Daily Archives: January 5, 2019

January 5 Faith Versus Reason

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:18–29

Key Verse: Hebrews 10:38

Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, my soul has no pleasure in him.

From man’s point of view, not everything God does seems logical. There are times when we know what God is doing. Other times, all we can do is scratch our heads and think, Lord, I don’t understand, but I trust You because You know what is best.

The basis of faith is not in knowing, but in trusting. Many people are tripped up in their faith at this point. When we insist on seeing and understanding where God is leading before making a commitment to trust Him, we are living by human reason and not by faith.

Yet God calls each of us to live a life of faith. He says, “My righteous one shall live by faith” (Heb. 10:38 nasb). The author of Hebrews continued by writing: “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1 nasb).

Abraham lived by faith. He trusted God for a son, and God was faithful. But it wasn’t until he was quite old that he held God’s promise in his arms.

Are you trusting God or reasoning your way through life? When you live by faith, things may not always turn out the way you think they will. God answers our prayers according to His will and timing. He knows some of what we ask for would lead only to heartache and grief. Therefore, He protects us by giving us the things He knows will bring blessing to us and honor to Himself.

O God, there are times when I do not understand what You are doing. Let me learn to trust that You know what is best. Thank You for protecting me by answering my prayers according to Your will and perfect timing.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 6). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Brannon Howse: January 4, 2019

Guest: Dr. Jimmy DeYoung: Brannon discusses how China is carrying out an economic war against America and the west. China is buying up American companies and investing in American companies but their capital investments come with strings. China expects companies that take their money to promote their worldview. Brannon explains why America’s leaders and even military leaders are largely ignoring this new form of warfare by China and Russia. But First Dr. Jimmy DeYoung joins us for a Middle East update on these topics: Israeli government concerned by Trump statement that Iran can do what they want to after Trump orders US military to pull out of Syria. Topic: Trump asked Prime Minister to make the Trump peace plan centerfold of the Prime Ministers campaign and early elections, while Russia wants to be involved in the peace process as well. Topic: On the anniversary of their 54th year, Fatah, a Palestinian terrorist organization, celebrates its violent past and promises a more violent future against Israel. Topic: Early election polls in Israel indicate a large win for Netanyahu, this is important for the fulfillment of Bible prophecy.

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Source: Brannon Howse: January 4, 2019

The Left Will Make 2019 a Dark Year — Christian Research Network

“The Democratic Party and the media will do to American political life what it has done to the arts; the universities; the high schools; the Boy Scouts; race relations; religion; the happiness of so many women (misled by feminism regarding marriage and career); the moral fabric of American life (morality reduced to feelings); late-night television; mainstream Judaism, Catholicism and Protestantism; pro football; and the sexual innocence of the young: It will poison it.”

I rarely make predictions — whether of election results or anything else. My policy has always been to say what I believe should be done, not what will be done.

I am making an exception with regard to America in 2019.

2019 will be a dark year in America.

Thanks to the left’s control of the House of Representatives and the news media, Americans will be kept in a fevered state throughout 2019 — with innumerable hearings, exposes, criminal investigations and possible indictments of those around the president and the president himself. Truth will not be the point. Defamation will. Anything that might muddy the president, no matter how spurious, no matter how thin the evidence, will be pursued with gusto. The media will drop “bombshell” after “bombshell.” If lives and careers are ruined, so much the better; no one should be associating with this president anyway, as far as the left is concerned. The Robert Mueller investigation into alleged “collusion” between the Trump campaign and the Russian government — which has led to guilty pleas and imprisonment of people around President Trump for offenses having nothing to do with such collusion — is a preview of what lies ahead.

The goal of the left to weaken, disable and impeach the president is the heart of its mission to undo the 2016 presidential election. If the Republicans had done anything comparable during the Obama administration, the Democrats and the media would not only have charged Republicans with racism — as they labeled all criticism of Barack Obama — they would have howled “fascism.” And, for once, they wouldn’t have been far from the truth. The misuse of government institutions for political ends is indeed a fascist tactic. But because most media serve as the propaganda arm of the Democratic Party, there will be no protest from the media, only support.  View article →

via The Left Will Make 2019 a Dark Year — Christian Research Network

January 5 Intimacy with Jesus

Scripture reading: Luke 10:18–20

Key verse: John 14:9

Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?”

Concerning John 14:9, Oswald Chambers commented,

These words were not spoken as a rebuke, nor even with surprise; Jesus was encouraging Philip to draw closer. Yet the last person we get intimate with is Jesus. Before Pentecost the disciples knew Jesus as the One who gave them power to conquer demons and to bring about a revival (Luke 10:18–20). It was a wonderful intimacy, but there was a much closer intimacy to come: “I have called you friends” (John 15:15). True friendship is rare on earth. It means identifying with someone in thought, heart, and spirit. The whole experience of life is designed to enable us to enter into this closest relationship with Jesus Christ. We receive His blessings and know His Word, but do we really know Him?

