Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Hebrews 6:13-15 Soon and very soon. . .

Before we move into today's passage, I want to remind you of the context of this letter, Remember that the author is warning the Hebrew believers not to be sucked back into the emptiness and futility of religious ritual. They were being tempted to return to their traditions, which lead to legalism and bondage. Why are we always so eager to do things in our own strength and by our own will? Give us a tangible ritual to perform and we will feel like we have done something to help our spiritual state. If we just complete this ritual or recite this prayer, God will hear us and be pleased.

So this letter, then, is a strong warning to the Hebrew believers to continue to walk in grace. The work that Jesus completed on the cross and continues to do as He intercedes for us, is the ONLY thing which brings us to the Father. In this way, Jesus is the superior high priest; He is the only priest we need.

The first century believers, like us, lived in constant expectancy of the LORD’s return. This is our great and glorious hope - that one day Jesus WILL return as promised! Those believers were thinking it would be any day, and they were becoming a bit impatient to see it. The author may have thought that this delay in Christ’s return was influencing some to turn back to Judaism. So, he reminds them that God ALWAYS keeps His promises:

When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself,  saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.” And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised. (Hebrews 6:13-15 NIV)

What promise did God make to Abraham? Well, He made several, but this one specifically quotes the one made in Genesis 22, right after Abraham had taken Isaac to Mount Moriah, where he was prepared to offer his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice. God had kept Abraham from slaying Isaac, and provided the lamb for the sacrifice. So the LORD made this promise to Abraham:

The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” (Genesis 22:15-18)

When I first read this passage, I thought, “Wait a minute? Abraham waited patiently? What about taking Hagar, who was offered by Sarah, because they were tired of waiting for the promised son? The birth of Hagar’s son, Ishmael, brought nothing but problems between the Arabs and the Jews since then! However, last week I heard a radio pastor and then read in Jon Courson’s New Application Commentary the same idea that applies here: when the New Testament mentions Old Testament people, it’s always the positive side of that person - what they did by faith - not how they failed. This is a powerful demonstration of God’s grace in their lives. Their past failures and sin, just like ours, have been forgiven. So, when God sees them, and us now, it is through Christ! Hallelujah! We will see that clearly when we get to chapter 11.

We will spend more time on this passage next time. There is much to be mined here!  

No comments:

Post a Comment