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Fresh Start 2013: Day

God means what he says


Today's Text: Hebrews 10:19-29

Text: Hebrews 10:19-29

Sometimes in my life, I forget how serious God is – how true the words in the Bible are. In this day and age of instant gratification and feel good messages, it’s easy to start to think of God as a warm and fuzzy persona. The unconditional love He has for us is talked on more than the firmness of the proclamations He’s made.

In Hebrews, we are told that God means what He says. In two ways. That once we are His, we are His forever. That we are to “…hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” (Heb. 10:23 NIV) We can come before him and know that because of Jesus, we are shown as white as snow.

But the flip side of this is the last part of these verses. For those who hear the Word and turn away from it, who refuse to accept Jesus’ offer of salvation, “…no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” (Heb 10:26-27 NIV) That’s pretty heavy stuff. How often do we hear this in the same paragraph as a loving God?

“But,” we may think, “not really. I mean, surely when they die God tells them it’s ok, no worries. They might be really nice people. He won’t send anyone to eternal hell.”

Sisters, nice isn’t the condition for salvation. It’s fully, totally, unconditionally accepting that we are broken and sinful by nature, and the only way that we can come before God is through Jesus. Jesus makes this very simple: there are no hoops to jump through, no lists, no good works to get to a certain level of holy. Nothing. There is nothing on earth we can do to ensure eternal salvation short of having Jesus as your Savior.

This verse is uncomfortable. It’s not pretty. But it’s the truth. God means what He says. When you’re His, you’re His forever. Period. And if you hear and reject what He’s offered, there is no other option. No second chance at those pearly gates.

As we start this New Year, let’s look into our hearts and make sure we are fully comprehending our salvation, that we have truly given our lives to our Father and not simply been working on getting to heaven because we are nice people.

Good works should come from our thankfulness for salvation and love for Jesus, not as a way to get around what He did for us.

  • imperfectlyimperfect

    Hmmm…makes you take a step back & really think about the choices we make daily. I know I am a sinner & that I do it daily. Not intentionally, but just on impulse, or not thinking about it. It’s in my nature. & I try not to, but I don’t always catch myself until after it’s done. In Romans chapter 7 the apostle Paul talks about our human nature. The fact that we may hate sin, but we do it anyway. I am constantly asking for forgiveness because my tongue or attitude are faster than my thinking brain. They are controlled by the flesh & I am continually trying to change that aspect of myself. It’s so hard sometimes, but I find myself getting better. It just takes time & consistency. When I don’t check myself when I know I’m not acting right, I sometimes find that I’m stuck in a mode of not caring & just letting the attitude flow…before I know it, I’m arguing with everyone, & things are going wrong all over. I think it’s God’s way of reminding me that there are consequences for NOT correcting myself when I know I’m not handling things the way that I should.

    Heavenly Father, thank you for reminding me that you are Lord! “…Thy rod & thy staff, the comfort me”(Psalms 23:4) please help me to control my tongue & have a positive, loving attitude in all situations. Amen

  • annaraeblog

    Today's scripture really hit me. For a while now I've been kinda lost, letting sin get in the way of my relationship with God. Consequently, I just haven't connected to God through scripture lately and I've been telling myself I can't get back to the relationship I once had with him. That I'm a hopeless case. But today is different. God is telling me I am His and I will never lose Him. There is still hope for me and I am encouraged to draw near to Him again because it's okay to do that. He accepts me, and he will renew me again :) His love never fails!

  • Hebrews 10 has been on my heart for almost a year now. Thank you for writing on this serious yet encouraging chapter! God is loving and merciful and holy and just!

  • Patricia Hoover

    Word. Sister chick.. ..that its good stuff. Thanks.

  • How do I find out who the person is who wrote this specific devotional? I need to speak with someone aside from God who understands what is said in this devotional.

  • Charlotte

    So glad we are touching on the 'serious' side of God. This marries up with what we see in the Old Testament. God is jealous loving and exacting! We come to Christ, and are under the law of Christ, not Moses, which iis actually harder, see Matthew 5, the sermon on the mount. Persistent sin has consequences. Thanks to the writer of the plan.

