The Anchor of my soul


The marks of spiritual immaturity — Hebrews 5:11-14

The following comes through the notes of Mark Ramsey and the comments of the class.

  1. A point of no return

    The writer is addressing Jews who had heard the gospel and had not accepted Jesus as the promised Messiah. However, the warning here applies to anyone, whether Jew or Gentile. All who know the truth of God’s saving grace in Jesus Christ or who have heard it or even seen the change of lives of those who accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior and walked away from the full acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Savior are given a severe warning. Persistent rejection of Christ may result in that person’s passing the point of no return spiritually or forever losing the opportunity of salvation. Such a person eventually follows their evil heart of unbelief and turns their back forever on the living God. What do you think about this comment? if this summary is accurate, does it cause you concern for those who appear to be indifferent to the Lord Jesus Christ?

    “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:21‭-‬23 NASB)

    Mark Ramsey noted that this was the fourth of five admonitions presented in Hebrews. One class member noted that, while the reactions of Bud Light and Target to the people’s rejection of being force-fed transgender ideology, it did run a parallel course. Bud Light and Target would rather align themselves with child-destroying evil than stand up against evil.

    Another class member noted the many pew-fillers and tolerant non-believers who embrace the lies of the world while thinking that they will go to heaven for their good works. With the consistent radio and television broadcasts of the real gospel, Americans do not have an excuse. They have likely repeatedly heard the true gospel. Nonetheless, they persist in believing in their own works rather than the sacrifice of Christ.

  2. Leaving the elementary teachings — Hebrews 6:1a

    Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, Hebrews 6:1a NASB)

    The Greek word for “leaving” (ἀφέντες pronounced “aphentes’) is to forsake, disregard or put off. It refers to total detachment or total separation. The teachings the Jews were to leave was the Old Testament principles of Judaism-the sacrifices, the types, the pictures and come to the reality of the New Covenant in Jesus Christ. A paraphrase could be, “Leave the pictures of the Messiah and go to the Messiah Himself” or “Drop the Old Covenant and accept the New.”

  3. Six features of the foundation, the Old Covenant — Hebrews 6:1b-2

    not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. (Hebrews 6:1b-2 NASB)

    • Repentance from dead works

      Repentance from dead works is simply turning from evil, which is an important truth of the Old Testament However, it is not complete. It is fulfilled and made effective through a relationship with Jesus in faith. An incomplete dealing with sin must be abandoned for a complete one through Christ. How do you respond to someone who says they are a good person and do not believe they will go to hell?

    • Faith in God

      There is no acceptable repentance apart from faith in Christ. The only faith towards God that is now acceptable is faith in God the Son. There is no way to the Father except through the Son.

      And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12 NASB)

      Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. (John 14:6 NASB)

      What do you say to someone who says “I believe in God but I don’t believe Jesus is God”?

      One class member noted that there was more proof of the miraculous acts of Christ than there was of the existence of Alexander the Great.

      Another class member said that this was likely centered on an issue with a Christian. She would drill down to the problem with the previous Christian. Further, she would point to how all sin. Finally, she would point to our common need to forgive and be forgiven.

    • Instruction about baptism or washings

      The actual translation of the Greek word is washings Every Jewish home had a basin for ceremonial cleansings, which were many. It is these washings that the readers are- told to abandon. The old washings were physical, symbolic and temporary while the new washing is spiritual, real and permanent.

      He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, (Titus 3:5 NASB)

    • The laying on of handsThis has nothing to do with the laying on of hands of the apostles. Under the Old Testament, the person who brought a sacrifice had to put their hands on it, which symbolized their identification with it. Our identification with Christ does not come by our putting our hands on Him; it comes by the Spirit’s baptizing us into union with Jesus by faith. “Forget the teachings about laying hands on the Temple sacrifices and put your trust in Jesus, the ultimate sacrifice.”
    • The resurrection of the deadThe Old Testament doctrine of resurrection is not clear or complete. We know from Job that the resurrection will be bodily and spiritual and that there is life after death and rewards for the good and punishment for the wicked but not much more. Of course, in the NT, resurrection is a major doctrine.

      Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, (John 11:25 NASB)

      Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. (1 John 3:2 NASB)

      But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, (1 Corinthians 15:20‭-‬23 NASB)

    • Eternal judgement

      We learn very little about the final judgment except in Ecclesiastes 12:14, in the New Testament we are told a great deal about eternal judgment.

      For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:14 NASB)

      Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1 NASB)

      Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. (1 Corinthians 3:12‭-‬15 NASB)

      The judgment of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25); the judgment of the great white throne (Rev. 20). We know all judgment has been committed to Jesus Christ. (John 5)

      The point of these verses is that the unbelieving Jews should let go of the elementary shadows and symbols of the Old Testament and take hold of the perfect reality of the New. The Old Testament is partial revelation and incomplete and Jesus is the fulfillment of the promises and symbols.

  4. The Power — Hebrews 6:3

    And this we will do, if God permits. (Hebrews 6:3 NASB)

    Most likely, this means the author’s continuing to teach and salvation by the audience maturing in Christ must be energized by the Holy Spirit. Everything revolves around the permission of God. Need for divine enablement is the point. God’s sovereignty is recognized.

    Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, (2 Corinthians 3:5 NASB)

    No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:44 NASB)

  5. Five great advantages for these Hebrews — Hebrews 6:4-5

    For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, (Hebrews 6:4‭-‬5 NASB)

    • They had to be enlightened

      This is not speaking of salvation but to intellectual perception of spiritual, biblical truth. It carries no requirement of a response-acceptance or rejection. This group heard the truth but did not embrace it.

    • They had tasted the heavenly gift

      The greatest heavenly gift is Jesus.

      Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15 NASB)

      This greatest gift was only tasted and sampled but not received.

      Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (John 4:13‭-‬14 NASB

      Those who drink the living water, not just taste it or sip It, are saved.

      I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.” (John 6:51 NASB)

      Eternal life comes from eating, not just tasting.

    • They shared in the Holy Spirit

      The Greek word for “shared” (μετόχους, pronounced “metochous”) has to do with association, not possession. These Jews had never been possessed by the Holy Spirit. They were simply around when He was around. The Bible speaks of believers being indwelt or possessed by the Holy Spirit not being associated with Him.

    • They tasted the Word of God

      Again, these unbelievers heard God’s word and sampled it, but did eat or digest it. The Greek term for “word” is not Λόγος (pronounced “logos”) but ῥῆμα (pronounced “rhema”) which emphasizes parts and not the whole. King Herod was like this-he enjoyed listening to John the Baptist teach but he forsook God’s message. There is nothing wrong with tasting God’s word. The problem is stopping with tasting.

    • They tasted the powers of the coming age

      The age to come is the future kingdom of God. They saw the apostles do signs and wonders and heard of the miracles of Jesus which will be reproduced in the millennial kingdom. But, they only tasted them and, then, left the table. These unbelieving Jews experienced all these advantages yet still did not believe. Do you know anyone who has these advantages yet still reject the Way, the Truth and the Life? Does this motivate you to share the truth with them before it is too late?

  6. The fourth warning — Hebrews 6:4-6

    For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. (Hebrews 6:4‭-‬6 NASB)


  7. The illustration of the abundant life — Hebrews 6:7-8

    The writer is saying to these unbelievers who have this knowledge that the opportunity for salvation can be lost. The believer can never lose their salvation.

    My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. (John 10:27‭-‬29 NASB)

    Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35‭, ‬38‭-‬39 NASB)

    to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:4‭-‬5 NASB

    It is the unbelievers who are in danger of losing the opportunity of receiving salvation. The longer one resists the Gospel, the more they become immune to it. They become more and more unresponsive and insensitive. Their only hope is to reject what they are holding on to and receive Christ without delay as they will most likely become so hard, often, without knowing it, that their opportunity is forever gone. If someone rejects Christ when they experience knowledge and conviction, it is doubtful they will truly accept Him at a lower level.

