Epistle to the Hebrews (11:38-40)   Leave a comment

Epistle to the Hebrews

Epistle to the Hebrews

They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground.All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.” Hebrews 11:38-40

We have reached the last few verses of this breathtaking exhortations on living by faith. Our author tells us that those faithful servants who suffered and went through calamities were too good for this world. Their faith in God made the world unworthy to receive them. They were precious in God’s eyes because of their absolute surrender to Him. This remembers me that my Lord was born in a manger and did not have a place to lay his head.

She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.” Luke 2:20

Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Manhas no place even to lay his head.” Mat 8:20

Many of God’s servants lived in lowly places and not palaces. John the Baptist lived in the wilderness and was considered by Jesus the greatest man who ever lived. We also need to realise that Christians were persecuted at this time and they had no other option but to leave their homes and comfort to survive.

These people who lived by faith earned a good reputation even though they were destitute and oppressed. I guess the angels in heaven saw that these persecuted servants were like a pleasing aroma to God almighty. There’s a poor but faithful Christian woman whom I have much respect for. I am humbled by her faith and feel unworthy of trying to encourage her in her daily trials. She knows her God and her faith in God has always been rewarded.

The author tells us that these servants (he was probably referring to those in the old testament) did not receive what was promised.  God’s promise here probably refers to the Messiah whom they longed to see.

But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn’t hear it.” Mat 13:16

We are blessed to live under this New covenant established by the Son between God and man. We have God’s grace and blessings on us. God poured out lavishly His Spirit on us and brought us in the kingdom of the Son He loves.

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. ” Col 1:13

Those who preceded us have been commended and perfected because of their faith in God. We who live by faith in the Son of God also have the privilege of being perfected through faith in the Son.

This is what the author mentions in Hebrews 12:1-2

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.”

Paul said in Gal. 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Do you understand dear readers that living by faith is not an option for a Christian? Jesus Christ our Lord works in the hearts of His disciples to make them become servants who have faith in God. Our justification is by faith in God’s Son. Living by faith is a pleasing aroma to God because we are surrendering our will, strengths and abilities by solely trusting God. Our author has given us a list of figures in the Old Testament to prove us that living by faith is vital for anyone who wants to please God. There’s like a crowd of witnesses sitting in a stadium and watching us running this race of faith. They completed their own race of faith and shouting to encourage us to finish that race of faith. Paul described the Christian life like an athlete which has to be disciplined and does not let himself entangled by things of the world.

Paul said to Timothy:

Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules.And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor.” 2 Tim. 2:3-5

During his final years of ministry, Paul said: “As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.” 2 Tim. 4:6-8

Let us get rid of anything which hinders us from running this race of faith. Dear readers, the Christian life is not just about surviving in the world, dying and waiting Christ to raise us from the dead. No, but it is a dynamic daily life of faith in the Son of God. Be grateful to God for the trials you go through because they give you the blessed opportunity to exercise your faith. It is not wise to ask God to deliver you from trials for you’ll miss blessings. Do not push away God’s hand when He wants to prune you.

I cannot insist more on the necessity for a Christian to live by faith.  I close this chapter with wise words by James:

Dear brothers and sisters,when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” James 1:2,3

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Posted June 29, 2013 by Cedric in Theology

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