Epistle to the Hebrews (4:12-16)   Leave a comment

Epistle to the HebrewsFor the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable. So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” Hebrews 4:12-16

This is a verse we often like to use to describe the power of the Word of God so I won’t go through much detail about it’s importance. The last 3 chapters are enough to prove the power of God’s Word. These chapters pierced right through my heart  and the Word written in the coming verses will make you bow down to your knees.These verses are alive. God’s Word is a cure for unbelief, it convinces us of sin, it rebukes us, it grants us wisdom and encourages us.

I need to mention though that God’s Word is destined for hearts of flesh and cannot penetrate hearts of stone. As the parable of the sower said, there’re different kinds of heart on which God’s Word fall. The Pharisees had the very Word of God made flesh spoke to them but they failed to recognise He was the Messiah and even thought Jesus was demon possessed(John 8:48). Jesus said : “And yet some of you are trying to kill me because there’s no room in your hearts for my message...So when I tell the truth, you just naturally don’t believe me! Which of you can truthfully accuse me of sin? And since I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me?” John 8:37,45

Jesus’ Word could not penetrate their hearts because their hearts were hardened.

How are verses 12-16 related to the previous ones?  The point is that the author wants to emphasise that everything said in the scripture regarding this rest is true. How can we be sure of that? Because it’s God’s Word which says so. It is alive and powerful. The Word of God is not just a lightly spoken Word. It has the power to convince. It occurred to me to argue against God’s Word but when I continued to read, I eventually realised that God’s Word gave me the answers I needed. People do not really know the way I think and cannot always give me the right and precise answer regarding God. But God’s Word has the right answer to any individual honestly seeking an answer. Read God’s Word and you’ll see sin in your life. Read God’s Word and you’ll find hope. Your wife, husband, colleague and friend can give you thousands of counsels and still you will ignore them. But when you read God’s Word you see it speaking right to your soul. You’re seeing yourself in a mirror and if you’re honest with yourself you have to admit that God’s Word rightly judged the state of your heart.

The Word of God made flesh knew what there was in man’s heart.

John said about Him : “But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.” John 2:25

Jesus already knew that Zacchaeus was on the fig tree (Luke 19), than the Samaritan woman had 5 husbands(John 4), that the disciples were murmuring among themselves, that Judas would betray Him (John 6), that the Pharisees wanted to kill Him (John 8:40) or that Lazarus was already dead (John 11).

God’s Word is always true. As Paul said:

Not at all! Let God be true, and every human being a liar. As it is written:‘So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge.’Romans 3:4

There’s always a reason for what God does. If we argue with God, we will eventually find ourselves embarrassed if it’s God who starts to question us.

The point is that when God said something in the present, it’s as if it’s already done in the future. This concept of time is only valid for us and God is not dictated by it. God does not say something and then changes His mind as we human do when we realise we are doing a mistake. God’s Word is tested and remains valid.

The Hebrews were being warned against unbelief and discouragement. The author used the Word of God to encourage them. He quoted so many verses in the Old testament to argue his case and this was the best thing he could do.

We’ll soon go through Hebrews 6 and we’ll again see that there’s certainty in God’s promise. There’s a rest awaiting us, let us hold to this living hope. God not only promised but even made an oath by taking His holy name as guarantee.

Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance….People swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.

To summarise, the author wants to say:

“So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe.”

The author gave many reasons to persevere so we need to hold firmly to what we believe. Let us boldly come into God’s presence. Let us not fear or feel guilty of our past sins. Jesus our High Priest is Himself the One calling us. He forgave us. We will find grace no matter how sinful we have been. Yes today is the day when we need grace the most. Let us rest in God’s presence, today.

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