  • Wow! This verse needs to be taught more often because it is true that picture of a sweet God is what everyone talks about but too often we forget that God is a jealous God and anything you put before Him, He can pour His wrath on it. We have the opportunity to have everything we need when we accept salvation but if not we spend our life dealing with trials and tribulations and then die and have eternal hell…i want to spend an eternity with Christ!

  • The truth is hard to hear, more often than not. That's why I think it's easier for us to see the "softer side" of God. The God who sacrificed his Only Son simply because He loves us so much. Not the same God who claims vengeance and threatens punishment. But without knowing that side of God, as well, how powerful, really, is the softer side? It'd be all fluff, no stuff. I pray that I am reminded of all the Lord's power when I think of salvation, so that I am convicted of what He has offered us. And I pray that the things I do are influenced by this conviction. I pray that I give what I do up to the Lord, and that I do good out of love for Him and in praise of His Glory.

  • I loved reading all your thoughts on this passage of scripture. I'm awful when it comes to remembering scripture but I love where it says something about NOTHING can snatch us out of His hand! I cling to that… The Holy Spirit is here to clear things up for us and all you have to do is ask! It may not happen immediately, but He will help you to understand scripture and have AHA moments..I believe once saved always saved, so that is my assurance and like a loving father, I don't want to disappoint Him although I'm sure I do. Like Paul. I do what I don't want to do sometimes. My flesh is weak but the spirit is willing and vice versa. God is NOT done with us yet and won't be until we are in eternity with Him! Praise God..

  • Michelle

    That's so true. We hate to think of anyone ending up in Hell, but it's not Gods fault they do. It's their own rejection and it happened everyday. God have mercy on our nation. We've rejected you. Please forgive us!

  • Nancy, I’m a little behind so I don’t know if you’ll see this or not, but I think we just have to trust that God is God and we are not. His ways are not our ways. Those that have heard and choose not to believe decide their own fate. For those that truly have not heard, I believe God judges them fairly. There are probably very few people in developed areas that have NEVER heard anything about the gift of salvation. As for people in remote parts of the world that may have never heard, God can deliver the message to anyone hinself, through a dream or a vision, there are ways. God IS loving AND harsh and he is also fair and he knows our hearts.

  • GodsKookie

    "nice, is not the condition for salvation" -wow!!!! Stopped me dead in my tracks!!! #RealityCheck!!

  • Tsalached

    Wow! A powerful reminder we tend to focus on the goodness and grace of God and forgets about His wrath. I believe the 2 nd half of the scripture is speaking to backsliders, yet if they repent He's there with open arms as with the prodigal son and its not His will that any should perish 2 Peter 3:9. Which is why He has commanded Believers to go preach the gosple to every nation.

    Thank God we are saved by faith and not works, much more souls would be lost, theres non that does good no not one. Psm 53:3. Powerful devotion so many revelations from the few line.
    Keep blessed ladies

  • Ellen MR

    Thank you Brandi!! :)

  • Ellen MR

    Thank you KC2010! I sure appreciate ANY thoughts or beliefs that ANYONE has!!! I’ve been thinking along those same lines about sin after being saved, and I may be way off, but don’t we ALL have to go thru Judgement also when we die? Or maybe I misinterpreted what someone told me…and that’s where I get anxious- what if I or whomever I should go to for spiritual advice is NOT interpreting the Word correctly or as God intended?? I understand a pastor is responsible for his congregation, but I’ve not found a “home” church yet and I’m FULL of questions! Ladies, these are exciting times for me, and I’ve already learned A LOT from your posts and opinions- Thank you !! Sorry for all of the questions, navigating this journey alone can be scary also- because what could be more important?!!
    Eternity is a looong time to be making any mistakes…
    Thank you for your prayers! Everyday I’m asking the Lord to open my heart and my mind, that He will help me to learn His ways, that He would mold me and prepare me for the path He’s already chosen for me and that the Holy Spirit would move in me and thru me to glorify His Name, and in His Holy Name I pray- Amen!

