One of my favorite books in the New Testament is the book of Hebrews. In many ways it is one of the richest veins of Biblical-Theological truth in the New Testament. Hebrews teaches us how we ought to understand the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Its content is rich, but it is also stylistically a masterpiece. The book of Hebrews was written in order that Christians might know how the person and work of Christ empowers them to handle the difficult situations of life. What this teaches us is that God’s self-revelation must impact how we face today and tomorrow.
The study of Scripture must never be allowed to be a mere exercise of data transfer; the knowledge of God must impact our hearts. The mingling of the head and the heart has often been called “experiential theology.” This idea was central to the sermons and theological writings of the Protestant Reformers and the Puritans. Pastor-scholar Joel Beeke describes it in these words, “Experiential theology how various doctrines [or teachings] are applied to the souls and lives of God’s people in their spiritual, practical, and daily experience.” Scripture, then was not delivered so our mid-week Bible study wouldn’t be full of awkward silences. They were delivered so that the richness of the knowledge of God and what He has done for them in the Lord Jesus Christ might transform their lives. Scripture is meant to change your life.
To this end, let us consider Hebrews 1:1-2, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son” (ESV) From the outset we learn so many things that run counter to the base assumptions and assertions of the unbelieving world. For example, we learn: 1) God exists; 2) God speaks; 3) God’s speech is understood by humanity; 4) In the Old Testament, God sent messengers known as prophets; 5) God has spoken more than once. God’s speech to humanity has been both incessant and unavoidable (see Psalm 19:1-4).
God is not silent. The false claim of God’s silence can often be at the heart of people’s accusations against Him. As they look around them and see the world falling apart they ask, “Where is God?” This is not an experience unique to our time. In fact, as we study the book of Hebrews we find that they too were in a difficult situation themselves. They had enjoyed a season of peace, but things were changing for the worse. Scholar William L. Lane helps us see how their worlds were changing, “Identification as a Christian could be a prelude to violence; open acknowledgement that you were a Christian could seal your death-warrant.” Being a Christian was costly then, and it is proving to be so today.
We are learning about that aren’t we? The progressive demonization of Christians is growing. All we need to do is observe the public proclamation against Christians to see this. This should not surprise us though. But we must know how to confront such difficulties. How did the author to the Hebrews confront it? Or better said, how did he seek to comfort Christ’s people when being a Christian proved to be costly?
The very first thing He reminded them of is that our God is not silent. We will inevitably be confronted by situations beyond our abilities and expertise. Perhaps you are already there today! In these moments, the thing that we can best extend unto people is not our own wisdom but Christ. For Christ alone is able to deal with the deepest longings and pains of our hearts, because we were not designed to be independent and secluded bodies. We were made to be united with God in Christ.
The Lord Jesus is not merely the good Teacher as some claim. He is not merely a model of moral excellence to be followed. He is not an ordinary man who was deified. Nor was he imperfect in any way. He is the matchless Son of God, who is equal in substance, majesty, glory and power with God. He is Himself the Eternal Son of God. As such, He is the one who conquered death and reigns even today over His people and the world. In Christ we see the beauty of God in His presence and His Word. The great comfort that we have today, regardless of what situations we may find ourselves in is that our God speaks, and He does so chiefly by His Word. But are you listening?
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