Monthly Archives: December 2015

Hebrews & Us – Part 8&9

I read these chapters a few days ago, and got to thinking what to write about. I thought that it would be a fairly boring post, as most people who read this are probably already Believers, so what is the point of telling Christians what Jesus has done for them? Surely we all know this? The problem is that I think that most of us underestimate what Jesus did for us. Read Hebrews 8 and 9 and then take a look at my thoughts below.

Take a look at verse 6. But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises. Far better promises. We all love the stories from the Old Testament, we read them to our kids to show them what God has done. Do we believe for the same today? According to this, we have even better promises to look forward to, however most people are still looking back to what God has done. What is He doing now through you? Do you have faith for what He wants to do through you? If not, I encourage you to start believing!

Verse 12. And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins. This brings me to one of my pet irritations. I often have to bite my tongue when people use phrases like ‘sinner, saved by grace’. As far as I am concerned I WAS a sinner, now I am saved by grace, my sins are forgiven (and forgotten) by God. I therefore am no longer a sinner, because I am saved by grace. You can only be one, which one are you? Now I understand what people are trying to say, but that is only because they underestimate what Jesus did for them. Before you argue with me on this, read my post entitled ‘Sinner in Need of Grace or Righteous?‘.

Verse 13. When God speaks of a “new” covenant, it means he has made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and will soon disappear. Here is a tough question, which covenant are you living in? You see the Old Testament was showing us just how sinful we are without Jesus. It shows us how high the bar is, and that we can’t make it on our own. It shows us what is required to be seen as righteous by God. It is impossible. It shows us what Jesus has saved us from, it shows us the power of God’s grace. The question is simple, are you living in that grace, or are you still living in the Old Covenant? We put so much emphasis on sin, and not doing it. Earning God’s love and forgiveness, doing the right thing. Now there is nothing wrong with rooting sin from our lives and doing the right thing, in fact I will recommend it, but that will not earn us God’s love and forgiveness. If we believe in our hearts that Jesus is Lord, and have confessed it with our mouths, we are saved! That is the only way to ‘earn’ God’s love and forgiveness. Accept it as freely as it was given. Why do we still try to earn it? Why do we still feel condemned when we don’t get it right? Do we really understand what Jesus has done for us, what He has freed us from?

I’m going to leave you with a passage from chapter 9. Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer could cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity. Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. That is why he is the one who mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant.

We are free, thanks to Jesus, let’s start living like it. Yes, remove sin from your life. Yes, seek first God’s Kingdom. Yes, do the right thing. Just remember, that we do these things because of what God has ALREADY done for us, not for what He WILL do for us. God’s grace and forgiveness is reliant on what Jesus has already done for us, not what we can offer Him.

Richard

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Hebrews & Us – Part 7

The passage for today is an interesting and important one, showing what Jesus has done for us, by illustrating parallels between Jesus and Melchizedek. I’m not going to cover all of the passage, as it is fairly clear, but there are a few things that I want to draw your attention to. As usual, all I will do is teach from the scripture, but don’t be surprised if this cuts against some popular theological standpoints. Here goes.

The first part is about tithing. Now I’m not going to talk more about this now, as I’m sure this topic will come up again, but tithing is just as relevant today as it was then. It is NOT an old covenant theology, it actually pre-dates the law, so it is still relevant. Having said that, it is something that we need to do out of love, not out of obligation. Next time this topic comes us, I’ll discuss this more, as well as give you some personal testimonies.

The second thing that I wish to discuss is possibly more important, here is the verse relating to this (Verse 12). Unlike those other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this for their own sins first and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this once for all when he offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins. Sin, repentance and forgiveness. In my opinion, this is something that is very misunderstood. We often see repentance as grovelling before God, asking for His forgiveness, when we have sinned. I used to think this, until I realised that it is just not true. Repentance is about a decision, not how you feel. If you feel condemned, that is not from God, it is the devil who condemns. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that we should not apologise for what we do wrong, I am just saying that we have already been forgiven! Jesus died once and for all of our sins. He died for every sin that you have ever committed, and will ever commit, before you were even born. We don’t need to grovel, we don’t need to beg, we don’t even need to feel condemned, we just need to accept His forgiveness. So what about repentance? Well, let’s take a look at what repentance means. The word repent means ‘to change ones mind’. Yes, when you realise what is wrong and you change your mind to do what is right, that is repentance. No grovelling, no begging, just changing. Next time you repent of something, remember this, God is more interested in you changing your ways, than just saying sorry.