    They could not return because they have crucified to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.

    This implies that those who reject Christ are aligned with the crucifiers, that He deserved to be crucified and that He is not the true Messiah. Shame or disgrace connotes guilt.

    How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? (Hebrews 10:29 NASB)

    It is a dangerously self-deceptive position to think it is safe to stay on the sidelines and thinking that you are tolerant to the Gospel as opposed to outwardly rejecting it.

  8. The illustration of the abundant life — Hebrews 6:7-8

    For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned. (Hebrews 6:7‭-‬8 NASB)

    The gospel seed which is planted grows and matures as it is rooted and nourished in God while the other seed is unproductive and worthless as it rejected the life, offered to it and is only good for burning. Sounds like the parable of the Sower and seeds, doesn’t it? How is your soil/ground as the rain falls from heaven where the seed is planted?


The Anchor of my soul


The marks of spiritual immaturity — Hebrews 5:11-14

The following comes through the notes of Mark Ramsey and the comments of the class.

  1. Spiritual maturity

    How long have you been a Christ-follower?

    Do you consider yourself a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ today? How do you think spiritual maturity is measured?

    Do you believe you are spiritually mature or immature? Explain.

    What do you believe happens when we lag behind in spiritual progress?

    After some prompting by the class teacher, one member defined “betweeners” as those who follow Christ and have accepted his covering for sin, but have not started living as followers. Another class member contrasted the “betweener” to the one who says “examine me” and “I will follow your instructions.” Another class member contrasted them to the believer who is obedient to the Holy Spirit and the Bible. Yet another pointed out that such a follower would have a hunger for sharing the Word. Another pointed out that Christians may pick up our crosses, but (as ‘natural men” with fallen natures) we might prove to be immature.

    The writer mentioned Melchizedek’s ministry in Hebrews 5:10 and he is concerned that many in his audience have not grown enough spiritually to grasp his explanation about the comparison at Christ’s ministry with that of Melchizedek. So, he issues a warning to the spiritually immature. In the process, he reveals four marks of spiritual immaturity for us to guard against.

  2. Marks of spiritual immaturity
    • Apathy towards the Word — Hebrews 5:11

      We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. (Hebrews 5:11 NIV)

      These believers started on their “back sliding journey” by “drifting from the Word” (Hebrews 2:1- 4) and then, “doubting the Word” (Hebrews 3:7-4:13). As a result, they are “slow to learn” or “dull of hearing”. In other words, they were unable to listen to the Word, receive/accept it and then, act on it. They did not have the attitude of the Thessalonians:

      And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. (1 Thessalonians 2:13 NIV)

      One of the first symptoms of apathy towards the Word is “dullness to the Bible.” Adult Bible Fellowship is boring: preaching is dull, anything spiritual is not interesting.

      Would you say that you fall in the church of the Thessalonians or the Hebrews? Explain.

    • Inability to share the truth — Hebrews 5:12a

      In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. (Hebrews 5:12a NIV)

      Not all of us have the gift of teaching but we can all share what we leam from the Word of God. The recipients of this letter had been saved long enough to be able to share God’s truth with others, but, instead of helping others to grow and mature in their faith, they were in need of learning the basic teachings of the Christian life all over again.

      Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. (Matthew 13:12 NIV)

      This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. (Matthew 13:13 NIV)

      We need to ask ourselves these questions: Do I know the elementary truths of my faith well enough to share and help others? Am I growing and maturing as a Christian? if not why not? Why do you think it is important to be spiritually mature? Do you see what the writer is trying to accomplish? Through his loving compassion for his brothers and sisters as believers – he knows they will be overwhelmed by the storms of life if they are spiritually immature or spiritual babies.

    • Inadequate diet — Hebrews 5:12b-13

      You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. (Hebrews 5:12b-13 NIV)

      There is no such thing as a static Christian. We are either moving forward or backward, either climbing or falling; winning or losing. The “milk” described here is the first principles of the Word of God — the birth, life, teachings, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. The “meat” or “solid food” is what Jesus is doing now in heaven — we begin our Christian life on the basis of His finished work on the cross and His unfinished work in heaven. Our study of Revelation opened the door to heaven to see the work of Jesus from the seven letters to the churches to His promised return of redemption and sovereignty. There must be an understanding of the righteousness of Christ through us and the practicality of righteous living through the power of the Holy Spirit and to the glory of God.

      Would you say that you are satisfied with just drinking the milk or do you have a desire for the meat/solid food that the author speaks about?

      When asked what happens when we lag in our spiritual growth, the class responded in many ways. One class member noted that we get attacked by Satan. Another noted that we become vulnerable to attack (by Satan and our own nature). Another noted we make excuses. Another noted that we lose the joy and peace of our relationship with God. Finally, one class member pointed the class to the struggle between the spirit and the flesh as discussed in Romans 8.

    • Inability to apply the Word — Hebrews 5:14

      But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:14 NIV

      As we grow in the Word, we learn to apply it in our daily life. As we apply it, we develop spiritual discernment. An immature believer will listen to any preacher and not be able to identify what is true or false based on the Scriptures. The ability to discern good and evil is a vital part of our faith. Our spiritual discernment is taxed daily. We must take God’s Word seriously by listening with all we have and becoming “doers of the Word and not merely hearers who deceive ourselves” by applying the principles and precepts of God’s Word to the decisions in our daily life.

      Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (James 1:22 NIV)

      Warren Wiersbe tells the story of a preacher who said most Christians are “betweeners.” What in the world does that mean? Here’s his explanation and answer: “They are between Egypt and Canaan-out of the place of danger, but not yet in the place of rest and rich inheritance. They are between Good Friday and Easter Sunday- saved by the blood of Jesus but not enjoying the newness of the resurrection of life” Would you describe yourself as a “betweener”? If so, take to heart, the warnings of the author of Hebrews.


The Anchor of my soul


The Perfect High Priest — Hebrews 5:1-10

The following comes through the notes of Mark Ramsey and the comments of the class.

  1. The cry for a mediator

    Has anyone read the book of Job? In the midst of Job’s moans of pain and grief and from deep within his soul, he yearned for someone – anyone – to present humanity’s case before the throne of God. Job longed for an advocate, a mediator, a representative who could stand up for his cause. Listen to his plea:

    “He is not a mere mortal like me that I might answer him, that we might confront each other in court. If only there were someone to mediate between us, someone to bring us together, someone to remove God’s rod from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more. Then I would speak up without fear of him, but as it now stands with me, I cannot. (Job 9:32‭-‬35 NIV)

    The class responded to “If you have specifically studied the book of Job, what came to the forefront of your mind?” These were their responses:

    • The first class member responded that she was taken aback with how she felt the children of Job were punished although they had done nothing. Other class members reminded her that all have sinned and that God does not grade on a sliding scale.
    • Another class member pointed out how the story of Job emphasized to him the importance of relationship to God.
    • One other class member said that what came through to him was “how not to be a ‘Job friend’.” That is, how to not be judgemental after having been a loyal for quite some time.
    • Finally, one class member focused on the plea of Job to God (above, in Job 9:32-35): how man needed a mediator.

    The good news is that we have such an Advocate.

    For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, (1 Timothy 2:5 NIV)

    As both God and man, Jesus Christ is the perfect Advocate. The One for whom Job searched has appeared.

    But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. (Galatians 4:4‭-‬5 NIV)

    As our great High Priest, Jesus Christ mediates between God and us, continually interceding on our behalf. What does this mean to you? Does it have any significance to you?

    One class member responded that having Christ as his advocate reassured him as he dealed with his fallen nature. Another class member responded by saying that it comforted him that Christ argued for him in the courts of heaven.

