Thursday, July 31, 2014


Daily Reflections from Scripture:

Old Testament: Job 29-31

Job gives us in one word the answer to sexual temptation. He says in Job 31:1, “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.” How do you do that? It starts with a promise to God which includes a plea for His help. Here are some practical pointers that will assist you:
  1. Bounce your eyes away. You can’t avoid seeing things but you can avoid looking at them. When they appear in front of you (and the Devil will make sure they do!), divert your gaze immediately.
  2. Now bounce them away again, because you just came back for a second peek. It will take commitment! Every time you catch yourself looking back, bounce your eyes away again.
  3. When you have to bounce away the third time (or more) tell the Devil to get outta here! Remember? Our instructions in James 4:7 are, “Resist the Devil and he will flee from you.” It really is possible to make him run.
  4. Keep your vision high. If always turning your head away and never looking at someone because they’re improperly dressed becomes too awkward, keep your line of sight elevated. Metaphorically too! Keep your eyes on High. Ask Him repeatedly for help in this area. He will do it.
  5. Try this. Use that bounce mechanism to trigger a prayer for that girl. “Lord, help her to find the man you have prepared for her. Help her to seek to please you in her life. If she’s not a believer already, please bring someone into her life who will share the Gospel with her....” Amazing how quickly that prayer dissipates lust.
By the way girls, please help us!
  1. If it’s not for sale, don’t advertise it. You cannot be too careful in this area. Your self-exposure leads us to sin. Cover up!
  2. If you’re married, help your husband obey Proverbs 5:15-23.
  3. Pray for us too. Pray that we will be men of God, devoted to righteousness and to pleasing God. If you’re genuinely concerned about things like that - tight, low-cut, and skimpy clothing won’t be an option for you.
What are the options? God’s Word says (Job 31:12), “It is a fire that burns to Destruction, it would have uprooted my harvest.” The option is, you can lose everything. It can take you through hell on earth and right straight to Hell (“Abaddon” is the name of the angel of the Abyss in Rev. 9:11). That’s not a good option. Paul uses similar terminology in I Corinthians 7.

Do like Job. Make a covenant with God about your eyes. It will take a promise - a commitment on your part - and it will take a lot of His help.

How’s it bouncing today?

New Testament: Hebrews 8

The computer world has all but redefined the word “obsolete”. It used to be things would last for awhile. Now, when you buy a new computer or some software, it’s practically obsolete before you get it home from the store.

In the Old Covenant, also known as the Mosaic Covenant, God made a purposefully limited product which lasted very well for 1400+ years. It was never intended to be permanent. Eventually it reached obsolescence. It’s purposes were limited from the start but it did fulfill them very well:
  1. To display the holiness of God and identify the standard of holiness required to have fellowship with Him.
  2. To identify and reveal sin.
  3. To reveal man’s inability and need of atonement.
  4. To condemn sinners (to provide the basis for judgment).
  5. To point man to the holiness of Messiah, our Savior (it was a “schoolmaster to bring us to Christ”, Gal. 3:24).
  6. To motivate man to obedience and praise.
The Old Covenant was good but the New Covenant is better. It’s better because it provides for:
  1. A Superior Interior - It offers internal motivation and power instead of external lists (vs. 10a).
  2. A Superior Relationship - It is based on a close relationship instead of one that is fearful and distant (vs. 10b).
  3. A Superior Knowledge - It provides confidence and assurance instead of insecurity and uncertainty (vs. 11)
  4. A Superior Forgiveness - It emphasizes forgiveness and mercy instead of failure and wrong (vs. 12).
Toward the end of the chapter, the author refers to how this new covenant will make the first one obsolete (Heb. 8:13). It was in God’s plan from the start but it took the progressive revelation of both Testaments to unroll the full plan.