It is a joy to Jesus when a disciple takes time to walk more intimately with Him. The bearing of fruit is always shown in Scripture to be the visible result of an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ (John 15:1–4).

Once we get intimate with Jesus we are never lonely and we never lack for understanding or compassion. We can continually pour out our hearts to Him without being perceived as overly emotional or pitiful. The Christian who is truly intimate with Jesus will never draw attention to himself but will only show the evidence of a life where Jesus is completely in control.

I want to be truly intimate with You, Jesus. Let my life demonstrate that You are in complete control.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 6). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

New Social Media Censoring Software — Could it be The New Christian Gulag? — Pulpit & Pen

The idea started at the University of California at Berkeley. The idea that I’m talking about is software developers building an “Online Hate Index” for social media companies like Facebook and Twitter. Thus, “hate speech” could be removed without any sort of human involvement, according to Campus Reform.

The “idea,” according to an article in the University of California alumni magazine, sounds profoundly innocent. I mean who wouldn’t want to control hate speech, right? We all have been on Facebook or Twitter threads that have turned into examples of human cesspools of the unregenerate heart.

However, while this course of action may seem innocent, it has the potential to be very dangerous and censor more than just “hate speech.” The problem with this idea, along with many others in human history which want to control what we say, think or do, is that it doesn’t recognize the condition of the heart. While this idea may have good intentions, good intentions often lead to human suffering and carnage. The problem with any program like this one, that aims to prevent “hate speech,” is that it is developed by humans themselves and will ultimately fail because of the condition of the heart that is unchanged by the gospel of Jesus Christ.

History tends to repeat itself, and we are doomed to repeat it if we do not remember our past. To those who have studied the past and know about pre-World War II Germany, this type of “list making” has an eerie resemblance to pre-Hitlerism and the efforts of the Reichstag to control society. It was this “list making” that eventually led to the ability of Hitler to carry out the extermination of more than six million Jews (and tens of thousands of others such as political prisoners). While this new “hate speech” control program may seem like a far reach from what Hitler did, everything has to start somewhere. Just as the Reichstag had good intentions of helping German society, all it took was for one madman to pervert a good intention and make it into an evil one.

How will they define “hate speech,” who will be those who are considered the “haters” and added to the “Online Hate Index?” Simply, like in any dictatorship over freedoms, it will be the people that oppose the popular opinion or the opinion of the reigning regime. So in other words, those who speak the truth, mostly the first on the list of censorship will be you and other Christians. Knowing the message of Christianity is an offense to those who are perishing, the gospel will be censored and marginalized. Today, Christians are already dealing with censorship for having an unpopular opinion in the public square and on social media. This new tool will only add to that hardship and difficulty in spreading the truth about Christ and the Gospel message.

There are more far-reaching and profound implications of such a censoring tool and an “Online Hate Index.” Social control tools like this program could be used to ultimately punish Christians for their biblical worldview. Once one is placed on the “hate speech list” one could be subjected to all kinds of unforeseen consequences. If these lists are made public or employers are granted access to these lists, the people on these lists could inadvertently find themselves unemployed, shamed publicly or worse.  In today’s social activist charged world those finding themselves on such hate speech lists could easily be ostracized from society. If you can control what people say or able to say, you can control the masses at large.

via New Social Media Censoring Software — Could it be The New Christian Gulag? — Pulpit & Pen

January 5, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

It Fulfills The Promise of a New Covenant

And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws upon their heart, and upon their mind I will write them,” He then says, “And their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” (10:15–17)

Finally, the new sacrifice of Christ is effective because it fulfills the promise of a New Covenant. In other words, the new sacrifice had to be made and had to be effective because God promised that it would be. The new sacrifice was central to the New Covenant, which God said would put His laws upon their heart, and upon their mind, and which would cause Him to forget their sins and their lawless deeds. The new sacrifice was effective, therefore, because it had to accomplish these things (prophesied in Jeremiah 31:33–34) in order for God to fulfill His promises, which cannot be broken.

Though the New Covenant was new, it was not a new revelation, but the fulfillment of an old one. Now that it had arrived, Jews, more than any others, should have welcomed it with unbounded joy and relief. The promise was not Jeremiah’s, but was God’s—the very witness of the Holy Spirit.

