Friday, October 31, 2014

In His Hands, We Fear Nothing

"It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." (Hebrews 10: 31)

Once again, context is important to appreciate this verse properly.

The writer of Hebrews is warning his fellow Jewish believers that if they reject the Spirit of Grace, if they refuse to rest in the finality of Jesus' Finished Work at the Cross, the face nothing but judgment and eternal death, because there is no other way:

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14: 6)

Now, if you do believe on Jesus, you have nothing to fear being in His hands.

These are big hands, by the way:

"I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded." (Isaiah 45: 12)

What is he doing with His hands today? Upholding us!

"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." (Isaiah 41: 10)

Guess whose names are written on those hands?

"Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me." (Isaiah 49: 16)

Jesus affirmed for us who believe on Him that we are safe in His hands:

"And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." (John 10: 28)

Then:

"29My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. " (John 10: 29)

While the writer of Hebrews warned those who do believe of the fearful wrath of God, we who believe have nothing to fear, for we are safe in God's hands.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

God is Avenged through the Blood of His Son

"For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people." (Hebrews 10: 30)

When we read this  passage, context is important.

Here, the writer of Hebrews is commenting on the finality of Jesus' death on the Cross, and that there will be no mercy for those who reject it.

To this day, there are many Christians who do not believe that Jesus has finished the work of putting away our sins forever and bringing us into eternal life.

Usually, it is the second part which they fail to receive.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3: 16)

We face death because of our sin ("The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6: 23), but Jesus died for us and as us, delivering us from both:

"4Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. 5For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. 6But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter." (Romans 7: 4-6)

Regarding judgment of His people, let us remember that God has judged all our sins in the body of His Son:

"For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:" (1 Peter 3: 18)

This vengeance which God sought for Adam's sin, He found in the perfect sacrifice of His Son:

"He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities." (Psalm 103: 10)

and also

"23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God." (Romans 3: 23-25)

"In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:" (Colossians 1: 14)

In Christ, we have redemption from all sins, and God is avenged for our sins through His Son.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Do Not Reject the Spirit of Grace

"Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?" (Hebrews 10: 29)

The finality of the Cross is a serious matter.

Either we believe it, or we do not believe it.

The one work which Jesus preached to the Jews of His earthly ministry, and to all of us today, is "believe":

"Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." (John 6: 28-29)

Jesus did not come to bring us rules, but to establish the New Covenant:

"And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the LORD because of the oppressors, and he shall send them a saviour, and a great one, and he shall deliver them." (Isaiah 19: 20)

and

"33But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." (Jeremiah 31: 33-34)

and

"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass." (Zechariah 9: 9)

What did this Savior do for us? He came to save us from sin and bring us into reconciliation with our Father:

"4Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
 
"5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 54: 4-5)
 
Now, this spirit of grace is essential for us, because we are dead, in need of life, which we can only receive from Him who has been from the beginning (1 John 2:12-14).
 
For this reason, Jesus rebuked the Pharisees:
 
"But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:" (Mark 3: 29)
 
Man is condemned already because of Adam's sin (John 3: 18), and that is not God's fault, for God has given us His son that we may reign in life through Him (Romans 5: 17).
 
If we reject His perfect sacrifice, if we do not receive Jesus' life, then we are dead forever, and there is no way out.
 
Do not reject the Spirit of Grace. Do not treat the blood of Jesus like a common thing, and rest in the truth that He did a perfect job of cleansing away your sins, and that His blood continues to do so (1 John 1:  7).

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Jesus Fullfilled God's Law

"He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:" (Hebrews 10: 28)

Moses' law was a serious matter.

It was no light matter to belittle the law, since it was the ministry of condemnation and death, God's inexorable standard which no one can keep.

The Good News for those who believe on Jesus, however, is that Jesus not only respected the law, since He is the law-giver, but He fulfilled it for us, since no one can be justified by the law:

"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill." (Matthew 5: 17)

and

"For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. (Matthew 5: 18)

He fulfilled every demand.

Let us also be clear that no one can be justified under the law:

"Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin." (Romans 3: 20)

and then

"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." (Galatians 2: 16)

When Jesus died on the Cross, He not only paid for all our sins, but put an end to the Old Covenant:

"13And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it." (Colossians 2: 13-15)

While no man received mercy for despising Moses' law, we can rest at ease knowing that Jesus was despised and rejected on our behalf, and He fulfilled God's law for us.

