Hebrews 10:25 says, “...not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together.”
This verse is quoted quite often in the churches to exhort people to attend church consistently.
But is this what this verse is talking about?
Let’s understand this verse in the context of Hebrews.
The book of Hebrews was written to Jewish people who were on the verge of willfully rejecting the new covenant (NC) of grace.
In rejecting the NC, as we learn in Hebrews, they were making a decision to continue to practice the requirements of the old covenant (OC) of law.
The OC of law was established by God with the people of Israel after they were freed from Egyptian slavery.
It was a covenant that was established by God through Moses.
It was a covenant that was put in place through the blood of an animal and required ongoing sacrifices for forgiveness (see Hebrews 9).
Each sin required a specific animal sacrifice (Leviticus).
It was a religious system that required daily forgiveness of sin (Leviticus, Hebrews 7: 27; Hebrews 10).
It was a religious system where no one could rest in God’s forgiveness because more forgiveness was needed each day for that day’s sin (Hebrews 7:27; Hebrews 10)
God promised in the OC that a NC would replace the OC (Hebrews 8; Jeremiah 31:30-34).
God promised that in the NC he would know all people, from the least to the greatest, and that he would remember sins no more.
The NC was established by God for all people.
It was established through Jesus and by his blood (Hebrews 2:9).
Jesus was the mediator of the NC (Hebrews 9)
Jesus sacrificed himself one time for all sins for all people to secure eternal forgiveness for those who have faith in Jesus, thus making them eternally perfect, holy, and clean in God’s sight (Hebrews 7-10).
With this sacrifice, God remembers our sins no more, meaning God does not count our sins against us since they were all counted against Jesus (Jeremiah 31:34; Hebrews 8, 9, 10).
We are now holy, perfect, and clean (Hebrews 10).
In the NC, we have a close relationship with God through no effort of our own (Hebrews 7:18-22).
We enter into the NC by faith in Jesus (Hebrews 4).
Once entering into the NC, we rest from seeking to get forgiveness from God and also rest from trying to make ourselves holy and perfect before him (as if we could) (Hebrews 10:18).
We rest from trying to draw close to God (Hebrews 4).
In the NC, the blood of Jesus, we rest in God’s eternal forgiveness (Hebrews 8:12) and enjoy a close relationship with God (Hebrews 7:18-19).
The people of Israel had been presented with the truths of the person of Jesus and the finished work of Jesus in ushering in the NC.
They now had a choice to make.
Would they enter into the NC through faith in Jesus or would they continue to seek God’s forgiveness and closeness with him through the blood of animals and by practicing the requirements of the law?
Would they move from the OC of law into the NC of grace?
Some made the decision to walk away from law and into grace.
They made the decision to rest by faith in the finished, final work of Jesus on the cross.
They made the decision to no longer seek forgiveness from God but relate to God as fully forgiven people of God.
Many of the Jewish leaders of this time persecuted those who moved away from the law of Moses and into the grace of Jesus.
Those moving into grace where being pressured to reject the NC (grace) and return to the OC (law).
The writer of Hebrews exhorted them to hold on to grace (Hebrews 12:28) and not to let anyone teach them anything but the good news of grace, which would strengthen them (Hebrews 13:9)
To help the believers hold on to grace and be strengthened by grace, he told these Jewish believers to “not forsake the assembling of ourselves [new covenant of grace believers] together".
Hebrews 10:25, “...do not forsake the assembling of ourselves together”, in context is to exhort those who have come to embrace the new covenant of grace to gather regularly together so they are not persuaded by religious leaders to reject the NC and then return to the OC.
If you would like to learn more about new covenant truths of grace, click on the link below:
Ten New Covenant Truths