Receiving the GoodNews…

Hebrews 10

The writer of this great Book in his quest to making a distinction between the Old and New Testaments; comparing what the High Priest, the rituals, ceremonies and sacrifices represented as patterns and shadows of the good things to come in the New Testament. The New Testament presented the ratification of the Covenant God promised to Abraham when He appeared to Him. The Testator of that Covenant, Oath or promise as you may like to call it, is Jesus. He had to shed His blood as a symbol of death; He was buried and on the third day resurrected from the dead fulfilling the wages of Sin.

In the Old Testament, looking at the Tabernacle and its dimensions, the people (Jews) could only get as far as the Outer Court; the Priests (all from the tribe of Levi) only got as far as the Holy Place; while only the High Priest got beyond the Holy Place through to the Holiest of All to offer sacrifices for atonement once a year. So the problem the people had, was gaining access to God, which was an impossible task for them. Access to God was the cry in the hearts of these people. In Jesus the writer demonstrated through the vehicle of reason, comparing scripture with scripture, encouraged his audience that through His death as a better High Priest, the veil that stopped the people was taken away. And therefore should develop the confidence in moving from the Outer Court through the Holy Place, straight to the Holiest of All. The ultimate price had been paid.

Based on the so many presentations made by this writer to his audience, their understanding of the things said, should embolden them to draw nearer to God. In other words, as stated by Apostle Paul, “how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”

This is what the bible defined as FAITH.

We are saved by His grace when you believe. Some translations put it as “we are saved by Grace through FAITH.” The first stage of FAITH is the felt need by the people to be saved. This is the starting point; it is called CONDEMNATION. Apostle Paul described this to the Church at Rome when he said, “For all have sinned and have come short of the glory of God.” He also said somewhere else that no one (Jews and Gentile inclusive) was righteous and ended by saying that the wages of Sin is death and the gift of God is Eternal life. What happens when there is a felt need for Salvation as we continue to describe FAITH?

Secondly, in order for FAITH to be what it is, it must have an object. The object of FAITH is based on who or what is believed. In the context of the Bible, our object of FAITH is Jesus. I have mentioned Jesus because it is the MESSAGE OF THE GOSPEL that embodies Him. There must be a content presented to the audience as to why they have to believe in the message presented. The first NINE chapters of the book of Hebrews made these presentations giving the people the opportunity to reason in their minds as to why they must shift from Judaism to the New Testament.

Finally to complete the order of FAITH, we must assent to the content presented. We must commit to the knowledge presented by deciding for Him. This is the reason why the writer said that we should not harden our hearts when we are presented with the message of the Gospel. The writer encouraged the audience to draw near to God when he said, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting Him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.

It is called the saving FAITH because it requires us to have BELIEF in the source of life; FAITH in Jesus includes our decision, which eventually comes and proceeds from God. This is the reason why it is called a GIFT from God; it starts with Him and eventually ends with Him. In other words, God plants in the heart the desire and the capacity to believe and also the ability to receive the gift of Salvation.

The difference between the High Priest, the rituals and ceremonies in the Old Testament and that of the New Testament was that when the blood was offered by the High Priest on the Holiest of all, it only covered the sins of the people for that particular year. In comparison to what the High Priest did, Jesus went through to the Holiest of All once and for all to take away completely the sins of them that would believe in the Gospel, meaning we do not have to condemn ourselves anymore.

Does it end there? NO

Because there has been the death of the Testator, the content of the promises given to Abraham at the onset is now ratified to only BELIEVERS. We have become His and therefore the family called CHURCH is formed and we are expected as members of the CHURCH to hold on tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promise, as encouraged by the writer. HOPE is the second dimension of the three pillars that Paul taught in most of his Epistles. Hope is expecting the Testator to carry out the content of the Covenant, Oath or Testament.

Not only are we meant to wait in assurance for the HOPE of His coming, we are expected to, as members of the body of Christ, LOVE ourselves like members of one family. In the language used by the writer, we are supposed to think of ways of motivating one another to acts of love and good works.In Apostle Paul’s words, he said, “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”

The writer also noticed that many of the Jewish Believers were staying away from the gathering of the saints probably because of the persecution and challenges that came as a result of moving from Judaism to Christianity. He stimulated them not to neglect the meeting together, as some people were doing, but to encourage one another in LOVE, as they looked towards the day of His return.

Personally, from this and the content of the message to the Jews, I can easily conclude that this book would have been written by the great Apostle Paul OR the writer must have been led by the Holy Spirit to pen down the exact three dimensional message of FAITH, HOPE and LOVE given to the Apostle as a confirmation to Bible readers.

C.S Lewis captioned it succinctly when he said, “Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

Keep it right here and be refreshed!

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