    PS: if anyone knows of a good church in Mpls, Mn. I’d appreciate any suggestions! :) (if we’re allowed to ask?)

    • Brandi

      Will be praying that the Father will lead you to a home church where you can serve, worship and be edified. A church where He is glorified and where His Spirit is at work. A church where His word is taught and honored! Also praying that He will give you wisdom. He promises in James 1:5 that if any of us lacks wisdom we should ask Him, Who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will br given to us.

    • Kayla

      Hey Ellen, I'm a little late to the party (trying to get caught up!) so I'm not sure if you'll see this or not. Great questions and things to wrestle with. Unfortunately, I don't have the answers (I wrestle with those things too!) but pray that the Lord will make his will and intention known to you.
      I live in the Twin Cities and go to a great church. I'm familiar with a few other churches in the area as well, so feel free to email me if you want a few suggestions!

    • Anny

      Hi Ellen, I'm not a pastor or theologian either but I had a lot of the same fears and anxieties as you when I started out as a Christian. One thing I found very helpful was to keep remembering my feelings were not to be trusted (I.e if I "felt" saved or not) but I could always trust Jesus' words. I also read a lot of c.s. Lewis and listen to tim kellerman's podcasts (one called " finding the way" might be helpful) and they might be good to keep you connected until you find a church). I think one of the earlier replies was right when they said God looks at the heart – so if you try to do what's right but stuff up, Jesus will see that. (He'll even forgive if you deliberately do what's wrong but are remorseful. It's very heartening to remember Moses, David, Peter etc etc etc ….liars, adulterers, cowards, murderers and yet .. Forgiven forgiven forgiven.) and the fact that you are starting to worry about keeping in step with Christ is a great sign of the Holy Spirit working in you. Keep running that race!

      • jesusgirl71

        Wow! Alwways looking for new podcasts. Will have to look up tim Kellerman.

  • These scriptures in Hebrews do seem perplexing and tough to understand. So, I suggest you do what I did and dig deeper and prayerfully check into different Bible commentaries. I found them to be very helpful with today's devotion. It will be worth the time and effort!
    Just one more thing to remember…Luke11:9 says ASK,SEEK and KNOCK. JESUS IS THE ANSWER . Love and prayers to all.

  • KC thank you! I wasn’t sure if I was misinterpreting the Word. Ellen, I think that KC is right when she says to repent and ask the Holy Spirit. I keep trying to reassure myself that as long as I let The Holy Spirit be like a flashlight into my soul, all the little nasty dark places that I may not know about will be revealed. I guess maybe it’s an issue of the heart? And remember, was it Peter who denied Christ three times? But when he rembered that Jesus saidnhe would, he repented. Surely that was an example to us that all is not lost if we slip away. I guess God paid the price for us and is not willing to let us slip away into complacency. Verses like these keep me on my toes!

  • God help us

  • jesusgirl71

    All over the place, in everything, in my pastor's sermon, I am hearing this, a repeat of the gospel, a need to comprehend it fully. yet i feel that I do, but i must not because god is clearly showing me something. I just am not quite sure yet what it is. I am not getting something, and I am not sure what I am not getting. i know jesus saved me; I know I am a new creation, and the old has gone. i also know that I may never fully grasp this concept here on Earth, but what specifically god is wanting me to grasp right now, I am not clear on. i know jesus died for me; I know He knew what we would be and that we would sin before creating us and yet did it anyway. i am going to read through comments here and maybe, maybe I will get what God is trying to tell me! pray isters that I will because I truly want to.

    • Dyan

      I feel the same way! I’ll pray for you!

    • PamelaL

      Be encouraged & remember this: we are finite,; God is infinite. Paul says "Now we know in part & we understand in part." in simpler words, we will never fully understand all that there is to know of God here on earth. But we can be encouraged because God is daily revealing himself and his will to us. God will show you what we need to learn for this time. Then once you've learned this lesson about him, he will begin a new, deeper lesson about Himself.

