Tag Archives: Salvation

Mark 8:36-37

My take on these 2 verses;
Mark 8:36-37
“… For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?”

Observations;
In this life we are taught ‘survival of the fittest’, ‘me first’, ‘nice guys finish last’, and other expression that are beaten into our minds which later develop into our way of thinking and the way we make decions and the way we react in situations. This way of thinking is called selfishness…. it is a disease and there is a cure for it if we choose to accept the treatment. With this treatment we will have to change some things like our diet; what we hear, what we see, what we read, who we hang out with, what influences us, etc. It will be a hard battle, and there will be temptations on the way, but we need to make the dietary change and get the proper nutrition and live a healthier life. While we live this disease filled life, pre-cure, we think “oh if I only had that job, that promotion, that relationship, that house, that family, that raise, that pool, that car, that lifestyle, that scholarship, that degree….”, you get the picture, that we would somehow be fulfilled in life, have that ultimate accomplishment that makes us feel like we are on top “finally”, and we can “finally” be content, happy, at peace, and filled with a never ending joy. Yet to the contrary we are empty because we know deep down that everything we have and have obtained was out of selfishness. Everything was all for the big M-E, it didn’t benefit anyone else in fact you had to hurt and possibly destroy someone else’s life, well being, self esteem, career, marriage, etc… to get where you are. So the question proposed is why would you trade your soul, causing your soul to slowly pass away (dying with every selfish decision, word, action, etc…), just so you can have temporal items which eventually come and go, that lose their value, that constantly need replacement, and that only reflect your selfisness and shallow emptiness. Trading your soul for for these things; what does it profit you? how does it give you fulfillment? does it make you feel like your life is worth living? does it bring you purpose? do youand have joy, happiness, and love? how does it benefit you? When all you have left is NO soul and items, with no Heavenly or eternal value, that will very soon vanish – what do you truly gain that matters? This ‘chasing’ after the world and the temporal never stops by man (you) alone. When you die what will people say about you? Will anyone who ‘actually’ cared about you be in attendance at your funeral? Did you even have true relationships?  Probably not. Those people were a lot like you, and only befriended you because of your money, power, status, and ‘things’ – this way they could use you and have/share what you had with the least amount of work and effort…. So when you do see Christ on that last day, what will you have to show Him? Is what you have here be of any value in Heaven? It’s like saying ‘I know I did nothing for the service of others or further your kingdom, but here Christ have the keys to my deluxe coupe mercades benz/ferrari eco hybrid that goes from 0 to 120 in 3.4 seconds in return for the gift of Heaven and eteranal life!” I don’t think so. After thinking on this for a bit, because eventually you will on your own terms, do you think that you could buy favor back, buy your life back, or more importantly your soul? When you sell or trade your soul – which is eternal – to have things that are temporal and pass away – how could you ‘buy’ your soul back? You soldand it to the ‘world’, you gave the ‘world’ something eternal – it wont accept something temporal over something eternal. Thete is nothe ‘return policy’. You could give money to a homeless person, or you could donate to a charity, you could build a house for a 3rd world village, or you could do anything nice, kind, and charitable to make your life have purpose, to help you sleep at night, to buy back and resurrect your soul that you had lost, but it WON’T work. Man alone cannot resurrect a life Christ, and God, alone can – and only Christ,  and God, alone! Find God, rest in His grace, live in His son’s sacrifice and receive salvation, then be empowered by the Holy Spirit to go forth and fully turn your back on your sins, confess them aloud to God and ask for forgiveness from your brothers/sisters (those you hurt) and never do it again by taping into Gods power through prayer. Your disease is this world, your fleshy desires, and passions but your cure is Christ’s salvation and the Good News.


