19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 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. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 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.
This passage begins by saying, “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places . . . .” It begins with the truth of someone who has peace with God, who knows there is nothing in the way of his or her fellowship with God, and who can “have confidence” entering the presence of God. How can a person have that? Look at the passage again. It says “by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, through his flesh.” That’s how. Through faith in the way Jesus made for us to have peace with God by his life, death, and resurrection. (Notice it’s a “living way” that he made = he rose again and is our living Savior to this day and forever.) That’s how we have communion with God. We’re not good enough, but He is. We can’t do enough, but He did. If we’re looking anywhere but to Jesus, we’re looking in the wrong place. As verse 21 says, “we have a great priest” over us in Jesus Christ, who brings us spotless and without fear into communion with God.
But what then? We say we have repented of our sins and have trusted in Jesus Christ alone to forgive us and give us peace with God. What then? What do we need from that point on? This passage in Hebrews tells us exactly. Let me go ahead and give you the answer: the church. Verse 22 urges us to live day by day “in full assurance of faith.” Verse 23 expects us to “hold fast our confession of hope without wavering.” Verse 24 commands us to “stir up one another to love and good works” so that we have full assurance and confess our hope in Christ without wavering. But where do we get all of this assurance and confessing without wavering and stirring up? Answer again: the church. Verse 25, “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some . . . .”
Church isn’t just something you do. Church is someone you are. But not by yourself. It is who you are together with all those other people you worship with every Sunday. You don’t just happen to show up at the same place at the same time every week. It is a gathering that God has designed so that through the presence and encouragement of all those other people you are reminded again and again of the peace we have with God through Jesus Christ, that he calls us to follow him faithfully until he comes again. This is a big deal. I suggest you read through Hebrews 10:19-25 a few times. Slowly.