Thursday, 16 August 2012

A good place to start.

After a very in depth look at the theological ties between the Old Testament and Jesus, explaining the new covenant and Jesus as the fulfillment of the old, the writer of Hebrews then states.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. 
Hebrews 10:19-25

I love passages in the Bible that start with 'therefore' (or 'οὖν' for those Greek Geeks out there). It is always a reminder to go back and see what is causing the action we're now being asked to do.  In this case it is the majesty of Christ, and his worthiness as the Son of God and Great High Priest which compels us to undertake this next bit of advice the writer is going to give.

And since that is the point where all Christianity starts (acknowledging Jesus as Lord and Saviour) then this passage is a great place to look at the very essence of what Christian and Church life should look like.  Let's 'draw near' to Jesus - we have the chance to have an intimate relationship with God, that's something of great worth that we should never take for granted.  Then we must hold 'unswervingly' to the faith we now proclaim, it's like we have this goal now that God has promised us through faith and we must head towards it - directly and in a straight line, never deviating no matter the cost or pain.  I love that idea, just steadfastly doing life by the faith I profess, but only doing it because I know God who has promised that my life is safe in him is completely faithful, so no matter the pain or trials I go through I know God has my life safely in his hands and serving him is better even than my own body staying safe and unhurt.

Then comes the critical role that we all have as a church, to 'spur one another on toward love and good deeds'.  As a congregation, and even as the world-wide church, our focus to each other must be encouraging each of us to hold unswervingly to that faith.  It may mean discipline, teaching, rebuking, empowering, training or realigning, but the underlying motive of all those things must be to spur the other person on for their faith.

So that is the a great place to start when considering how we do Christian life together, and how we run our churches.  It's also a great place to start to see the motive of preachers and teachers, understanding their motive is to spur you on, not cut you down.

Hopefully you can see this in your own Church, and emphasise it in your own life.

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