Returning to Hebrews, Chapter 5, we get a marvelous glimpse into the heart and life of Jesus. In Verse 7, we learn that Jesus, as a human being, offered up prayers and appeals. These were done from the heart and "with strong crying and tears" and directed to God the Father, Who "was able to save Him from death" He "was heard" because "He feared" (revered) God the Father. He was heard but God did not save Him from death on the cross. (God did resurrect Him out from among the dead on the third day). Why didn't God spare Him from the cross? He let Him experience that excruciating death to enable Him to make atonement for our sins. Without Jesus paying our penalty at Calvary, God couldn't justly forgive us for our sins and rebellion. Verse 8 continues our gaze into Jesus' Heart. "Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered." Jesus, as man, suffered (experienced and endured suffering) and was obedient to the Father through it all! Verse 9 gives the result of His perfect obedience. "Being made perfect" (i.e; He was perfect but had to be perfected [or experience complete compliance with God's will] as one of us). By His Going through this, He became the Author (i.e; originator of, the One Who accomplished) eternal salvation. This was given "unto all that obey Him." Works are not in view here, as a means of salvation. Obeying His directions on how to be saved is in view. Verse 9 is the "clincher!" He is our High priest!" He is after the order of Melchizedek! Selah! Just really think on this glorious truth! He has won eternal salvation for us who truly receive Him as Savior and Lord! Ron
Coming into Hebrews, Chapter 5, we find in the opening 4 verses the ministry of a Priest. In Verse 1, we are informed that High Priests are taken from among men, and ordained for men in things pertaining to God. This priest is to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins in behalf of men (including doing this for his own sins). Moving to Verse 2, this priest can have compassion for those who are ignorant of their Spiritual needs and for those who are not walking in the way (i.e; not walking in the Light). He can identify with these, because he, himself, shares their plight. Verse 3 speaks of his obligation to make atonement for his own sins. He is as guilty as those to whom he is to show compassion. Let's look at Verse 4. A man cannot decide to be a priest. He must be called of God in the same way Aaron was called! This is an honor bestowed by God. Next, we have the making of a priest. In this instance, no ordinary human priest is in view but an infinitely Superior Priest Who is none other than Jesus, the Son of God! Verses 5-6 add insights. Verse 5 tells us that Jesus did not glorify Himself to be High Priest. In fact, God said to Him, "Thou art My Son, today have I begotten Thee." Jesus is God the Son! "Begotten" refers to priority of rank and/or of order and very likely to His Virgin Birth. Verse 6 carries us further in our understanding. We are told that God, "in another place," said that Jesus is a (the High) Priest forever. It adds still another fact. Jesus is, "after the order of Melchizedek." This Priesthood is one of a kind and very unique. as we will discover later, God willing. Selah! For all who are truly saved, Jesus is our "one of a kind" Priest Who has made a perfect atonement for our sins forever! Glory to His Name! Ron (More tomorrow).
Hebrews, Chapter 4, Verses 12-16 presents important "Truths." that we need to know and apply. Verse 12 gives us wonderful insights into the marvels of the Bible. It's alive, it's powerful, it cuts, penetrates and exposes and leaves the heart and mind bare under the intense gaze of a Holy God. What we try to hide, even often from ourselves, lies wide open in our sight and in God's sight. Verse 13 confirms that God sees it all. Every creature is seen, inside and out, under the inescapable searchlight of His Word. He and we see ourselves as we really are, instead of the image of ourselves that we try to protect and impress upon others. The sin and corruption of the human heart is revealed gradually by exposure to His Word. Verses 14 -16 explain God's gracious answer to our sin problem. Verse 14 tells us that Jesus is our High Priest. He is in Heaven in our behalf, having provided atonement for all our sin and sins. Therefore, be firm in your profession (experience of salvation) and trust. Verse 15 informs us that our Great High Priest feels our infirmities and has been tested just like we are. He never gave in to sin, He never failed the tests. He is there to keep us from failing. Moving to Verse 16, we are instructed to come boldly to the Throne. There, "we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Selah! What comprehensive provision that God has ready for us who are His. Avail yourself of the wonders of His love and grace. Ron
Returning to Hebrews, Chapter 4, let's go to Verse 10. Verse 9 mentioned a future promised rest to the believing child of God. Now in Verse 10, The Holy Spirit reverts to the possibility of present rest and opens, to the eyes of faith, a whole new vista of understanding. "He that is entered into His (present) rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His." A genuine Christian must cease from his own works! What does that mean? This believer must never try to win God's salvation by his own good works. That just doesn't work. It is "not by works of righteousness which we have done (but) according to His mercy He saved us." (See Titus 3:5) True, genuine faith will motivate righteous works as a result of trusting God for salvation but works done in hopes of winning God's favor never result in our being saved. It is inherent in man's fallen nature to expect God's approval of our efforts to be decent and good. We foolishly believe that God will let us into Heaven, if we try hard to do the right things. We never could be good enough to measure up to the perfection that God requires. We have to be given Christ's perfection, credited to us, in order to be admitted into God's Presence. Self effort is very difficult to let go of because we take pride in things we do that we consider good. Pride is sin. That is why we need to heed the thrust of Verse 11. We have to "labor, therefore, to enter into that rest." It is hard work for us to give up working to earn God's favor. However, failure to rely on God's grace and mercy can only cause us to "fall after the same example of unbelief" that ancient Israel succumbed to in the wilderness. Selah! What a rest we experience when we stop working and see God's work in and through us. That's when we are to give Him the glory! Ron