The readers were being put on the horns of a great dilemma, which they could not escape. The Holy Spirit, through the writer of Hebrews, is saying, “You cannot accept the teaching of your own beloved prophet Jeremiah and yet reject the New Covenant he prophesied. You cannot accept one without the other.” To accept Jeremiah is to accept Jesus Christ. To reject Jesus Christ is to reject Jeremiah (not to mention the many other prophets who spoke of the Messiah) and to reject the Holy Spirit Himself.

Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin. (10:18)

The work of sacrifice is done. There will be no more. Forgiveness is already provided for those who trust in this one perfect sacrifice. Why would anyone want to go back to the old sacrifices, which were never finished and never effective? To reject is to have no other hope of forgiveness—ever.

“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). Salvation—glorious and perfect salvation—is promised in the Old Covenant and purchased in the New.[1]

A Great Conclusion

Hebrews 10:11–18

The Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,” then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin. (Heb. 10:15–18)

Some of the most memorable passages in all the Bible are those that serve as conclusions to great doctrinal portions of Scripture. Probably the two most famous come from Paul’s Letter to the Romans. In chapter 8 Paul sums up his systematic exposition of the doctrine of salvation with a great and well-loved statement of Christian assurance: “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38–39). From that high plateau Paul then goes upward into the doctrine of God and his sovereignty in chapters 9–11, climaxing with this great conclusion: “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!… For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Rom. 11:33–36).

Perhaps Hebrews 10 lacks the sheer eloquence of those great conclusions. In fact, the absence of that kind of rhetorical flourish is one of many indicators that the apostle Paul did not write Hebrews. Yet we have in this passage another great conclusion. If it is not great in its prose, then it is great in its ideas, great in terms of the magnitude and significance of the argument it brings to a close.

A Great Statement

The central doctrinal section of Hebrews began in chapter 7. In this lengthy exposition the writer has compared Christ and his priestly work to the whole sacrificial system of the old covenant. He showed that Christ is superior as priest to Aaron and his successors and better when compared to Melchizedek, who came before. He showed in chapter 8 that Christ’s covenant is better than the old one in Moses, and in chapter 9 that Christ’s blood is better than that of the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament. John Calvin rightly observes: “There is, indeed, no book in Holy Scripture which speaks so clearly of the priesthood of Christ, which so highly exalts the virtue and dignity of that only true sacrifice which He offered by His death, which so abundantly deals with the use of ceremonies as well as their abrogation, and, in a word, so fully explains that Christ is the end of the Law.”

In concluding this great argument, our present verses drive home the lesson the writer has been hoping to teach, namely, that while the old covenant offered no real solution for sin, Christ’s priestly work in the new covenant successfully and sufficiently solves this great problem of all mankind:

Every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. (Heb. 10:11–14)

These verses may not have all the eloquence of Romans 8, or the soaring prose of Paul’s doxology in Romans 11, but they deliver the most wonderful good news ever heard by the ears of men. Indeed, all of redemptive history, from the time when God clothed guilty Adam and Eve with the skins of the slain animal at the gate of the garden; to Abraham receiving a ram to be slain in the place of his son Isaac upon Mount Moriah; to the Israelites in the time of Moses, spreading the lamb’s blood on their doorposts lest the angel of death should come in; to generation after generation of Israel, with the priests slaying thousands and millions of lambs and goats and bulls, sacrifices the writer of Hebrews insists could never have atoned for one human sin—all of that history had craned its neck to hear words such as these, had waited with bated breath, had cried with bitter tears, “How long, O Lord, how long!” to hear words like these. Where is the lamb? Where is the true sacrifice? Where is the real atonement that will not merely place an ill-fitting lid on the boiling cauldron of sin, but actually exhaust the fury of God’s wrath and justice against it? Where is, as John the Baptist said upon spying the Lord Jesus Christ, “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29)? Hebrews 10:11–14 proclaims the one true sacrifice that takes away our sins and makes us holy.

The primary purpose that motivated this letter was to warn the Hebrew Christians not to fall back into the ways of the old covenant. They were experiencing persecution—either from the Jewish community or the Roman authorities, or both—and the pressure made a denial of Christ in favor of Judaism a tempting option. But these verses sum up the whole of his revulsion at such a thought. What? he might say, return to a religion, a priesthood, a covenant, that despite all the labor, all the activity, all the blood and sweat and tears “can never take away sins” (Heb. 10:11)? It is unimaginable folly, despite the worldly pain of persecution for the sake of Christ, to go from forgiveness and peace and real access to God, back to the old situation of sin and its dreadful alienation. By his one and finished sacrifice, Christ has put away sin and made holy all who hold fast to him. No earthly prize is of such value; no worldly sacrifice is too great for such gain.

