Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Amazing little jewels in Hebrews

I continue to read and study Hebrews. I have done this before but as usual, I am amazed at the little jewels that you find in this book. I shouldn't be amazed for this is the inspired Word of God and yet, in my humanness, I find myself continually amazed at the Word that the Spirit brings to us through the inspired writers.
Hebrews 4:13 has this gem: "...let us hold fast our confession." What confession do we hold fast? That Jesus is our High Priest who is the Son of God. He is true God and true man. He is the One who is the High Priest, who offers prayers and a final sacrifice on our behalf. Hold fast to this confession. Don't let the cares of this world, the frustrations of life and the temptations of our sinful nature that refuses to accept the things of God, rob us of this wonderful confession of faith. We confess this each week in our worship services as we use both the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed. Jesus is Lord! He is the Savior! He is the Son of God who has come to save us.
It is easy for us to give this up. Many in today's world, even in the field of theology, try to make Jesus less than God. The Sanhedrin refused to accept that He could be the Son of God. Called it blasphemy. In fact, it was what finally caused them to slip over the edge and condemn Him to death. Many today don't see how it is possible that God could become a man. It is doubted again and again that Jesus was truly God. It is impossible for the human mind to get around such a teaching. That is why we hold fast to our confession by "faith." We do not try to reason with others that Jesus was true God. We confess it. We hold to it. We support it with all that we are. Will the world believe that Jesus is true God? No. But that doesn't stop me from confessing it for I know it is true.
Another gem: Hebrews 6:1-2 "Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and or faith toward God, and of instruction about washing, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment." It is often said, "Why do we need all this doctrine stuff? Isn't it enough to believe in Jesus as your Savior?" And the answer is "Yes, it is enough." But we do not remain immature in our faith. To hold onto John 3:16 and say that is all that we need in our lives, that we do not need any further doctrine, is to remain an immature Christian, an infant in faith. We begin our journey of faith there - but we do not remain there.
We begin as an infant but no one wants the infant to remain an infant for years. We long for them to begin to feed themselves, to crawl, to make sounds, to talk, to walk, the begin to do things for themselves. If they didn't, we would take them to the specialist to find out what is wrong with them. So it should be in our spiritual lives. We do not remain infants in faith. We are brought to Jesus as our Savior in the waters of Baptism. We are taught, "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so." But we do not remain there. We continue to grow in our faith and our knowledge of that faith as revealed to us in Scripture.
We attend worship weekly, to grow in faith. We go to Sunday school as a child, to learn the Bible stories for our lives. We attend confirmation to learn the depths of that doctrine of faith. We continue to learn and grow in Bible study, personal devotions, discussions, etc. We do not stop growing in our faith and doctrine. No one can know the depth of their faith. It gets deeper and deeper as we mature in the faith. It is much more than John 3:16. It has to be. For the question could be raised, "Who is that God? Is Jesus truly the Son of God? How can His death save mankind? Is it possible for a just and holy God to declare people righteous? How?" And the list of questions just from that one verse goes on.
Grow in faith. Mature. Learn. There is much to learn about our lives as God's children. It takes a lifetime of learning and studying God's Word for that to happen. We cannot give up the basics that we learned as children but we dare not stop there. If we stopped learning how to talk at age 3, how would we communicate?
Gems from Hebrews. More to come. An amazing book to dig into.

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