Pauls Footsteps #417

“Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God.” Heb 3:12-13NLT 

Hebrews was addressed to believers who accepted Jesus, but then experienced difficulties. Some were publically shamed and persecuted (Heb.10:32-34). For others, acceptance of the gospel had caused financial problems (Heb.13:12-13). Many were tired and began to question their faith (Heb.3:12,13).  Throughout Paul’s sermon, he compares his audience with the desert generation that stood right before the borders of Canaan, ready to enter the promised land. E.g. the exhortation of Heb.10:37-39 reminds us of the trials of God’s people historically experienced just before the fulfilment of the promises of God. Numbers 13 & 14 recounts the defeats the people of God experienced, and the doubts several leaders spread throughout the congregation. This all happened at the moment they were about to enter the promised land. The parallel of this to us who are again standing on the borders of the promised land and the fulfilment of the promise should be obvious 

Numbers 24 and 25 also tell us how the people of God got entangled with sensuality and false worship. Satan used sexual temptations to lead Israel into false worship and sin. Paul warns the listeners and readers of Hebrews against both dangers. First, he exhorts them to hold fast to the confession of their faith and to fix their eyes upon Jesus (Heb 4:14, 10:23, 12:1-4. Secondly, he exhorts them against immorality and covetousness (Heb.13:4-6). Finally, he exhorts them to obey their leaders (Heb. 13:7,17). 

In the person of Jesus, three dimensions of the story of redemption intersect. The first is the local, personal dimension. For the hearers/readers who had tired of the reproaches and hardships of the Christian life (Heb.10:32-34), Jesus is the Author and Perfecter of faith. They need to look to Him who also suffered from sinners (Heb.12:1-4). The second is the corporate, national dimension. For the people of God, who are travelling toward God’s promised land, Jesus is the new Joshua. They need to follow His lead (Hebrews 3, 4, 11, 12). The third is the universal dimension. Jesus is the new Adam, the Son of Man in whom God’s purposes for humanity are fulfilled (Heb.2:5-10, 12:22-28).  

Despite all the good and hopeful truths in the book of Hebrews, there is also a series of warnings that reach their climax in Chapters 10-12. 

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