Lesson 54


The Epistle to the Hebrews

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

13:9 Don't be carried away by various and strange teachings, for it is good that the heart be established by grace, not by food, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited.

13:10 We have an altar from which those who serve the holy tabernacle have no right to eat. 13:11 For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned outside of the camp. 13:12 Therefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people through his own blood, suffered outside of the gate. 13:13 Let us therefore go forth to him outside of the camp, bearing his reproach. 13:14 For we don't have here an enduring city, but we seek that which is to come. 13:15 Through him, then, let us offer up a sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of lips which make confession to his name. 13:16 But don't forget to be doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.


Today's Lesson    

The Epistle to the Hebrews has been enunciating the obligations that those of faith have toward their brothers and sisters in the faith and toward all mankind. We are to show brotherly love to all people and hospitality to those that God brings to our doorstep. We are to remember those in bonds and sympathize with the ill-treated. We must keep the marriage bed pure and be free from the love of money. Importantly, we are to remember those that spoke first to us the words of God and respect those that the Lord has placed as leaders of His people. These are a few of the obligations that the Spirit of God puts in our hearts in regards to those who share our human condition.

 

But, just to be sure that all obligations are kept within perspective, we are given a wonderful passage that enumerates our principal and primary obligation. Jesus sanctified us through the sacrifice of His life in one of history's most physically cruel punishments. It was Jesus, the holy Anointed One of God, that became sin for you and for me. He that had never known sin became sin so that we might receive the righteousness of God. Our principal and primary obligation is first and foremost to the Son of God.

 

This line of thinking had been led too by encouraging these Christians not to be carried away by strange teachings, such as concerns over foods and restrictive diets. These concerns were normally associated with the Jewish dietary laws. The idea of these laws leads ones thoughts to the sacrifices that were offered in the tabernacle and the temple. It is good that our hearts are established by grace and not by such teachings. It was for grace that Christ suffered outside the gate, not for laws concerning what we should or should not eat. It is our obligation to share the reproach that He bore for our sake, to go outside the gate and share in His suffering.

 

There is a sacrifice that we must make, but it is not the sacrifice of "Thou shalt notů" The sacrifice that we must make is the sacrifice of praise to God for what He has already accomplished through Christ. It is the sacrifice of the confession of the name of Christ that we must make with our lips. We must not forget to do good for our fellow man, but such sacrifices flow from our confession of Christ. They can never be a substitute for that most primary of obligations, our relationship with Christ.

 

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