This is an interesting portion for us to think on today. Beginning in Hebrews Chapter 4 at Verse 4, the first thing we notice is that God set apart the seventh day and rested on it. He ceased from His works of creation. After 6 literal 24 hour days were over, God rested! In so doing, He set an example for us. We need to have a day of rest. ("Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work" [Exodus 20:9]). However, there is a foreshadowing here of a future day of eternal rest. After our lifetime journey of faith has reached its climax, we who truly know Him enter into His visible Presence. Rest forever is our destiny. This is not a state of laziness. This is rest from tiredness, pain, sorrow, evil, fear, etc. In Heaven, we will be so thrilled with our Savior and God that worship and praise won't be simply a form or ritual. Instead, our worship and praise will erupt in a burst of spontaneous joy. In Verses 5-9, God recalls our attention to the warnings against unbelief. In Verse 4 and now in Verse 5, He reminds us of Old Testament Truth: "And in this place again, If they shall enter into My rest." In Verse 6, the reader is cautioned against unbelief and reminded that there is a perfect rest for the child of God whose trust will endure to the end. In Verse 7, we see that David mentions a certain Day of rest. Years later, in our time, we are warned by these ancient words against having hardened hearts of unbelief. We need to listen to God when He speaks, as He does to us here, by these words from David. Verse 8 informs us that Israel, under Joshua, missed out by their failure to trust God. Joshua alludes to a day to come. Israel lost out in their time. Let us not miss out in our time. Verse 9 underscores, once more, the wonderful reality that there is a rest, yet to come, promised to faithful believing hearts. Selah! God is taking a lot of space in His Word to show us the evil and danger of unbelief. Let us not fall into that sin today! Ron
Let's take an in depth look at Hebrews Chapter 4, Verse 3. Verse 3 is a hard verse to grasp. The opening truth is obvious: "we who have believed do enter into rest." We will if we have a faith that is unconditional. However, we also do, now enter into His rest. As the hymnwriter expresses it so well, "My faith has found a resting place.." As another writer puts it, "There is a place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God." What wonderful rest and peace is given to the trusting child of God. All this and Heaven too! Apparently anticipating our promised future rest, the inspired writer of Hebrews informs us that "the works were finished from the foundation of the world." What does that tell us? Ephesians 1:4 supplies the answer: "He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blame before Him, in love." How does this relate to our portion in Hebrews? Those whose faith is constant and unconditional are the same ones mentioned in Ephesians 1:4. God had it all planned out and accomplished in His plan and purpose before the foundation of the world. Does that mean that God makes it happen? No, He just knew how it would happen! He made the world and let it happen. God knew how our free will would be exercised. (He allows us, in the framework of His Sovereignty, a limited free will). Those who manifest true faith choose with their free will to trust and follow Him right to the end. Even with some failures along the way, ultimately their trust holds cast-iron firm. They are saved by grace and the grace that saves produces the faith that will endure. Selah! Hold on to your faith and you'll see how God holds on to you! Ron
Hebrews Chapter 4:1-2 contain timely and vital words to us who know Him. Verse 1 cautions us to have a holy fear, a reverential horror of falling short of entering into His rest and missing His promised blessings. When we do not have genuine trust in God, trust that endures, we demonstrate an unsaved condition. Yes, there are undoubtedly times of wavering faith experienced by true believers but the prevailing pattern is that of trusting God (with some sad setbacks). Having stumbled, we confess, are cleansed and restored, and return to the basic, lifelong journey of true faith. One who falls and fails to take His hand, the hand that is there to lift us to our feet, and continues to life's end in unbelief, has very little hope or possibility of claiming a true possession of salvation. Verse 2 explains: the gospel has been preached to us and it was also preached to those who fell in their unbelief. That preaching didn't profit them. Why? It was not combined with true enduring faith! They didn't listen to the truth of God's absolute trustworthiness by constant study of and trust in the revelation of Him in the Bible. They did not have the will to keep on believing when God didn't meet their expectations. Job, who lost all that is dear to a person, trusted God and took the position that even if God slew him, he would still trust. His faith was unconditional and showed that he was a genuine believer. Selah! How urgent it is that we have unconditional faith! Imagine resting in a trust that is so feeble that it gives out short of the eternal goal. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word. Draw faith from God's Holy Truth that we find in all of the Bible. Ron