Thursday, July 28, 2016, 6:45 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Give Me Jesus.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Hebrews 3 (ESV).
His House (vv. 1-6)
Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house. For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.
Jesus Christ is God the Son, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is also our creator and he is the sustainer of all things, which are also under his control. In other words, he is completely sovereign over all he has made. Yet, he left his throne in heaven, came to earth, took on the form of a man, humbled himself and became obedient to death on a cross. He who knew no sin became sin for us so that when he died our sins died with him and were buried with him. When he was resurrected from the dead, our sins remained dead and buried, because he rose victorious over hell, Satan, death and sin on our behalf. Through faith in him, therefore, we are crucified with him in death to sin, and we are resurrected with him to newness of life, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24).
In Old Testament times, and up until Jesus Christ died for our sins and was resurrected from the dead, God’s (the Lord’s) house was a physical temple with physical walls and rooms and doors. In the inner part of this temple, which was called the Holy of Holies, dwelt the Ark of the Covenant. God’s presence was within that ark. Only the priests could go into the presence of God, though. There was a thick veil that stood between the presence of God and the average person. Yet, when Jesus died on the cross for our sins, that veil was torn in two. Jesus’ death had made the way for us, as sinful humans, to be restored to God and to be able to enter into his presence ourselves, through faith in Jesus Christ and in what he did for us in giving his life so we could be delivered from slavery to sin.
Now we, who are believers in Jesus Christ, are God’s house. He dwells within us by his Spirit. Yet, this belief in Jesus is not a one-time deal and then nothing happens until we go to heaven when we die. Jesus said that if anyone would come after him that he must deny self and take up his cross daily and follow Christ. He said that if we hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self) we will lose them (die in our sins), but if we lose our lives (if we die with Christ to sin) we will gain eternal life (See: Lu. 9:23-25). Paul said that Jesus died that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us who walk not according to the flesh, but who conduct our lives (walk) according to the Spirit. He said that if we walk according to the flesh we will die (without Christ), but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live (See: Ro. 8:1-14).
In John 3:16 we read that whoever believes (is believing) in him has eternal life. We are not saved on the basis of past belief. The Word of God teaches that we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope. And, it says that we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. True belief in Jesus Christ is continuous and it lasts until the end, although this passage would seem to indicate that holy brethren (brothers and sisters in Christ), who share in a heavenly calling, could harden their hearts, and that they could, indeed, fall away from the living God.
Exhort One Another (vv. 7-19)
Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
on the day of testing in the wilderness,
where your fathers put me to the test
and saw my works for forty years.
Therefore I was provoked with that generation,
and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart;
they have not known my ways.’
As I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter my rest.’”
Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.
As it is said, “Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.
Again, this is being addressed to those who have put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. This is not speaking to non-believers, as some might think. The example being given to them, as a warning to them, was of those who had been God’s chosen people, his children, and of their disobedience, and of their straying hearts, and how they were not able to enter into God’s eternal rest due to unbelief. And, the warning here is being given to Christians that they are to take care that they don’t follow the Jews’ example, and that they don’t be led to fall away from the living God. Remember what it says in Romans 11:21-22:
“For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.”
These are not my words, they are God’s words, and there are many more just like them:
“By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain” (I Co 15:2).
“But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel” (Co. 1:22-23a).
This goes right along with what Jesus said about those who would come after him (Lu. 9:23-25), and what Paul said about the righteous requirement of the law being fulfilled in those who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit (Ro. 8:1-14). And, it fits with John 3:16 where it says that those believing (present tense) in him have the hope of eternal life. In other words, we are not saved, then we live our lives however we want, and then we go to heaven when we die. Scripture teaches salvation as having a beginning, a middle and an end, and our salvation won’t be complete until Christ returns for his bride. It also teaches us that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us (1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15). This is the reason for our salvation.
So, we are being encouraged and warned here against taking our salvation for granted, and against thinking we can just live however we want and that we can still have the hope of heaven when we die. Whether you believe he is speaking here to nominal (in name only) Christians or to real believers in Christ, or not, the result is still the same. A saved life is a changed life, transformed of the Spirit of God in death to sin and in living to righteousness. If we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk in darkness (according to the flesh), we are liars, for we are still dead in our sins, and we don’t have the hope of eternal life. We have to continue in genuine belief in Jesus Christ until the end, when he comes to take us home to be with him. And, genuine belief results in spiritual change that walks by faith, according to the Spirit, and no longer according to our sinful flesh.
Give Me Jesus
Oh, What Gladness!
An Original Work / December 2, 2013
Give me Jesus. He’s my Savior.
I’ll walk with Him in His favor.
I’ll abide in His love always;
Follow His ways to the end.
Jesus is the Son of God.
He died upon a cruel cross.
He’s forgiven all my failures
By His mercy and His love.
Give me Jesus – His compassion,
And His mercy; loving kindness.
Let Him teach me how to love Him,
And to please Him. He’s my friend.
Jesus died for all our sin
So we could have eternal life.
He will free you from your bondage
If you trust Him with your life.
Give me Jesus. Let me trust Him.
May I listen to His teachings.
May I follow where He leads me
In His service. He’s my Lord.
Jesus Christ will come again
To take His bride to be with Him.
Oh, what gladness; free from sadness
When I meet Him in the air.