This was an overwhelming argument for the first-century Hebrew Christian, fretfully wondering if fidelity to Christ was worth the cost. But it speaks just as powerfully to people today, fretfully considering the claims of Christ and the cost of discipleship. Whether we are on the doorstep of faith or the exit ramp of unbelief, what we find in these verses is equally significant. What do verses 11–14 tell us, but that in Christ we have not mere religion, but salvation? We do not have ritual and tradition, but spiritual reality and power. We have not warm sentiments, not moral self-help, but the forgiveness of our sins by the work of the Savior, and power for holiness from a heavenly Lord.

Here is the great statement that makes this a great conclusion: Jesus Christ has done upon the cross what no priest of Israel could ever have done, and what no worldly religion can ever achieve today. For both the Hebrew Christian in danger of abandoning Christ and today’s fence-sitting doubter in danger of passing by the one and true salvation, these verses sound a clanging gospel bell: there are a true sacrifice for our forgiveness and a priest reigning in heaven to make us into what we were created to be. If we hear and believe, we gain the right to sing the gospel hymn with joy:

My God is reconciled;

his pardoning voice I hear;

he owns me for his child,

I can no longer fear;

with confidence I now draw nigh,

with confidence I now draw nigh,

and “Father, Abba, Father!” cry.

A Great Transition

Hebrews 10:11–18 is not only a conclusion, but also a transitional passage, setting the stage for the outstanding applications that follow in the rest of this epistle. It does this through the use of an expression we have encountered numerous times already, the phrase “made perfect.” This phrase occurs in verse 14 for the seventh out of nine times in the Book of Hebrews: “By a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” In earlier chapters it mainly referred to Jesus Christ. In Hebrews 2:10 we read that “it was fitting that he … in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.” As we observed at the time, the point is not that Jesus was ever less than perfect in his person, but rather that the experiences of his life and death perfected him—prepared him or qualified him—for his office and work as Redeemer. Hebrews 5:8–9 elaborates on this same point, stating, “Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him.”

These statements regarding the perfecting of Jesus Christ present the main doctrinal point of Hebrews, namely, his perfect and unique fitness to put away our sins, both as perfect sacrifice and as perfect priest. Once this point has been made, the writer of Hebrews then uses the same phrase, “made perfect,” in reference to what God intends for believers. Indeed, the last four uses of this expression, beginning in chapter 10, all refer to believers. Hebrews 10:1 complains that the old covenant “can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near.” Verse 14 says that Christ, by his one sacrifice, “has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” Later on we will consider the great statement of Christian worship that is found in Hebrews 12:18–24, in which believers in heaven are described as “the spirits of the righteous made perfect” (Heb. 12:23).

This is what unfolds in the flow of Hebrews. Christ was made perfect in his role as Savior and High Priest for the church in order to sit at God’s right hand—this is the first half—so that we would be made perfect in him for our role as worshiping priests in heaven before the very throne of God—this is the second half. This is the macrostructure of redemption as taught in the Book of Hebrews.

A Great Reality

It is important that we understand the concepts and the terms in this passage. The Greek word translated as “made perfect” (teteleiōken) might also be rendered as “made complete,” “finished,” or “made fitting.” This is how it was used in reference to Jesus. When applied to us, it is used almost synonymously with the idea of sanctification. We see this conjunction of ideas in Hebrews 10:14, where believers are “made perfect” and “are being made holy.”

The basic meaning of holiness is “set apart.” Things that are made holy are taken out of a profane category and placed into a sacred or holy category. This was undoubtedly on the writer’s mind because of the priestly context. Just as the vessels of the temple were holy, set apart for sacred service, so too believers are set apart for the service of God.

In this sense, holiness emphasizes status or position. It is not our character, not our intrinsic holiness that sets us apart for God and to God. Far from it! Verse 10 emphasizes that we “have been sanctified” or “made holy” by the cross. We have received this status and holy position by the work of Christ.

But holiness also carries the idea of conformity to God’s character. Holy things are to be kept pure; their purity is fitting for their holy status. If we, therefore, have been made holy by Christ, God’s purpose is that we will now conform to his holy character. This is put very strikingly by the apostle Paul in Romans 8:29, where he states that we were saved, even predestined, “to be conformed to the image of [God’s] Son.”

Another way to get at this is to follow the tenses of the verbs in Hebrews 10. We have here the past, the present, and the future. First, there was a past completed action: “When Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God” (Heb. 10:12). The verbs “offered” and “sat down” occur in the past tense. They are in the Greek aorist tense, which here signifies a completed past action.