  • Ellen MR

    Chris and Anonymous- I feel the same way, and as Chris said it seems as if it IS directed at believers?! Like when I was “saved” in ’95 then fell away, KNOWING THE TRUTH, then now have repented and confessed again…was I still His the whole time I fell away? Or am I going to pay BIG TIME when the time comes?! Because I then “trampled on His sacrifice?? I’ve always had a fear of Hell, STILL do, and that has always been part of the reason I WANT to be saved!! I learn more as I’m committing to His word and then want to do works not just as a way to “make up”, but because I truly WANT to… I guess that’s part of growing as a Christian…. IDK… fear sure plays a part in it for me tho…There is sooo much I don’t know or understand!? Can someone clarify these questions? Because when I don’t know or understand, I feel like a “Doubting Thomas” which we’re not supposed to be either, right?? I think I need a clear “rule book”…
    Many thanks to you sisters, and Blessings too!

    • KC2010

      Ellen, I replied above to the what Chris asked. I'm not an expert or a theologian. I can only give my take on it. I think what the verses are saying is that if you deliberately sin and do not come to repentance. We all sin. We all sin deliberately at times. The difference is that those who honor Christ and His sacrifice, repent, ask for forgiveness and try again. It's OK to have questions or doubts. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the answers to you. In Mark 9:24 the father of the boy with an evil spirit confessed his unbelief to Jesus and asked Him to help his unbelief. That is what we need to do in these situations. Thomas doubted, but Jesus came to Him and took away His doubts. I'll be praying that for you. Keep your heart open to the Holy Spirit.

      • Lisapizza

        I agree with Ellen. I don't think it means that when you sin after becoming a belive and a child of god that you will be punished eternally for those sins. Remember in Romans 8:38-39 it talks about how "neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neithe rather present or the future, nor any other powers, neither height or depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of god that is in Christ Jesus our lord". As in today's lesson, god means what he says and he will not forsake us. Once you ask Christ into your heart all your past, present and future sins are forgiven. Our obligation in that promise is to attempt to live a life that is pleasing to him and one that will help bring others into his family as well. Because nothing we can do can give us salvation, that means once we are saved, there is nothing we can do to screw it up in my mind.

  • Anonymous

    I am struggling with today's verses. It seems to me difficult to be joyful that I am saved when I know so many who, according to this message, are not. Does anyone else continually get tripped up by the fact that unbelievers are sent to Hell? I feel like that fact, even more so than my sin (which I know I have plenty of) keeps me from feeling close to God.

    In today's world, it seems that *most* people will not be saved! So to be born into today's society and live without God, even if you are a wonderful person, simply seems like choosing something a lot of other people choose too—to not believe in God—and you're sent to Hell for eternity b/c of that mistake. does anyone else struggle greatly with this? I know how much God loves us. But we are born into sin already, we are born into a world where so many people do not believe. So for those raised in a secular family or different religion—why would they choose God? I know it's our job to show people why. But this is NOT easy for me.

    • Nancy

      And what about those who have never been taught? They go to hell through no fault of their own?

      • Brandi

        I think in Romans it says that God reveals Himself to all. I've always thought this means that even the tribes way in the jungle who have never seen a missionary or a bible. I've always thought the Holy Spirit will reveal the Father in ways each of will be drawn to and understand,

    • Jessi

      I think one thing that has helped me is remembering that we don't totally understand salvation and that's a good thing. We can cling to what His word says and we can trust that He is good and loving, but we can't look at something like salvation with human eyes and judge it with a human heart. He's so much bigger, so much greater, and I think it would be safer for us to look at salvation with a "why would ANY of us be saved" rather than "how could He not save…".

      We have to start with the assumption that He is good, Holy, just, loving – all at once. And then filter the scripture through that.

    • Angila Mack

      I think its a reflection of God's own heart as you ponder this in yours. You certainly have the love of Christ in your heart which, if you can believe, is not easy for some. I pray that many come under His Sanctification through your love for others.

      I also second what Jessi had to say.