The Beautiful Exchange (2 of 2)

Let us now look at these two contrasting sacrifices in table form; an ‘a‘ in the center column indicates similarity, and a ‘r‘ indicates contrast; the comments in this are not made on the basis of a text from Hebrews, but express either a truth gained from the teaching of the Bible, or are expressions of the logical opposite. In some instances truths are listed here which were also listed in the table relating to the high priestly roles, because the high priest, and the sacrifices they offered, are intimately connected…

Ref.
O.T. Sacrifices
Sacrifice of Jesus
Ref.
5:3; 7:279:7 Had to be offered for the sins of the priest as well as the sins of the people r No sacrifice necessary for his own sins 7:27
7:11,18-1910:1-4 Could not make us perfect r Makes us perfect 10:14
7:27; 9:6,7,25; 10:1,11 Needed to be offered day after day, year after year r Once-for-all 7:27; 9:12; 9:25-28;10:10,12
8:1-69:1-109:11 Were offered in the earthly tabernacle which is a copy of the real presence of GodWere offered in a man-made tabernacle r Was offered in the real sanctuary – the very presence of God – not made by man.He entered heaven itself. 9:11, 24,
8:13 Belonged to an obsolete covenant r Belongs to the new covenant 8:8
9:7, 18-23 Blood offering required a Blood offering required
9:9; 10:2-4 Could not clear the conscience of the worshiper r Cleansed from a guilty conscience 10:22
9:13 Made the ceremonially unclean outwardly clean r Cleanses our consciences so that we may serve GodHe died as a ransom to set them free form the sins committed under the first covenant. 9:149:15
9:10;10:1-4,11 Were external, ceremonial regulations, pending the coming of the new order.Were temporary and repetitive pending the coming of the new order r Obtained eternal redemption Permanently effective – ‘for all time’ 9:1210:12
9:129:25 Blood of goats and calvesNot their own blood r Christ’s own blood He sacrificed himself 9:12,9:26
10:1 The law prescribing these sacrifices is a shadow r Is the reality itself 10:1
10:2,3 Continued guilt feelings for sin Annual reminder of sins r Does away with sinSins remembered no more 9:2610:17
10:4, 11 Impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins; can never take away sins. r We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ 10:10
10:9 Are set aside r Is established 10:9
10:11,12 Was never finished r Is finished and done 10:12,13
Many sacrifices r One sacrifice 10:12,14
10:1-4,11 Always more sacrifices needed r No longer any sacrifice for sin needed 10:18
No confidence r Produces confidence to enter ‘the Most Holy Place’, to enter the presence of God 10:19,22
Is an Old and dead way r Is a new and living way 10:20

The connotation of what the writer has taught us, and the reader – the Hebrews, about the sacrifice of Jesus Christ are innumerable and grandiose. He tells us of something that is complete, something that has happened once-for-all in the one act of Jesus Christ, something that never was and never could be done by the old sacrifices. Meditate again on the aftermath this one, once-for-all, never to be repeated, permanent in its denouement, sacrifice of Jesus Christ has on the readers then and us today; (Scriptures in order for section)

  1. The redemption it obtained is eternal (9:12).
  2. It cleanses our consciences/spirit (9:14).
  3. It liberates us to serve God wholly (9:14).
  4. It sets us free from past, present, and future sins [not an excuse to use Him as a visa card] (9:15).
  5. It does away with ALL sin (9:26).
  6. It is established by God (10:9).
  7. It makes us holy by the body of Christ (10:10).
  8. It is permanently effective, finished, and complete (10:12-14).
  9. It makes us perfect forevermore (10:14).
  10. God remembers our sins and lawless acts no more – cleaning us – making us white as snow (10:17).
  11. It makes any further sacrifice for sin redundant and unnecessary (10:18).
  12. It means that we have confidence to enter the very presence of God without fear of judgement or condemnation (10:19).
  13. It means we can draw near to God with the full assurance of faith (10:22).
  14. It means that our hearts are cleansed from a guilty conscience (10:22).

This must be the ultimate in salvation! Who would think of leaving this salvation for anything else – for anything else can only be less! Yet that is exactly what the original readers of this letter were on the brink of doing. Had they not really understood who Jesus actually was? Had they not really understood what Jesus actually did? But we could ask similar questions today as we look at the widespread lack of assurance of salvation,the focus of many Christians on their own religious performance, and the accompanying guilt in which they wallow and drown in. This salvation so powerfully described in this letter to the Hebrews leaves us with no doubts as to the permanence and completeness of the salvation obtained by the body and death of Jesus Christ – lavished as a sheer gift on everyone who believes in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is a good an perfect Gift from God; to me, to you, and to the whole World – just accept, understand, and believe.

