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Enter... by the New and Living Way

3 March • Third Sunday in Lent


Hebrews 10:19-39

19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.


26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.


32 But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, 33 sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. 34 For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. 35 Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. 37 For,

“Yet a little while,

and the coming one will come and will not delay;

38 but my righteous one shall live by faith,

and if he shrinks back,my soul has no pleasure in him.”


39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.

Meditation

 

Dear brothers and sisters, how blessed we are! During the Old Testament era, when the way into the holy places was not yet opened (Hebrews 9:8), only the high priest taking blood with him could enter the Most Holy Place once a year. In contrast, we now receive salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. He offered Himself once and for all as an eternal sacrifice for our sins, unveiling a new and living path. This path allows us to openly enter the Most Holy Place by faith, where we can worship God and draw near to Him. As the Apostle Paul aptly declared, "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ" (Ephesians 2:13).


Having entered into the Most Holy Place through this new and living way, the author of Hebrews exhorts us to approach God with sincerity and unwavering faith. We come cleansed by the water of baptism, clinging steadfastly to the hope we profess before our faithful God. We are to stir up one another to love and good works, and not neglect meeting together.


Gatherings serve as occasions for spiritual nourishment through the Word and Sacraments, to praise and give thanks to Him, and make requests to God. They foster an intimate relationship with the Lord and aid our continued spiritual growth. These gatherings enable us to cultivate fellowship within the church and apply faith in our daily lives.


During the initial two years of the pandemic, physical worship services and gatherings were halted due to safe distance regulations. Many activities transited to online platforms. Even as the world adjusted to this new way of life, some remained hesitant to return to physical church services post-pandemic. Some believed that online worship sufficed, neglecting the vital aspect of fellowship within the church. Lord, have mercy!


Prayer

 

Heavenly Father, we thank You for tearing down the barriers that separated us through Christ's sacrifice in the shedding of His blood. We are grateful for the new and living way to the Most Holy Place. Keep us steadfast in the Holy Spirit, guard us from faltering and strengthen our faith to give us life. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.


Action

 

Let us make a habit of entering God's presence daily to draw near, commune, and pray to Him. Let us also stir up one another to love and do good works.


Bishop Lu Guan Hoe

Bishop, Lutheran Church in Singapore

President, National Council of Churches of Singapore


(Source: Translated from Chinese Lenten Devotions 2024)

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