  • The last few years feel like they came to a head today… I am fearfully and wonderfully made in Him, but I stray far from Him and turned to my old ways.. But today this struck a chord in my heart.. I want to be His, remain faithful and steadfast because I believe we can lose redemption and being away from my Father sounds like the most horrible thing ever. So I pray to be closer to Him and for my rock to be stronger than temptation and for my sins to watch me leave.

  • I do have a question, I hope I can understandably phrase it. In part of out reading today, verse 26-29, is this just for the unbeliever? To me, when verse 26 says ”if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,” it conveys more than a split between believer/unbeliever. ‘Having received the knowledge of truth’ seems to be more than just hearing about Jesus. And then ‘willfully sin(ning)’ seem like willfully doing things that you KNOW are a sin after you have received the knowledge of truth (accepting Jesus?) since before you knew Jesus you weren’t doing things you knew were wrong, you were living according to the flesh and didn’t know? Because to willfully sin would then also be more ‘counting the blood of the covenant by which we are sanctified to be a common thing’ (vs 29)? I have read these verses before and always thought, wow I’m glad I’m saved, thank you Jesus for your blood that washes me clean! But I read them this morning and it occurred to me that unbelievers are NOT sanctified, correct? And have NOT received any knowledge of the truth, right? So is it then directed at us as believers? If anyone can clarify this to me, I would appreciate it. And I apologize for grammar etc., I am typing on my iPhone with a sleeping toddler and a fidgety pre-schooler on my lap.

    • jesusgirl71

      Yes this is my question as well.

    • KC2010

      In my version (NIV) it says if we "deliberately" sin. I think it's saying if we continually, deliberately sin against God and His Word, without repentance then we are trampling on the blood of Christ as if it were nothing. That is what I get from it.

    • Angila Mack

      I looked it up in some commentaries. Matthew Henry's commentary is my favorite, as it derives from the KJV.
      Here is what he has to say about verses 26-29:

      "The exhortations against apostacy and to perseverance, are urged by many strong reasons. The sin here mentioned is a total and final falling away, when men, with a full and fixed will and resolution, despise and reject Christ, the only Saviour; despise and resist the Spirit, the only Sanctifier; and despise and renounce the gospel, the only way of salvation, and the words of eternal life."

      Here also is the amplififed version of 26-29

      26 For if we go on deliberately and willingly sinning after once acquiring the knowledge of the Truth, there is no longer any sacrifice left to atone for [our] sins [no further offering to which to look forward].
      27 [There is nothing left for us then] but a kind of awful and fearful prospect and expectation of divine judgment and the fury of burning wrath and indignation which will consume those who put themselves in opposition [to God].
      28 Any person who has violated and [thus] rejected and set at naught the Law of Moses is put to death without pity or mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses.
      29 How much worse (sterner and heavier) punishment do you suppose he will be judged to deserve who has spurned and [thus] trampled underfoot the Son of God, and who has considered the covenant blood by which he was consecrated common and unhallowed, thus profaning it and insulting and outraging the [Holy] Spirit [Who imparts] grace (the unmerited favor and blessing of God)?

      I hope this helps. I could give you my opinion, but I thought it would be better to have the Word speak for itself. :) I was encouraged by your question. I too have pondered it.

  • madrejulie

    "Good works should come from our thankfulness for salvation and love for Jesus, not as a way to get around what He did for us."

    Yes this…you nailed it and so grateful for this reminder as I struggle to be faithful and always joyful!

  • harvestmissionblog

    Yes, Christ has to be the first and foremost. Judgement is a fearful thing, but God has offered mercy through Christ He is the Raison d'être for our joy and fresh starts!!

  • TMichelle

    I thank you Father for your saving grace!

  • lisabethjean

    This eleven verse passage offers quite the contrast, doesn't it?
    Verses 19 – 22 paint such a beautiful picture of God's grace & redemption through the blood of Jesus. The strict & bloody rituals demanded of the priests are forever covered through the death of the Lamb. That Holy of Holies which could only be entered once a year by a ceremonially cleansed high priest can now be entered at any time of any day by me, the chiefest of sinners, purified by His grace.

