Christ was superior to Moses and Joshua…
Moses was one of Israel’s greatest national heroes. Therefore the third main step in the writer’s strategy is to demonstrate Christ’s infinite superiority to Moses.
The message is addressed to holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling.
All true believers are holy as to their position, and they should be holy as to their practice.
In Christ they are holy; in themselves they ought to be holy. Their heavenly calling is in contrast to the earthly call of Israel.
Old Testament saints were called to material blessings in the land of promise (though they did have a heavenly hope as well).
In the Church Age, believers are called to spiritual blessings in the heavenlies now and to a heavenly inheritance in the future.
Consider Jesus. He is eminently worthy of our consideration as the Apostle and High Priest of our confession.
In confessing Him as Apostle, we mean that He represents God to us.
In confessing Him as High Priest, we mean that He represents us before God.
There is one aspect in which He was admittedly similar to Moses.
He was faithful to God, just as Moses also was faithful in God’s house.
The house here does not mean only the tabernacle but also the entire sphere in which Moses represented God’s interests.
It is the house of Israel, God’s ancient earthly people.
But there the similarity ends. In every other respect there is undisputed superiority.
First the Lord Jesus is worthy of more glory than Moses because the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself.
The Lord Jesus was the Builder of God’s house; Moses was only a part of the house.
Second, Jesus is greater because He is God.
Every house must have a builder. The One who built all things is God.
From John 1:3, Colossians 1:16, and Hebrews 1:2, 10, we learn the Lord Jesus was the active Agent in creation.
The conclusion is unavoidable—Jesus Christ is God.
The third point is that Christ is greater as a Son.
Moses was a faithful … servant in all God’s house (Num. 12:7), pointing men forward to the coming Messiah.
He testified of those things which would be spoken afterward, that is, the good news of salvation in Christ.
That is why Jesus said on one occasion, “If you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me” (John 5:46).
In His discourse with the disciples on the road to Emmaus, Jesus began at Moses and all the prophets, and “expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27).
But Christ was faithful over God’s house as a Son, not as a servant, and in His case, sonship means equality with God.
God’s house is His own house.
Here the writer explains what is meant by God’s house today.
It is composed of all true believers in the Lord Jesus: whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.
At first this might seem to imply that our salvation is dependent on our holding fast.
In that case, salvation would be by our endurance rather than by Christ’s finished work on the cross.
The true meaning is that we prove we are God’s house if we hold fast.
Endurance is a proof of reality. Those who lose confidence in Christ and in His promises and return to rituals and ceremonies show that they were never born again.
It is against such apostasy that the following warning is directed.
(vv. 7-15) During the journey to the Promised Land, the Israelites had hardened their hearts in the wilderness.
A hardened heart resembles a hardened lump of clay or a stale loaf of bread.
Nothing can restore it to make it useful.
Psalm 95 warns against hardening our hearts as Israel did in the wilderness by continuing to resist God’s will and doubting His ability to bring deliverance (see Exodus 17:7; Numbers 13–14; 20).
The people were so convinced that God couldn’t deliver them from their enemies and bring them safely into the Promised Land that they simply gave up their faith in Him.
People with hardened hearts stay so stubbornly set in their ways that they cannot turn to God.
This does not happen suddenly; it is the result of a series of choices to disregard God’s will.
Each day we should pray for God to soften our hearts so we can hear Him speak to us.
God’s rest has several meanings in Scripture:
(1) the seventh day of creation and the weekly Sabbath commemorating it (Genesis 2:2; Hebrews 4:4-9);
(2) the Promised Land of Canaan (Deuteronomy 12:8-12; Psalm 95);
(3) the peace with God we now have because of our relationship with Christ through faith (Matthew 11:28; Hebrews 4:1, 3, 8-11); and
(4) our future eternal life with Christ (4:8-11).
All of these meanings were probably familiar to the Jewish Christian readers of Hebrews.
We should warn each other about the danger of missing God’s rest.
If we let doubt about God’s promises, lack of trust in His power, or rejection of His love overtake us, we could forfeit the good things He has for us.
Our hearts turn away from the living God when we stubbornly refuse to believe Him.
If we persist in our unbelief, God will eventually leave us alone in our sin and rebellion.
But God can give us new hearts, new desires, and new spirits (Ezekiel 36:22-27).
To prevent yourself from having an unbelieving heart, stay in fellowship with other believers, talk daily with them about your mutual faith, be aware of the deceitfulness of sin (which attracts but also destroys), and encourage one another with love and concern.
The Israelites failed to enter the Promised Land because they did not believe in God’s protection and did not believe that He would help them conquer the giants in the land (see Numbers 14–15).
So God sent them into the wilderness to wander for 40 years.
This was an unhappy alternative to the wonderful gift He had planned for them.
Lack of trust in God leaves us with the dangerous alternative that we won’t enter His rest and receive His best.
The Sin of Unbelief
In 1 John 2:2, speaking of Jesus’ atonement on calvary’s Cross we’re told that, “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”
When the Bible says that Christ was the sacrifice for all sin, it does not mean that all sin was automatically forgiven.