  2. The qualifications for a priest
    • Appointed by God from among men — Hebrews 5:1, 4

      Every high priest is selected from among the people and is appointed to represent the people in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. (Hebrews 5:1 NIV)

      And no one takes this honor on himself, but he receives it when called by God, just as Aaron was. (Hebrews 5:4 NIV)

      A true priest had to be taken from men and, therefore, he had to be a man. God did not choose angels to be priests. They could not truly understand men nor did they have open communications with men. Only a man could be subject to the temptations of men, could experience suffering like men and to be able to minister to men in an understanding and merciful way. The author makes this basic point: the Messiah, who is God, could not be a true high priest unless he was a man. Unless God could feel what men feel and go through, He would have no experiential understanding of those he represents. Therefore, the incarnation was an absolute necessity and imperative if men were to be saved. How does this effect you knowing that Jesus, being fully God, became a man to experience temptation, suffering and the full emotions of mankind?

      A true priest could not be just any man. He had to be appointed by God.

      One class member noted that King Saul stepped out of his appointed role by not waiting on God and God’s servant Samuel when made an offering to God in 1 Samuel 13:9.

      Another class member noted how some of the people of Israel attempted to take over the priestly role of the brother of Moses (Aaron) and were swallowed up by the earth in Numbers 16:20-35.

    • Sympathetic with mankind — Hebrews 5:2

      He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. (Hebrews 5:2 NIV)

      When Jesus came to earth, He was omniscient – all knowing – but, He chose to participate in mankind’s feelings personally so that He could also be sympathetic, all feeling, so that He could deal gently with them. The Greek term, “metriopathein” (μετριοπαθεῖν) means “to deal gently” but also means “to treat with mildness” which translates here as being fully involved and knowing and understanding by being patient but not condoning wrong behavior; understanding but not indulgent. The priests dealt gently with those were ignorant and misguided, not with those who were unrepentant, deliberate and defiant lawbreakers.

    • Offering sacrifices — Hebrews 5:3

      This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people. (Hebrews 5:3 NIV)

      The sacrifices were made for the forgiveness of particular sins — therefore, they had to be continually repeated — day after day, year after year. Offering sacrifices was the main work of the priest. Sacrifices for himself as well as for all the people.

  3. The Perfectly Qualified Priest
    • Appointed by God — Hebrews 5:5-6 and 6:10

      In the same way, Christ did not take on himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father.” And he says in another place, “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 5:5‭-‬6 NIV)

      God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. (Hebrews 6:10 NIV)

      Jesus was chosen, appointed, sent and honored by God, the Father.

      I will proclaim the Lord’s decree: He said to me, “You are my son; today I have become your father. (Psalms 2:7 NIV)

      The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” (Psalms 110:4 NIV)

      The Jewish readers knew both passages referred to the Messiah and that the Messiah was to be a great king and priest, appointed by God. We will discuss Melchizedek in detail in Hebrews 7 but just a few comments. His name means “King of Righteousness”. Melchizedek was a king-priest who lived in the time of Abraham and whose ancestry is completely unknown. He was the king of Salem (the ancient name for Jerusalem) and was a priest of the true God.

      Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, (Genesis 14:18 NIV)

      His priesthood was unending, unlike that of Aaron, which ended in 70A.D. when the temple was destroyed.

      Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever. (Hebrews 7:3 NIV)

      Melchizedek was a king; Aaron was not and his priesthood was perpetual, while Aaron’s was temporary. Melchizedek’s priesthood is a better picture of Christ’s priesthood than even that of Aaron.

      This was the first time Jesus was ever identified with the mysterious priesthood of Melchizedek and Jesus’ priestly office was prophesied in Psalm 110:4 according to the author. Jesus is both eternal King and eternal Priest. Since He is the Priest forever, He gives His people salvation forever.

      Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. (Hebrews 7:25 NIV)

      What does it mean to you that Jesus, our great High Priest, intercedes in your behalf?

    • Sympathetic with mankind — Hebrews 5:7-8

      During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered (Hebrews 5:7‭-‬8 NIV)

      Jesus offered up prayers with loud cries and tears because of the anguish He faced in becoming sin for those who believed in Him. His heart was broken at the prospect of bearing sin. He felt the power of sin. He felt temptation. He cried. He hurt. He grieved. He learned all of this by experience.

      A more accurate translation of “save Him from death” is to “save Him out of death” meaning to be saved from remaining in death. He was not asking to avoid the cross but to be assured of the resurrection.

      He was heard because of His reverent awe. Jesus recognized God as sovereign and committed Himself to the Father.

      In Hebrews 5:8, we see that Jesus was called to suffer and through His suffering, He learned the full meaning of the cost of obedience, all the way to death and God affirmed Him as the perfect High Priest. This is the kind of high priest we need – one who knows and understands what we are going through.


    • Sacrificing for mankind — Hebrews 5:9

      and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him (Hebrews 5:9 NIV)

      Jesus offered the sacrifice of Himself and thereby became the perfect High Priest and source of eternal salvation. Jesus was not made perfect in the sense of having His nature improved. He was eternally perfect in righteousness, holiness, wisdom, knowledge, truth, power and every other virtue. Neither His nature nor His person changed. He became perfect in the sense that He completed His qualifications for becoming the eternal High Priest.

      By His death, He opened the way of eternal salvation. By one act, one offering, one sacrifice, Jesus Christ perfected forever those who are His.

      “Those who obey Him” refers to “the obedience of faith”.

      Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. (Romans 1:5 NIV)

      God wants us to obey Him by believing in Christ. Trust in Jesus is the work of faith and the obedience of faith. Sadly, whoever does not believe does not obey.

      He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. (2 Thessalonians 1:8 NIV)

      The awe-inspiring message for believers is this: We have Jesus and Jesus has us!



The Anchor of my soul


Spiritual surgery by our sympathetic Surgeon — Hebrews 4:12-16

The following comes through the notes of Mark Ramsey and the comments of the class.

  1. Spiritual surgery

    What are some major handicaps in our journey to spiritual rest and victorious living in Christ?

    How do we avoid following “their example of disobedience?” (Hebrews 4:11 — the Israelites in the wilderness did not believe God and rejected His promises).

    Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience. (Hebrews 4:11 NIV)

    When the class was asked how we avoid the Hebrews 4:11 example, they produced several responses. One class member noted that the Israelites made spun following God around and made it all about themselves. Another class member noted that, instead of focusing on God, they focused on the giants (and there were giants). Finally, a class member noted that God’s Word to lead us. They may have had a memory of miraculous columns of fire and cloud, miraculous wear of clothes, and miraculous manna and quail (along with other miracles). However, they could not go at any time to read about those miracles again.

    The writer turns our attention to God’s Word, examining its identity, its characteristics, its abilities, and its implications for us.

    What does the “word of God” refer to in Scripture?

    • In John 10:35 and 2 Peter 1:19-20, it refers to the written Word of God, Holy Scripture.

      If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside— (John 10:35 NIV)

      We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. (2 Peter 1:19‭-‬20 NIV)

    • In John 1:14, it refers to the ultimate embodiment of Truth, the Word of God incarnate, Jesus Christ.

      The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14 NIV)

    • In Philippians 1:14 and 1 Thessalonians 2:13, it refers to the spoken word of God or the message of God proclaimed.

      And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear. (Philippians 1:14 NIV)

      And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. (1 Thessalonians 2:13 NIV)

    When the writer refers to the “word of God” in Hebrews 4:12, we should think of God’s revealed truth, however he has chosen to deliver it to us. In the strictest sense, it is the inspired words of the prophets and apostles and by various means that God conveys His revealed truth to motivate His people.

    In contrast to things that would create spiritual growth, the class was asked what might handicap spiritual growth.

    One class member noted that life circumstances could handicap spiritual growth. Another said that the time restraints of raising children and keeping food on the table could be a handicap. Yet another class member said that misplaced priorities might work against spiritual growth. One person chimed in to say that certain people who pull us in the wrong direction might fight against out spiritual growth. Anti-God distractions (like certain political movements on both sides) were added to the list of things that could hurt your spiritual growth. Finally, social media was named as a possible harm to our spiritual growth.

