This Week’s Study
This coming Sunday, our text will be from Hebrews 10:26-39. Spend time reading and meditating on this text this week, and use the tools within The Compass to help guide your study. May the Lord richly bless you as you spend time in His Word and prayerfully consider what the Spirit is teaching you.
This Week’s R2R Distinctive
Peace (Philippians 4:6-7): I am free from anxiety because things are right between God, myself and others.
This week, we look at the next of the “Warning Passages” from the Epistle to the Hebrews. Some consider this warning the most solemn of all. In this warning, the writer is targeting those who put up a front–who claim to be believers, but continue to deliberately and willfully sin.
The issue at hand in the First Century centered on Hebrew believers who continued to uphold the Law and continued to offer sacrifices as a means of seeking forgiveness. By placing their faith in temple sacrifices, they were, in reality, rejecting the finished work of Christ on the cross.
This is not a sin we are tempted with today. For one thing, the temple in Jerusalem no longer exists, and, even if it did, I doubt many Americans would feel the need to offer sacrifices at the temple as a way of seeking forgiveness for their sins.
No, where we struggle, I believe, is with dancing a delicate dance between Christianity and secularism. If there is an area where we want it both ways, this is it.
The friction point for many Christians is the exclusivity of the gospel. This exclusivity flies in the face of our multicultural, pluralistic society. Many Westerners, even those who claim to be Christians, believe there are multiple paths to God, that all religions lead to the same destination.
Why is this? Is it because they have made a thorough study of Christian doctrine and concluded this is bedrock truth? No. Many simply grow weak in the knees when challenged with a simple question: “So, are you saying that Jesus is the only way to God? Do you mean that unless I believe in Jesus, I’m going to hell? That’s not acceptable! You are such a narrow-minded bigot! Who do you think you are to condemn millions of good people to hell!”
Those are tough words, without a doubt. Yet, unfortunately, good men and women fall prey to this kind of dialectical bullying all the time. There’s something about the exclusive claims of the gospel that stick in the collective craw of our secularist society.
What do we do, then, with the claims of the gospel? Consider these statements: In Acts 4:12, the apostle Peter declared, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (NKJV). Paul told Timothy, “For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and people. He is the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5 NLT). As a Christian, we are being intellectually dishonest if our confession is anything less than this black and white.
So, how do we respond to the accusations of hate, narrow-mindedness, and judgmentalism? Change the template for a minute from one of a spiritual nature to one of a physical nature. You take your son to the doctor for a physical, and the doctor tells you your son is in great shape. Nothing wrong. A year later, your son is dead from a disease that could have easily been treated.
Angry, you return to your doctor and ask him, “Why didn’t you tell us our son was sick with a deadly disease?”
Your doctor replies, “I didn’t want to be the bearer of bad news. Yes, I could have told you your son was sick, but you might have become angry with me and accused me of hate speech. I chose to remain silent.”
You would be stunned, and rightly so. Yet, isn’t this what we do as Christians when we opt to remain silent about the gospel rather than share the life-saving truth with an unbeliever? “I could have mentioned the gospel, but I didn’t want others to think I am narrow-minded, hateful, or judgmental. So, I chose to remain silent.”
Friends, if the writer to the Hebrews was addressing us today, I believe he would feel compelled to address this kind of double-mindedness that so many American Christians cling to. It’s not out of reasoned response, but simply because we are afraid of offending and appearing judgmental.
This is the sin the writer to the Hebrews is addressing in Hebrews 10. He solemnly warns, “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?” (v. 29 NASB).
Think about these things this week. May we be a people of boldness and courage, willing to stand on the truth of the gospel rather than opt to remain silent at best or offer the false hope of a false gospel at worse. –Chris Eller
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