It simply means that the offering to secure forgiveness for the whole world has been made; whether that offering actually results in the forgiveness of any individual is another matter, because the offering must be accepted by faith.
Our way back to God has been prepared by Christ; the question now is, will we avail ourselves of the opportunity?
Christ died for all sin; that is, His sacrifice was completely sufficient to pay for the sins of the entire world.
But forgiveness only comes to an individual when he or she repents and believes (see Mark 1:15).
Until we accept (by faith) the provision of God in Christ, then we are still in our sins.
Those who die in unbelief die in all their sin—they are unforgiven liars, murderers, adulterers, etc. (Revelation 21:8).
Those who trust in Christ for their salvation do not die in sin; they die in Christ, with all sins forgiven.
We are justified by faith (Romans 5:1); without faith, we are condemned (John 3:18).
Forgiveness is received through faith in Christ and comes with the promise of an eternity in heaven; lack of faith keeps us unforgiven and consigned to an eternity in hell.
In the Bible, belief, or faith, is more than just thinking something is a fact.
Faith has more to do with trust and personal acceptance, deliberate acts of one’s will.
So, in Scripture, the sin of unbelief is not merely ignorance; rather, it is willfully refusing God’s free gift of forgiveness of sin—including the sin of unbelief.
When God offers to forgive a man’s sin if he believes, logic dictates that his response cannot be, “No, I refuse to believe in You, but forgive my sins anyway.”
Forgiveness is a conditional offer: if the required condition is met (faith), then the promised result occurs (forgiveness).
Faith in Christ is how people rightly respond to God’s offer of salvation.
The Bible says much about the necessity of choosing faith in Christ and the results of unbelief.
Christ longed to gather the sinful inhabitants of Jerusalem to Himself, yet they remained in their sin; Jesus’ condemnation places the onus directly on them: “You were not willing” (Luke 13:34).
Their unbelief kept them away from Christ, their only salvation.
On the logic of requiring belief:
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
On unbelief as an act of will, a deliberate choice:
“Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in Him.” (John 12:37)
The Bible is clear that the only way to get into God’s perfect heaven is to be as perfect (pure and sinless), as God Himself (Matthew 5:20, 48; Luke 18:18–22).
Even if you sin only once in your whole life, you have broken all of God’s law, just as breaking one link in a chain breaks the whole chain (James 2:10).
God’s perfect justice means that every sin must be punished. That penalty is death in the form of eternal separation from God in hell (Exodus 32:33).
No human can meet God’s perfect standard, so without a supernatural Savior to rescue us, we are all lost sinners (Acts 15:10; Romans 3:9–23).
God loves you and wants to rescue you from hell (John 3:16; 2 Peter 3:9).
So He sent His own perfect Son to take your punishment on Himself—His life for yours— paying your debt to God in full by dying on the cross, and forever freeing you from God’s righteous condemnation.
Every one of your sins—past, present, and future—is forgiven “IF” and only if you choose to accept that gift of forgiveness by faith (believing and trusting God to keep His promise)…
And that happens only as you repent (change the way you think) and turn away from your sins (Luke 24:47; Acts 11:18; 2 Corinthians 7:10); and then you must ask Him to save you (Joel 2:32; Acts 2:21).
The blood of Jesus covers your sins so that God sees you as perfect as His own Son (Isaiah 53:4–6; 2 Corinthians 5:21).
The instant you accept God’s free gift by faith, you are changed:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
You become God’s own beloved child (1 John 3:1), an eternal relationship that can never be broken (Romans 8:38–39; Ephesians 1:13–14).
God as Father, Son and Spirit indwell you and make their “home” with you (John 14:17, 23).
You can see then why the Gospel of Christ is called the Good News (Luke 2:10; Acts 5:42, 14:15)!
In accepting this gift, you agree that you belong to God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
You are not your own because He bought (redeemed) you with the precious blood of His Son (1 Peter 1:18–19).
So the Bible says that we are saved by GRACE, through FAITH; and ultimately always our faith is expressed by the words that come out of our mouth.
God’s plan to restore the world disfigured by sin and death reaches its climax with the resurrection of Jesus.
When the King enters, all the prophecies, all the hopes, all the longings find in Him their true fulfillment.
There may have been earlier fulfillments; but these are only partial fulfillments, signposts along the way to God’s true goal.
God’s goal has always been the restoration and reconciliation of His lost children.
With Jesus, we find the only perfect man with right standing before God.
He comes to blaze a path defined by God’s justice, not by our own sense of right and wrong.
All men, women, and children who commit their lives to Him will be made right with God and will begin new lives defined by faith and God’s new covenant.
5 Moses made this clear long ago when he wrote about what it takes to have a right relationship with God based on the law:
“The person devoted to the law’s commands will live by them.”