  2. The characteristics and impact of the Word of God — Hebrews 4:12-13

    For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:12‭-‬13 NIV)

    • Living – The Word of God is alive. Jesus is alive! The Gospel saves! The Bible is always relevant to everyday life. How would you explain that the Word of God is alive? When the class was asked how they knew the Word was alive, they responded. One said that the effect of the Word changed his life. Another noted that, by focusing on the Word that told her to “take my thoughts captive,” she was able to live the Word. A third class member noted that the Holy Spirit had provided revelation that changed circumstances. Another noted that nothing but a living Word would be able to make and fulfill prophecies over thousands of years. Another noted that true conviction (as opposed to guilt) is produced by the Holy Spirit through the Word. Finally, a class member noted that our being able to understand “Let me diminish and Christ increase” comes only through a living word and an active Holy Spirit.
    • Active – the Greek word is “energes” (ejnerghvß), in which we get the English word “energy.” God’s Word is effective and powerful. It accomplishes what it sets out to do.

      so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11 NIV)

      Would you describe the Word of God as active? What does the Word of God accomplish in its power?

    • Sharp – it penetrates and judges. It penetrates deeply into the innermost life – our immaterial parts – soul and spirit and our material parts – joints and marrow – it affects our whole being in a comprehensive manner. It also judges – the Greek word is “kritikos” (kritikovß) which means a mental sense of discerning or analyzing, not a legal or judicial term. The Word exposes our deepest feelings, desires, instincts, passions and motives. Knowing this, imagine what this razor-sharp spiritual instrument can accomplish in the hands of a loving Master Surgeon? Nothing can be hidden from such an Almighty God.

      You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. (Psalms 139:1‭-‬4 NIV)

      Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalms 139:23‭-‬24 NIV)

      Do you believe this? How does this impact you? One class member pointed toward John 15:1, where God would remove anything that prevented growth of fruit.

      “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. (John 15:1 NIV)

  3. Our sympathetic surgeon

    Jesus Christ, the Word of God Incarnate, is the One who bears the blade of the inspired word of God – not as a sword to punish, but as a scalpel to heal. By delving deeply into our lives to uncover the thoughts and intentions of our hearts (Hebrews 4:13), Jesus Christ can strengthen our faith and lead us into God’s spiritual rest.

    Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:13 NIV)

    Do you believe this?

    • Hebrews 4:14 – the priests of ancient Israel were appointed by God to be mediators between Himself and His people.

      Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. (Hebrews 4:14 NIV)

      Only the high priest could offer the highest sacrifice and he did that once a year on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kipper). All the sins of the people were brought symbolically to the Holy of Holies, where blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat as a sacrifice to atone for them. The high priest represented God before the people and the people before God. To enter the Holy of Holies, the priest had to pass through three areas in the Tabernacle or Temple. He took the blood and went through the door into the outer court, through another door into the Holy Place, and then through the veil into the Holy of Holies. He did not sit down or delay. As soon as the sacrifice was made, he left and did not return for another year. Between these yearly sacrifices, every day, sacrifices were made. The sacrifices never ended and were never completed. Why did they have to continue making these sacrifices?

      Jesus, our Great High Priest, after He made the one-time, perfect sacrifice on the cross, also passed through three areas.

      When Jesus “passed through the heavens”, He passed through the first heaven (the atmosphere); the second heaven (outer space) and into the third heaven (God’s abode – 2 Corinthians 12:2‭-‬4).

      I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. (2 Corinthians 12:2‭-‬4 NIV)

      This is the Holiest of all Holies. Guess what? He didn’t have to leave. His sacrifice was made once for all. The sacrifice was perfect and the High Priest was perfect and He sat down for all eternity at the Father’s right hand.

      The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.(Hebrews 1:3)

      He had made the perfect atonement for sins, the purpose for which He had come to earth and the work was completed.

      The Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. and no sacrifices have been made since. Consequently, there has been no need for a Jewish priesthood.

      We are reminded that Jesus is the “Son of God” which emphasizes His divine, heavenly nature. We are told to “hold firmly to the faith we profess” – we are to confess and embrace our Great High Priest – proudly confess it, own it publicly, clearly declare your belief publicly as well as privately that Jesus did everything to procure your salvation. Does this encourage you to profess your faith publicly?

    • Hebrews 4:15 – here, the fullness of His humanity is displayed as Jesus, like us, was tempted throughout His earthly life.

      For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. (Hebrews 4:15 NIV)

      The same circumstances, situations and allurements that bombard us daily also assaulted Him. But, unlike us, He didn’t sin. Because of His genuine experiences as a real human being, He can “sympathize with our weaknesses”. Jesus has unequalled capacity for sympathy because it is truly experiential – He feels it. The word for “sympathize” here means “to share the experience of another.” How does this impact you?

    • Hebrews 4:16 – as the incarnate God-man, Jesus is both willing and able to give us mercy in our time of need.

      Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16 NIV)

      We can approach the throne of grace without hesitation or tentativeness but with confidence — what a contrast to the High Priest who entered the Holy of Holies with trepidation. When we approach the throne with confidence, we receive mercy for our past failures and grace to meet our present and future needs. We are healed from our sins and given grace in our time of need.

      How is your confidence when you face life’s storms?


The Anchor of my soul


Entering God’s rest — Hebrews 4:1-11

The following comes through the notes of Mark Ramsey and the comments of the class.

  1. Rest versus anxiety

    Our society is dominated by anxiety, which includes feelings of apprehension, uneasiness, depression, worry, and dread. Do you find yourself wandering in the wilderness of worry about the present and future of our country, our families and even our church or over the regrets of your past?

    Have you crossed into God’s promised rest or are you pacing back and forth, biting your nails over what you perceive as giant obstacles in your path of spiritual progress/maturity? God’s rest is the solution to our anxiety in this world.

    When you think of rest, what kinds of images do you envision?

    Our minds and bodies scream for intermissions from the unending dramas of life, don’t they?

    The same is true for our souls. In these verses, we see that God has made provision for us to enjoy genuine spiritual rest every day. The problem is that, seemingly, few believers enter into that rest. Why do you think that is the case? Why do you think we have a problem with believing and trusting?

    Solomon tells us that there is nothing new under the sun and the writer of Hebrews is addressing these issues directly with the believers in this Hebrew group and indirectly with the unbelievers. The believer’s experience of Christ was not living up to their expectations. Instead of rest, there was turmoil. They were suffering because of their new faith. Rest in Christ seemed like a cruel delusion.

    How would you describe rest or peace in Christ?

    To enter God’s rest means to be at peace with God; to be free from guilt and unnecessary feelings of guilt; freedom from worry and to know the total forgiveness of God. Would you say that you have entered God’s rest in this sense?

  2. The availability of rest — Hebrews 4:1

    Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. (Hebrews 4:1 NIV)

    “Therefore” refers to Israel’s unbelief and consequent failure to enter God’s Canaan (Promised Land) rest. God had promised the people of Israel that they could enter and possess the land of Canaan but once they reached the border to enter, they resisted Him in hardness of heart and unbelief. God offered them rest and they refused it. Why do you think they resisted Him and did not believe Him? Do we also resist Him and not believe Him when He offers this “rest”?

    What kind of rest do you think the author is writing about? What produces anxiety in your life?

    One class member responded that he had anxiety due to what, over the past few years, has become “not my country.” Another class member said that she felt anxiety from the Marxism springing up in our government and being taught in our schools. A third class member said that he felt anxiety from the lies being taught through misleading and bent words (“gay” once meant happy, “woke” meant awake or aware). Another class member related how their family was being taken in by the schemes mentioned previously. Yet another class member spoke of the anxiety created by the mocking nature of evil forces as they create “Satan clubs” at schools. Another class member told of anxiety created by observing other churches being listless and even cooperative with the forces of evil (as they have homosexual pastors, host trans reading hours, and more).

    He is emphasizing a present reality that is available for believers – a spiritual condition that impacts and influences our inner peace, joy and hope.

