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Since we have this confidence.

    Hebrews10:19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus,

"...since we have confidence..."

Do you have confidence? If so why? What was it that gave you the ability to have confidence, and what do you have confidence in?

Confidence seems to convey the image of a person that walks boldly into a situation, undaunted by the task that is before them or the people that they are to encounter. This makes me think of the last speech class that I took. I can compare it to the first one. When I gave a speech, the last time, I came prepared. I had done my research; I knew my subject matter (no, I was not an expert.); I rehearsed my speech several times, and although I had notes as a back up, I typically only used them to keep myself on track. I felt very confident, but that was not the case with my first attempts at public speaking. I had been unprepared and intimidated. I literally walked out crying on one occasion.

Webster's dictionary defines confidence as:
1. A trusting, or reliance; an assurance of mind or firm belief in the integrity, stability or veracity of another, or in the truth and reality of a fact.
2. Trust; reliance; applied to one's own abilities, or fortune; belief in one's own competency.
(This belief in one's own competency is the one that scares me. Perhaps because I have, for so long, felt like I had none. We see a world that has this as their anthem, believe in yourself. The problem is that we have had this belief in ourselves to the exclusion of God.)
3. That in which trust is placed; ground of trust; he or that which supports.
4. Safety, or assurance of safety; security.

Why do we have confidence?
Based upon what Webster's says then our faith is one of a trusting reliance or a firm belief in the integrity or stability of another. Let's suppose that I had pursued some self help guru (anyone remember Tony
Robbins). Is the confidence now in me or in the doctrines of the guru? Clearly I could have a reliance in the guru's integrity. (That takes a leap of faith, for I really know nothing about the background of the man on stage.) My confidence could also be "the grounds on which we trust". Doesn't that mean that there are facts that support that position. Again I have to take a leap of faith, because people generate information and call it fact all the time. If I base my life, and therefore my confidence on "evidence", do I gain a sense of security from those things? If I gain a sense of safety, then one could assume that I have an assurance, but of what?

This is exactly what has happened within our lives during the process of following Christ. We had to put our faith in Him. That meant trusting that He could do what we found we could not. (What of those who believe that they are self made? I think that  to see into their heads would give you nightmares due to the fears they live in.) Our confidence begins to grow as we learn more, gather more evidence, hear more facts, and come to understand that there is safety in Him, for He has and will do what He said He would do. 

Here is where the world has such a problem, for they ask "where are the facts?" and "who is the man that is doing the talking?" Isn't that funny how and why God uses people to speak in His behalf. If God spoke directly to most of us, it would kill us. Daniel fell on his face as though he was dead when the angel spoke to him. Belshazzar's knees were knocking at the sight of the hand, writing on the wall. When someone who is trying to get it right, learning to hear the voice of the Lord, especially a big guy like me, speaks out and causes the building to shake, (it was a small building) people get scared and upset and do not want to hear "God's" voice anymore. Israel did the same thing. What they heard, while Moses was on the mountain, sounded like thunder, they did not like it and they did not want God speaking anymore. How did God finally come across to Moses upon His initial contact with him in the desert? God was in the still small voice. Make note, God comes across however He sees fit.

It may seem like I am rambling, but there is a point. Scripture, as tainted as one might choose to believe it to be, carries with it the power to make the Sun go backward in the sky by several degrees. It carries the life of God, and spoken into people's lives will change them too. Is it factual? Few manuscripts were written within such close proximity to the actual events, as the collection of letters that we call the bible were. The world seems to base it's life upon Greek philosophy, and yet the documentation of any of those words were well over hundreds of years later. Sadly that is more than enough time for fallacy to creep in; the very thing that the world attributes to our bible. The New Testament portion has the words of at least three eyewitnesses, and there is strong reason to believe that Mark is the same young man that we see with the blanket around him, after Jesus' arrest. Because we have supporting facts and evidence, you have every good reason to have confidence, trust, and a backbone to move forward in strength. 

God is who he said, and he does what he says. Although Jonah never saw it Nineveh was destroyed as God said. God has never not followed through. Many were fortunate, because the forgiving God relented on several occasions from pouring out his wrath, at that time.

A sad thought – I know far to many who call themselves Christians, that cannot vocalize any of the attributes that comprise their confidence in the one with which they have a relationship, God – the Father.