Monday, October 27, 2014

We Believe on Him to Remove All Fears

"But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries." (Hebrews 10: 27)

The context of this verse applies to those who continue to offer animal sacrifices instead of resting in the finality of the Cross.

If we do not believe that Jesus has completed the work of dying for our sins, we will have nothing but a sense of fear and foreboding of evil in our lives.

The Bible tells us that the key to overcoming  fear in our lives has nothing to do with what we do, but what He has done for us:

"14In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee." (Isaiah 54: 14)

Notice that righteousness drives away the oppression, the fear, and the terror:

"17No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD." (Isaiah 54: 17)

This righteousness is accorded to us as a gift, and a gift which He keeps on giving:

"For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." (Romans 5: 17)

When Jesus died on the Cross, He completed a perfect work, granting us His standing:

"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (2 Corinthians 5: 21)

If we do not believe that Jesus completed a perfect work for us at the Cross, then we will go back to relying on our efforts to achieve righteousness.

Yet this righteousness cannot be achieved, but received.

When we are established in this truth, all fears are put away from us. When we understand the perfect love of God, which has made us one with His Son (As He is, so are we in this world (1 John 4: 17)), then this perfect love casts out all fear.

Believe on Jesus, believe that He did a perfect Work, believe that He is your righteousness, and behold Him removing all fears from your life.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

To Sin Willfully: Not Believing in Jesus

"For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins" (Hebrews 10: 26)

This passage has brought many people into bondage, falsely so.

For the truth sets us free (John 8:32), and Jesus is the truth (John 14:"6)

He is also the way and the life.

Now, what did the writer of Hebrews  mean by sin willfully?

Let us consider the context of this passage in its fullness:

"1God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds." (Hebrews 1: 1-2)

God, fathers, prophets --- all three signal a Jewish audience.

The writer of Hebrews is addressing Hebrew Christians, or individuals who believe that Jesus is the Messiah, but wanted to go back to the ritual sacrifices for sins.

Throughout the Book of Hebrews, the writer emphasizes that Jesus has completed one sacrifice for sins forever:

"Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;" (Hebrews 1: 3)

and also

"Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec." (Hebrews 6: 20)

and also:

"But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;" (Hebrews 10: 12)

We are called to believe on Jesus, the perfect sacrifice who takes away the sins of the world (John 1: 27; 1 John 2: 1-2):

"Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." (John 6: 28-29)

That is the work: believe on Him!

And what is sin?:

"And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin." (Romans 14: 23)

What does our faith connect to? Jesus, who is alive:

"And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins." (1 Corinthians 15: 17)

If we believe that Jesus has not finished the work, if we believe that there is still some sacrifice remaining that we must do, then we are sinning willfully.

Rest in the truth that Jesus has finished it all, and know that there is no condemnation in Christ yesterday, today, and forever (Romans 8:1, Hebrews 13: 8)

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Church: Encouragement and Comfort in Christ

"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." (Hebrews 10: 25)

This verse could not be clearer.

We get together as believers in the Body of Christ for one reason: to exhort, to encourage one another.

The word "exhort" is παρακαλέω, parakaleo, the same word which references the Holy Spirit.

"But the Comforter [Parakletes], which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." (John 14: 26)

The Holy Spirit witnesses of one person: Jesus!:

"But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:" (John 15: 26)

How then do we find encouragement? In Jesus, and when we come together, we encourage one another in our growing knowledge of Jesus. Church was all about celebrating what Jesus did:

23For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 26For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come." (1 Corinthians 11: 23-26)

We  also come together to comfort one another with the truth:

"Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you." (2 Corinthians 13: 11)

When false teachers were claiming that the resurrection already passed, Paul spoke the truth:

"16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18Wherefore comfort one another with these words." (1 Thessalonians 4: 16-18)

Peter exhorted his fellow believes to grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord, too (2 Peter 3: 18)

We come together to encourage and be comforted by our advocate Christ Jesus in our lives, for He is our comfort, the Word made flesh, the way, the truth, and the life:

"I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass;" (Isaiah 51: 12)