Often, people talk more about their rights than responsibilities; about their privileges and not accountabilities. Christians can fall into similar trap by thinking only what God or the church should do for us while putting little thought on what we can do in return. Hence, on this great day of Celebration, let us consider about our Christian compulsion.
The Basis (vv. 19-21): God is always the initiator of every good thing in life: ‘We love him because he first loved us’. Hence, the writer of Hebrews presents to us the basis of our Christian compulsion. First, heaven’s door is open free and wide for every penitent sinner because Christ has secured our redemption through his own blood. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ! Also, Jesus is now sited at the right hand on the throne of God as our high priest and advocate. While his blood appeased the heart of God, his priesthood empowers and emboldens us to enjoy fellowship with him without fear and disruption.
But such priceless privileges calls for appropriate response too. Hence, …
The Aspects (vv. 22-25): In stating expected response, the writer repeats ‘Let us …’ The phrase is imperative which means it is a command and not a request. It has the tone of excitement and a term of corporate involvement which often are the lost characteristics in our churches today! Then comes the obligations:
a) Let us draw near to God … (v. 22). Negatively, the exhortation means it is possible for an individual or a church to drift away from God. Positively, the exhortation is in line with Jesus’ repeated call to his disciples saying, ‘Abide in me …’ Although they have left everything and were following him, Jesus knew that if proper care was not given, they too could drift away. In fact, they did at the time of his arrest and trial. Hence, hear comes the call to draw nearer to God from wherever we are today!
b) Let us hold on unswervingly to the hope we profess … (v. 23). Christians are people of hope amidst hopelessness. That is because they have put their trust in a faithful God who keeps his promises. Abraham believed in the promise of God concerning the birth of Isaac when he and Sarah were already in their ripe old age. Noah acted in obedience to God in building an ark when visibly there was no sign of rain. At the end of the day, their faith in God prevailed. Hence, let us also hang on to our Christian hope for ‘he (God) who promised is faithful’.
c) Let us … spur one another on towards love and good deeds… (vv. 24-25). The term, ‘one another’ implies mutual involvement rather that a one-way traffic. We are to encourage and even provoke one another to grow in the life of love and good works. ‘Love one another as I have loved you’ says Jesus. He has loved us unconditionally and sacrificially. So must we. Similarly, Christians should not grow weary in doing good deeds for our labor in the Lord will never go in vain. But to so grown in love and good deeds, we are called never to neglect to join Christian worship and fellowship through which we bless and build one another.
Conclusion: We celebrate that God is good and great to us all. In response, let us return to him; hang on to faith in him and let us spur one another to keep on growing in love so to bless his worthy Name!
Rev. Malsawma Vanchhawng