Why should that be any of my concern?
Perhaps it should not, but God seems to have placed a pastors heart within me, and that heart in me grieves over what I perceive as their struggle on this earth.
Trust me on this one, I understand, because I have been in that place far to often. If you have read the book of Job then you might have noticed how God points out this lack of confidence, at the very beginning of the account. Job, knowing that his adult children are going to be celebrating, worries that they might do something outside the parameters of righteousness.

Let's be honest, Job believes that they will sin. Job proves to us that he feels this way by starting up the sacrificial fires, and begins offering sacrifices to God on behalf of his children.

Whether they sinned or not is really not the point in the book. The point is: Job's reaction; the harm that his worries may have brought upon himself; Job's trust in the God who made him, and Job's ability to stand firm in the face of tremendous adversity from a wife and so called friends.

Another aspect that gives us confidence is our belief in the integrity of the one who gave us the word. In essence the Word (the bible) all comes from the Holy Spirit of God, and passed through men. Jesus was God, John testified to that fact. Jesus did what he said he would do; We have eyewitnesses to that. He established a track record of being dependable, and then leaves us with the promise of a life with him, but there is more. He left us with, not just a promise, but a definition of as much freedom as we can handle, while on this earth. (Paul, tells us that this is not a license to go crazy, but to live our lives, in Him, to the fullest.)

The writer of Hebrews tells us, based upon God's word, and revelation from the Holy Spirit, why we can have this confidence. Trust me, this has nothing to do with any strengths that you might think you have. The life that we now live, is only because of, and through the death and resurrection of Christ. I truly believe that the writer of Hebrews wanted you free, just as God wanted you free.

Consider those that God calls His people. They have a confidence in His supremacy, but not in His desire for relationship.

Here are some of the major reasons that Hebrews gives us for this freedom:

  • "because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins." Jesus offered himself. In doing that he became the author of eternal salvation.

  • Jesus set aside the law; the law that required sacrifices to be made in order to obtain holiness.

  • He became our sacrifice, and by that we have been made holy, once for all.

  • Holy here requires some definition. This word hagiazo occurs only 20 times in the King James version of the New Testament. It was translated holy (1), sanctified (13).

    Sanctified means to be consecrated or set apart for sacred services.
    God has chosen us and set us apart, but for what? To live a life that exemplifies Him.
    Although that sounds restrictive it is one of the most satisfying experiences of you life. I speak from experience when I say that everyday I long for more of Him.

    Consecrated means to be made sacred by ceremonies or solemn rites; separated from a common to a sacred use, and something or someone that is devoted or dedicated to the service and worship of God. This is also us, for we were made sacred by the washing of Jesus blood. There is also a correlation in that scripture tells us that we are washed by the water of the word. This consecration transpired shortly after His death on the cross.

    Jesus offered himself as the sacrifice for sins, one time, for all. Then he sat down at the right hand of God, never to offer another sacrifice for our sins. By that one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

    Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more. The word "their" refers to the world in general; we are covered under that blanket of forgiveness that Jesus blood bought, but we are not members of an exclusive club, God did it for everyone. Now whether the world accepts that Christ died for them or not is another matter.

    Jesus has become our High Priest, God made him so, and he performed in the same manner that the earthly priests had to do, substituting his own body and blood. He did this for our salvation. Something that Hebrews tells us the ordinary sacrifices could not do.

    Do you have confidence?
    I hear some talking about respect for the Holy, but they are conveying an attitude that says we cannot go to God. Not without making ourselves pure first. We could not make ourselves pure. God poured out his love upon, why would he change his mind now? Only one reason, Love.

    We have been given an open door of access to the Father. In John 10:9, Jesus stated that He was the gate, and "whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture." This person has the God given right and ability to go in and out. Not out of the flock, but the word used conveys a coming forth.

    The Greek word for out is exerchomai, and carries several meanings: come (forth, out), depart (out of), escape (David said, "I have escaped from the hand of the fowler"), go (abroad, away, forth, out), proceed (forth), spread abroad. It almost gives the sense that there is more of a sending out than escaping.

    What reasons would we have to escape from God's hand? None. So, a confident person could go in and out, knowing that they are always welcome, because the sheepfold is theirs. God tried to paint you a picture that would instill in you confidence. A confidence that would allow you to feel free. A free person may not want to leave, because of the comfort, but knows full well that they can. There is a tremendous freedom in this relationship, because there is a confidence in the arms of Jesus, the one who gave his all for you. The shepherd will not leave you lost out there in the world, but will come and find you.

    This verse also demonstrates God's eternal attitude toward those who come into the flock/door. "whoever enters through me will be saved." There are no "if's" involved with that statement. The moment you enter that door you are his.