  3. Personal faith — Hebrews 4:2-3

    For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed. Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, “So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ” And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world. (Hebrews 4:2‭-‬3 NIV)

    The ancient Israelites heard God’s good news of rest but they did not trust God. It does us no good to hear if we do not really believe. That is the point here. There is no benefit unless the hearing is united by faith. The principle is simple: the more we trust, the more we rest.

    Our hearing and believing, evidenced by obedience/trust, equals rest. Had the Israelites truly believed, they would have acted with confidence (only two of them did). Similarly, Christians have been called from their spiritual bondage (Egypt) yet they find themselves wandering in the wilderness because they fail to trust God to completely deliver them to the place of rest. Do you find yourself wandering in the wilderness? It is by believing that we enter into God’s rest and it is by obeying God by faith and surrendering to His will, that His rest enters into us. The first is “peace with God” (Romans 5:1) and the second is the “peace of God” (Phil.4:6-8). Do you believe that you have both?

    Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, (Romans 5:1 NIV)

    Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:6‭-‬8 NIV)

    These were the answers in response to the question, “Are we resting or seeing giants?” (as well as I could hear):

    The first class member related that, rather than being worried, she felt concern. There is a difference between worry and concern. A second class member noted that his mom worried that she did not worry enough. A third class member noted that he knew his place in things (that he could change what he could, but only God is God).

  4. Our attitude — Hebrews 4:4-8

    For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “On the seventh day God rested from all his works.” And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.” Therefore since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience, God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.” This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. (Hebrews 4:4‭-‬8 NIV)

    The discussion of “rest” prompted the writer to think of God’s own work of creating the world in six days before resting on the seventh day.

    By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. (Genesis 2:2 NIV)

    Now God sits in His place of rest with open arms, inviting us into an intimate communion with Him. However, the Israelites saw giants in the land and were terrified and their lack of faith led to failure to obey. They wouldn’t enter the land which is why God pronounced that they would not enter His rest. Instead of fearing the things of this world, shouldn’t we trust in the Lord and act on His promises? What prevents this?

    One class member noted that resting in God prevents us from fearing. Likewise, fearing keeps us from resting.

    It is never too late but the promise of rest can be realized TODAY. The tone is one of urgency. When we hear His voice and read His word, we have a choice: harden our hearts in unbelief and disobedience or surrender in faith and action. This is a constant, ongoing every moment decision – not a one-time event in the past or future. Does anyone struggle with this? Explain.

    The invitation of Jesus still stands:

    “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28‭-‬29 NIV)

    Our experience of rest is proportionate to our trusting in Him.

    Class members noted the following concepts in resting:

    • While the disciples strained against the waves, Jesus slept in the back of the boat
    • We are in the hand of the Father; therefore, in his embrace
    • God offers us peace throughout the Bible
    • God offers us forgiveness by the blood of His Son

    The wrinkle in this includes the fact that we want to be in control.

    However, as one class member pointed out:

    and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (Deuteronomy 30:20 NIV)

  5. The challenge to rest — Hebrews 4:9-11

    There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience. (Hebrews 4:9‭-‬11 NIV)

    If we learn anything from this text, we must understand that the rest is there if we want it. We are told to “make every effort to enter the rest.” How do we do that? We must do our utmost to focus on the rest. It is a divine rest – joyous, satisfying and productive.

    Secondly, we must do our utmost to combine the hearing of the good news of the offered rest with genuine faith belief plus trust. There is no rest without trust. Do you believe that? If so, God’s Word offers rest – “now we who have believed enter that rest” (Hebrews 4:3)


The Anchor of my soul

Beware of a hard heart — Hebrews 3:7-19

The following comes through the notes of Mark Ramsey and the comments of the class.

  1. Warning

    There are several passages in the book of Hebrews delivering stern warnings. These are not optional suggestions or simple advice. These are true announcements of real danger from potential perils in the Christian’s life of faith which prevents a full and abundant life as envisioned by the Lord and wamings to those who do not believe. Remember the first warning in Hebrews 2:1-4: don’t drift down the world’s currents away from the Truth of God’s Word. Now, the author wams: Beware of a hard heart!

    Remember that the Lord does not want any to perish.

    The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9 NIV)

    God did not create man to be doomed to hell and throughout His Word, He warns of the dangers and penalties of sin and invites all to come into an everlasting relationship with Him.

    How would you describe a “hard heart” and what do you believe causes this condition?

  2. A spiritual warning against unbelief — Hebrews 3:7-11

    So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness, where your ancestors tested and tried me, though for forty years they saw what I did. That is why I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.’ So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ” (Hebrews 3:7‭-‬11 NIV)

    Every Jew knew this passage by heart because its opening line served as a call to worship every Sabbath evening in the synagogue quoting Psalm 95:7-11. “So, as the Holy Spirit says.” — we don’t know the original human author of this psalm, but the writer rightly attributes the words to “the Holy Spirit” who stands as the divine author behind every word of Scripture.

    for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if only you would hear his voice, “Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness, where your ancestors tested me; they tried me, though they had seen what I did. For forty years I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they have not known my ways.’ So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ” (Psalms 95:7‭-‬11 NIV)

    All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, (2 Timothy 3:16 NIV)

    The psalm describes Israel’s disobedience and rejection of God in the Exodus wanderings. The psalmist used the story to warn his people against unbelief. A 1,000 years later, the writer of Hebrews uses it for the same reason and nearly 2,000 years later after Hebrews is written, the warning is still valid.

    “Today” Indicates urgency, it means “now.” It refers to the present moment. If you know the truth about Jesus Christ, do not do what Israel did when they knew God’s truth.

    It is dangerous to harden your heart? Throughout the class, the members said it would be dangerous to harden one’s heart. Why do you think it is dangerous to harden your heart? One class member pointed out that it would close us from God’s favor from our own side.

    If we review Exodus 17 and Numbers 20, we learn that the hardening of the hearts took place in the wilderness and was rooted in unbelief. Most of those in the exodus had inadequate faith in God. You may ask, “how can that be?” After all, they had witnessed the plaques on Pharoah, the miracles of the pillars of cloud and fire and the parting of the sea. They had been fed manna and quail from heaven. But, as soon as the initial glow wore off, they outrageously cried, “is the Lord among us or not?”

    And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?” (Exodus 17:7 NIV)

    It was a fair weather faith -good until the first trial.

    Their defective belief produced contempt and irreverence which resulted in refusing to cross into the Promised Land. Ten of the spies reported that giants inhabited the land and the Jews were like grasshoppers. The people wept and many called for deposing their leaders and returning to Egypt and everyone talked about stoning Caleb and Joshua who dared to believe God would give them the land. (Numbers 13-14) This led to contempt for God and negativism-“the grasshopper complex.” Of course, this was accompanied by grumbling, Finally, the result was disobedience.

    What causes a hard heart? One class member noted that sin will harden the heart. Another said unforgiveness will harden the heart. Yet another said unbelief and the non-physical nature of God might harden a heart. Another said that ignoring the Holy Spirit would harden your heart. Finally, a class member noted that pride would harden the heart.

    Why is the hardening of the heart dangerous? It originates in unbelief, which produces contempt for God, which shows itself in negativism, grumbling, and disobedience. When was the last time your heart was hardened?

    What has caused you to grow a hard heart? One class member mentioned resentment. Another said that rebellion would. Another mentioned selfishness. Still another mentioned a focux on external circumstances. Finally, there was the “grasshopper complex.”

    What are the blessings you stand to lose if we don’t address the hard heart? What does your behavior indicate? A hardening, unbelieving heart? Or the blessed tenderness of a faithful heart?

  3. A personal warning against unbelief

    • Hebrews 3:12

      See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. (Hebrews 3:12 NIV)

      The warning here is those who rejest God’s Word in Christ. The term, brothers, is not a reference to Christians, as is “holy brothers” in Hebrews 3:1.

      Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. (Hebrews 3:1 NIV)

      It refers to racial brothers. The greatest sin is unbelief. It is the greatest offense agains God and brings the greatest harm to ourselves. These readers were informed about the gospel. Once you have heard the gospel and understand its claims and say “no” to Jesus Christ, you have turned away or fallen away and become apostate. The Greek word for turning away or falling away is translated as apostacy (ἀποστῆναι). This is the only time the word is used in the book of Hebrews.

      It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:31 NIV)

      This apostacy forfeits eternal life with Christ. What is your response to this warning?

    • Hebrews 3:13

      But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. (Hebrews 3:13 NIV)

      “Encourage” (παρακαλεῖτε) comes from the Greek word with the root meaning expressing “to give help of come alongside.” The writer is saying to the believers to come alongside and help each other. They are especially urged to help their unbelieving Jewish brothers to not harden their hearts but to accept iesus Christ as the Messiah.

      “(S)in’s deceitfulness” means trickery it lies and deceives. “Sin is not so bad and trusting in Christ is not as important as the Bibles declares. Becoming a Christian seems too costly, too demanding, too restrictive, and completely unnecessary. My life has room for improvement, but it doesn’t need ‘saving’.”

      And, “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved. (Hebrews 10:38‭-‬39 NIV)

      We are to encourage one another daily. In this sense, do you think encouraging one another helps alleviate a hard heart? How do you encourage an unbeliever?

    • Hebrews 3:14-15

      We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.” (Hebrews 3:14‭-‬15 NIV)

      If we do not persevere, we are lost.

      Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. (1 John 2:9 NIV)

      If we hear His voice, we must act now! If we really believe the gospel, then at the end of our life, our commitment will stand. When someone backs away from their faith, we can only conclude that this person never believed. What is your response to this?

    • Six questions in three pairs:
      The first question of the pair asks the questions, the second question answers it.
      • Hebrews 3:16

        Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? (Hebrews 3:16 NIV)

        The point is that everyone who died in the desert had begun in the glorious modus and its great expectations.

      • Hebrews 3:17

        And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness? (Hebrews 3:17 NIV)

        The point is that those who angered God for forty years were those who did not believe he could provide for them although they left Egypt with great hope. This is a warning that high hopes will not suffice &mdashl there must be belief.

      • Hebrews 3:18-19

        And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. (Hebrews 3:18‭-‬19 NIV)

        The point is that unbelief leads so eternal consequences.

        For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. (1 Corinthians 10:1‭-‬6 NIV)

  4. Prevention of spiritual heart disease
    The writer is pleading with his readers not to follow the path of unbelief and suffer the same fate. The disobedience of unbelief forfeits blessing and brings judgment. What can we do to prevent spiritual heart disease?
    • We need a daily dose of mutual encouragement (Hebrews 3:13) When was the last time you did that for someone or allowed someone to do that for you?
    • We need daily discipline of personal perseverance (Hebrews 3:14)

      Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6‭-‬7 NIV)


The Anchor of my soul

Christ is superior to Moses — Hebrews 3:1-6

The following comes through the notes of Mark Ramsey and the comments of the class.

  1. The greatness of Moses

    Why is it necessary to prove that Jesus is better than Moses? Moses was esteemed by the Jews far above any Jew who ever lived, God had miraculously protected him as a baby and personally provided for his burial. Between these two points in his life are miracle after miracle. He was the man to whom God spoke to face to face. He had seen the very glory of God and this glory was reflected in his face for a while.

    When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. (Exodus 34:29 NIV)

    He was the one who led the enslaved Israel out of Egypt. The New Testament often referred to the commands of God as the “law of Moses.” Moses brought the Ten Commandments: and wrote the Pentateuch. Moses gave the plans for the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant. Some Jews believed that Moses was greater than angels. To go back to the law meant to go back to Moses and these believers were tempted to do just that. It was important that the writer convince his readers that Jesus is greater than Moses because the entire system of Jewish religion came through Moses.

    One class member noted that Christ stated his preeminance over Moses when he said:

    If you believed in Moses, you would believe in me, for he wrote about me. (John 5:46 NIV)

    Another noted the warning by Paul:

    I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. (Galatians 1:6‭-‬7 NIV)

    In a reflective moment, would you say that God has protected you and your life is a miracle after miracle?

    A series of class members told of miracles that happened in their lives (whether directly, as with one who was diagnosed with a deadly childhood disease, or indirectly, as with one whose grandmother survived an illness that should have killed her and his mother).

  2. A focus on Jesus — Hebrews 3:1

    Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. (Hebrews 3:1 NIV)

    • “Therefore” – indicates a deduction drawn from the previous discussion-because Jesus is superior to the angels and prophets, faithful to God, merciful to us, and both willing and able to help us-therefore, we should consider Jesus
    • “(H)oly brothers”-this passage is clearly directed to the people of the church. This phrase is only used here in the NT.
    • “(S)hare”-the Greek word is “metochoi” (μέτοχοι) – which meets “partakers” which describes one who shares with someone else in an undertaking such as business partners or companions.
    • “(H)eavenly calling”- the church has a heavenly calling and heavenly destiny. This phrase is only found here in the New Testament. The “called” are summoned by God to come into the Kingdom and, interestingly, this term was used as an invitation to a banquet.

      I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, (Philippians 3:14 and ‬20 NIV)

      We are heaven bound because Christ has already made the way for us. The question which is implied is, “Why do you want to hang on to the earthly rituals when you have the heavenly reality?”

    • “(F)ix your thoughts on Jesus” or “consider Jesus”-“observe carefully” or “pay attention to not just a momentary thought but deeply contemplate Fixing our thoughts on Jesus begins with desire and moves to concentration and discipline and requires time.

      Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:29 NIV)

      In Matthew 11:29, Jesus said, “Learn from Me”, not “learn about Me”. Don’t fix your gaze on your circumstances or yourself but fix your thoughts on Jesus. Do you really enjoy your Christian life? Do you get up in the morning and say, “Lord, I can’t wait to see what you’re going to do today? Do you really enjoy Jesus? Do you experience and savor Jesus and His word?

    • “(T)he apostle” – “one sent forth.” This is the only place in the New Testament where the term refers to Jesus.

      As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. (John 17:18 NIV)

      Jesus is the “sent One”, par excellence Jesus repeatedly describes Himself as being sent by the Father into the world.

    • “(H)igh priest”- because Jesus was perfectly human and perfectly divine, He knows both man and God and is able to speak to men for God and to intercede to God for mankind He is the one person through whom man comes to God and God to man.
    • “(C)onfess” – “homologias” (ὁμολογίας) has a strong legal connotation. This passage calls on us to acknowledge our relationship with Jesus as Lord publicly. Such as an open confession in court. It is an appeal to “hold fast” Open confession is evidence of saving faith.

      “I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. (Luke 12:8 NIV)

      If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. (Romans 10:9-10 NIV)

      Does this verse describe your worldview? Do you apply this passage in your daily life?

  3. Jesus’ superior calling — Hebrews 3:2-4

    He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. (Hebrews 3:2‭-‬4 NIV)

    The central point here is that Jesus is superior to Moses because Jesus is the builder and Moses is part of the house/household. This in no way minimizes Moses. Jesus built the spiritual house of God and Moses was a leader in the house. The term, “bouse” does not refer to a physical structure but to the people of God. “The builder of the house is Jesus” and “God is the builder of everything” attributes the works of God to Jesus. Jesus is not only the builder of the church but the craftamen of all things.

    One class member remembered the words that start the gospel of John.

    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (John 1:1-3 NIV)

  4. Jesus, a superior person — Hebrews 3:5-6a

    “Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,” bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future. But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. (Hebrews 3:5‭-‬6a NIV)

    Moses faithfully carried out his duties as a servant in God’s house but his task was to bear witness “of what would be said in the future.” In other words, his ministry was a foreshadowing of Jesus’ ministry – it pointed to Him and His anticipating coming.

