Friday, March 15, 2013

“Is Our Faith Genuine? #2 - The Study

In Hebrews 10:1-39, we find a text that is dedicated to warning professing Christians of their need to make certain they are the recipients of God’s grace.  Let us all take time to carefully study this passage and then apply these truths to our lives.   This could make the difference between spending eternity with our Lord and spending eternity in the Lake of Fire. 


We are to NEVER make uneducated, flippant assumptions about our spiritual condition….

Matt 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.





Hebrews 10:19-25





The Study – Is Our Faith Genuine or Is It False ?  Heb 10:19-31…


Marks of A Genuine Faith….


(19)  Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,  (20)  By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;  (21)  And having an high priest over the house of God; 


Because of Christ’s completed work, we now have access to God Himself.  Just as the veil would separate the people from the most holy place (God’s dwelling)… through the death of Christ’s body on the cross, symbolically this veil has been torn apart, declaring our free access to the Father.  Likewise it is through the work of Christ as our High Priest that we are now in an intimate relation with God, able to  enter God’s presence through prayer.  


(22)  Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.  (23)  Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)  (24)  And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 


We are to take advantage of our relationship with God and use it for His glory.  By doing these things we are exhibiting a genuine faith:

1. Drawing near to Him with a genuine desire for fellowship and a close relationship with Him. 

2. We know without doubt that, through the Spirit’s intervention, we have a new set of Godly desires no longer influenced by and evil conscience. 

3. We with certainty that our sins have been forgiven and we have been washed with the cleansing water of the Word of God. (Eph 5:26)

4. We present to all the proclamation of our faith firmly without doubt.  Because we know He will keep His promise of salvation to others as well.  This involves our ministry to the lost.

5. We watch over other saints, looking for opportunities to encourage them to show greater love and do more works of service to God.  This involves our ministry to the saved.




(25)  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. 


This verse is transitional because it stands between the marks of genuine faith and that faith which is false.   Here we read of the final sign that our faith is genuine…


6. When we do not desert (to abandon, to permanently walk away) the assembling of God’s people. 


What is meant by “assembling”?  This phrase comes from one Greek word “episunagoge” it carries with it the idea of “a gathering from all areas” or “a complete gathering”.  This same word is only used one other time in the Scriptures in 2 Thess 2:1 where it is speaking of the assembling of God’s people at the second coming of Christ. 


But also, we need to study the root word from which we get “episunagoge”…

“Episunagogue” comes from the Greek word “Episunago”  this word is used as follows:

1. Christ gathering Jerusalem like a mother hen to protect them – Matt 23:37, Luke 13:34

2. Christ gathering His people at His second coming – Matt 24:31, Mark 13:27

3. Citizens of a city gathered to see miracles of Christ – Mark 1:33

4. Multitudes following Christ to hear His teachings – Luke 12:1


In EVERY case the Greek word “episunago” and it’s derivative “episunagoge” is used to described people gathered TO CHRIST.  There is no exception to this.   This is a very important point.  In Hebrews 10:25, another way to translate this verse is “Not abandoning the assembling ourselves to Christ, as the manner of some is…”


It can be speaking of one of two actions…


1. Either it is speaking of not abandoning the assembling of the local church.  Keep in mind when we gather together as a church, Christ is in our presence as we worship. (1 Cor 5:4, Matt 18:20).  If this is the case, it is saying that another mark of those who are persevering in the faith is not walking away from the assembly to never return.  If someone does walk away with no intention of every returning to the place of worship, prayer, praise and fellowship there is a real question as to whether his faith is a persevering, genuine faith.  This is the point John made in 1 John 2:19 – “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.


2. Or, it could be speaking of us abandoning our belief in the second coming of Christ and the gathering of His people to Himself. We will enter His presence at His second coming.   Remember what we had just seen in our word study.  The word of assembly NEVER spoke of God’s people assembling in a church meeting. There is another Greek word “ecclesia” that is normally used to describe that type of assembly.  But it was used ONLY to describe our gathering to Him at His coming.  A true genuine faith will not lose hope in the second coming of Christ and the entrance of His saints to glory.  Col 1:27-29 makes it plain that the indwelling Spirit and His second coming are inseparably linked and a source of great encouragement for the people of God…” To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:  Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:  Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.”


Another reason we need to consider this interpretation is based in the very near context of this verse.  Later in this same verse the coming of Christ in judgment is spoken of “as we see the day approaching”.  For the original readers of Hebrews, this phrase was speaking of His judgment falling in 70 AD when Titus overtook and destroyed Jerusalem.  In our day, His day of judgment will come at His second coming.


Also, Peter related a denial of His second coming to lost mankind in the days before His coming in 2 Pet 3:3-4…. Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,  (4)  And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.


To summarize this verse… Whatever was meant by the phrase “assembly” the principle is basically the same.  To encourage (exhort) other believers we need to be sure we are living out our beliefs.  This can be done by not forsaking church membership and by not forsaking our hope in the second coming of Christ.  This is the last great sign of a living faith that will affect the lives of others.



In our next study we will be looking at Hebrews 11:26-39 The Conclusion of Our Study – The Essential Of Faithfulness


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