I hope you enjoyed this study, A Beautiful Exchange, in the Book of Hebrews. Our next study Will be in the Book of Proverbs – specifically Proverbs 31 called Who Can Find? – we will be using this great chapter to apply being a Godly woman/wife and a Godly man/husband to our lives. It should only be about 3-4 posts at most, hope you will come join us! Thank you for this study and God Bless!


The Beautiful Exchange (1 of 2)

Just as the writer has presented us with a description of Jesus Christ as the ultimate high priest, whom is far superior to the old priesthood. The writer also presents us with a description of the one final sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which is far superior to the many sacrifices offered by the old priesthood. In this study we will look firstly at the sacrifices offered under the old covenant, then at the one final sacrifice of Jesus Christ. For the second part of the study we will, again, set these side by side in a table for an easier comparison. Then we will wrap up the main points for the completion of this study.

Sacrifices under the Old Testament Ritual Laws; (NKJV Scripture in order for section)

  • 5:3 the high priest had to offer sacrifices for his own sins as well as the sins of the people, not just once but daily (day after day)
  • 7:11 they did not and could not provide ‘perfection
  • 7:18 the law made nothing ‘perfect
  • 7:27 sacrifices needed to be offered daily (day after day)
    and needed to be offered for the priest’s sins as well as the people’s sins
  • 8:13 old ritual law sacrifices under the first covenant were made ‘obsolete‘ by the implementation of the new covenant, by Jesus Christ
  • 9:6 priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry
  • 9:7 only high priests entered the inner room, annually, only with blood, making an offering for himself and for the sins the people that they had committed in ignorance
  • 9:9 these gifts and sacrifices were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper
  • 9:10 were temporary ‘external regulations
  • 9:11 were offered in a man-made tabernacle
  • 9:12 using the blood of goats and calves
  • 9:13 the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of a heifer could only ‘sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean‘, this did not and could not help the inwardly – your spirit/soul
  • 9:18 sacrifices were not put into effect without blood
  • 9:22 the law required that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness from God
  • 9:24 they were offered in a man-made sanctuary, which was only a copy, and shadow, of the true one to come
  • 9:25 high priests enter the Most Holy Place over and over again, year after year
    high priests enter with blood that is not his own, but of goat, bull, or calve
  • 10:1 the law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming – not the realities themselves in present
  • therefore… it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship God. (10:2 – If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all by doing so, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins If so there wouldn’t have been need for the sending and sacrifice of Jesus Christ)
  • 10:3 the sacrifices are an annual reminder of their sins
  • 10:4 it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins
  • 10:5-8 God did not desire sacrifice/offering, burnt offerings, or sin offerings, nor was he pleased with them
  • 10:9 they are set aside by God
  • 10:11 the daily repeated sacrifices can never take away sins of the people

In these statements about the sacrifices offered under the ritual and traditional Jewish law of the old covenant – There are two recurring themes (1) the repetitiveness of these sacrifices (2) their temporary and superficial capabilities. By way of extreme contrast, consider what is said about the sacrifice of Jesus Christ…

The Once and For ALL Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior; (NKJV Scripture in order for section)

  • 7:27a was not needed daily (day after day)
  • 7:27b was not for his own sins but ours (the worlds)
  • 7:27c the sacrifice for the worlds sins was once and for ALL when he offered himself up
  • 9:9 (by assumption) is able to clear the conscience of, and give rest/peace to, the worshiper
  • 9:12 he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption
  • 9:14 the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit, offered himself unblemished and unspotted to God. This cleanses, and purifies, our consciences/hearts from acts that will evidently lead us to death, this way we may serve the living God wholly and holy
  • 9:15 he died as a ransom to set them and us free from the sins committed under the first covenant law
  • 9:25 he does not have to enter heaven to offer himself over and over again
  • 9:26 he appeared once for ALL at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself
  • 9:28 Christ was sacrificed once to take away ALL the sins of many people (the world)
  • 10:1 (by assumption) makes perfect those who draw near to him in worship
  • 10:2 (by assumption) worshipers are cleansed once for all, and no longer need to feel guilty for their sins committed past, present, and future
  • 10:10 we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ – once for ALL and forever more
  • 10:12 Jesus offered for ALL time one sacrifice for ALL sins, then sat down at the right hand of God the Father
  • 10:14 by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy (us that believe in him)
  • 10:17 God no longer remembers our sins and lawless acts, we are continually cleaned and purified – white as snow – from the day we believe
  • 10:18 where we have been forgiven there is no longer any needed future sacrifice for sin – it is Final and Done
  • 10:19 we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus
  • 10:20 we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by a new and living way opened for us through… his body, no longer set apart from God
  • 10:22 therefore … let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water .
  • 10:23 therefore … let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he is faithful who promised

The two efficacious and dominant qualities of the sacrifice of Christ are (1) its once and for ALL-ness and related immutability (2) its all inclusive and radical implementation in our lives, then and now.

