at all times, to your faith. The new way is a way, it is not a destination in and of itself. You should not just come to Jesus then stop at eternal security and call it a day.“Make sure the gospel message is right and that it is consistent, for God’s words are consistent. The more we and our churches speak only the truth of God’s word the more consistent we will be to a lost world and the greater the chance they will have of hearing the true gospel message.”
You must walk along the new way and continue therein. Also, stopping and leaving the way then coming back then stopping again is not our prerogative either and while this surely happens to all of us, we must remain committed.
Why is a commitment to our faith the second key tenant of the new way? Because it allows the Christian to be consistent. Again we rely on Him through it all, “He is faithful” and He is consistent!
Knowledge then motivates and commitment establishes consistency. The new way is one built on motivation by true knowledge and consistency through commitment to our faith.
You see, not many things in life are consistent. Things in life come and go but what always remains are the same Christian truths yesterday, today and tomorrow, what is more the world yearns for consistency, the world which we must win for Jesus.
Consistent people can be trusted. This is why parents who discipline their children immediately and with consistency often raise better behaved children than parents who are inconsistent. Why?
Because consistency sends the right message and inconsistency sends mixed messages. Which are people more inclined to trust?
As those who hold fast to our profession said profession must be consistent, it must always send the right message for the lost world will respond to the gospel message when it is presented consistently.
How many individuals do you know reader who do not want to trust the gospel because they are confused? They see mixed messages from all kinds of “churches” and “religions” that speak falsehoods and not God’s word alone.
Make sure the gospel message is right and that it is consistent, for God’s words are consistent. The more we and our churches speak only the truth of God’s word the more consistent we will be to a lost world and the greater the chance they will have of hearing the true gospel message.
What is more, a consistent life is one to be admired and desired, again nothing in this world can offer consistency, not money for you can never have enough, not power for it varies and not even you are consistent for you change over time, all that is consistent is God and He enables us to live a consistent life on this earth.
Now then, knowledge of God’s truths, and remaining committed to our faith are the two first major tenants of the new way however we must not neglect the third for it flows from these first two. This third tenant of the new way is service to God and to others.
24) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
25) Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.Hebrews 10:24-25 (KJV)
Reader is your faith grounded upon a foundation of a knowledge of God and His word? Does that knowledge motivate you to consistently follow your profession and faith? If both of those are true then reader do they result in service to God and man? Put plainly are you an effective Christian? You see the most effective Christians serve in one way or another.
Now by effective we do not mean perfect or great or excellent but simply effective. Do you consider other Christians and instill in them a desire to show love and produce good works as Christians themselves? If so you are effective, you are carrying out God’s will in your life to serve and follow Him and are also applying knowledge of God through action to others.
The effective Christian considers other Christians and provokes them to love and good works. You see nothing in life can be as selfless as this. When was the last time apart from Christianity that someone not only served another but did so to instill within them the very same love and good works they are displaying to them so that they may pass those attributes on to others as well?
This is in fact how the gospel advances in God’s church, this has been the foundation of many hundreds of thousands of ministries!“The gospel spreads itself across time, nations and mankind through God and His people that are in service to Him.”
We assemble together and we provoke each other to love and to good works. We are effectively carrying out the gospel by exhorting our fellow brethren and helping them serve as well. We are like chefs, we feed the flock just as Jesus did not just to fill each other’s stomachs but to give each other the power and strength to feed others, to be filled and so they may be nourished and fill others up as well as we have filled them.
These actions encourage us and cultivate in us a desire to show the same love and good works done to us to others.
You see, the reason the church and Christianity have existed for so long, the reason why Christian families are strong and the reason why the gospel continues and will always continue to advance is because it is effective and God’s servants are effective. The gospel spreads itself across time, nations and mankind through God and His people that are in service to Him.
Reader, when all of us are assured of the knowledge we have of Him and His word, when we are consistent in our profession and are effective through service to others we help God make us and others better all while also helping Him move the gospel along throughout history. This is the new way! Amen.