Hebrews 4:1 – “Therefore … ” Again, I’m prompted to look back and see what this ‘therefore’ refers to. The Israelites lost the opportunity to enter His rest because of their unbelief. That possibility exists for us, but as long as we have breath in our lungs, the promise is still there. The writer here says as long as that promise stands, “let us fear“. Fear what? Fear the one who can revoke that promise.
Hebrews 4:10 – “for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.” I think we, or at least I do, think of this rest as Heaven to come, a time of no tears, no pain, no sorrow. However, this struck me differently. When we fall on our knees before God, acknowledging our sinfulness and inadequacy, and he takes us in, we then and there enter rest from our works. No longer do we work for justification, validation, sanctification and acceptance. We are all of these and more through him who came and died, and we can now, finally, rest from those fruitless and futile works.
Note, he doesn’t say we rest from ‘work’ but from ‘works’. Notice also, in the promises of heaven, we are not promised freedom from work, only pain, tears and death.
Hebrews 4:11 – There’s a little bit of irony here in the writer calling us to ‘strive’ to enter that rest. It’s a fact of man’s existence that letting go of our need to justify ourselves rather than rest in His justification is an ongoing battle. We are drawn to make something of ourselves rather than letting God make us into something of His own. So we strive to rest from our works.
Hebrews 4:14-16 – Read through this, and savor each and every word and see if it does not move you:
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 2:14-15 – Before I dive into Hebrews 3, I have to revisit the last paragraph oc chapter 2, and this opening line in particular:
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.
So, Satan holds the power of death and uses it to enslave mankind through fear of death. As a result, Jesus says “OK, I’ll become like them and use that which Satan wields to enslave (death) to deliver them from it.” How awesome is that?
Hebrews 3:1 – “Therefore …” In other words, because Jesus became an actual flesh and blood man and died, beating the Devil at his own game … “Therefore … consider Jesus … who was faithful”. Not “Therefore, do better” or “Therefore, stop sinning” or “Therefore, be righteous” just “consider Jesus”. We are called not to be better because of Jesus, but to consider Jesus and therefore become better. It seems like a small distinction, but it’s important. If our focus is on being better, we won’t be, but if our focus is on Jesus, we can’t help but become better.
Hebrews 3:6 – We are his house if we do well? No, if we hold to our confidence and hope.
Hebrews 3:12-13 – Guard your own heart from unbelief, and help your brother do the same through exhorting him, daily. How well do we do that? I find it far easier to be shallow, unfortunately.
Hebrews 2:2-3 – “For since … every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?” How indeed.
Hebrews 2:8-9 – “At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him … ” People for centuries have been asking, “If God is in control why …”. Yes, God is in control, and everything is subject to Him, but we don’t see that just yet. Presently, it doesn’t look as if He’s in control, that the world is subject to His authority. But we can see Jesus, “crowned with glory and honor”, and that’s enough.
God hasn’t granted us insight into the inner workings of his ongoing plan, but he’s given us Jesus to show that He is just and He is in command and that is enough.
Hebrews 2:11 – “For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source.” Think about this for a bit, let it rattle around in that flawed brain of yours. You, flawed, sinful, wretched, imperfect, selfish, ungodly and He, Jesus, perfect, sinless, pure, holy, selfless and true are of the same source. Yes, you both come from God in the same way the trees and animals and planets and molecules come from God, but I don’t think that’s what he’s referring to here. No, you and he, separate and opposite like oil and water, not come from the same source, because he came down so that you might be brought up.
You and I live every day in proof that we are not of God. Yet God has claimed us. Not only claimed us, but gifted us a new source code, a new history, his own righteousness. We and Jesus now have one source and therefore, Christ is not ashamed to call us brothers.
Christian, if this does not stir your soul I don’t know what will.