For our next study we will look at these two contrasting sacrifices in table form, then wrap up the study at the end. Thank you for joining us and God Bless!


The Highest of the Highest – Hebrews 4:14-16 (part 2 of 2)

Ancient Bath House in Laodicea, Turkey

In chapters five to ten the writer makes two important contrasts of his time (1) the high priests of Israel and Jesus Christ the great high priest, and (2) the ritual animal sacrifices of the old covenant and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. For the rest of this study we will look first at what the writer says about the high priests of Israel, then at what he says about Melchizedek, then at the priesthood of Jesus Christ. In the next study we will look at the sacrifices of the old covenant and the once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Lets compare and contrast now the High Priests of Israel to Jesus the Great High Priest…

About the high priests of Israel the writer states in chapter 5 verse 1 ‘For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.‘ and in verse 2 ‘He can deal gently… since he himself is beset (subject) with weakness‘, in verse 3 ‘he is obligated to offer sacrifice for his own sins just as he does for those of the people.’, in verse 4 ‘but only when called by God, just as Aaron was.’, in chapter 7 verse 11 ‘Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise‘ – basically they could not mediate ‘perfection‘ established on the basis of the law, in verse 20 ‘For those who formerly became priests were made such without an oath‘, in verse 23 ‘The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office’ – basically saying because they died they had to be replaced, many times, in verse 27 ‘to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people‘, in verse 28 ‘For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests‘ – basically they were weak men, in chapter 8 verse 2 ‘a minister in the holy places, in the true tent (tabernacle) that the Lord set up, not man‘ – Jesus served in a tent made by God whereas the High Priests of Israel served in a tent made by man, in verse 5 ‘They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things.‘ – the High Priests of Israel serve a copy and shadow of what is prepared in heaven, in verses 6-12 the High Priests of Israel served under a faulty and inferior covenant, and in verse 13 ‘In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away‘ – meaning they serve under a now serve under an ‘obsolete’ covenant (remember this is a letter to the Hebrews who are being tempted to go back to this traditional and ritualistic way under the old law).

Lets move onto Melchizedek – First read the Old Testament record of the meeting between Abraham and Melchizedek in Genesis 14:18-20. Though the writer contrasts Jesus to the high priests of Israel, he also points out to the Hebrews a similarity between Jesus and Melchizedek. Now lets draw our attention to five facts about Melchizedek; in chapter 7 verses 1-2 ‘king of Salem, priest of the Most High God‘ and ‘by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace‘, in verse 3 ‘He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life… he continues a priest forever‘, in verse 4-10 ‘See how great this man wasIt is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior… One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham‘ – basically they he is stating that Melchizedek was greater than Abraham, and therefore greater than Levi, the priestly tribe, in verse 13 ‘For the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe‘, and in verse 16 ‘who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life‘ – meaning his role as priest was all based on his conformation to regulations about ancestry

