Unlocking An Abundant Life

Hebrews 10 was a timely read for me. I love how God’s truth is just what I need. I took a day off from work to write this study and heal. I have felt so worn lately and I’ve stretched myself too thin. That’s on me and I need to re-center and practice saying “no” more. So, last Monday, I sat my chair out in the back field, warmed up a homemade bowl of chili with cornbread, studied God’s Word, and learned a few lessons from this chapter to share with you.


1 The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:

“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
    but a body you prepared for me;
with burnt offerings and sin offerings
    you were not pleased.
Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—
    I have come to do your will, my God.’”

First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law. Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second.10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

-          Sometimes we need a reality check. It’s so easy to day dream about another life. You see it on FB or IG and think, “Wow, their life is so picturesque. I wish I had that.” That’s a lie. Life is messy. Life is hard. And “your hard” isn’t as hard as someone else’s, just like “my hard” isn’t either. We lose perspective in the day-to-day and then start mentally architecting an easier, cleaner, wealthier, healthier life. I know you do it, because I do it, too. Don’t get me wrong, you should capture those “cleaner” moments of life. The ones where the family is gathering around the table or you get to spend some time on a beach. Those are moments that matter, but they aren’t the essence of life itself.

-          I share this “reality check” with you because it’s like what the author is speaking of in this chapter. The Old Covenant was a hard life. It required repeat sacrifices, year after year, to temporarily make perfect those who drew near. However, it didn’t remove the guilt of sin because each year at Yom Kippur the Israelites were re-reminded of their sin. The Good News is, God didn’t leave us in the muck of our sin, He sent Jesus to provide us with an abundant life and He architected it Himself.

-          The word realities in verse 1 is a Greek word that means complete restoration, a detailed reproduction. It literally means portrait, and would mean photograph, if there had been such a thing in those days (William Barclay, The Letter to the Hebrews). Christ died to produce for you a picturesque life. I know at times it does not look beautiful (and we are going to talk about that next), but a life of obedience is all He needs. He wants us each to say, “Here I am…I have come to do your will.”

-          Jesus was the perfect sacrifice because He perfectly did God’s will. God knows we cannot be perfect on our own, but we can accept the perfection of Christ as our own, and then allow His process of sanctification (yes, it is a process, not a time-warp to holiness) to occur until The Day He returns. “Do with me as you will, Lord. Amen.”

 11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. 14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:

16 “This is the covenant I will make with them
    after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts,
    and I will write them on their minds.”

17 Then he adds:

“Their sins and lawless acts
    I will remember no more.”

18 And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.

19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

-          Again, the writer of Hebrews draws contrasting explanations of sacrificing animals and the sacrifice of the Lamb of God. Specifically, we’re are told: (1) Jesus’ achievement was made once and was forever; (2) It could not be repeated; (3) It doesn’t need to be repeated; (4) Jesus rested—or, “sat down”—at the right hand of God. That word “rest” has been a sacred echo for me recently. Resting in Christ Jesus. Resting in His work. Letting myself rest.

-          As I mentioned earlier, we can get sucked into the vortex of chaos so easily. Chaos and crazy bid for our heart daily. Stress. Bills. Tiredness. Depression. Unhealthy eating. Unhealed wounds. Oh, Jesus, have mercy on us. I have a magnet on my fridge that one of my soul sisters bought me. It quotes Hebrews 12:2 that proclaims, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” That word “fix” constantly nudges me to fix, fasten, and focus on Christ. Not to focus on how I’m feeling; not to focus on my circumstances; not to focus on my tiredness. The secret to the abundant life is what you choose to fix your thoughts on and whether you believe He is able. “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief” (Mark 9:23-25). 

-          I love verses 22-25, especially how they read in The Message bible (using different versions of the Bible always brings a fresh perspective!): “So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.”

-          Friends, let’s do it! Let’s be full of belief, confident, and have a grip of faith that nothing can loosen. Let’s eagerly approach THE BIG DAY. This is what makes the less-than-perfect life on this earth worth it. Maranatha (Come, Lord Jesus)!

26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. 33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34 You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. 35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.

36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For,

“In just a little while,
    he who is coming will come
    and will not delay.”

38 And,

“But my righteous one will live by faith.
    And I take no pleasure
    in the one who shrinks back.”

39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.

-          Several things to unpack in these final verses, so hang with me. First, we move into a staunch warning from the writer. We’ve spent a great many chapters talking about the work of Christ Jesus and establishing Him as our King and Lord. We can’t go on without the caution of sin because Satan is here to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10).

-          As Barclay provides succinctly, we are provided three definitions of sin (paraphrased):

o   Sin is to trample Christ underfoot. “It is possible to stand almost any physical attack; the thing that brings submission is a broken heart.” Remember that Christ was betrayed by His very own. The people He loved deeply. Think about the person in this world you love most powerfully, and then think about an act of betrayal. That is—in a small form—what Christ feels when we choose sin. Sin is the wounding of love.

o   Sin is the failure to see the sacredness of sacred things. The writer wants us to fully understand what Christ has done for us. Look at the cost of what Christ did! It is sacred, and sin is the failure to realize the sacredness of that sacrifice upon the cross.

o   Sin is the insult to the Holy Spirit. “The Holy Spirit speaks within us…telling us what is right and wrong…to disregard is to insult the Spirit and to grieve the heart of God.”

-          Now, we’ve discussed sin. That was tough, wasn’t it? You look at it differently now, I hope. I know I did when I read those definitions. I’ve tramped on Him, been sacrilegious, and insulted His work thousands upon thousands of times. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Don’t stay in the mud beating yourself up for your sin. Let Him lift you out of the pit of destructions (Psalm 40:2) and set your feet on His rock. Keep your eyes fixed on Him. He knows you’ll mess up. He signed up for your mess before this world was created. And, He still said, “Yes!” Go give Him your best “yes” today.

-          These final verses remind us to not shrink back. Don’t give in. Don’t give up. Keep living the “four f’s” of life: faith, focus, fire, and finish!

“In just a little while,
    he who is coming will come
    and will not delay.”

38 And, “But my righteous one will live by faith.
    And I take no pleasure
    in the one who shrinks back.”

He’s coming back, friends. Amen.