    In Ezekiel you have God saying that no matter where my sheep have gone, He will seek them out and find them. " enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus,..." The shepherd's pen is not the holy place, although it could well be, for how could you get any closer than in the shepherd's arms. The Holy Place was the innermost court of the temple. This was the place God dwelt (so to speak). To enter there, without sacrifice and with sin, would have meant your death. (It is not that God hated the man that came, but the sin that the man brought with him. By the way, we know from Hebrews that the sacrifices did nothing to remove the sins from the man. The blood that was shed represented a covering for those sins.)

    A hugely significant event occurred when Christ died; God himself, ripped the temple veil that had been separating man from God. Why would He have done that? Because separation included fear, exclusion, and a sense of distance from the one who gave His life for you, therefore, that separation had to end. The encompassing purpose in all this was the restoration of a family. He, by his own blood, as our High Priest, did what the high priest could only symbolically do. Jesus became sin, took our sin, and covered us for all eternity, by the offering of His own blood.

    I mentioned that God's purpose may have been solely for the restoration of a family, His. Although all that Christ did was beyond imagination, it does not bring you into the family. Perhaps a crude analogy might help. If God came to this earth, a huge adoption agency, and pays the price for our adoption ( that just happened to be Jesus own blood.) That certainly does not mean that He brought a rope and dragged us all away. The mere fact that we are still here might demonstrate that. He comes to the agency, eyeballs the lot of us and regardless of our bad attitudes, ill manners, and disabilities decides that he has to have us all. There is merely one stipulation. You have to agree to come live with Him by signing the adoption papers. In reality all that means is you have to agree to accept that He gave his Son in your behalf and wants you to choose to come live with Him. Sadly, you will have to stay here on earth for a bit while He builds your mansion, but I suppose that is a small price to pay.

    Not quite through with this passage yet.

    “ enter the most holy place...”

    We were made acceptable through the blood of Jesus. The blood is a vital part of who we are; decisively an integral part of our salvation, and redemption.

    Acceptable? Everything was a pattern for future events, therefore the priests sacrifices and cleansing's only foreshadowed Christ's actions on our behalf. Everything was done for the sole purpose of making His people acceptable. Do not allow yourself to get lost in condemnation here. God chose you when you were not acceptable, and sent His Son, Jesus, to die to make you acceptable. The invitation to join Him has never been rescinded, it merely has to be accepted by you.

    God won us back by paying a huge price, but for what purpose? As I wrote this line I could see people sitting around a poker table, playing for a million dollars. After a couple of turns one player pushes out a mountain of chips. In a recent poker game, on the television, I was stunned to see the man betting 600, 000 dollars. He was calling the bluff of the other man. Now our lives are not to be compared to poker chips, but there is an analogy here. God gave control of the earth to man, Adam. Adam called God's bluff and partook of the tree. Problem there is that it was not a card game and God was not bluffing. Adam lost. There was another player in that game, but he was not so prominent. The background player was Satan, and he seems to have been pushing Adam to make the bad play. Satan was playing in an attempt to wrest the world away from Adam. Don't think for a moment that this mud ball called earth was all that was at stake. Remember that Satan said to Jesus that all the kingdoms of the earth were his to give, and scripture tells us that he is prince of the power of the air. There was more to his play for dominance than just the earth, he wanted to take God down. God countered Satan's hand with His own Son.

    Throughout the ages of man Satan has continued to play the game, attempting to take control by; corrupting man's lineage, inserting legality into man's worship, destroying God's people, and attempting to destroy anything that had the potential of representing Christ. There is so much more, but that is not the purpose here. God won for a reason, and you need to be asking yourself why?

    God is not interested in puppets, nor slaves. He seems to relish our personalities, broke as they are, and there is a clear and favorable attitude toward the down cast and unacceptable. Why?

    Jesus said of the woman who poured the fragrance upon his feet while weeping, then wiping his feet with her hair. "Those who have been forgiven much, love much." Dear Lord, that is every one of us, and there are few who so much as thank Him.

    God is seeking worshipers. If you look up the word worshipers and you will find the concept of kissing the ring of the king.

    Webster's definition:
    1. To adore; to pay divine honors to; to reverence with supreme respect and veneration. Thou shalt worship no other God. Exo 34.
    2. To respect; to honor; to treat with civil reverence. Nor worshiped with a waxen epitaph. 3. To honor with extravagant love and extreme submission; as a lover. With bended knees I daily worship her.