Let’s finish with the Greatest High Priest of them all, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in chapter 4 verse 14a ‘Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens‘ – not just the man-made curtain into the man-made sanctuary, 14b ‘Jesus, the Son of God‘, verse 15 ‘For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.‘, in chapter 5 verses 5-6 ‘was appointed by him who said to him,“You are my Son, today I have begotten you…‘, in verses 7-9 ‘with loud cries and tears… he learned obedience through what he suffered’ – by experiencing the suffering, agony and temptations of man he is qualified as a perfect representative, in verse 9 ‘being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation, to all who obey him”, in verse 10 ‘being designated by God a high priest, after the order of Melchizedek‘, in chapter 6 verse 20 ‘where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.‘, in chapter 7 verse 11 ‘rather than one named after the order of Aaron?‘ – is not named after the order of Aaron, in verse 14 ‘For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests‘ – a tribe where priests did not come, in verse 16 his priesthood is based on the power of an indestructible life, in verse 17 ‘who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life‘ – in the order of Melchizedek, in verse 18 ‘For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness‘ – his priesthood sets the former law aside, in verse 19 ‘(for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God‘, in verses 20-21 ‘but this one was made a priest with an oath‘ – his priesthood was affirmed and established by God, in verse 22 because of this oath ‘This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant‘, in verse 24 ‘but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever‘, in verse 25 ‘he is able to save to those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them‘, in verse 26 ‘indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens’ – not needing to offer sacrifices day after day, in verse 27 ‘since he did this once for all when he offered up himself‘ – he sacrificed himself for our sins once for all when he offered himself up, in verse 28 ‘but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever‘, in chapter 8 verse 1 ‘the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven‘, in verse 2 ‘a minister in the holy places, in the true tent (tabernacle) that the Lord set up, not man‘ – Christ serves in the ‘true tabernacle‘ set up by God, and in verse 6 ‘But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises‘ – he is mediator of a superior covenant, that was and is founded on better promises.

That’s it for Comparing the High Priests, from the Least to the Greatest of them all. Next study we will be comparing old testament sacrifices to the once and for all sacrifice of Christ Jesus.

Thank you and God Bless


The Highest of the Highest – Hebrews 4:14-16 (part 1 of 2)

Ancient Corinth

In Hebrews 4:14-16 the writer links all that he has said in chapters 3 and 4, and all the way back in chapter 2, where he has identified Jesus Christ as a ‘merciful and faithful high priest‘ who, by his real and perfect humanity, is qualified to ‘make atonement for the sins of the people‘. Here he argues;

(1) ‘we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens‘. This statement anticipates a great truth that he expands on later which is; that Jesus has not gone into the symbolic presence of God – in the tabernacle or temple – as the earthly high priests did, but he has gone into the real spiritual and physical presence of God, not just through the curtain, but through the heavens themselves.

(2) ‘Jesus, the Son of God‘. This great high priest is, as we have seen, a real human being and he is ‘Jesus‘ – the human son of and from a human mother, who walked the earth, cried our tears, and bled our blood. Although He is also more than this for He is the ‘Son of God‘ as the writer has shown in 1:1-14 and 3:1-6.

(3) ‘let us hold fast our confession‘. Therefore, the writer exhorts, that since we have such a high priest; that is fully and perfectly qualified to represent us as ‘man‘ in the presence of God, and is at the same time the exalted divine Son of God who came down to earth specifically be the sacrifice, intercession, and propitiation for our sins, ‘let us hold firmly to the faith we profess‘. The sheer excellence of our great high priest and his qualifications should stir and motivate us to hold fast faith in Him, which is what we profess. Why? Because there is no one who could be more committed to our good, better qualified, more equipped to represent us in the presence of God, and absolutely no one more capable of obtaining eternal salvation for us than Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, the Son of God. To scorn and reject Him, the high priest, is to reject or turn aside the provision of God, which would become the final and absolute rejection of God and eternal living with Him.

(4) ‘we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin‘. This expands on the qualifications of our great high priest; he ‘can sympathize with our weaknesses‘. Why? How come he understands our weaknesses so intimately that he sympathizes? Is he not perfect and without sin? How can a perfect sinless person feel what imperfect people feel? Well, because this perfect person was not perfect because of a unrealistic monastic removal from the world and its temptations – this perfect person was not secluded, confined, head in the sand, ascetic who was severed from the honky-dory way of human existence. Rather, this perfect person, this flesh-and-blood Jesus, lived among us (John 1:14) – as John recorded in 1 John 1:1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life… ‘ – this perfect person experienced our rejection, our treachery, and our hatred. He heard our scorn and accusations, He felt our whips, our mocking thorns, and our nails. All of this without sin, he was a sinless man, undeserving of the beatings that were meant for us…. you and me. Imagine YOU taking on all the sin and punishment of that sin for the people on the street you live on? How about you taking on the sin and punishment for your neighborhood? For your city? Your county? The whole country? How about the sin and punishment of the whole World? I wouldn’t do it, no, not me… because our great high perist took on the physical punishment but He also took on the spiritual punishment, His soul went to Hell and back for us, over and over and over and over and over and over, AND OVER again. Not only this, but this high priest, this perfect man, was pushed to the very limit of temptation’s power by the great deceiver, until the tempter gave in. From the beginning and the end of His ministry Jesus’ commitment to his Father’s will was tested by the devil, continually. The pressure to give up their faith, which the readers (Hebrews) of this letter were experiencing and facing, was nothing compared to the pressure the devil put on Jesus to deviate Him from the way of the cross, and the Mission, appointed to Him by His Father in Heaven. He knows the strength and the power of temptation and testing – because he endured them in their most ultimate intensity.