    He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” (Luke 24:44 NIV)

    On the road to Emmaus, He explained how the Scriptures pointed to Him.

    And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. (Luke 24:27 NIV)

    If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. (John 5:46 NIV)

    Jesus is the Ruler of God’s house as the “Son.” This means Christ is the heir of the household of God-the one who inherits the right to rule.

    And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. (Colossians 1:18 NIV)

    And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, (Ephesians 1:22 NIV)

    Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. (Matthew 28:18 NIV)

  5. What does Jesus require of us — Hebrews 3:6b

    And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory. (Hebrews 3:6b NIV)

    The superiority of Jesus will do us no good if we don’t place Him as superior in our own lives. This was the problem facing the Jewish Christians. They were tempted to abandon their Messiah and go back to their Jewish traditions/rituals.

    The conditional construction, indicated by “if” is communicating the continuance of faith and hope as proof of the reality of a person’s authentic membership in the house of God. The writer fears that some in the persecuted church will not persevere.

    You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. (Matthew 10:22 NIV)

    Our faithfulness and perseverance to the end is evidence that we are of the house of God. If you are of the family of God, you will hold fast to the courage and hope of which we confess. What is your response to this passage/comment?

    What about you? Are you persevering or are you dritting away? Is Christ as dear to you as the first day you met Him – even more dear? Are you holding onto your confidence or is the culture/society eroding it? Is Jesus superior in your life or do other things or people take a priority over Jesus? Are you courageous for Christ or more timid or even fearful? The author is exhorting us to focus and hold onto Christ and to keep your confidence in Him He is superior over everything and everybody!


The Anchor of my soul

Our perfect Saviour — Hebrews 2:11-18

The following comes through the notes of Mark Ramsey.

  1. Family — Hebrews 2:11-13

    Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. He says, “I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters; in the assembly I will sing your praises.” And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again he says, “Here am I, and the children God has given me.” (Hebrews 2:11‭-‬13 NIV)

    Here, we see that it is Jesus Who makes us holy or sanctified. In thought and practice, we are far from holy. But in our new nature, we are holy because those who are in His Son are holy. We are holy in the sense that before God the righteousness of Christ has been applied and imputed in your behalf.

    And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:10 NIV)

    We are made holy through His sacrifice and have become those who are holy.

    For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. (Hebrews 10:14 NIV)

    Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, (2 Corinthians 5:2 NIV)

    How does this make you feel? What are your emotions?

    We are of the same family and Jesus is not ashamed to call us “family.” We are “fellow heirs with Christ”.

    Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Romans 8:17 NIV)

    How does that make you feel? Have you ever been ashamed to call Him, Lord? In what ways can we be ashamed to call Him Lord?

    Look at this:

    Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. (Hebrews 11:16 NIV)

    Jesus is not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters and God is not ashamed to be called our God. Is this mind boggling and amazing?

    In verses 12 and 13, the author cites three messianic passages in the Greek Old Testament.

    I will declare your name to my people; in the assembly I will praise you. (Psalms 22:22 NIV)

    I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the descendants of Jacob. I will put my trust in him. Here am I, and the children the Lord has given me. We are signs and symbols in Israel from the Lord Almighty, who dwells on Mount Zion. (Isaiah 8:17‭-‬18 NIV)

    The Hebrews knew their Old Testament, which is certainly not the case for modern day congregations.

    In 2:12, the author cites Psalm 22:22 as the crucifixion is over and Jesus is resurrected and exalted and He triumphantly cries out to God those words. Note that it is only to believers ( the congregation/church) that Jesus declares and extols the Father’s name. Jesus also joins us in singing the praise of God the Father. Jesus leads our praise. Have you ever considered that?

    “I will put my trust in him” is taken from Isaiah 8:17b. This shows that while Jesus was undergoing persecution in the flesh that He depended upon God. While in the frailty of the flesh, Jesus exercised faith. Jesus shares with the suffering of the church and the Christ- follower, showing we must depend on God as He did!

    “And again he says, Here I am and the children God has given me” is taken from Isaiah 8:18. “Again” emphasizes that the author is making a further point of a vivid picture of confidence – it is as if Jesus places His arms around us and says, “this is my family”. Does all of this give you comfort as it must have given to this Hebrew congregation in the midst of persecution?

  2. Our Satan-conqueror — Hebrews 2:14-15

    Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. (Hebrews 2:14‭-‬15 NIV)

    “Share” is from the Greek “kekoinōnēken” (κεκοινώνηκεν) which means fellowship, communion. We by nature are flesh and blood; Christ was not. Yet He willingly took hold of something which did not naturally belong to Him. He added to Himself our nature in order that He might die in our place and that we might take hold of the divine nature that did not belong to us.

    Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. (2 Peter 1:4 NIV)

    God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV)

    Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” (Galatians 3:13 NIV)

    Satan’s power over us had to be broken in order for us to be brought to God. Satan’s primary power over man and supreme weapon against him is death. Sin, of course, gives Satan his power over us; but the power itself is death.

    So, in this regard, why did Christ become man? Why did He die?

    by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— (Hebrews 2:14b NIV)

    The only way to destroy Satan was to rob him of his weapon, death, physical death, spiritual death, eternal death. Satan knew that God required death for us because of sin. Satan knew that mankind, if they remained as they were, would die and go out of God’s presence into hell forever.

    God has a more powerful weapon – eternal life in heaven – and with it, Jesus destroyed death. The way to eternal life is through resurrection but the way to resurrection is through death. So, Jesus had to experience death before He could be resurrected and give us life. Jesus’ dying destroyed death. How? He went into death, through death and came out on the other side, thereby conquering it.

    Because I live, you also will live. (John 14:19c NIV)

    The resurrection of Jesus provides the believer with eternal life. It is the only thing that could have ever done it.

    When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. (Revelation 1:17‭-‬18 NIV)

    When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, death no longer holds us in fear. We have been released from the bondage of fear and actually, look forward to death.

    For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21 NIV)

    “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55 NIV)

    Jesus could never have done this if He had not become “for a little while lower than the angels”.

    Do you find all of this so amazing? What is your response?

  3. Our merciful and faithful High Priest — Hebrews 2:16-18

    For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (Hebrews 2:16‭-‬18 NIV)

    Christ did not come to redeem angels but mankind. Jesus came not only to save us but to sympathize with us. He has experienced all of that which we as humans have experienced and even more.

    For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. (Hebrews 4:15 NIV)

    And He was victorious in every trial. He knows where we hurt, where we are weak and where we are tempted.

    “Atonement” or “propitiation” means an offering that turns away or satisfies divine wrath against sin. The price for our sin has been paid.

    Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, (Romans 8:1 NIV)

    We will never experience the wrath of God!

    In our trials and tribulations and temptations, through His intimate association with us, Jesus steps into our trials and tribulations, not to condemn us but to help us and reassure us.

    Is it an encouragement to know that our Savior and High Priest has known similar but far greater temptations, tribulations and trials and that He suffered more, endured more and was victorious? He understands. He empathizes. He intercedes. He forgives us. He wants to empower us in our calling.

    Jesus, our Great High Priest, is our Anchor.

    We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 6:19‭-‬20 NIV)

    This is our Savior. Our Sanctifier. Our Satan-Conqueror. Our Great High Priest.

    What a Savior He is – the Anchor of our soul!


The Anchor of my soul

The destiny of mankind — Hebrews 2:5-10

The following comes through the notes of Mark Ramsey and some of the comments of the class.

  1. Comforting the afflicted

    In these verses, the author shows how Christ, through His superiority, gives massive significance to God’s ultimate desire for believers. What do you believe God’s ultimate desire is for you?

    The class came up with various responses very quickly; still, some of the later responses included God’s will that we:

    • Transform to become like Christ
    • Bear witness to the good news that Christ died for us
    • Praise God
    • Rule with Him as believers
  2. God’s desire for mankind
    • God’s desire to rule with His believers

      It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. (Hebrews 2:5 NIV)

      Angels are not going to rule the world to come. God’s intention and desire is to have this kingdom ruled by redeemed men and women. How does this verse impact you?

