Therefore, brothers (and sisters), since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus,
by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh,
and since we have a great priest over the house of God,
let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith,
with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,not neglecting to meet together,
as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another,
and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Hebrews 10:19-25 ESV
This is not a Christmas passage per se, but it is a passage that is chock full of truth, telling us why Jesus came to earth in human form. It is basic to our celebration of Christmas–and I’m not talking about all the frivolous aspects of Christmas that we hear about so much these days.
This is the real thing. This is what faith is all about.
Why did Jesus come?
He came to bring about reconciliation between God and man that only He could do. I don’t mean mankind in general. I mean each one of us specifically. He made it possible for us to be able to enter the Holy Place because He spilled His own human blood to pay for the personal sin of each one who had faith to draw near to God trusting that the work of Christ was sufficient to complete the work needed to make us pure before a holy God.
It isn’t easy to believe. It seems too simple. This is especially true once a person grows up and becomes educated and too intelligent to believe something so simple. But if you read many of the Biblical stories, you see how often people tripped on simple truths that didn’t appeal to their pride.
What kind of faith is needed?
We need the kind of faith described in this passage that understands that we can never do enough to earn our way. This is a humble faith. Our situation before God is too desperate. We need to believe that the work Jesus did on the cross was enough to meet the desperate need we had. He does the work of saving us, cleansing us and continuing to be faithful to forgive even though it was all forgiven at the cross when He forgave our sins–past, present, and future.
This is not intellectual faith that believes with your head only. It is faith like that the people of Israel had when they walked across the Red Sea. Yes, it was open for them, but they had no idea when the water would crash down over them. They had faith in this faithful God that He had provided for them a way to escape their enemies. Standing on shore saying they believed God could do it would have gotten them nowhere. They had to step into the ground where there was once an ocean and keep walking. That is the kind of faith we need to use when drawing near to God with faith–believing that because of Jesus, our hearts have been sprinkled clean and our evil consciences cleansed.
Has the faith lightbulb gone on for you yet?
It is a faith that is a gift from Him. We can’t generate it or work it up. He gives us the understanding, often gradually. The whole process of salvation is a gift. Faith is part of it. And part of it is when the lightbulb goes on. Faith is part of it. That is what moves us to action–moving us to draw near to God. It isn’t passive. Some people pray for God to open their spiritual eyes to truth. It is a prayer He loves to answer. Faith will come. We often don’t know we have it. But one day we realize, we have trusted that what Jesus did for us was enough. God gave us the gift of faith. The lightbulb went on. You can see.
If you (or I) ever need a passage to memorize and meditate on, this is a great one. Especially during this Christmas season. Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift.