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“Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11 NKJV).

November 14, 2017

Don’t waste the pain. God cares more for your character than you comfort. His “chastening” may be painful, but it yields Christlikeness in you when you submit to its training. One day, you will look back on your life and see how God has disciplined you as His own child for your sanctification. He is conforming you to the image of Christ. Stop rebelling and start submitting. Pray as Jesus prayed, “Not my will, but Yours be done.”

“By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace” (Hebrews 11:31 NKJV).

November 13, 2017

It was not Rahab’s status, but her faith that saved her. She believed that the Lord had already given the land to the Israelites. She believed the Red Sea crossing story and all the other miracles she had heard of their wilderness journey. By faith she protected the two Israelite spies and made them promise to save her and her family. By faith she hung the scarlet cord in her window as a sign to the Israelites when they returned to attack Jericho. By faith she and her family were the only ones who did not perish when the walls of Jericho fell. By faith she was included in Israel and married into the tribe of Joshua. By faith she bore Boaz who married Ruth and was included in the line of David and mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus as recorded by Matthew. She was saved by grace, but it was through faith that she received these many blessings.

“For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14 NKJV).

November 10, 2017

When we have received Christ’s “offering,” we are already “perfected forever.” We are already made whole and complete in Christ, so that we are fully accepted by the Father for eternity. Positionally, we are already at the right hand of the Father in Christ. We are already holy. We are saints.

Yet, we are still “being sanctified. We still experience the battle between the flesh and the Spirit, and sometimes give into the flesh. But all our sins are already forgiven. The Spirit empowers us to repent and walk in His power, growing in maturity. This is our experience. This tension between our position and our experience has been called the “already/not yet” of the Christian life. In Christ, we are already perfected, but not yet perfect.

But on that Day, our position and our experience will be the same, for we “shall be like Him” (1 John 3:2). Those that are in Christ, will become like Christ. This is God’s purpose for those who believe.

“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (Hebrews 8:10 NKJV).

November 7, 2017

The old covenant, which was the law mediated through Moses, was written on stone tablets. But the new covenant, which is by the grace of God through Jesus, is written on human hearts. The purpose of the old covenant was never to save, but to prepare a people for the Savior. The new covenant supersedes the old. The problem with the old covenant was not its content, but the character of the people, for they could not keep it in the flesh. The superiority of the new covenant is evident in that it overcomes the flesh by the power of the Spirit that comes to dwell in those who receive Christ as Savior and Lord.

Has the Lord put His Word in your mind and written it upon your heart? Have you received the new covenant in Jesus Christ?

“for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God” (Hebrews 7:19 NKJV).

November 6, 2017

The law can reflect, but not perfect. It is like a mirror that reveals sin, but it has no power over the flesh to remove it. Instead of bringing us closer to God, the law shows how vast is our separation. It was never given to save, but to point to our need for a Savior. Those who hope in the law will die. Yet, there is a “better hope” found in Christ alone. For those who have put their hope in Christ are able to “draw near” to God with “a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Heb. 10:22).

“Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God” (Hebrews 6:1 NKJV).

November 4, 2017

Stop only discussing the doctrines of Christ and start following them. Grow up in the knowledge of Jesus. As Paul wrote, “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up” (1 Cor. 8:1). So, move on from head knowledge to heart knowledge, which is a change of character that leads to a change of conduct. Better to know one thing of Christ and do it, than to know one hundred and practice none of them. Keep growing in knowledge, not that you might keep “laying again” the foundations of your faith, but that you would grow up into the Head, which is Christ. For He is the “Perfection,” that God wills for you.

“See that you do not refuse him who is speaking” (Hebrews 12:25 ESV)

November 15, 2016

Have you ever said “No” to Christ? Has He knocked at your heart’s door and been refused entrance? Consider those in the Old Testament who refused to obey God’s Word. What became of them? And now, the blood of Christ “speaks a better word.” Do not refuse Him. Or have you received Him, but yet refused to obey the last word He gave you? Think back to the moment when you stopped hearing from Him and you’ll remember your heart’s refusal. Perhaps it was only a small nudge to talk to a stranger or to turn back to a store clerk and smile, but that was the moment Christ’s gentle voice went silent. Walk in obedience to His every call that you might continually hear “Him who is speaking.”

“And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.” (Hebrews 11:39-40 ESV)

November 14, 2016

The saints of the Old Testament longed to see the promised fulfillment of their faith in the coming of the Messiah, but they passed from this world before that day came. That which they longed for, we have received, that is–– the good news–– that Christ Jesus came, died for our sins, and was raised from the dead for our justification (Rom. 4:25). Yet, God has not failed to keep His promise to them. It will be fulfilled on that day when Christ returns and the dead in Christ will rise together. The former will not precede the latter, nor the latter the former. Abraham will rise together with Paul, Moses with Peter, and Isaiah with John. For the Old Testament saints will not be “made perfect” (“complete”) apart from the saints of the New. And now, we long for that day, when we will all be raised together, the perfect and complete Church, with Christ as its Head.

“By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin (Hebrews 11:24-25 ESV)

November 13, 2016

Hebrews chapter 11 contains a list of people who have “by faith” chosen to trust and identify with God, rather than put their hope into the things of this world. Moses is among those in this faith hall of fame. He could have chosen to life as an Egyptian Prince, but by faith he chose to be an Exiled Pilgrim instead. Everyone who decides to live by faith will feel the same tension. For we are in the world, but not of it (John 17:14-18). Where do you put your hope? In a job, a bank account, or an election? Why not join Moses and the other exiles who live and walk “by faith? Let us put our faith and hope in God!

“By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible” (Hebrews 11:3 ESV)

November 12, 2016

The assumption that the origin of the universe can be extrapolated from its present visible condition is here denied. The Bible teaches that God spoke the universe into existence, “ex nihilo” (“out of nothing”). Humanity was not present when this happened, but God has revealed this through His Word. According to Hebrews, those listed in chapter eleven’s “faith hall of fame” had a faith that included this foundational truth: God created the universe and we are His creation.