The"Biblical Wisdom Series"

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Pamphlet # 1008

A Lesson from Hebrews

We who have been made holy by Jesus, now have the same Father he has. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call us brothers.

Jesus became flesh and blood

    Since we, God's children, are human beings---made of flesh and blood---he became flesh and blood too by being born in human form;  for only as a human being could he die and in dying break the power of the devil who had the power of death. Only in that way could he deliver those who through fear of death have been living all their lives as slaves to constant dread.

    For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as we did when we first became Christians, we will share in all that belongs to Christ.

    For only we who believe God can enter into his place of rest. He has said, "I have sworn in my anger that those who don't believe me will never get in."

    For whatever God says to us is full of living power: it is sharper than the sharpest dagger, cutting swift and deep into our innermost thoughts and desires with all their parts,exposing us for what we really are. He knows about everyone, everywhere.Everything about us is bare and wide open to the all-seeing eyes of our living God;nothing can be hidden from him to whom we must explain all that we have done.

Jesus is our great High Priest

    But Jesus the Son of God is our great High Priest who has gone to heaven itself to help us; therefore let us never stop trusting him. The High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses,since he had the same temptations we do,though he never once gave way to them and sinned.So let us come boldly to the very throne of God and stay there to receive his mercy and to fine grace to help us in our times of need.

    Let us stop going over the same old ground again and again, always teaching those first lessons about Christ. Let us go on instead to other things and become mature in our understanding, as strong Christians ought to be. or a Surely we don't need to speak further about the foolishness of trying to be saved by being good, or about the necessity of faith in God; you don't need further instructions about baptism and spiritual gifts and resurrection of the dead and eternal judgement.

    Under the old arrangement there had to be many priests, so that when the older ones died off, the system could still be carried on by others who took their places. But Jesus lives forever and continues to be a Priest so that ne one else is needed. He is able to save completely all who come to God through him. Since he will live forever, he will always be there to remind God that he has paid for their sins with his blood.

    He is, therefore, exactly the kind of High Priest we need; for he is holy and blameless, unstained by sin,undefiled by sinners, and to him has been given the place of honor in heaven. He never needs the daily blood of animal sacrifices, as other priests did, to cover over first their own sins and then the sins of the people; for he finished all sacrifices, once and for all,when he sacrificed himself on the cross. Under the old system, even the high priests were weak and sinful men who could not keep from doing wrong, but later God appointed by his oath his Son who is perfect forever.

    Jesus once and for all took blood into that inner room, the Holy of Holies, and sprinkled it on the mercy seat; but it was not the blood of goats and calves. No, he took his own blood,and with it he,by himself, made sure of our eternal salvation.

   Just think how much more surely the blood of Christ will transform our lives and hearts. His sacrifice frees us from the worry of having to obey the old rules, and makes us want to serve the living God.For by the help of the eternal Holy Spirit,Christ willingly gave himself to God to die for our sins---he being perfect, without a single sin or fault.The blood was sprinkled as proof of Christs death.

    For Christ has entered into heaven itself, to appear now before God as our friend. He came once for all, at the end of the age,to put away the power of sin forever by dying for us. And just as it is destined that men die only once, and after that comes judgement, so also Christ died only once as an offering for the sins of many people; and he will come again, but not to deal again with our sins.

    This time he will come bringing salvation to all those who are eagerly and patiently waiting for him.

    The sacrifices under the old system were repeated again and again, year after year, but even so they could never save those who lived under the rules. If they could have, one offering would have been enough;the worshipers would have been cleansed once and for all, and their feelings of guilt would be gone.

    But just the opposite happened: those yearly sacrifices reminded them of their disobedience and guilt instead of relieving their minds. For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats really to take away sins.

Christ came to give his life forces

    That is why Christ said, as he came into the world,"O God, the blood of bulls and goats cannot satisfy you, so you have made ready this body of mine for me to lay as a sacrifice upon your alter. See,I have come to do your will, to lay down my life, just as the scriptures said that I would."

    "Here I am." Christ said, "I have come to give my life."

He will change us

    Under the new plan we have been forgiven and made clean by Christ's dying for us once and for all. Christ gave himself to God for our sins as one sacrifice for all time. For by that one offering he made forever perfect in the sight of God all those whom he is making holy. He said, "I will write my laws in their minds so that they will always know my will, and I will put my laws in their hearts so that they will want to obey them."And then he adds, "I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds."

Now we can go right to God

    Now, when sins have been forever forgiven and forgotten, there is no need to offer more sacrifices to get rid of them. And so,dear brothers, now we may walk right into the very Holy of Holies where God is, because of the blood of Jesus. This is the fresh, new,life-giving way which Christ has opened up for us by tearing the curtain---his human body---to let us into the holy presence of God.

    And since this great High Priest of ours rules over God's household,let us go right in, to God himself, with true hearts fully trusting him to receive us, because we have been sprinkled with Christ's blood to make us clean,and because our bodies have been washed with pure water.

    Now we can look forward to the salvation God has promised us. There is no longer any room for doubt, and we can tell others that salvation is ours, for there is no question that he will do what he says.

    If anyone sins deliberately by rejecting the Savior after knowing the truth of forgiveness, this sin is not covered by Christs death; there is no way to get rid of it. There will be nothing to look forward to but the terrible punishment of God's awful anger which will consume all his enemies. Think of how terrible the punishment will be for those who have trampled underfoot the Son of God and treated his cleansing blood as though it were common and unhallowed, and insulted and outraged the Holy Spirit who brings God's mercy to his people.

    For we know him who said, "Justice belongs to me; I will repay them": who also said, "The Lord himself will handle these cases." It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Our faith makes us good in God's sight

    And those whose faith has made them good in God's sight must live by faith,trusting him in everything. Otherwise, if they shrink back,God will have no pleasure in them.

    What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead. Men of God in days of old were famous for their faith. By faith---by believing God---we know that the world and the stars---in fact, all things--- were made at God's command; and that they were all made from things that can't be seen. You can never please God without faith, without depending on him. Anyone who wants to come to God must believe that there is a God and that he rewards those who sincerely look for him.

We may have entertained angels

    Don't forget to be kind to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!

    The Lord is my Helper and I am not afraid of anything that mere man can do to me.

Our home is not on this earth

    So let us go out to him beyond the city walls (that is, outside the interests of this world, being willing to be despised)to suffer with him there, bearing his shame.For this world is not our home;we are looking forward to our everlasting home in heaven. With Jesus' help we will continually offer our sacrifice of praise to God by telling others of the glory of his name.

    May he who became the great Shepherd of the sheep by an everlasting agreement between God and you, signed with his blood,produce in you through the power of Christ all that is pleasing to him.To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.

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