“All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.”
---End of Scripture verses---
It has been appointed for all men (people) once to die, and then comes the Judgment (Hebrews 9:27). This is a very stark and startling reality, but not for the relatively few who have “died in faith” (verse 13). People who live in faith cling to God’s promises of a glorious eternity no matter how far off in the “distance” that may seem. When they come to the end of life’s way God transforms His precious promises into a marvelous reality. Taken in this context, we can understand the perplexing statement of Psalm 116:15: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones.”
We are all “strangers and exiles on the earth” (verse 13) even though most people do not live their lives in a way that expresses this truth. Those who admit with their words and confess through obedience to God that they are just wayfaring strangers “make it clear that they are seeking” a much better “country of their own” (verse 14). Take great comfort and cheer in knowing that your dearly-departed, faithful loved ones have gone on ahead to dwell in the “city” that God has “prepared for them” (verse 16). They wouldn’t come back to this world of pain and suffering for all the money in the world, but they are eagerly waiting for you to come join them in the beautiful city of God.
Faith is the victory, friend, that overcomes the world. Loving, trusting, obedient faith in the God who makes the most magnificent promises, and who cannot possibly lie (Titus 1:2). See God’s promises through the eyes of faith and you will understand that they are as good as done. Put your hand to the plow and never give a consideration to looking back over your shoulder at what you left behind. Nothing in the false and fading glory of this world is worth giving up the eternal splendor of heaven for.
Please read Hebrews 11:17-22 for tomorrow.
Have a blessed day!
“For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.’ And again, ‘The Lord will judge His people.’ It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
---End of Scripture verses---
The Hebrew writer has belabored the point that everything involved in God’s previous covenant with Israel was just a copy, a pattern, a shadow, a flimsy precursor to the excellency and supremacy of His new covenant offered through His Beloved Son and inaugurated through His shed blood. If this is true with all the wonderful blessings that are available through the genuine, spiritual realities in Christ, the author emphasizes to us in today’s verses that it is equally true with punishment for rejecting the Son of His love.
The writer uses one of his typical “lesser to the greater” arguments to show us that, if punishment for violating the Law of Moses was severe (verse 28), then punishment for disobeying “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:2) will be harsher still (verse 29). To be clear, faithful Christians who commit sins of ignorance or who sin in moments of weakness are not under consideration in this passage. The violators targeted here are those who “go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth” (verse 26). Those who blatantly and deliberately turn their backs on their Savior and His gracious sacrifice face the certainty of a “terrifying” eternity administered by the “vengeance” of “the hands of the living God” (verses 30-31).
The writer uses three vivid illustrations in verse 29 to describe what God’s covenant people do when they abandon their faith in Jesus and spurn God’s perfect and final sacrifice for the sins that defile them. (1) They “trample under foot the Son of God." To come to know and love Jesus and then cast Him aside is to treat Him as a piece of garbage that they would just throw on the ground and then walk over. (2) They “regard as unclean the blood of the covenant by which” they were “sanctified”. They treat the most precious blood that Jesus shed with contempt, dishonor and shame. (3) They “insult the Spirit of grace.” To reject God’s best and final offer of salvation is to offend and infuriate the Father who loved, the Son who saved, and the Spirit who revealed God’s loving plan of salvation. (Could this be the "unpardonable" sin of "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit"?)
Friend, there is no middle ground with God. You either stand with Him or against Him. You accept His offer of salvation and faithfully obey, or you refuse and suffer the eternal consequences. And the consequences are “terrifying”—a word the Holy Spirit uses twice (verses 27 and 30) to emphasize the horrific nature of the punishment. “The fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries” (verse 27). God is love. But God is also a “consuming fire” (Hebrews 2:29). All praise be to Him, however, because He gives us the choice to obey and live!!! God wants to be close to us, that’s why He sent His Son to die for us (verse 22). “Draw near!”
Please read Hebrews 10:32-39 for tomorrow.
Have a blessed day!
- Louie Taylor