6 But a right relationship based on faith sounds like this:
“Do not say to yourselves, ‘Who will go up into heaven?’” (that is, to bring down the Anointed One),
7 “or, ‘Who will go down into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring the Anointed One up from the dead).
8 But what does it actually say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the good news we have been called to preach to you).
9 So if you believe deep in your heart that God raised Jesus from the pit of death and if you voice your allegiance by confessing the truth that “Jesus is Lord,” then you will be saved!
10 Belief begins in the heart and leads to a life that’s right with God; confession departs from our lips and brings eternal salvation.
11 Because what Isaiah said was true:
“The one who trusts in Him will not be disgraced.”
So what will happen to the Jewish people (or anyone else for that matter) who believe in God, but not in Jesus Christ?
Since they believe in God, won’t they be saved?
If that were true, Paul would not have worked so hard and sacrificed so much to teach them about God’s plan of salvation through Christ.
Because Jesus is the most complete revelation of God, we cannot fully know God apart from Him, and because God appointed Jesus to bring God and people together, we cannot come to God by any other path.
Salvation does not come by multiple choice…
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. NO ONE comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)
The Jews, like everyone else, can find salvation only through Jesus Christ (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).
Like Paul, we should pray that all Jews might be saved and lovingly share the Good News with them.
However, rather than living by faith in God, the Jews established customs and traditions (in addition to God’s law) to try to make themselves acceptable in His sight.
But human effort, no matter how sincere, can never substitute for the righteousness God offers us by faith.
The only way to earn salvation is to be perfect—and that is impossible.
We can only hold out our empty hands and receive salvation as a gift.
Christ accomplished the purpose for which the law was given in two ways:
(1) He fulfills the purpose and goal of the law (Matthew 5:17) in that He perfectly exemplified God’s desires on earth.
(2) He is the termination of the law because its purpose was to point to a new “law,” a new covenant that we are to follow.
The Old Testament law remains the Word of God, but with the coming of Jesus we now understand its real purpose—to show us that it cannot save us and to point us to the only one who can save us, Jesus Christ.
This does not make the Old Testament laws irrelevant; they continue to teach us about God’s character and how we are to live as followers of God.
In order to be saved by the law, a person would have to live a perfect life, not sinning once.
Why did God give the law, knowing people couldn’t keep it?
According to Paul, one reason was to show people how guilty they are (Galatians 3:19).
The law was a shadow of Christ—that is, the sacrificial system educated the people so that when the true sacrifice came, they would be able to understand His work (Hebrews 10:1-4).
The system of ceremonial laws was to last until the coming of Christ; and the intent of the law was to point us to our need for a Savior.
So if our faith is expressed by the words that come out of our mouths, we should always try and make sure that our CONFESSION lines up with God’s Word.
So what is confession?
Confession is stating something we believe in our hearts. It is giving evidence to something we know to be true. It is testifying to a truth we have accepted.
God moves only in line with His Word and has magnified His Word above His Name (Ps. 138:2).
We cannot expect to get help from God if we are taking sides against His Word, even though it may be an unconscious act on our part.
We should treat the Word of God with the same reverence we would show to Jesus if He were present with us.
You may be facing a problem that seems impossible. Instead of talking about how impossible it is, look to Jesus, Who is inside you and say, “God is in me now.”
And you’ll find that your confession of faith will cause Him to work on your behalf. He will rise up in you and give you success.
The Master of Creation is in you! You can face life fearlessly because you know that greater is He Who is in you, than any forces that may be arrayed against you. This should be your continual confession.
Tuesday, June 7
Faith to Faith Devotional
HIGH PRIEST OF YOUR CONFESSION
“Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession [or confession], Christ Jesus.”
— Hebrews 3:1
Very few believers today understand the mystery of the apostleship and priesthood of Jesus.
We think that an apostle is some kind of supersaint. But apostle actually means “sent one.” So, Jesus has been sent from God to do something for us.
He’s been sent to serve as our High Priest.
Again, many believers don’t have the first idea what a high priest does. They picture a person walking around in strange clothes performing religious rituals.
In reality, a high priest is much more than that.
He is one who is authorized to administer, to execute, to implement and to carry into effect.
Now, you may wonder what it is that Jesus is authorized to administer, execute or carry out on your behalf.
Hebrews 3:1 says that Jesus is the High Priest of our confession. He’s been sent to put into effect, to execute, to carry out the words that you say.
But, chances are, you’ve been speaking what you feel, instead of speaking words of faith.
If, for example, you’re speaking sickness, what’s He going to do with that? He’s not High Priest over sickness.
He can’t execute that. If you’re saying, “I’m so weak, I’m so tired,” He can’t carry that out.
The Bible says, “Let the weak say, I am strong!” The minute you say that, Jesus can administer strength.
Jesus is not going to administer sickness or disease or poverty or sin. He’s defeated all that. He is High Priest over deliverance and righteousness and freedom.
Consider that. Then as you come before Jesus, don’t speak words of defeat.
Speak words He can implement—words of victory. That’s what He’s been ordained by God to bring to pass in your life.
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 7:20-28
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