    It is human nature to rebel against forced worship, but we willingly worship those who can benefit us, or people we are look up to.

    Does God reject those who do not worship him?
    Those who do not worship seem to fall into the category of those who after adoption make no effort to assimilate into the family, but chose to display hostile and independent attitudes, expecting the new, rich daddy figure to buy them everything their heart desires.

    Why did the priests enter the most holy place?
    It was necessary to: talk with God, and to offer prayers to God on behalf of the people.
    Exclusive entrance does not mean that this was all about the priests, it was about prayer for the people and communion. The main intent of offering prayers for the people was so that they could, at least for the moment, have free communion with God. I am sure there will those that will fight with me on that point, for free communion is something that we do not seem to see in the old testament. Think about the number of people, in the old testament, that seemed to have some form of relationship with God and yet demonstrated no intense pattern like the priests did; a pattern that we attribute with closeness to God.
    (We seem to have this idea that religious activity has some exclusivity with God. What those that appear religious might have is a heart that pursues God, and often causes the outsider to have jealousy.)
    David may well be an example of that lifestyle. What we see with David is a man whose heart is constantly being poured out before His maker. Perhaps there is a communication that even David did not understand. I could easily have said, that David may not have been willing to express how he communicated with God, to us, but since communication seems to have been one David's stronger points, at least on paper, that may not be such a strong argument.

    I am really not interested in hearing that David was a prophet, although he was, since prophet status may not have been attributed to him until after he was dead. Being a prophet does not make hearing God any easier, intimate relationship does. That means that you spend time getting to know the voice of the one that you have relationship with.
    One of the scenes that we find David in, is the cave of Adullam. When you read this story, put flesh and blood on him. The cave is so called protection, there are no comforts of home, and in reality you are scared. When King Saul comes into David's cave to relieve himself; David's men are telling him to kill Saul.
    Try taking in every aspect of the chess board. Whose voice did David listen to when he opted not to kill Saul? Whose voice did he listen to when he held up the tassel of Saul's garment, called him father, and pointed out that he spared his life? By the way, that act caused David great grief and is the one of the main reasons that David said I will not touch God's anointed.

    Back to why the priests entered the Holy Place. Their entrance gave us entrance, and Jesus did no less for us.
    Prior to the cross entrance to the Holy Place was restricted, and not without fear. (Even at the time of Jesus birth priests would tie a rope around themselves so that they could be dragged out should they fall dead because they entered with sin.) God tore the veil and Jesus paid all that was due to make us right in God's eyes. Jesus even performed the cleansings for us, so that we could now enter the Holy Place. The fact that God tore the veil seems to imply that God invites us all in. This one moment in time, the tearing of the veil alone, should be one of the indicators telling us that the main purpose for the restoration of man is the restoration of communication with God.

    God always seemed to be straight forward when He talked with man.
    Abram (his name prior to God changing it to Abraham.) was apparently approached by God. (Yes, I am aware that Jesus told us that no man has seen God. Then who was it? Jesus? Scholars have argued over that for years. There really are only a handful of options as to who talked with Abram, but it is clear that they had God's authority to speak in behalf of God.) In doing so God states His position toward Abram in these terms; “as for me.” Our understanding of who God is should now be one of trust, for God has always been the one making the commitment, and risking the most in his attempts at communication and relationship.

    If we use the priests as our pattern, then our purpose is set before us; we have been called to pray.
    One of the scriptures that speaks to me of this purpose is one that God spoke to His people about. Isaiah 58:12 (NIV) Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
    Keep in mind that all scripture is useful for the building up and exhortation of God's people. If you have accepted your adoption then you too are God's people.
    This passage speaks to me, not only into my life as a purpose driver, but as a call to God's people to speak on His behalf into the lives of those who are broken. It would be rare to find someone who does not comprehend what a broken and deteriorated city looks like, not to mention the people that live there. We have seen the news showing people, in third world nations and even in America that are broken people. There appearance is one of hopelessness. If it is in your power to do something, then do so. If not then pray, knowing that you have the confidence and right to operate in God's behalf.

    As a side note: There are many things that I said in here that may seem conceptual and not so factual. Should you doubt that I speak God's heart then I implore you to dig. I once knew a man who told me that he read his entire bible trying to find something that would back up what a preacher said from the pulpit. You have been called to do that. This is the only judging that is left for those who follow Christ, and that is to judge according to the scriptures. IS IT IN THE BIBLE?; If not, then throw it out. If you do not see it in scripture, is it because you choose not to?


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