Note on the New Covenant:
Some have taught that this New Covenant refers only to the nation of Israel (J.N. Darby) while others think that the Church has replaced Israel (Lenski, Allis, Covenant Theology in general). Some dispensationalists taught that there are two New Covenants - one for Israel and one for the Church (Chafer, Ryrie, Walvoord). But the extensive quote from Jeremiah 31:31-34 here in Hebrews 8 is a strong argument that there is only one New Covenant, given initially to Israel but applied to the Church also (Scofield, most recent dispensationalists). How can this be? The answer lies in Abraham’s spiritual descendants (Rom. 4 and Gal. 3). Believers in this age have been included in the Promise given to Abraham which is foundational to both the Old and the New Covenants.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Daily Reflections from Scripture:

Old Testament: Job 24-28

Going after wisdom is likened to the effort of mining treasures from the earth. The opening verses of this chapter (Job 28:1-11) are a rich source of metallurgical information and have led archaeologists to some unexpected discoveries in places like the Timnah Valley in southern Israel. Evidence for men dangling in shafts (Job 28:4) and tunneling through rock at the “roots of mountains” (Job 28:9-10) has been found.

But this is not a chapter about archaeology. After the opening Job asks, “Where can wisdom be found?” and then describes its high value with references to precious metals and semi-precious stones (Job 28:12-19). He then repeats the question (Job 28:20), “Where can wisdom be found?” This is also not a chapter about metallurgy or lapidary.

Job begins the answer, learned through his own difficult pilgrimage, in Job 28:23 - “God understands the way to it and he alone knows where it dwells....” There follows a brief description of God’s qualifications:
  • omniscience (Job 28:24) - “he sees everything”
  • omnipotence (Job 28:25) - “he established the force”
  • sovereignty (Job 28:26) - “he made a decree”
  • justice (Job 28:27) - “he looked...and appraised...conformed...tested”
  • revelation (Job 28:28) - “he said to man”
Did you notice? The Lord spoke! Aren’t you glad? Where would we be if He had not chosen to reveal Himself and speak to man? We’d probably be left to inventing silly stories about man descending from monkeys. Or left to killing our babies to control our population and make our own lives “better”. Or left to encouraging one another to be more loving and accept same-sex marriages and alternate life-styles. Or left to investing ever greater sums of money in prisons and law enforcement so we can hide away (in comfort) all the evil we can catch.

No! God has spoken and He has revealed His standard to man and it starts with this:

The fear of the Lord - that is wisdom,
And to shun evil is understanding. (Job 28:28)

New Testament: Hebrews 7

Have you ever noted how some jobs just don’t stay done? Sometimes they need doing again before you even have a chance to turn around. A mother’s work is proverbial - it’s never done!

Well, that’s not true of Jesus’ work. His work was done once-for-all and never had to be repeated. Nor will it ever need to be in the future. That’s because He offers...

1) A BETTER PRIESTHOOD (Heb. 7:11-14) - It’s a royal priesthood (from the tribe of Judah, not Levi). It’s an indissoluble priesthood (He’s “a priest forever”). It’s an uninterrupted priesthood (it is “permanent” - the Greek term aparabatos is a legal term meaning “inviolable”, “unalterable”, “non-transferable”).

2) A BETTER HOPE (Heb. 7:15-19) - The weakness of the old order is replaced by the wonder of the new order whereby we can draw near to God. It’s the difference between knowing about God and knowing God!

3) A BETTER COVENANT (Heb. 7:20-22) - The Old Covenant could not atone for sin (Heb. 10:4,11), impart spiritual life (Heb. 9:9), clear the conscience (Heb. 9:9), or provide individual, personal access to God. The New Covenant brings full atonement (I Pet. 2:24), true life (John 11:25-26), cleansing of the conscience (Heb. 9:14), and open access to God the Father (John 14:6).

4) A BETTER PRIEST (Heb. 7:23-26) - He is indestructible (“lives forever”, “permanent priesthood”), inexhaustible (“he is able to save completely”), our intermediary (“those who come to God through him”), and our intercessor (“always lives to intercede”).

5) A BETTER SACRIFICE (Heb. 7:27-28) - He is ineffable (“exalted above the heavens”, “perfect forever”), impeccable (“holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners”), inimitable (“unlike the other high priests”), and indispensable (“the oath...appointed the Son”).

All my life-long I had panted
For a drink from some cool spring,
That I hoped would quench the burning
Of the thirst I felt within.

Hallelujah! I have found Him
Whom my soul so long has craved!
Jesus satisfies my longings,
Through His blood I now am saved.

Poor I was, and sought for riches,
Something that would satisfy,
But the dust I gathered round me
Only mocked my soul’s sad cry.