    • God’s original intention for humanity

      But there is a place where someone has testified: “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, a son of man that you care for him? You made them a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor and put everything under their feet.” (Hebrews 2:6‭-‬8a NIV)

      The author establishes the ultimate intention of God with the original intention of God for humanity by quoting Psalm 8:3-6.

      When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet: (Psalms 8:3‭-‬6 NIV)

      This was originally spelled out in Genesis 1:26-28.

      Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (Genesis 1:26‭-‬28 NIV)

      Think about man’s position — “made a little lower than angels”. We are limited in ways in which angels are not and we have less power. But, we are not lower in spirituality or importance.

      Think of man’s honor — “you have crowned him with glory and honor” — Adam and Eve were the king and queen of the original creation and God set them in a glorious paradise and walked with them.

      Consider man’s authority — “putting everything under his feet” — we were given rule over the whole world.

      God original purpose was stupendous, to say the least. If this original intention had been carried out, we would be living with our primal parents in the same astounding position and honor and authority.

      Can you imagine?

  3. Man’s destiny stalled
    • A perfect life averted

      In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. (Hebrews 2:8b NIV)

      As encouraging as God’s intention for mankind, obviously, something has gone wrong. The writer intentionally gives it a dramatic expression by using the double negative – there is nothing in this world that is not under man’s control. He wants us to take exception and say, “wait a minute – that’s not true.”

    • A believer’s response to this perfect life lost

      Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them. (Hebrews 2:8c NIV)

      The author verbalizes our response for us. Adam sinned and as a consequence, his God-given dominion was subverted. His rule over the creation is a disaster; his rule over the animal world is superficial — he achieves it by intimidation; he cannot rule over himself, let alone others. We are not what we were meant to be.

  4. Man’s destiny recovered by Christ
      • Redemption in Christ

        But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. (Hebrews 2:9 NIV)

        God’s original intention and ultimate intention is achieved in Christ, the second Adam. Jesus Christ became man that He might suffer and die for man’s sin and restore the dominion that was lost because of sin. Psalm 8 was also a messianic psalm that had its ultimate fulfillment in Christ.

        When Jesus came into this world, this passage was fulfilled in His incarnation. Man is made a little lower than angels and for Jesus, this was the depth of his humiliation. Significantly, this is the first use of the name “Jesus” in the book of Hebrews. This emphasizes His humanity and His work of salvation. The only way the kingdom will be restored and man will be given the crown again is a payment for sin, which is death. The only way man can ever be a king again is to have the curse removed. The only way the curse can be removed is for the penalty to be paid. If we are to be restored to reign as a king, we must die and be resurrected as a new creation.

        For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:5‭-‬11 NIV)

        To accomplish this great work on our behalf, Jesus had to become a man. If a man dies for his own sin, he is doomed forever to hell. Christ came to die for us because His dying conquered death.

        And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:9‭-‬10 NIV)

        I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4 NIV)

        When asked for the defense they would offer in response to the challenge “do you believe that Christ’s death really saves you from your sin,” class members offered these responses:

        • Christ was resurrected and that resurrection was noted in numerous extra-Biblical sources
        • Christ is a central figure in history that cannot be denied (extra-Biblical sources citing Christ outnumber those citing Aristotle)
        • If you study Christ, you will discover love beyond your comprehension

    “But we see Jesus” is reminiscent of Revelation 5:1-14.

    Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped. (Revelation 5:1‭-‬14 NIV)

    This is man’s one hope.

    To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27 NIV)

    Jesus became a man to recapture our destiny. Life apart from Jesus is death. When we are in Jesus, our destiny is fulfilled!

    “(N)ow crowned with glory and honor because He suffered death…”

    And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, (Philippians 2:8‭-‬10 NIV)

    We see that in Christ, man’s glorious potential was realized – everything was put under His feet. The way this happened is revealed – “so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone” – Jesus’ death procured for us our reign.

    For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! (Romans 5:17 NIV)

    And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:6‭-‬7 NIV)

    Christ on the cross is the measure of our worth. Christ on the throne is a prophesy of our significance and dominion. Jesus is our promise – He is God’s ultimate intention and destiny for us.

  5. A God-worthy salvation — Hebrews 2:10

    In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. (Hebrews 2:10 NIV)

    The opponents of this community of believers were aggressively asserting the absurdity of a suffering Savior. Have you ever faced such cynicism or criticism? The author turns the tables on the critics with an eloquent assertion that the cross is the most fitting and most God- worthy way of salvation.

    This verse emphasizes that the way of salvation is not arbitrary but befits the character of God “for whom and through whom everything exists.” God is the author of all that exists and correspondingly, Jesus is the pioneer/captain or author of salvation. As the work of creation is totally of God, so also is the work of salvation.

    Creation came into existence by the spoken word of God. However, speech was not enough for salvation as it took the Word, His Son incarnate who was humiliated, suffered, died, rose again, ascended and sits at the right hand of God to effectuate salvation. Our salvation is the greatest display of His power and character. Do you want to see the character and power of God? Look at the cosmos. Do you want to see even more the character and power? Then, look to Christ Who is the pioneer/captain of our salvation made perfect through suffering. How could Jesus, who has always existed in perfection, be made perfect? The idea is that He is the perfect pioneer of salvation. His perfection or completeness came through His incarnation, temptation, atonement and His identification with us.

    “(I)n bringing many sons to glory” – Jesus, as the Pioneer/Captain or Author of salvation, brings/leads many to eternal life in heaven. This is a picture of the Conquering/Victorious Son preceding the saved saints on the road to heaven There are many, not a few.

    After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. (Revelation 7:9 NIV)

    Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25‭-‬26 NIV)

    The following comes from page 65 of The Practice of Piety: Directing a Christian How to Walk, that He May Please God, written by Lewis Bayly in 1680.

    Soul Lord, wherefore didst thou wash thy disciples’ feet?
    Christ To teach thee how thou shouldst prepare thyself to come to my supper.
    Soul Lord, why shouldst thou wash them thyself? (John 8:4)
    Christ To teach thee humility, if thou wilt be my disciple.
    Soul Lord, wherefore didst thou before thy death institute thy last supper? (Luke 22:19&20)
    Christ That thou mightst the better remember my death, and be assured that all the merits thereof are thine.
    Soul Lord, wherefore wouldst thou go to such a place where Judas knew to find thee? (John 18:2)
    Christ That thou mightst know that I went as willingly to suffer for thy sin, as ever thou wentest to any place to commit a sin.
    Soul Lord, wherefore wouldst thou begin thy passion in a garden? (John 18:1)
    Christ Because that in a garden thy sin took first beginning. (Gen. 3:3)
    Soul Lord, wherefore did thy three select disciples fall so fast asleep, when thou didst begin to fall into thy agony? (Matt. 26:40.)
    Christ To shew that I alone wrought the work of thy redemption. (Isa. 63:5)
    Soul Lord, why were there so many plots and snares laid for thee? (Matt. 26:4)
    Christ That I might make thee to escape all snares of thy ghostly hunter (Psalm 134:7)
    Soul Lord, why shouldst thou suffer Judas, betraying thee, to kiss thee? (Matt. 26:49.)
    Christ That by enduring the words of dissembling lips, I might there begin to expiate sin, where Satan first brought it into the world (Gen. 3:4&5)
    Soul Lord, why wouldst thou be sold for thirty-pieces of silver? (Matt. 27:3)
    Christ That I might free thee from perpetual bondage.
    Soul Lord, why didst thou pray with such strong crying and tears? (Matt. 26:39; Heb 5:7).
    Christ That I might quench the fury of God’s justice, which was so fiercely kindled against thee.
    Soul Lord, why wast thou so afraid, and cast into such an agony? (Mark 14:33)
    Christ That suffering the wrath due to thy sins, thou mightst be more secure in thy death, and find more comfort in thy crosses.