Verse 14 tells us the effect of Christ’s work and uses a different tense, the perfect tense: “By a single offering he has perfected” us. The perfect tense signifies a completed past action that has an ongoing effect into the present and future. Something of vital significance has happened, and its effects continue now and forever. Here the effect is that we have been made perfect. Finally, we have a present participle: “those who are being sanctified.” This signifies a present activity that continues into the future.

Putting these verbs together, we have an event that took place in the past, that is finished and completed—the sacrificial death of Christ, along with his subsequent resurrection and enthronement as heavenly high priest. This has implications and results that come forward to us—we have been made perfect in his perfection. Finally, there is a present process—we are therefore being made holy. That is to say, we are being transformed into what we have been made.

The key to all of this is the perfect tense and the statement “he has perfected” us. The perfect tense is vital to Christianity as to no other religion. No other faith rests upon the present power of past events, namely, the death, resurrection, and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is why Christianity alone is good news. It is a gospel because it presents news of great events that changed everything once and for all. What has happened to Christ makes our salvation possible and real. If Christ’s death has not happened, we are damned in our sins; but if it has happened—and it has!—we who believe are saved with great joy, secure in him forever.

This has important implications for our view of the Christian life. Our sanctification has a once-for-all as well as an ongoing sense. It is “already” as well as “not yet.” A popular Christian bumper sticker says, “I’m not perfect, just forgiven,” but in an important sense this is not true! In the eyes of God you have been made perfect because you are in Christ; you are a beneficiary of his perfection. Of course, there is a process that is not yet complete, but a Christian’s sanctification is so certain of achievement that it is now viewed as accomplished: “You have been made perfect.”

The present tense of Christianity is always linked to and rests upon the past tense of Christ’s finished work. Christianity says to believers, “Because he died you have died in him. Because he arose, you are alive in him. Because he is made perfect, you are made perfect in him.” As Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “[God] raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6).

These realities, however, are not abstracted from our present life. What we have been made in the heavenlies is not unrelated to what we must become on the earth. The Christian rule is this: we are to be what we are in Christ. Since we have been made perfect in Christ, we are now becoming holy in practical ways. Holiness is our established destiny, and so it is becoming our present reality. If this cannot be said of us as individuals, our claim to be in Christ at all is challenged.

To return to the thought world of Hebrews, we think of Israel’s high priest wearing a golden plate on his turban that read “Holy to the Lord.” That same designation has been applied to us by Jesus Christ. We are perfect, fit, complete. This is our identity, our destiny, our reality. It is the spiritual gravity of every Christian’s life to which we are being pulled and shaped and sometimes shoved by the Spirit of God living within us. We cannot escape it, and if we do, that simply bears testimony that we are not in Christ at all. Those who possess faith in Christ simply cannot go on living as they did before. We are different because of what has happened—not by a power that is from us, but a power that is from heaven, where Christ reigns for us and in us.

Hebrews 10:15–17 looks back on the new covenant, already examined in chapter 8, to highlight both the external and the internal, the objective and the subjective aspects of our salvation: “And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, ‘This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,’ then he adds, ‘I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more’ ” (Heb. 10:15–17). God has forgiven our sins (v. 17)—this relates to justification. It is external and objective. He has put his law in our hearts and written it upon our minds (v. 16)—this is sanctification, and it is internal and subjective. Salvation is a definitive act of God whereby he forgives our sins forever and accepts us in Christ. But it is also a lifelong process of deliverance from the power of sin and the coming of new life that is “after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24).

I can think of nothing more thrilling than this, that I will become perfect, “like God in true holiness.” I will become perfect as the creature God intended me to be. I will become perfect in the bearing of his image in conformity to Christ. I will be perfect in fruit, perfect in worship, and perfect in thought, word, and deed. It is staggering to my mind, so foreign is this to my actual present experience! And yet this, because of what Christ has done for me, is my reality, and not what is now seen in me. This is what is true and real for all believers in Christ. We will be perfect in glory—the glory that comes from him and reflects back to the praise of his name. The very thought of this should create in us a great appetite for practical holiness, with dread of and loathing for sin. If we have grasped only a portion of this truth, if we have laid hold of a fragment of our true identity in Christ, we will no longer live as we have.

A Great Comparison

These great truths are all focused on the one great comparison that is driven home in the Book of Hebrews. By now we are familiar with it: a comparison between Israel’s priests and the perfect high priest, Jesus Christ. There in all his futility stands the priest of the old covenant, day after day offering the same sacrifices over and over, reminding us of, but unable to repair, the terrible problem of sin. Hebrews 10:11 sounds the familiar refrain that the old priests and their sacrifices “can never take away sins.” The entire picture is one of futility, fatigue, and frustration. The greatest possible contrast is presented when we then consider the effectual work of the true high priest, Jesus Christ: “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified” (Heb. 10:12–14).