(5) ‘Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need…‘ With such a high priest only one response is appropriate, absolute confidence. Rather than being shaken by the pressure being laid on by the Jews for the Hebrews to give up their faith and go back to the ritualistic traditions  of the Old Testament. The writer encourages the readers to put on the confidence of their salvation, rather than to be tormented by the possibility of defection under the persecution conducted by the Romans. These Hebrew believers are encouraged to a bold confidence in their secure relationship with God based on the absolute integrity and supremacy of their great high priest, Jesus, the Son of God, and the absolute effectiveness of Him being the consistent propitiation and intercessor on their behalf. Let us note the significance of the writer’s choice of words:

(a) He describes God’s throne as ‘the throne of grace‘ – for those who believe in Jesus Christ it is no longer a throne of judgement, where a strict tit-for-tat justice will be meted out and sin receive the just and legal punishment it deserves. Because of the sin-bearing, interceding death, of Christ – God’s throne is, for those who have acknowledged Christ, ‘a throne of grace‘. As Paul has pointed out in Romans 5:21…so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord‘. Grace is the operating principle in the kingdom of Jesus Christ, of which every believer is a member.

(b) Not content with describing God’s throne as ‘the throne of grace‘ which in itself should be enough to instil confidence? The writer goes on to assure us that, rather than receiving judgement and condemnation, we will ‘receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need‘. Mercy refers to God’s acknowledgement of our weakness, our inability, and our need. He is doing whatever is necessary for our good and our survival, despite anything in us that might disqualify us from his favor. Grace refers to the act of God in which he chooses not to pay us out our justly due punishment, according to what we deserve, but to grant us absolute freedom from the deserved penalty, and then BLESSING us continually, and giving us eternal life through His Son Jesus Christ. This is the unexpected and almost incredible confidence that all who trust in Jesus Christ can and should have, with no doubt or question. For it’;s and absolute truth. The ‘hold firmly‘ (found in verse 4:14) and ‘approach … with confidence‘ (found in verse 4:16) are expressions of the faith and rest to which the writer is calling us toward. Such faith and rest, such confidence, are the opposite of the sin and disobedience of unbelief against which we are being warned. The challenge confronts us – do we really trust Jesus Christ? Do we really believe God’s word about Christ? Do we really believe in the totality all that Christ did on the cross? For your own meditation re-read the previous paragraph and ask yourself the questions listed there. Identify whether or not you are experiencing the confidence and the rest that Jesus promised to give to those who come to him. If you do not have that confidence, if your soul does not have peace in the presence of God, then you need to re-learn the message of the gospel – in respect to both who Jesus is and what Jesus did. I suggest you start with the Gospel of John Here. Also Pray that God will open your mind and your heart to understand and embrace the massive, liberating, and convicting truths contained in this letter to the Hebrews, and indeed throughout the entire Scriptures and Gospel messages.

Thank you for joining today’s study and we will be seeing you so, finishing the second part of this section.


Hebrews 2:1-4 – The Warning

Hebrews 2:1-4 ESV or NKJV – The warning to Pay Attention!

