Statements of persuasion from Hebrews (9).
In the last post, we looked at the call of the Gospel vis a vis the eternal priesthood of Jesus. The unbeliever is to do nothing about his sins but to believe in the propitiation of the High priest for our sins.
Today, we proceed to yet another statement of persuasion. It’s found in Hebrews 4:16, ‘Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.’ Let’s see the pre-text, post-text and read it into the context. Hebrews 4:14-5:2, ‘Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast [our] profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things [pertaining] to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.’
Here, he discusses the priesthood of Jesus with respect to sin. He puts forth Jesus as the high priest who by his perfect sacrifice and endless life has obtained eternal salvation for those that believe (Hebrews 5:7). What then is the throne of Grace? Is it a place for supplication and prayers as some have thought?
Let’s study carefully to see what really he is saying. Hebrews 4:16, ‘Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.’ What happens at the throne of Grace? Man obtains mercy and finds grace IN THE TIME OF NEED. The phase, ‘The time of need’ in the originals mean, ‘an opportune time, better put as THE ACCEPTED TIME’.
What is the accepted time? 2 Corinthians 6:2,’ (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now [is] the accepted time; behold, now [is] the day of salvation.)’. The ACCEPTED TIME is the day of Salvation. Hence, the throne of Grace refers to what a man receives from God at salvation. He obtains mercy (an eternal reprieve from judgment deserved for sins) and finds Grace (the divine benevolence undeserved).
In this, we see the character of the call of salvation; to obtain mercy and find grace’. It is not a message of doom and gloom. It’s a glorious invitation into divine forgiveness and goodness! ?#?Dunamis?
Statements of persuasion from the book of Hebrews (8).
We have been studying awesome statements of persuasion from Hebrews, discovering how the Gospel was presented to unbelieving Jews and understanding better what salvation is all about.
In the last post, we looked at what it meant to ‘labour to enter into his rest’. We discovered it to mean, ‘an earnest desire, a strong zeal towards’ the Gospel. This describes what faith is, as this is the antithesis of ‘falling after the same example of unbelief’. We’ll move on to yet another statement of persuasion. Hebrews 4:12-14, ‘For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things [are] naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast [our] profession.’
The Word of God exposes! It exposes faith or unbelief. The Gospel which is the revelation of the Word of God, Christ, reveals what faith is or what unbelief is, in a man. What’s the statement of persuasion here? Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast [our] profession…’Our’ is in italics here.
It’s a call to ‘hold fast’ ‘profession’. ‘Profession’ in the Greek is actually ‘confession’. It refers to the confession of faith. It’s a call to believe the Gospel. The High priesthood of Christ is in focus in the light of making this profession. His High priesthood was for sins- Hebrews 5:1-2. And his high priesthood was substantive! It is eternal! It is the real McCoy!
The unbelieving is called unto something of eternal consequence! He is called unto an already worked propitiation for sins. He’s not called to atone for sins.. He’s not called to ‘do something ‘ about his sins. He called to receive the high priesthood of Jesus which was a consummate price and the death blow to the wages of sin. We’ll continue later. ?#?Dunamis?
Statements of persuasion from Hebrews (7).
In the last post, we studied what it meant to enter into the rest of God. We also endeavoured to see that God couldn’t have given the law. His plan before the world was for man to enter into his rest, his finished works.
Today, we look into another statement of persuasion from Hebrews 4:6-11, ‘Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus (Joshua) had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God [did] from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.’ Here, he describes the result of unbelief.
This is not something that applies to a believer. Hebrews 4:3, ‘Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, “So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.'” And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world.’ (NIV). The believer HAS ENTERED into the rest! Glory to God. We believed into God’s own works. In this rest, we cease from our endeavors..our endeavors to be righteous, holy, pleasing etc. We enter into God’s own makings! In his makings, we become God’s own righteousness, his sanctification! We are accepted in him! Glory!