One commentator puts the contrast in these striking terms:

The priest of the Old Testament stands timid and uneasy in the holy place, anxiously performing his awful service there, and hastening to depart when the service is done, as from a place where he has no free access, can never feel at home; whereas Christ sits down in everlasting rest and blessedness at the right hand of Majesty in the holy of holies, His work accomplished, and He awaiting its reward.

Christ’s sacrifice was not offered over and over, but once for all, and in this we see the sufficiency of his blood for the forgiveness of our sins. The resulting situation could not stand in greater contrast with that of the old covenant priests. William Barclay writes: “The priests stand offering sacrifice; Christ sits at the right hand of God. Theirs is the position of a servant; his is the position of a monarch. Jesus is the king come home, his task accomplished and his victory won.” And Andrew Murray rightly exclaims, “The once of Christ’s work is the secret of its being forever: the more clear the acceptance of that divine once for all, the more sure the experience of that divine forever.… His forever is one of victory, and of the blessed expectation of its full manifestation.”

Christ is seated in the heavens. His work is accomplished, established, inevitable. Our author is wrapping up all his great ideas, here returning to the theme in chapter 1, that Christ has been exalted with almighty power as he rules over history for the church.

Christ is seated and enthroned, in a position of rest like that of God on the seventh day of creation. It is a rest of sovereignty, of omnipotent rule, control, and confidence. This has the most horrible implications for Christ’s enemies: for the devil and the demons, and also for every sinner who rejects his claims. He is “waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet” (Heb. 10:13). Unbelievers may deny him, mock him, and exult in their apparent freedom from his lordly rule. But all the while he sits enthroned, with history racing toward the judgment over which he will reign supreme.

Meanwhile, this has wonderful and life-transforming implications for all who trust in him. Verse 12 tells us he is seated; verse 13 adds that he is waiting as this present age runs its course; and verse 14 tells us why he can afford to wait: “By a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” Verse 18 concludes our passage, indeed, the whole great doctrinal portion of the Book of Hebrews, with the same great idea. Where sins have been forgiven, “there is no longer any offering for sin.” There is no longer any labor for the Savior, and no longer any threat to the salvation of those who look to him in faith. Jesus can rest enthroned, waiting for the day of his final triumph; we, too, can rest through faith in him, as we await his return in glory.

A Great Conclusion

This is the great conclusion to the main doctrinal instruction of the Book of Hebrews. From here we will move forward to the wealth of applications in the final chapters, including the examples of faith in chapter 11. We are far from finished with the Book of Hebrews. Yet here we stand at the conclusion of this great doctrinal teaching. How then shall we conclude our own reflections on these matters?

There can be only one answer, and that is to draw our thoughts and our hearts, our whole spiritual orientation, upward to where Jesus Christ sits now enthroned, reigning with power for our salvation, having accomplished everything needed for us to be saved. He is at the center of it all, above it all; he is the meaning of everything we have considered in the Book of Hebrews. The tabernacle and temple were about him and his work. The priests and the rituals of the Old Testament served only to point to him. The blood that was shed year after year and day after day spoke only of his blood, shed once for all upon the cross. The veil that was torn invites our gaze into the heavens, where now our Savior sits at rest, reigning for his own, securing us for himself forever, and ruling our hearts by the Spirit he sends. Everything points to him; everything is found in and with him; everything for us comes from him and draws us to him as his people, his own reward for obedience to the will of the Father.

This is the great conclusion we must draw from the teaching of Hebrews. It must be the profession of our faith. And Christ must be the great affection of our hearts. To know him and serve him, to grow in his likeness, must become the great ambition of all our lives.[2]

16 An alternative solution to the problem of the missing second part of the quotation formula is to find it within the quotation itself, namely, in the words “says the Lord.” Thus the NJB takes these words out of the quotation and prints them as the author’s quotation formula, “the Lord says,” picking up from “for after saying” in v. 15. But the fact that in 8:10 the same words were clearly understood to be part of Jeremiah’s text makes this construction very unlikely. Attridge, 281, supporting this understanding, speaks of it as the author’s deliberate “manipulation” of the text but does not make clear what such manipulation might be intended to achieve.[3]

