Jesus did not come into the world to die on the cross for us in order that we might have a second chance at being good. A second chance, a third chance, etc., is what the sacrificial system under the Old Covenant gave the worshippers. Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead to pay the full penalty for our sins once and for all and to purchase a place for us in heaven that he offers to all who believe based on faith alone. If it’s only a second chance, we all fail and will never have the necessary confidence to enter into God’s presence, ever! But Hebrews 10:19-22 says, “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 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.”

The writer refers to his readers as “brothers.” He is addressing those who have come to faith in Jesus but who seemed to have lost their confidence in the full sufficiency of Jesus and his priestly work on our behalf with God. The religious leaders of their day, the Judaizers, the legalists, have so infiltrated their group that some began to question the place of the law in their relationship with God. They began to consider it like the sacrifices of the Old Covenant which only offer us a second chance to be good. Thus all confidence, all assurance of our rightful standing with God is gone! We again wrestle with our failure as the basis for God’s rejection of us. It seems to be the default position in every generation. We can’t let go of our religion and put our full confidence in the finished work of Jesus. We seem to want to contribute something to our own salvation! Our “flesh”, our “pride” wants to make a contribution, but God says “There is nothing you can add and there is nothing you can take away” from the finished work of Jesus.

Through Christ we can come into the presence of God with a clear conscience with the “full assurance” of our acceptance.  Hagner writes, “And we are reminded that our acceptability, as we know from the preceding chapters, depends fully upon the priestly work of Christ. We have been cleansed internally (having our hearts sprinkled; cf. Ezek. 36:25, in the context of reference to the new covenant), so that we no longer have the guilty conscience (cf. 9:9, 14) from which the old, sacrificial ritual could not free us.”[1] Thankfully our acceptance by God is based solely on the person and work of His Son, Jesus. It’s Jesus’ blood that cleanses us from all sin. The torn veil separating man from God was split in two at Christ’s death. Stedman says, “That indicated that the way into the presence of God was now open to all who believe in Jesus. We can, therefore, enter with boldness and with no uncertainty as to our acceptance, since everything rests on the blood of Jesus.”[2] It’s all about Jesus!

[1] Donald A. Hagner, Hebrews, Understanding the Bible Commentary Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2011), 165.

[2] Ray C. Stedman, Hebrews, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series (Westmont, IL: IVP Academic, 1992), Heb 10:19.