The Reproofs of Hope

“Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession” (Hebrews 3:1).

Hebrews 3 begins with reproof. This word, when we hear it or read it, usually takes our mind to thoughts of correction or discipline.

Reproof is not a word that is used so much these days. But this Bible word is significant. The book of Proverbs has plenty to say about this as the following verse reveals:  “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life” (Proverbs 6:23).

Anyone who has driven a car knows that it is an experience of constant attention with adjustment after adjustment. The primary instruments of adjustment are the steering wheel and the brake pedal. We watch the road and keep the car in the flow of traffic with the wheel and we brake to slow down and stop when we recognize the red signals, stop signs, and tail lights that come before us.

And so it is with our lives of faith in Christ. We focus on the path we are on, but we need direction and reminders. We have to be told the truth over and over and over. Romans 10:17 reads:  “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”

We have to spend time with our Bibles. We should purpose to keep these appointments, no matter how short they may be. Even tight windows of time will let the light in here and there. We have to read and discuss and listen and talk some more. These times together and in church meetings do so much to keep us on the right road, on the high way of holiness that He has brought us to.

Even when we are alone, we can have our talks with Jesus. We can tell Him all about our problems. He is the God who is everywhere present and who is all knowing. Think on the promises we have throughout the Scriptures. God knows and sees and hears. Believe this, practice this.

Family Partners

The commandment of God is objective and true. His lamp illuminates the way, narrow though it is and not so crowded with followers. If there’s a drift and swerve that the Holy Spirit detects in our walk, He lets us know about it.

This is reproof or reinforcement. It’s the calling back of our hearts and minds to things we have been told before.

And this is what the writer of this letter is doing; he is reproving and reinforcing the hearts of his readers. He begins this section with precious reminders of our identity in Jesus.

Who are we? We are members of a holy family – holy brothers and sisters connected and related by Blood, not by just any Blood, but by the Blood of the Lamb of God.

We are members of a holy family – holy brothers and sisters connected and related by Blood, not by just any Blood, but by the Blood of the Lamb of God. Click To Tweet

Together, we are about the Father’s business in a purpose that came to us from above, through the commission of the Son. This is what the word “share” or “partakers” indicates to us. The Greek word in the original text of Hebrews 3:1 is the same word used to describe the fishing partnership of Peter and Andrew, and James and John in Luke 5:7. These men were called off their boats and into a new occupation as fishers of men and Apostles.

And then the author of Hebrews turns our focus toward Christ as the original and eternal Apostle. “Consider” Jesus. Think afresh on the One sent from Heaven to earth to take His place as our always and forever High Priest. The Son faithfully fulfilled all that He was to accomplish in securing our redemption, our salvation, and our sanctification.

He came to die for the sins of the world and to be raised. Risen from the grave, His Body became the true Temple of the Spirit as He said it would in John 2. After His resurrection, He began to assemble a different kind of Holy House constructed by His faith delivered to the hearts of those who believe on Him.

It must be noted that Hebrews is a letter addressed to Jewish believers under pressure and living in doubt about the way of Christ. Attention had to be paid to Moses, the one who heard from God and led the deliverance of the nation from bondage in Egypt.

A number of early believers were being drawn back to the old days. Some saw a need to get back to their roots and to following the Law with its offerings and sacrifices. They struggled under persecutions and afflictions. At least with the doing of the ordinances, some thought they could feel better about themselves and avoid confrontations.

Moses did follow the Lord. He went up Mount Sinai and received the tablets of the commandments. He directed the manufacture and erection of the Tabernacle. He was “faithful in all of his house as God’s servant.”

However, One greater than Moses had come, and this Son, whom Moses spoke of as the Prophet expected, now sits in majesty. Going backward to the way of Moses was no way to move forward in faith.

Hold to the Hope

The text moves next to an exhortation and then to the sober retelling of Israel’s history.

The instruction from the writer is this:  Stay confident and hold fast to the hope that we have as the family of God and as partakers in His work of faith.

From the book of Numbers, Hebrews relates how the people who saw God decimate Egypt and bring them out into freedom, later allowed their hearts to become hard during their days in the wilderness.

Rest and provision, the Sabbath and the manna, were supplied to the people. The Cloud and the Fire, the pillar of His Presence went with them. The Promised Land was spied out and was found to be just what the Lord said it would be – a place of abundance, a place flowing with milk and honey.

But the evil heart of unbelief reared itself in too many in Israel. The Sabbath rest of the Lord was before them and they refused to enter into it. They turned from the living God.

This letter spoke to a new generation of chosen people who were in danger of hardening their hearts to Him. They needed reproof about the living Christ who had brought about a New Covenant. And this New Covenant made the old one obsolete. To go back to that standard and practice would be a dead end, an end full of restlessness and disquiet.

What about us? We can grow weary and be tempted to look backward and think our old ways were better ways.

The good news found later in Hebrews 13 is that God never lets go of us. “… [B]e content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5). The Greek structure of this statement is a triple compound and reads like this:  “God has said, ‘I will never, no never, no never leave you or forsake you.’” And the very next verse, Hebrews 13:6, tells us to confidently proclaim “The Lord is my Helper, I will not be afraid.”

Hear the Truth. Read the Truth. Tell yourself the Truth, especially this Truth again and again.

Yes we are sure to fall. We stumble, but we have to get up again. Our hearts may feel defeated. God, however, is greater than our hearts; He sits higher than our feelings. He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (see 1 John 1:9).

Don’t leave His House, the one Jesus has built for you to rest in. He is the Cornerstone and what He has built sits on an everlasting foundation.

Hear the Word and let it soften your heart. Consider, day after day, just what He has done for you.

And stand fast in the hope He shall soon come again, O Glorious Day.

 

Steve Andrulonis
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