“Several books in the New Testament stress Christ’s death, but the book of Hebrews is especially known for its emphasis on the doctrine of Christ as both high priest and sacrificial offering to atone for sin. No other book in the New Testament so masterfully combines teaching from both the old and new covenants. The recipients of Hebrews clearly had been undergoing persecution for their faith. They were also giving of themselves, busy serving others. And yet they were immature and needed to be taught again the elementary truths of God’s Word. The warnings issued in this book show that many of these Christians were wavering in their faith and tempted to desert it altogether. They stood in danger of falling away from Christ, probably to avoid persecution. A recurring theme throughout the letter is Christ’s superiority over everything in the Jewish religion to which they wanted to return. Jesus is far above and beyond the Old Testament prophets, the angels, Moses, Joshua, and the Aaronic priesthood. So why would the Hebrews ever want to go back to that old system when the new had come?” (HCSB)

Terry Wilder made note that, “Jesus inaugurated the ‘last days,’ which stretch between His first coming and His second coming. We are in the last days and will be so until Christ returns. This period of time is also the age of the Spirit (of Jesus) in which He abundantly works and ministers.” With this being said, we read in 2:1: “We must therefore pay even more attention to what we have heard, so that we will not drift away.” It is important that we continue studying His Word and have fellowship with other believers. When we start lacking in those areas, we begin to go down in a spiral motion that leads to one sin after another until we have completely lost our relationship with Christ. If we find ourselves going down that spiral, we can be given assurance that is found in 2:18: “For since He Himself was tested and has suffered, He is able to help those who are tested.” As well as 3:6: “But Christ was faithful as a Son over His household, whose household we are if we hold on to the courage and the confidence of our hope.”

3:12-14: “Watch out, brothers, so that there won’t be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart that departs from the living God. But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception. For we have become companions of the Messiah if we hold firmly until the end the reality that we had at the start.” The blood of Christ has forgiven the mistakes of the past. The cares of the future can wait until this day is through. We must treat today as a gift for it is called the present.

4:1 and 11-12: “Therefore, while the promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear so that none of you should miss it. Let us then make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall into the same pattern of disobedience. For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as to divide soul, spirit, joints, and marrow; it is a judge of the ideas and thoughts of the heart.” I recently heard on the radio a discussion that provided excellent insight on the Sabbath. Back in Genesis, we read that God created everything in six days and rested on the seventh. Think about that…God RESTED. He did not need the rest, but He did so as an example because He knows what we need. In addition to that, God declared the seventh day Holy. Why? To foreshadow the first coming of Jesus Christ in which He was crucified on a Friday, rested in death on Saturday, and rose again on Sunday. This happened specifically so that we may be able to rest in Christ, because Jesus is our Sabbath.

4:15-16: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.” In regards to these verses, Wilder mentioned that, “The issue of whether Jesus was not able to sin (impeccability) or able to sin (peccability) is difficult. Suffice it to say that the New Testament plainly teaches that Jesus never sinned even though He was truly tempted. Moreover, it also affirms, God is not tempted by evil. Since Jesus is fully God and fully man, it follows that He could not be tempted with evil. Further, Jesus has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin. This phrase does not mean that Christ underwent every single human temptation that is possible to experience in our day, but that He experienced in every way the full force of our temptation yet without yielding to it. Jesus is indeed a worthy high priest who is superior to the Old Testament priests and able to sympathize with our weaknesses.”

5:8: “Though a Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered.” There are times when we choose to go our own way and end up anguish at the end. It is during those times that we learn life’s lessons the hard way. Believe it or not, those times are blessings in disguise. The more pain we endure in this life, the closer our relationship grows toward Jesus. The stronger our relationship is with Him, the more obedient we will be as our trust in Him increases.

Wilder commented that in regards to 6:4-6, “This passage, with its warning, is controversial and difficult. Some persons believe this text teaches that it is possible to fall out of salvation. Though a cursory look at this text might lead one to think that Christians can lose their salvation, that idea is not the issue. These verses instead speak of the need for believers to persevere in the Christian faith. The verbs ‘enlightened’, ‘tasted’, and ‘became companions’ describe persons who have professed Christ and claim to be believers. To ‘have fallen away’ means to commit apostasy. The writer of Hebrews admonished his readers not to go back to the Old Testament sacrificial system because Jesus is superior to it in every way. If they were to turn away from Christ, repentance would be impossible because it cannot be found anywhere else once Jesus is rejected. By their actions, such persons disgrace Christ openly and try to re-crucify Him. If they forsake faith in Christ after having professed it and go back (i.e., do not persevere), they never were actually saved to begin with.”

6:10-12: “For God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you showed for His name when you served the saints—and you continue to serve them. Now we want each of you to demonstrate the same diligence for the final realization of your hope, so that you won’t become lazy, but imitators of those who inherit the promises through faith and perseverance.” 8:6: “But Jesus has now obtained a superior ministry, and to that degree He is the mediator of a better covenant, which has been legally enacted on better promises.” 9:28: “so also the Messiah, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.” 10:18: “Now where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.”

10:21-25, 35-36, 39: “and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, not staying away from our meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near. So don’t throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you need endurance, so that after you have done God’s will, you may receive what was promised. But we are not those who draw back and are destroyed, but those who have faith and obtain life.”

11:1-2, 6: “Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. For by it our ancestors were approved. Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him.” In regards to the above verses, Wilder stated that, “Some people object that this is blind faith. In this verse, however, the writer described faith as a conviction of certainty about what cannot be seen. This kind of faith motivated men and women of faith in the past to live for God and trust Him to fulfill His promises. Some ask, ‘How can Old Testament persons be saved since they never exercised explicit faith in Christ?’ 11:13 provides the answer. Saints in the Old Testament looked forward to the messianic hope and believed in God’s promises, which pointed to the future Messiah, Jesus.”

We find in 11:33-34 what faith is capable of doing and has done in the past: “who by faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the raging of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, gained strength after being weak, became mighty in battle, and put foreign armies to flight.” How can we strengthen our own faith? We find the answer in 12:1-2: “Therefore since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.”

12:8-13: “But if you are without discipline—which all receive—then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had natural fathers discipline us, and we respected them. Shouldn’t we submit even more to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time based on what seemed good to them but He does it for our benefit, so that we can share His holiness. No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore strengthen your tired hands and weakened knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but healed instead.” We all have been punished by our parents when we did something wrong as children because they love and care about us. God is our heavenly Father and He provides us with instruction and guidance to lead us down the right path. When we disobey Him and choose to go our own way, sometimes He will allow that to happen and we end up getting hurt because we left Him out of the picture.

12:28-29: “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us hold on to grace. By it, we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.” We read a little later on in 13:1-18 the types of service to provide in Jesus’ name. Here is the condensed version: Let brotherly love continue…show hospitality…Remember the prisoners…and the mistreated…Marriage must be respected by all, and the marriage bed kept undefiled…Your life should be free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you.’ Remember your leaders who have spoken God’s word to you. As you carefully observe the outcome of their lives, imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Don’t be led astray by various kinds of strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be established by grace. Don’t neglect to do good and to share, for God is pleased with such sacrifices. Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account, so that they can do this with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you. Pray for us; for we are convinced that we have a clear conscience, wanting to conduct ourselves honorably in everything.”

13:20-21: “Now may the God of peace, who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus—the great Shepherd of the sheep—with the blood of the everlasting covenant, equip you with all that is good to do His will, working in us what is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”

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