Confidence in Christ (Hebrews, Part 5)
The writer to the Hebrews makes this bold claim: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more” And where these have been forgiven there is no longer any sacrifice for sin” (Heb 10:17-18), In other words your sins will not get anymore forgiven than they already are. There is nothing more you can do to get to any deeper level of forgiveness. There is no new confession, or more profound repentance, or change of behaviour, or more extensive recompense, or more sincere prayer, or more sacrificial good work, or more thorough character change that can add one thing to the already completed work of Christ.
True repentance is to realise and accept this truth as it now stands in Christ. To attempt to add to it is antithetical to real repentance. Indeed, real repentance leads to the next passage written by the writer to the Hebrews:
Therefore brothers, since (now) we have confidence (which comes in view of this truth into which we have repented, and changed our thinking so that we are now able) to enter the Most Holy Place (the place where the Trinity dwells in perpetual joy and light) by the blood of Jesus (that is the vicarious life of the Son of God), through the new and living way (the only way, the way of Christ himself and not our own doing), opened for us through the curtain (the once impenetrable place we have always longed for but could never access), that is, his body, (the way of Christ), and since (now), we have a great priest (a mediator superior to all the old systems of law and religion) over the house of God, (that is the family of God), let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water (which means we are cleansed inside and out, from our souls to our physical being we are utterly restored and fit for fellowship with God – let’s live as if this extraordinary gift is worth the giving and enjoy God)” (Heb 10:19-22).
[Please Note: the brackets are added for emphasis by the author.]
This is the only way to God, and to attempt to find any other way is to slip back into the old way of self-made holiness. This, according to the writer to the Hebrews, is the essence of sin. Thus, “If we keep on sinning (i.e. do-it-yourself-salvation) after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgement…” (v. 26).
The point here is not about outward moral behaviour but the sin of rejecting the provision of Christ for our righteousness (which is really the proper definition of sin in the Bible). Being “unconfident” of our access to God in Christ is more sinful than breaking a moral code.
“But we are not of those who draw back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved” (Heb 10:39). We are given a holy confidence, a confidence that is unchangeable because it is centred in Christ and not in our moral performance.