10:15–17 / Returning now to one of his key texts (Jer. 31:33–34), the author asserts that what he has argued is in precise accord with Jeremiah’s prophecy concerning the new covenant. The Holy Spirit is regarded as the ultimate inspiration of the prophet Jeremiah’s words; thus the Spirit bears witness through what he wrote (cf. 3:7; 9:8; 8:8). The quotation is given in two parts: the first predicts the reality of the new covenant positively, whereas the second (v. 17) refers to the blotting out of sins (with the strongest negatives, lit., “I will in no wise remember”). The effect is, on the one hand, to underline the promise of the new covenant with its internal dimension, and on the other, to point out the close interconnection between this promise and the experience of a new level of forgiveness. This is what has come about through the sacrifice of Christ.[4]

The Spirit’s reiterated word (10:15–18)

It is not simply that God has spoken in the past. As we turn to this word the Holy Spirit bears witness to us in the present. Once again he uses Jeremiah’s new-covenant passage. In chapter 8 he quoted it in expounding the essentially new things which have been accomplished by Christ. Here it amplifies the theme that it is not only new but perfect. The heart of this new relationship is focused on what we choose to remember (10:15–16) and what God chooses to forget (10:17).

We know that if this continuing process of sanctification is to be a reality in our lives, we shall need the Holy Spirit’s constant reminder (10:15) of that indwelling word which is written in our minds. In Old Testament times the word of the law was external, written on tablets of stone, but God’s new Israel treasure it in their hearts. The Spirit not only tells us what to do, but provides the strength to do it.

The greatest message this word conveys to us is the assurance of forgiveness: I will remember their sins and their misdeeds no more. The writer has reached the end of his argument about the superiority of Christ’s person and work. If, in Christ, we have a forgiveness of this range, certainty and efficacy, there is no need whatever for the continuation of the former sacrificial system. The sacrifices are not merely superfluous; they depreciate and disparage the only sacrifice acceptable to God and effective amongst men.[5]

10:15–17. Here we return to the new covenant (cf. 8:8–13), again quoting Jeremiah 31. The Holy Spirit was the author of this practical and relevant application.

God has written his law within us and will no longer remember our sins and lawless acts. The old covenant had provided for an annual remembrance of sin (v. 3). The new covenant promised no more remembrance of sin. We can receive complete forgiveness, for Jesus’ death gives freedom from the penalty of sin.

10:18. These words close the doctrinal section of Hebrews. Christ’s new covenant makes Old Testament sacrifices obsolete. When God erases our sins, we no longer need a sin offering. The entire sacrificial system is unnecessary. The single offering of Christ has wiped out the need for the old sacrificial system and has introduced a new era. Christ himself fulfilled the message which God intended the sacrifices to proclaim.

Anyone who wants forgiveness of sin can find access by placing a repentant faith in the completed work of Christ. Christ’s sacrifice was God’s final answer to the universal problem of human sin. God has no need to speak a word beyond Jesus.[6]

16. “This is the covenant I will make with them

after that time, says the Lord.

I will put my laws in their hearts,

and I will write them on their minds.”

Once again the author demonstrates his high view of Scripture. He quotes two verses from the prophecy of Jeremiah and ascribes them to the Holy Spirit. In chapter 8, he introduces God as the speaker for this particular passage, but that is nothing new for the author of Hebrews. He introduces either God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit as speaker. For him the Old Testament Scriptures are divine and are ascribed to the Triune God. God through the Spirit is the author of Scripture (see 2 Peter 1:19–21).

The writer repeats two verses from the passage quoted from Jeremiah 31:31–34 in chapter 8. The wording is not entirely the same, but the meaning is identical. The first verse (Jer. 31:33) gives the heart of the quotation: God’s promise to establish a new covenant with his people. The author has chosen this text to illustrate that with the coming of Christ and the completion of his sacrificial work, the era of the new covenant has commenced. God makes a new covenant with his people, puts his laws in their hearts and writes them on their minds. Believers redeemed by Christ live a life of gratitude by keeping God’s commandments. These laws are an integral part of their covenant relationship to God.[7]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1983). Hebrews (pp. 256–257). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Phillips, R. D. (2006). Hebrews. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (pp. 343–353). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

[3] France, R. T. (2006). Hebrews. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, pp. 132–133). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Hagner, D. A. (2011). Hebrews (p. 160). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Brown, R. (1988). The message of Hebrews: Christ above all (pp. 180–181). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[6] Lea, T. D. (1999). Hebrews, James (Vol. 10, p. 185). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[7] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of Hebrews (Vol. 15, p. 283). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

Russell Moore Takes Pelosi’s Side, Urges Trump to Give Away Your Taxes to Foreign Countries Amidst Shutdown — Pulpit & Pen

President Donald J. Trump is resisting pressure to sign a Democrat-led House bill that would end the government shut-down but wouldn’t fund the border wall and would instead use tax dollars to fund abortions overseas. Russell Moore has recently joined with 24 other “faith leaders” to urge the president to not cut foreign welfare no matter what.

