Exhortations to Godliness
Open Your Bible
Hebrews 10:19-39, Ezekiel 36:22-28, Matthew 27:50-54
BY Ginny Owens
What if today, a distant relative brought you a legal document promising you enough money to provide for all you and your family’s needs for the rest of your lives? How would you feel? You’d probably experience great joy and a deep sense of security—the anticipated future blessing would bring you great hope now, whatever your current financial situation.
As we’ve read the book of Hebrews, the author has been making a case to persecuted, weary Christian readers for embracing their inheritance as those dearly loved, forgiven, and free in Christ rather than returning to the old days of sacrifices. In Hebrews 10:11–39, the author shows them and us how to live in light of the new life Christ’s blood has earned for us, calling us to godliness.
The author explains that godliness is acting in a way that reflects God’s character. Our new life, brought about by Christ’s sacrifice and advocacy as our High Priest, gives us boldness or confidence (vv.19,35). It is not general confidence but one that enables us to “draw near with a true heart and full assurance of faith” (vv.22), knowing Christ has always been and will forever be faithful (v.23).
I love the picture here: our godliness grows out of our confidence rooted in Christ. In every action, we’re called to reflect that confidence. We are called to focus our efforts outward, to “provoke” fellow believers to “love and good works” (vv.24–25), something I can only ever do consistently because of my hope in Christ. It is not surprising that the One who calls us to motivate others is Himself others focused—on His Father’s business and us, His beloved brothers and sisters (vv.9–10).
Since godliness grows from our confidence in Christ, we need to understand what it would mean to turn from our faith. To reject our rescuer is to trample on Him, insult the Spirit of grace, and belittle His name, subjecting ourselves to His judgment (Hebrews 10:26–31, Ezekiel 36:22–28). But confidence in Christ leads to godliness, which in turn communicates God’s greatness to others.
Godliness also involves enduring suffering with joy, not by sheer willpower, but by resting in the hope of the day of Christ’s return when our salvation will be fully realized (Hebrews 10:34–36). This resonates deeply with me. As someone who is blind, I love that the very next face I see will be the face of Christ. When I focus on that, especially in difficult moments, my perspective shifts to hope and joy. We can endure any hardship if we know it will be reversed in a week, a month, or a year. How much more should this be true with an eternal inheritance?
The passage closes with a call to own the confidence we have in Christ—not shrink back as others have, but to continually take hold of our salvation (v.39). Godliness is confidence in Christ that results in boldly approaching Him with our praise, encouraging the confidence of others, staying turned to the hope we have, and walking with joy in suffering—as Christ did for us when enduring the cross (Hebrews 12:2).