Monday, September 24, 2007

Hebrews and the Gospel

I have been preaching through Hebrews and have to admit I have never looked at Hebrews as close as I am now. We are only to chapter 6 and there is so much already. I think ones understanding of the Gospel would be greatly enhanced by taking a prolonged journey through the book of Hebrews.

So often the Gospel is put forth in a way that only speaks of benefits to us, man, so that in the end it simply becomes a self help Gospel. But Hebrews speaks to no end about the importance of the cross and that it is though the cross that Jesus, our High Priest, has allowed a way to bring us to God. It is through the substitutionary sacrifice of the Son that we have any ability whatsoever to come before God. What we need to share when we share the Gospel is that it is the work of the Son that allows God to bring us to worship Him. This sharing of the Gospel by the way is not to be limited to evangelism but needs to be shared constantly with believers. The book of Hebrews was written to Hebrew believers struggling with a decision that would say volumes about how they viewed the cross. The writer of Hebrews, ultimately God, knew that they needed to be so firmly grounded in the Gospel and the cross that they would never contemplate denying the substitutionary work of Christ by deciding to go back to the sacrificial system.

Today we have turned the cross into mainly and example we are to follow. I would argue that if one does not truly understand the sacrifice of the Son to its fullest, as Hebrews reveals, they cannot deny themselves and take up the cross they are commanded to in Matt 16:24. We need to understand the cross and what it was to accomplish to see how we are to deny ourselves. When the Gospel becomes merely and evangelistic tool with its focus on man then asking people to deny themselves will be greatly hindered if accomplished at all.

There may be benefits that accompany salvation but as Hebrews stresses over and over it is the access to God that is the only benefit that is promised. Hebrews 4:14-16 speaks of how we can come with confidence to the throne of grace because of the work of Christ. Trials and persecutions are promised in scripture but all the other benefits that are so often tacked on to the Gospel are not. Should we not be overjoyed to be in the presence of God for eternity no matter our temporal situations?

Norm Wakefield, in a talk I heard this weekend, spoke of how the veil had been opened for us and that opening, because of Christ, allows us to enter in. Without the sacrifice of the Son there is no entry. Anyone that either minimizes the work on the cross by limiting its effectiveness or by denying its substitutionary nature has missed the force of Hebrews. To come to God is all the work of God, even the tearing down of the veil to allow us in.

I would encourage you to journey through Hebrews and take in all the glory of the cross that is revealed and leave the book with a renewed understanding of your salvation. A salvation that was wrought by God so that He could bring you through the veil to worship Him and experience the unfathomable joy that worshiping God brings.

If you would like to hear any of the sermons we have recorded (Starting in Chapter 3) you can go here: Sovereign Grace Christian Fellowship – Sermons

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