We are called to change, we are called to renew our minds, we are called to be the salt and light, we are called to do what is right. We are not called to feel sorry for ourselves, we are not called to be condemned, we are not called to grovel. We have life and life abundant, thanks to Jesus! Now if you’re getting ready to ask me if this means that we can go on sinning, then I will be happy that you have misunderstood me. When Paul spoke about this, they misunderstood him and asked him the same question. My answer is the same as his. Of course not! I am saying that we don’t need to be weighed down by sin, we just need to change our ways, accept God’s forgiveness, and give thanks to Jesus for making this all possible.

So what are you going to do about this. Make a change, change your ways for those of God, accept His forgiveness. Make a change that counts, don’t just keep running to God grovelling, He doesn’t want that. He wants you to be free, that is why He sent Jesus. Accept it and move forward!

All the best.

Richard

Hebrews & Us – Part 6

It is time for Hebrews 6, and I anticipate some ‘strongly worded’ responses. I am fully prepared for this, but take a look and see what you think. This chapter is broken into two halves, and the first half is a strong warning, while the second half is a promise. The problem is that the two halves seem to contradict each other, but they don’t. The first half is going to go directly against a theological standpoint, so let’s take a look at that first.

I grew up believing that if you were once saved, you were always saved. God was faithful to complete the good work that He started in you and once your name was written in the Lamb’s book, it was there forever. This chapter appears to come against that. So what do I believe now? Well, the short answer is both. Let me explain. We need to be aware of the first half of Chapter 6 as it is a very serious threat. Christians now days are often content to lead people to Jesus and then let them go. Once they give their live to Jesus, we give thanks and then move onto the next person. New Christians are often left stranded after they give their life to Jesus. The other down side to ‘once saved always saved’ is that we give our lives to Jesus, and then we carry on living like we did before. We are then saved, so we don’t need to be concerned about our walk with God. As if sneaking into heaven is our only aim. This is extremely dangerous. This is what I believe this section of scripture is talking about. You see God doesn’t give up on us, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t give up on God. God has chosen to give us free will, and sometimes that is to His detriment, when we reject Him I don’t believe that it is pleasing to Him.

Now this may upset the ‘God’s sovereignty means that He always gets His way’ camp, but He doesn’t always get His way. He will never let us down, once we give our lives to Jesus, we can rest in all of the promises that He has given us. God is faithful, and if we continue to have faith in Him, He will deliver. Yes, we are human and we make mistakes, God knows that. He is bigger than our mistakes, He is bigger than our sin, He can and will overcome that. Will He overcome our free will? I don’t think so. If He did, then surely He would stop us from sinning? Surely He would lead us all to salvation? This is our warning. God won’t turn away from us, so we don’t need to worry about our salvation, but we need to make sure that we don’t reject Him. We have no problem believing that someone who doesn’t accept Jesus won’t make it into heaven, what about someone who outright rejects Jesus? If a believer changes His mind and outright rejects Jesus, how is he or she different to a non-believer?

A relationship is always two sided, we have a side and so does God. God won’t let us down, but we can let Him down, and this is what I believe this chapter to be about. Don’t let Him down. Now let me make it clear, it is not sin that keeps us from God, it our unwillingness to accept Him. Now that may not be technically correct, but think about it, what sin is big enough to keep you from Jesus if you accept Him as your Lord and Saviour? None. What sin is big enough to keep you from God if you don’t accept Jesus? All of them. Sin is not the problem, our choice is. It is not sin that will break your relationship with Jesus, it is you. Make sure that you don’t do that! Take your walk with God seriously, help other believers with theirs, hold each other accountable. Run the race. God is not going to let you down, don’t let Him down.

Now please make sure that you understand what I am saying. I am not suggesting that you panic about whether you are saved or not. I am not trying to start a fight between theological camps. I am merely saying that you have the choice to follow God or not, and this doesn’t change when you give your life to Jesus. You spend your life on this journey. We need to keep on track and keep our walk with God strong. We need to keep our end of the deal, while we can rest assured that God will keep His.

God bless!

Richard