“Therefore, do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.” Hebrews 10:35
The writer of Hebrews has spent the first 10 chapters extolling the greatness of Christ as High Priest and the eternal sufficiency of His sacrifice for sin. He contrasts that with the Jewish sacrificial system instituted by God through Moses, which required repeated sacrifices, year after year.
I have tried to imagine what it would be like to have one day during the year when atonement was made for sins, and the rest of the year to feel the burden of them on my conscience. What a heavy weight that must have been. But here we read that Christ has “perfected forever those who are being sanctified” (10:14). His work on Calvary was a complete work, and at the very moment of my salvation, I stand perfect (through Christ) before God. Even though there are many, many things that God will change in me from that day until the day of my death, I can “draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having my heart sprinkled from an evil conscience…” (10:22).
I have never before grasped the impact such a reality would have had upon the Jewish people who turned to Christ. No more waiting for the Day of Atonement when only the high priest could go into the holy of holies. Now they lived in the freedom of the Day of Atonement everyday.
This was a tremendously important thing for the Jewish Christians to understand, and especially as they were experiencing persecution for their faith, as the later part of chapter 10 seems to indicate.
It must have been difficult for the early Jewish Christians to have been ostracized and excluded from the religious community that they had grown up with and that had been such an important part of their lives. Now they were excluded, hated and persecuted. It would have been tempting for them to try to incorporate Christ into their Judaism.
But as the writer of Hebrews exhorts them to endure, he does so by reminding them of the wonderfully complete work of their new High Priest and the better things they have in Jesus Christ.
How thrilling to realize that the work has been done. So we can have confidence in the sufficiency of the sacrifice of Christ, forever completed on Calvary.
It is finished.