Let us see the statement of persuasion here; Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. The use of ‘labour’ appears a contradiction to the ‘rest’ the author talks about. But, that’s not the case. The word, ‘labour’ is from a Greek word, ‘spoudazo’. It means ‘eagerness, to be earnest’. Let’s see another version: ‘Because of this, let us have a strong desire to come into that rest, and let no one go after the example of those who went against God’s orders.’ (BBE).
It talks about the expression of the will towards the rest. This is faith! This is why he says, ‘lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief’. In other words, the antithesis of ‘labouring to enter into his rest’ is ‘to fall after the same example of unbelief’. This is call to faith in the Gospel. But, bless God, we that have believed have entered into his rest and we have ceased from our works. Our faith granted us entrance.. that’s all we ‘do’..we do nothing else to maintain our stay in his rest! Our one act of faith granted us entrance into God’s faithfulness…his Grace! Glory! We continue later.. ?#?Dunamis?
Statements of persuasion from Hebrews (6).
In the last post, we looked at what it meant to be a ‘partaker of Christ’. It We looked at what it meant to hold fast the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end. We discovered the beginning to be the ministry of the prophets and the end to be the finished works of Jesus.
Today, we proceed to another statement of persuasion. Hebrews 4:1-6, ‘Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left [us] of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard [it]. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh [day] on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this [place] again, If they shall enter into my rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:’.
This talks about the effects of not believing the Gospel. This crystallizes all we have been talking about. It is a persuasion towards the Gospel. The Jew could relate to this perfectly. Why? Their forebears were used to typify this. The author says, ‘Unto them as well as unto us, was the Gospel preached…’.
The Gospel has always been God’s communication to mankind and faith, man’s expected response. Jesus is the logos of God.. The reason behind all he says and he does. The Gospel is God’s call into his rest..his finished works! This is why God couldn’t have given the Law. Why? Romans 10:5, ‘For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.’ The Law had men live according to their deeds. God’s intent was for man to enter his rest! His own works!
The Gospel is a call into a repose, a ceasing from labours. Matthew 11:28-30, ‘”Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me–watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”‘ (MSG). His rest in Christ, is God’s eternal plan.
The statement of persuasion here says, ‘Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left [us] of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.’ ‘Fear’ here is reverence. Such motivates the unbeliever into faith, lest he comes short by unbelief! The believer HAS ENTERED ALREADY! He isn’t told to enter. That applies to unbelievers. We continue later. ?#?Dunamis?
Statements of persuasion from Hebrews (5).
We’ve been looking at statements of persuasion from the book of Hebrews. These are things that are directed at the unbeliever. They do not apply to the Christian in anyway. We are studying them to see how the call to believe the Gospel was made as well as to deepen our comprehension of Christ’s redemptive work. In the last post, we saw what it meant to ‘depart from the living God’ and what the ‘deceitfulness of sin’ was. We saw both to be epithets of unbelief.
We move to another statement of persuasion from the book of Hebrews. Hebrews 3:14-19, ‘For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was he grieved forty years? [was it] not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.’
Verse 14 is very similar and in fact, carries the same thought, as verse 6. Hebrews 3:6, ‘But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.’
Let’s see the statement of persuasion, ‘For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;’. He says, ‘We are made partakers…’ Not, ‘We will continue to be partakers’. The word, ‘made’ is from a Greek word which means to ‘come into existence as, to become’. Let’s input this meaning into that verse. It would read, ‘We would become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end’. Let’s rephrase it, ‘If we hold fast the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end, we will come into existence as partakers of Christ’.
So, what is this beginning, what is this end? Hebrews 1:1-2, ‘God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath 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;’. ‘Time past’ refers to the dispensation of the Old testament, where prophecies went forth.
This is the beginning referred to. ‘These last days’ refer to the dispensation of fulfillment in the person of Christ. Why? He was appointed heir (the one to whom things pertain) of all (which in context refers to all the prophets spoke about). He is the hope the prophets prophesied about! The word, ‘end’ in the Greek means, ‘fulfillment’. The Jews had the oracles, the prophecies concerning Christ.