    BUT, as many have written here already, if now that we know the truth we choose to keep living in sin, we trample the precious blood of our Savior that was spilled at such great cost.

    Holy Father, guard our hearts & minds today. (And please put Your hand over my mouth! :) )

  • Kylie Wong

    Lord i pray that beside the grace you mean what you said and the truth is painful but help me internalize that we belong to you and we need to strive to obey you not out of duty but with trust and obedient heart.

  • Today's reading is a great reminder about the importance of obedience. While God's grace is amazing and never ending, there is some responsibility and accountability to his "rules" that we, or at least, I, tend to forget at times.

    I will be thinking about this particular thought from the devotional today:

    "This verse is uncomfortable. It’s not pretty. But it’s the truth. God means what He says. When you’re His, you’re His forever. Period. And if you hear and reject what He’s offered, there is no other option. No second chance at those pearly gates."

  • Thankful for the reminder that we CAN & MUST put all of our faith in Christ! We are growing in this and may not always be perfect, but it’s so good to refocus our eyes on this wonderful truth.

  • I don’t think I forget how serious God is because in my surroundings I’m constantly reminded of how graceful he is to me. Now, for a second I may blab off and say somethings that I know I shouldn’t say….and conviction steps in…then I have to ask for forgiveness.

    After reading todays devotional and reading responses, I just want to thank God for pulling me back in when I’m off track….Thanking Him for reminding me how precious I am to Him and the kingdom…Thanking Him for sending Jesus to sacrifice Himself so that I can be closer to Him…Thanking Him for sending the Comforter, because the Holy Spirit reminds me ALL the time to stay focused!

    Be Blessed My Fresh Start Sisters

  • Thank ypu Lord for being steadfast and faithful. Be swift to remind me Lord, when the enemy is heaping condemnation and fear down on my head, that i belong to You forever Father amen.

  • Lord, my heart is grateful that I am yours forever…help me to walk worthy of your love so others will see you and believe. My heart is grieved for those who have rejected you I pray they will repent and follow you before it’s eternally too late.

  • Lord God, thank you for opening up our hearts to receive your word!

  • Thank you, Heavenly Father, that being Yours means I am Yours Forever. Live and Love through me that others may become yours too, and not in ways that grieve You or turn others away from You. Shine Your Light in my life today.

  • I give myself to you Lord. Fully. Completely.

  • Madeleine

    Lord, I pray for authenticity today, to boldly love others, to see Your face in all people, and not to put my wants before their needs. Thank You for tough love and please give all of us the grace today to unite bothour hearts and choices to Your will. Amen.

  • I am having trouble discerning God's message to me today. Some days the scripture is confusing to me and I find it difficult to connect with it. Does anyone else have this experience?

    • Nance

      Yes I do have difficulty understanding the Word. I have been reading The Good News Translation Bible. Easy to read and understand.

      • Nance

        Oh yes it is called the You Version App. It gives you many different bible translations. I think you can go to

      • jesusgirl71

        Hmm. I have not tried the Good News. have been using the Message lately. i do have Youversion

    • jesusgirl71

      Yep just posted this same thing. i am so glad I am not alone here!

    • Cassie

      I like the English Standard Version :)

  • Jesus, Son of God, I love and accept you forever in my life. Thank you that YOU love me too and that YOUdied for my transgressions. You are my salvation. Amen

  • rocknitat55

    Lord I thank u for this word this morning. I pray that I would never take your goodness and mercy for granted. Help me remember that even though the lightning bolts don’t come down when we sin there are still consequences to our actions.

    Because I belong to u I choose not to grieve the Holy Spirit.

    Thank you for this post this morning I think sometimes we forget that love and respect go hand n hand.

  • Oh God help me to be reminded how precious the blood of your son Jesus Christ is, help me to walk by faith and not by sight.

  • God’s greatness and vastness is beyond our comprehension. He is to be taken seriously. I believe we tend to get presumptuous because we don’t see swift and sure punishment for wrongdoing as in Old Testament times. Lord, please help me, and all the ladies in this study, to take You at Your word. Thank you that that means we can hold You to it as well!

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