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Hebrews 2:143:1, 514 comment (0)

August 7, 2008

By Jerry W. Batson

Related Scripture: Hebrews 2:143:1, 514

Bible Studies for Life
Associate Professor of Divinity (Retired), Beeson Divinity School, Samford University

A Faithful Life
Hebrews 2:14–3:1, 5–14

For many in our culture, fame is more highly valued than faithfulness. Few today share Theodore Roosevelt’s contention, “It is better to be faithful than famous.” Indulging one’s wants often overshadows faithfulness to commitments. Marriage partners frequently abandon their vows to establish intimate relationships with other people. High-profile sports figures abandon contracts, arrange a buyout and jump to positions deemed more desirable or lucrative.

Christians are Christians because they have made faith commitments to the Lord. God expects believers to be faithful to Him and gives spiritual resources to help us stay faithful: Jesus, our Helper, our calling to belong to God, our Bibles and our church.

My Helper (2:14–18)
The Christian gospel holds that Jesus became a human being to provide salvation for us. As fully human, He was tested and suffered, whereby He is able to be our Helper in our times of temptation. Jesus also gained an eternal victory over the devil, whereby He is able to be our Helper at the time of death, having freed us from the fear of death.

When we trust in Christ and what He has done for us, we can find release from sin’s dominion. We can trust Jesus to help us overcome our temptations.

My Calling (3:1, 5–6)
From the time that we confess faith in Jesus, the Bible refers to us as “holy” and as “brothers.” Having entered a life of saving faith, we know ourselves to have a “heavenly calling.”   

Only Hebrews calls Jesus an apostle and high priest. As such, He is the object of our confession of faith. Hebrews teaches that continuation in faithfulness proves the genuineness of our confession and is one of the marks of a true believer. In possession of genuine faith, we belong to the household of Jesus, God’s faithful Son. The Christian gospel holds that we can remain faithful to the end because Christ lives in us enabling us to follow His example of faithfulness. When tempted to acts of unfaithfulness, we must remember that we are called to better things than compromises.

My Bible (3:7–11)
Drawing heavily on the Old Testament, Hebrews sets forth the Israelites as a negative example. A whole generation of Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years because it did not remain faithful to God. Every part of the Bible is instructive for helping us live a faithful life. Sometimes the Bible gives us positive examples to follow; sometimes it records negative examples to be avoided.

A necessary starting point is for us to affirm God as the ultimate source of Holy Scripture. Our Hebrews passage quotes from Psalm 95 noting that the psalmist’s words were the words of the Holy Spirit. Knowing this, we set ourselves to hear what God is saying to us through the Bible.

My Church (3:12–14)
As individual believers, God has put us together in Christ’s body, the church. Our mutual encouragement helps each of us maintain a higher level of commitment and faithfulness. We are to be watchful that we do not develop unfaithful hearts as the Israelites did. In the midst of this solemn warning, we must affirm to ourselves and to others that true believers endure to the end.

As a practical step, we can find a mature Christian who holds us accountable in faithfulness to Christ. In addition, we can be alert to opportunities to encourage other believers to faithfulness.

As a result of studying this lesson, we would do well to evaluate how diligent we are in making good use of the spiritual resources. Evaluation questions might look like this:

• Am I consciously relying daily upon Christ to be my Helper?

• Do I live in awareness that my ultimate calling is heavenward?

• Am I regularly letting the Bible speak God’s truth to me?

• Do I associate meaningfully with other believers on an ongoing basis?

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