Hebrews 10 Commentary


The new covenant brings confidence (10:19-25)

Access to God’s presence was limited under the old covenant. Only the high priest could pass through the curtain that closed the entrance to the Most Holy Place, and then only at certain times and under strict conditions. But now that Christ, by his death, has atoned for sin and opened the way to God, all God’s people are able to come before him. They can do so confidently, yet with the reverence and purity that the old ceremonies symbolized (19-22). To fight against the tendency to lose heart, they must trust firmly in God’s promises, help each other in everyday affairs, and meet regularly to encourage each other in the faith (23-25).

Warning against turning back (10:26-39)

Those who are tempted to go back to Judaism are reminded that apart from Christ’s work there is no way of salvation. If they reject him, they can expect only judgment (26-27). Even under the old covenant rebellion met with death. How much worse will be the punishment of those who have experienced the grace of God through Christ, yet deliberately reject and disown it (28-31).

The writer encourages his readers not to forsake Christ, by reminding them of what they have suffered for his sake. They have persevered through insults, violence, imprisonments and robberies, because of their confidence of a lasting reward (32-35). Endurance is essential, since there must always be some waiting time before a promise can be fulfilled. For Christians the promised reward will be at Christ’s return, when he judges between those who persevere in faith and those who turn back (36-39).

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