Moore, who also recently signed a statement in partnership with Muslims, Jews, Catholics, and Cultists claiming the apparent equality of all religions, signed this letter sent to the POTUS, begging him to continue funding “foreign assistance programs.”

Keep in mind that the current government shutdown has had a horrendous affect upon American farmers who rely upon the funding and expected payments by the USDA in exchange for their labor. Keep in mind the current government shutdown has adverse consequences on Americans in many different walks of life, and not just federal employees on holiday. While many feel the shutdown is necessary in order to strengthen our national sovereign borders, the delay of government funding still hurts.

Russell Moore and his associates in the liberal branch of evangelicalism have not gone to bat for you hurting Americans, urging Democrats in the House of Representatives to fund the border wall that was already approved by a lawful act of Congress. No, Moore and his associates have sent an aggressive letter to Donald Trump urging him to not help Americans, but remember to fund the same types of foreign aid that – in the past – have paid for abortions overseas.

According to CBN news, the letter was sent from Russell Moore, Leith Anderson (the president of the National Association of Evangelicals, which just officially agreed to an expansion of LGBTQ “rights”), NAR Apostle Sammy Rodriguez, former SBC President Ronnie Floyd, and others.

Most of the other signers are of the same Soros-funded and Soros-created group, Evangelical Immigration Table, of which Moore, Anderson, and Rodriguez are all members. And now, they’re pressuring the President to end the shutdown, even if it means funding the abortion provision bill by House Democrats.

Addressed to Trump, Pence, and National Security Advisor, John Bolton, the letter cited Jesus words from Luke in which Jesus said, “from everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded.”

The letter continued…

“Our nation has been richly blessed, and we have the privilege and obligation to share some of those blessings with those in need around the world. We do this through our private missionary, development, and humanitarian programs. But our government also has an indispensable role to play in diplomacy and in poverty-focused assistance programs.”

Of course, Moore, Rodriguez, and Anderson all represent powerful, influential, and wealthy evangelical groups that could spend millions of dollars on overseas poverty relief, should they be so inclined. The budget for the ERLC is 4 million dollars from the Cooperative Program of the SBC alone, not to mention the money passed under the table by leftist billionaires, James Riady and George Soros. Asking the government to fund foreign welfare but not asking them to secure our borders demonstrates the Beltway world these men live in.

The letter ended by expressing, “These programs help make the United States a great nation, and they also contribute to our security and continued prosperity.”

Of course, none of the aforementioned men are on record asking for a border wall to help our nation’s security and continued prosperity.

These evangelicals, led by Russell Moore, are tools of the Democratic left. Instead of lobbying Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to urge them to end the government shutdown by funding previous congressional commitments – the border wall – they are insisting that Donald Trump end the shut down so he can continue using American tax dollars to strengthen every nation but America.

You can read the letter here.

via Russell Moore Takes Pelosi’s Side, Urges Trump to Give Away Your Taxes to Foreign Countries Amidst Shutdown — Pulpit & Pen

The 7 People Christians Trust More Than Their Pastors

Gallup’s latest poll finds Americans now believe clergy (at a record low) are nearly as honest and ethical as journalists (at a record high).

Though the Bible describes shepherds of the church as “blameless,” (Titus 1:6), “upright” (Titus 1:8), and “above reproach” (1 Tim. 3:2), Americans—even Christians—take a much more pessimistic view.

According to a new Gallup survey, the country’s perception of pastors fell to a record low in 2018.

Fewer than half of American Christians (42%) believe clergy have “high” or “very high” standards of honesty and ethics, according to breakouts provided to CT. Self-identified Christians were about as likely to rate clergy’s ethical standards as just average (43%), and about 1 in 10 (12%) considered them “low” or “very low.”

Among Americans as a whole, trust in the clergy fell to 37 percent, making it the eighth-most-trusted profession in the country—ranking below multiple medical professions, teachers, and police and just above journalists and building contractors.

Over the last 40 years, Gallup has measured the country’s view of the trustworthiness of faith leaders along with a range of other professions. Clergy trust peaked in 1985, when two-thirds of Americans said clergy had a “high” or “very high” honesty and ethical standard.

That percentage hovered in the high 50s throughout the 1990s, until dropping to 52 percent in 2002 around the height of the sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church. Though Americans’ ratings of their clergy rallied slightly, they’ve been on a steady downward trajectory for most of the last decade.

“These latest low ratings on the clergy come on the heels of more investigations into child sex abuse by Catholic priests in the US,” state Gallup …

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Source: The 7 People Christians Trust More Than Their Pastors