We can look at Christ's death selfishly in terms of dying for our sins or we can look at it as Him destroying him that had power over death/to deliver those in bondage to death/to be a merciful and faithful high priest/to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. Which is the more accurate picture? Which has the most power over your life?
The unbelief of Israel in the wilderness is given as a example to us of the deceitfulness of sin. They saw many great wonders on their course, but, even seeing was not enough as they were still deceived by their hearts into many things that angered God. We too must examine ourselves daily as we think that we are doing right toward God. So much though is done in unbelief, by our own fear, limited by our perception of the size and scope and purposes of the Lord. We may not be in the promise land yet and we may not be in the bondage from which we were delivered out of, but, we certainly are in the middle of a considerable and lengthy process.
It sounds contradictory that we must labor to enter into our rest. We can assuredly enter into that rest today but, today is not that day of rest. Today we know Jesus Christ to be our rest and we enter into that rest laboring for Him until His work for us here in this day is done. The rest for us today is the peace and assurance and hopefulness of that day and His high priesthood. The rest for us in that day will be to be there with Him, to be like Him, to partake of all the grace and goodness that He has stored and readied for us. Our rest is in His completed work. His two-edged sword, penetrating as it is, is used to bring us through to there.
Christ learned obedience by what He suffered and thus was made a perfect high priest. We similarly learn our obedience by what we suffer for Him. One might say "wait... I am not suppose to suffer... I believe in Christ... He suffered for me". Christ obeyed the Father in suffering for us. He suffered what we could not and even would not for we were not capable of obeying to that extent. Yet we are supposed to obey in our own measure and often the only way to learn to obey is to suffer. In this case we suffer for/because of Him; for the stance we take/defend in Him.
The belief is that Jesus arose to the right hand side of God the Father. The hope is that we will see and be with them there; that we too will enter because of Him. This hope is our anchor, it is our strong consolation, we take refuge in it, it enters within the veil. Along with this belief and hope there are evidences that accompany this salvation, living works, works that He does upon us, works of obedience that lead us toward His perfect obedience with a similar obedience of our own. Many of these works that we obey Him in are toward the saints and the brethren. Some, having tasted of this goodness, have still yet removed themselves from this obedience, from this hope, their living works having become dead works deceive them into a complete apostasy. They become as briers and thorns whose only use is to be burned.
Two supreme orders of the priesthood, Levi and Melchizedek. The one supersedes the other. The former has brought us to the realization of need for the later. The lesser has been our schoolmaster leading us to conclude in the positive to the greater; the greater being formed by the oath of God. Jesus is the centerpiece/cornerstone of this greater order and not of the lesser. This is a stumbling point for the Jews even to this day who assume the Messiah is a Levitical order high priest. If so, then why did Abraham pay tithes and David prophecy?
Quoted is kjv@Jeremiah:31:31-34. Elsewhere in Jeremiah kjv@Jeremiah:24:7 it is written that the heart to know after God will be given by Him and that this will cause us to return to Him with our whole hearts. It is precisely what the Law could not do.
The purging of the conscience from dead works is one of the more interesting phrases in this passage. kjv@Hebrews:6:1 was the other mention of these dead works and in the context of that seems to center on the obedient works of Christ having their work on us by means of our obedience.
The pattern is complete. What was done for the remission of sins in the Mosaic Law through the sprinkling of blood was a shadow we would latter recognize when Christ came to actually fulfill the greater covenant. His sacrifice is once and for all however.
Nowadays, minus the temple, there is no way for Jews to perform their sacrifices. I am sure that they have used some of these same scriptural quotes to justify their position, that the sacrifices weren't really needed in the first place. The problem for them still would be that there is no remission of sins without the sprinkling of blood. The Christian followers have not ceased from the sprinkling of blood, it is that the blood now is the blood of God's chosen one, the sacrifice He Himself provided as with Abraham, Jesus Christ. His sacrifice is once and for all and complete.
There are times in all Christians lives where they miss the mark, where they become drowsy or sloppy or unfruitful even counter productive. There are times even when we shake our fist and blame God (as in the death of our young child). We have all encountered times when we wondered if this draw back passage wasn't written for us. Self condemnation can be a tremendously discouraging thing. I would imagine however, if it is still in your heart to get back to the things of God, if there is still the will to repent and rejoin the body in fully restored standing, if the love of God is still wanted and sought after, then you definitely have not crossed this final point yet. This is written for the man where there is none of crushing sorrow, confussion and desire that remains, he has completely given himself over to his own condemnation, forever sealed in the hardness of his own heart.
Faith is most commonly defined as something we believe or hope for. Here it is better defined as something that totally moves us and shapes the course of things to come, a leaving of ourselves to commit/pursue the greater promises laid before us. Faith is a both a destination and the road/process of getting there. It is it's own country.
I have often look at this definition of faith as if it was me looking out into life's vastness and seeing the evidences of what I hope; if I looked hard enough and sincere enough I would see actual proof. Suddenly I have considered that it may well be intended to be the reverse. If I truly believe, the activities of my life will naturally become living proof that I believe; my faith will become evident. I have faith despite the appearance here of things, I live forward out of trust. Like Abraham, others can discern that I believe by the manner I proceed in trust and obedience, what I am willing to sacrifice, how and where I am willing to sojourn, what spiritual promises I am willing wait long past my physical death patiently for and how such waiting guides me. Faith is not a collection of scientific insight, it is a substance born of hope.
Those of us in the American church body should be concerned about the lack of chastisement. Where is it? We face certain opposition and the opposition seems to be growing. Opposition is not chastisement. In other places our missionaries face difficulty and persecution. Persecution is not necessarily chastisement either. Chastisement involves correction. Is it that we have nothing to be corrected of? Is it that we have been corrected and so now remain? Or could it be that our hearts have become hardened, that the accomplishments of the past have sent us sideways into pride, unawares or worse unconcerned, unable to discern where our needed chastisement might be found? Has our ear to it become deaf?
Mentioned more than once is the idea of remembering/submitting/saluting those that have rule over us. These rulers by context are sensed to be leaders in the church. The author speaks in tones of a absolute necessity. Who are these leaders today? and why are we not doing so?
There is an eternal salvation and justification accomplished on our behalf strictly by the work of Jesus Christ our savior at the cross of Calvary. No other work can replace that. What James means by works leading to justification here is similar to what the author of Hebrews meant by 'the evidence of things unseen/substance of things hoped for' ( kjv@Hebrews:11 ), the effect faith has in producing corresponding action. It is difficult for one man to justify that another man has faith if their is no tangible evidence outwardly of said faith. It should be just as difficult for us ourselves to justify our reasoning for believing in Christ if we yet disallow His natural effect upon us causing us to act forward in a new and living way. If our faith leads us to no more than what faith in any other god would lead us to do or not do, what justification would we have for such faith? The question then must be asked 'how much does Christ's redemptive work on the cross mean to us personally'? 'To what extent does it/will it effect us'? Jesus called it 'abiding in' and Peter called it 'being neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of Christ'.
So this is where Paul twice and the author of Hebrews once get "the just shall live by faith". Now we have the original context. Given our tendency to box God into the corners of what we think He should and should not be doing, given our blindness to everything except what is immediately before us, given our own personal track record and what we ourselves are being chastised over, we if seeking through this to become just should live by faith. kjv@Romans:1:17kjv@Galatians:3:11kjv@Hebrews:10:38
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