Thursday, July 24, 2014

In Search Of Truth, Hebrews 6:9-12

In previous verses, the author of Hebrews described a scenario in which believers could potentially become bitter toward God, even hating him and thinking of him in the same way that non-believers do. In this scenario, believers like these could live the rest of their mortal lives apart from God, making them spiritually unproductive.

In verse 9, the author expresses both hope and confidence that his readers do not and will not fall into this category. He feels sure that his readers can be described in ways that are consistent with salvation. Keeping in mind the context of Hebrews (which we looked at last time), while remembering that "salvation" broadly means "rescue" and can refer to "rescue from God's judgment", "rescue from sinful patterns" or "future eternal rescue from all presence of evil", it seems that in this case "salvation" likely refers to "rescue from sinful patterns".

Supporting this assumption is verse 10, which transitionally describes how God will not fail to recognize the love and efforts(things related to "rescue from sinful patterns") that these original readers displayed toward other believers.

Notice the reference to God's "name" in verse 10. In the time period and culture surrounding the writing of Hebrews, some one's "name" represented a summation of their character. So these believers were known by the author to love who God is. What's even more interesting and a bit uncomfortable, is seeing HOW that love was noticed. Not through lengthy times of prayer and singing. Not through creative efforts dedicated to God's glory. They showed love for God through "serving the saints". Serving other believers. This thought is similar to John 13:35 and 1 John 4:19-21.

I would love to ignore verses like these. I'd much prefer to express love for God in solitude or through creative endeavors. And we certainly CAN and SHOULD express love to God in those ways. But scripture specifically and repeatedly expresses the importance and value in loving and serving other Christians. As much as I'd love to be a hermit sometimes, this life is not about me. It's about increasingly giving more of myself to other people. If we want people to see Jesus, that's how it's done.

Verse 11 seems to call back to Hebrews 3:6, which says "but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope." and Hebrews 3:14, "For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end."

The author urges us once again to remain earnest and confident in Jesus, so that we can remain engaged in God's agenda for the world, not imitating the Israelites who fell away from faith and failed to enter their promised rest (Hebrews 3:15-19), but imitating those followers of Yahweh that exemplified faith and trust in him.(v.12)

We'll see the first of those examples highlighted next time!

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