Hebrews 11:39 & 40 [NLT]
39 All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. 40 For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.
Hebrews 11 turned out to be a literal page turner for me. I read it in different versions of the Bible and then I read more about these two verses in several commentaries all because of one word – US.
US? Yes…it’s “us!” We have become part of the history of these people from the past because of God’s completed work in Jesus. Those ancestors made it into this “By Faith” chapter because their faith reached into the future of US. That past and their faith has reached beyond time to strengthen our present with the promise of completion for US all as the future unfolds. US is God’s version of “outreach” at it’s most creative. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to imagine the past, present and future as a triangle. The triangle is also the identity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit and they are the reality of the Field of Hope for our daily life, past, present and future..
Triangles are the strongest shape. When a force is added to a triangle it is spread evenly through all three sides. They work together like a building truss and make a structure that is extremely strong and stable. That strength is the promise of God. It’s the field of hope that includes all of US.
He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,
2 Timothy 1:9 NIV
•”So many have the idea that in sanctification we draw from Jesus the power to be holy. We draw from Jesus the holiness that was manifested in Him… This is the mystery of sanctification… it is His holiness in us.” Oswald Chambers from Our Brilliant Heritage.
This Scripture reminded me how easy it is to equate holiness with behavior. Holy behavior is an convenient yardstick for us but even that good thing can be a problem if it’s the goal instead of the outcome of a relationship to Christ Jesus. I’ve actually never thought in terms of holiness and power before. It seems an odd combination to me. Then I realized I’m sitting here with the perfect object lesson. Remember this is meant to be a spiritual comparison to ponder for daily life not an ad for digital devices.
I think it’s safe to say right now you’re reading on your computer, an iPad or maybe a smart phone.
•These are all amazing devices created for an important purpose. In my comparison these devices would be us. We are created for God’s own purpose that we might life a holy life.
•These devices have given us finger-tip access to almost limitless information. In my comparison this would be the resources of faith that God has made available online including many versions of the Bible and commentaries of saints, old and new.
•The bottom line is these devices are dependent on a source of power outside themselves. They have to be regularly recharged or they are not able to do what they were created to do.
I think it’s safe to say that is the bottom line of my comparison too. We are dependent on a source of power outside ourselves to live a holy life. Our holiness is “not because of anything we have done but because of his [God’s] own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time…” Our power source is this: “We draw from Jesus the holiness that was manifested in Him…”
Posted in II Timothy, Oswald Chambers, Sunday
Tagged Available, Behavior, Bottom Line, Comparison, Holy Life, Important Purpose, Outcome, Recharged, Us
“Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government
will be on his shoulders. And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Hebrews 6:1 Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2 instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And God permitting, we will do so.
I would much rather be told what moving “beyond the elementary” looks like than to be reminded I haven’t. So after the warnings in Chapter 5, I’m grateful for the encouragement of this first part of Chapter 6 that begins “Therefore Let Us…”
Those three words include you and me – we are “us.” Us means I am not trying to figure this out all alone. Jesus secured the foundation of our repentance for “us” with his forgiveness and his promises. God has revealed himself to “us” in his Word and in the sacramental events of faith. Worship is an opportunity for “us” to “…be taken forward to maturity…And God permitting, we will do so”…together.