The author calls them to consider the ‘end’, the fulfillment of the prophecies, Jesus! This reveals the intelligence of God. Salvation wasn’t an after thought of Deity. It was spoken of beforehand and fulfilled in Jesus. This is a call out to the unbelieving Jew to move from the prophecies of the Old testament into the fulfillment in Christ.
To summarize the statements of persuasion in Hebrews 3, we are told, ‘And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.’ This plainly tells us those he refers to are those, ‘that believe not’. We’ll continue later ?#?Dunamis?
Statements of persuasion from Hebrews (4).
We have been looking at awesome statements of persuasion from the book of Hebrews. We looked at the charge, ‘Harden not your heart’. We also found out why it was said God hardened Pharaoh’s heart.
We proceed today to yet another statement of persuasion. Hebrews 3:12-13, ‘Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.’
This is yet another charge to the unbeliever and a preaching responsibility to the believer. Look at the adjectives that describe unbelief; ‘an evil heart of unbelief, departing from the living God, and the deceitfulness of sin.’ Let’s look at certain words which I believe may confuse folks because of the way they were translated.
Firstly, let’s see what it means to ‘depart from the living God’. The word ‘depart’ comes from a Greek word which means to ‘revolt against, to withdraw from’. Many have thought this to mean a believer can fall away to perdition. But not so. The question we need to ask is, ‘At what point is there a withdrawal’? The context shows us.
Hebrews 3:7, ‘Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice,’. We see it is at the point of ‘hearing the voice’, the Gospel. Hence, the to ‘depart’ is a stance of unbelief. Secondly, the phrase ‘deceitfulness of sin’, must be carefully examined. We would be careless to say sin here refers to to ‘lying, fornication etc’. Why?
Sin means to ‘err from an instruction’. To understand what sin would be in context, the instruction must be understood. What is the instruction? ‘Hear his voice, harden not your heart’. Sin will be to ‘err from these’. This refers to unbelief to the Gospel.
Furthermore, an instruction is given to the believing ones here. Hebrews 3:13, ‘But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.’ This refers to continuous persuasion of the unbeliever by the preaching of the Gospel. There are those who believe God gives just one chance to believe.
However, we see here that there is to be a daily appeal for men to believe. God is long-suffering, not wanting any to perish- 2 Peter 3:9. God is good and he calls every man persistently to believe. We’ll continue later. ?#?Dunamis?
Statements of persuasion from Hebrews (3).
So far, we’ve looked at awesome statements of persuasions from the book of Hebrews. In the last post, we described what it meant to ‘hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope steadfast unto the end’. We found out that Christ Jesus is the hope, and the ‘end’ is the fulfillment of his prophesied redemptive purposes.
Today, we go further to examine yet another statement of persuasion. Hebrews 3:7-8, ‘Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:’. The statement of persuasion here is ‘To day, if you will hear his voice, Harden not your heart’.
What day was he referring to? The conversation leads to Hebrews 4:2, ‘For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard [it].’ The Gospel is the reference point in this context. In Hebrews 3:7-8 he describes a negative response to the Gospel which is ‘To harden one’s heart’. The word ‘harden’ in the Greek means, ‘calloused, obstinate, stubborn’.
It describes a state of rebellion, a state of unpersuadableness’ to the Gospel. It is unbelief. Something to note here. Faith or unbelief, do not happen mysteriously. In this light, we can understand why Pharaoh’s heart was termed ‘hardened’. Faith or unbelief happens upon HEARING! Something must be heard before one either chooses to believe or not believe.
How did God ‘harden’ Pharaoh? It was through the message. God wasn’t actively responsible in making Pharaoh respond in a hard heart. Metonymically, God is said to have ‘hardened’ his heart, because he gave the message. However, Pharaoh was responsible for his response. So, this statement of persuasion is a call to believe the facts of the Gospel and not take the stance of obstinacy to the Gospel. We’ll continue later. ?#?Dunamis?