In Awe And In Joy
Today's verses are the second part of a comparison between the people who lived under the law (Hebrews 12:18-21) and those who put their faith in Jesus Christ (Hebrews 12:22-24). The awesome holiness of God revealed in the Old Testament, which demanded that sinful people could not come near to Him, has been replaced by an awesome joy since the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Mount Zion, the centre point of worship in Jerusalem, is now the name for a heavenly city. Still the centre of worship; cosmic and not geographical. It is the home of every believer in Jesus who has drawn them to Father God with sins forgiven: fully reconciled by the blood of Christ (Colossians 1:20). It is the church universal – both the believers who are now alive and those who have died in faith. It is to that great company that we belong, where many thousands of angels rejoice in the salvation of millions and millions of people who have repented and trusted in Christ as their Saviour (Luke 15:7-10).
Those people are the church of Jesus Christ who is 'the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation' (Colossians 1:15). Their names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20) – even before they get there! Their place is reserved and prepared by Jesus (John 14:1-3), whose sprinkled blood has made a way for us to come to God: although He is the awesome Judge, we are commanded to approach Him with great joy and without terror (Hebrews 4:16). Those who have died in faith already know the reality of His presence. Made righteous through Christ's blood they are finally made perfect.
No wonder that all those who trust in Jesus have a great and joyful expectation about the future. What is to come is truly glorious. But while we wait for that Day, the present is also glorious. The angels rejoice over God's grace to us in Christ. Heaven is prepared for us. Our names are written in heaven, and on the hands of the Lord Jesus (Isaiah 49:16). We are no longer kept away but drawn close to Him. He has chosen to incorporate us in His kingdom now and secure us in Him for all eternity. What joy. But also what awe and deep gratitude we should have. As Hebrews 12:28 says, "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our 'God is a consuming fire.'"
© Dr Paul Adams