Here the writer is giving the readers a chance to heed this very important warning on giving up on Christ. Previously, it has been written in the first chapter of  Jesus being God’s final revelation, Jesus is the Message and the Messenger, He is the eternal creator, the One in whom all authority is given to, and having told us that even the angels worship Him. The writer begins this chapter with, “Therefore…”

V. 1A – Give more heed to what has been heard…

We must not take the things we have heard lightly, hold them with us loosely, or assume that we have understood the full power behind the meaning. We need to head, and pay attention to it, more closely. The good News is so deep, powerful, unexpected, and contrary to the world view of thinking that you must constantly and consistently be immersed with the word. Have you ever read one scripture verse and is applied to a portion of your life, then months later you read it again and it just so happens to apply to a different portion of your life? If you answered yes, well so have I! The scripture and it’s full meaning is unsearchable, it’s infinite, and its majestic. God gives you wisdom for the day, He lets you know what He wants you to know at that very moment, no more and no less.

If you answered no, and if you are on the brink of turning your back on Christ and the salvation He has for you, there is a high probability that you haven’t really understood or possibly received either Christ or His salvation with a genuine heart. This final word of God, this word of the Gospel that fulfills all other words, cannot be improved upon. This is not just one more piece to the revelation puzzle,  or a continually on-going progressive revelation of God. This is the final revelation to which all other words from God pointed, and in which they will find their fulfillment and their goal.

V.1B – So that we do NOT drift away…

If we have picked Jesus as just one option among many equally steady religious leaders, or if we have picked Him as merely one of any number of gods we might have chosen to worship, if we have not really comprehended that Jesus actually is the one and only way, truth, life, light, etc… Then we stand in quicksand and are in danger of letting go of Him, and sucked up by a previous belief system, or moving on to whatever catches our religious interest next. We are warned of this by Jesus in Matthew with the parable of the sower. V.19 “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path.” Our minds and our hearts must be steadfastly focused on Jesus Christ and his salvation, without wavering from the truth that He is precisely who He claimed to be, in order to avoid our drifting away from the way, truth, and everlasting life.

V.2 – The proven, reliable, message…

This verse refers to the word of God given to Moses on Mount Sinai, which the New Testament writers state was mediated through angels (click here for reference). If that message which was meditated by the angels was violated, penalties and punishment would be incurred. How much more terrible a thing is it to abandon the this message. A message that is not only spoken by the Son of God but actually is the Son of God. The message given to Moses on Mt Sinai was merely a foreshadow to this new message, and the Old Testament salvation was prophetic to this New Testament salvation.

V.3-4 – Neglect and there is no escape…

The New Testament salvation is the ultimate and final one. There is nothing more to add to it, and nothing less that can be taken away, this message was established by God and it is perfect. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows…” (James 1:17). To scorn, ignore, or drift away from this salvation is to let go of mankind’s best and only hope. But also it is to let go of God’s only and final provision for you. All other types of salvation that you can muster up are nothing and none can compare to something as great as a GIFT of eternal life. The warning is that there is no escaping later down the road if you chose to reject the escape being given now.

In the case of the Hebrews, which whom this letter was written to, they stood on the brink of deserting the New Testament salvation to return to their former religion of Jewish ritual. But to do so would reveal that they had never really understood this salvation to begin with.

The writer then gives four points of validation of this new salvation:

  1. Announced by the Lord.
  2. Confirmed by those who heard.
  3. Confirmed by miracles of God.
  4. Confirmed by the distribution of Gifts of the Holy Spirit by God.

Within the first four verses he begins to show his readers the foolishness and danger of their position of deserting this message of salvation. The writer continues to reveal more of this, as we see in our next study…

Thank you and God Bless!


Romans 1:16-17 – UNASHAMED

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“For I am not ashamed of the gospel,for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes,to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith,as it is written,”The righteous shall live by faith.” – ESV / Commentary


Isaiah 53:4-5 – One Punishment Brought Peace

“Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” – ESV


Harvest America

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One Day, One Church, One Message….


Harvest America…

Date of Event: August 26, 2012 @ 4pm PT, 5pm MT, 6pm CT, 7pm ET

What is Harvest America?

“What if on One Day, churches from all over the nation brought in the Harvest Crusade and streamed it live right into their church? At last year’s Harvest, individuals watched the live stream broadcast from every state of the union and 32 countries around the world! Now, with HD-quality video available….

How can YOU join the movement?

“Bring Harvest America to your community! Utilizing HD-quality live Internet or satellite video feeds, you can bring performances by top-grade Christian musicians and, more importantly, the powerful message of the gospel as presented by Pastor Greg Laurie into your location . . . for free. Becoming a host is easy; sign up today!”


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