Well of water, ever springing,
Bread of Life so rich and free,
Untold wealth that never faileth,
My Redeemer is to me.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Daily Reflections from Scripture:

Old Testament: Job 21-23

The last thing in the world that you want is for God to leave you alone! You’ve probably heard someone’s testimony of when they told God to get off their back, as if He were some leech to be flicked away. When He goes, He takes everything with Him. When He forsook His son, even the lights of the world went out for three hours.

Job tells of some who say to God, “Leave us alone! We have no desire to know your ways. Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him? What would we gain by praying to him?” (Job 21:14-15). The result? Read on. Their lamp is snuffed out; calamity comes upon them; they’re like straw in a wind. Eliphaz gets this part right in the next chapter when he refers to these people (Job 22:17) and advises them to “Submit to God and be at peace with him...then the Almighty will be your gold...then you will find delight in the Almighty...” (Job 22:21f).

The context of the book seems to indicate that the words of Job’s worthless physicians and miserable comforters are mere theory. Though they sometimes get it right (not everything they say is false), theirs is not the advice of one who’s been through the fire. Job speaks out from the crucible of divine testing. From the midst of his struggles he can say,

He knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold...I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread. (Job 23:10-12)
He is true gold and He produces His gold in us. Have you treasured His words today?

New Testament: Hebrews 6

One commentator says it is “one of the most disputed [texts] of the New Testament”. Another calls it the “Rubik’s Cube of the Bible”. Hebrews 6 is one of the most notoriously hard passages of Scripture.

First, it helps to look at what these people have done (Heb. 6:4-8). In their doctrine, they are “slow to learn” (Heb. 5:11) and “not acquainted with teaching” (Heb. 5:13). In their duty, they “ought to be teachers” (Heb. 5:12,14). In their diet, they should have moved beyond “milk” to “solid food” (Heb. 5:13). In their destination, they should by now be able to “go on to maturity” (Heb. 6:1). Instead, five participles define where they are spiritually:
  • “once been enlightened” = regeneration (used thus in 10:32)
  • “tasted the heavenly gift” = experienced (Christ “tasted” death in 2:9)
  • “shared in the Holy Spirit”
  • “tasted the goodness of the word of God”
  • “[tasted] the powers of the coming age”
  • “if they fall away” (there is no “if” in Greek)
The Greek term parapipto is not the normal word for “apostasy” (apestate - see Heb. 3:12 where it is used!). This “falling away” is used only here in the N.T. but it is used eight times in the Septuagint for the Hebrew term ma’al, which means “to act unfaithfully”. Therefore, this does not mean that these people have lost their salvation. It means that they have drifted away from Christ.

So, who are these people? There are four different primary views in answer to this:
  1. These are saved persons who subsequently lose their salvation. These are terms we would use to describe believers, not unbelievers. But look at Romans 8:28-39; John 10:28-30; and Hebrews 8:12. There is no such thing as being saved a second time.
  2. This is a hypothetical argument to warn immature believers. If they could fall away (which is impossible to do), it would be impossible to bring them back to repentance. But, what kind of “warning” is it, if it can’t really happen? (Furthermore, there is no “if” in the Greek text.)
  3. These are professing Christians whose apostasy proves that their faith was not genuine (I John 2:19). They are “enlightened” but not on fire; they “tasted” but did not digest; they are “partakers” but not possessors. But: these are not descriptions of an unregenerate person!
  4. They are saved persons who backslide to the point of divine judgment. It involves a decisive refusal to mature. They are nothroi (“sluggish”, “slow to learn”, and “lazy” in Heb. 5:11 and 6:12.
What about me? I need to move on to good deeds (Heb. 6:9-10) and I need to move on with great diligence (Heb. 6:11-12). As a believer, I can fail to achieve God’s purpose for my life and can forfeit earthly blessings that He has planned for me.

May it never be!

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Monday, July 28, 2014


Daily Reflections from Scripture:

Old Testament: Job 17-20

Though Job seems to have taken a wrong turn in his interpretation of the events of his life, his description of them (Job 19:6-22) is truly distressing:
  • I’m stripped of my honor (Job 19:9)
  • everything around me is crumbling and falling down (Job 19:10)
  • I’m under attack from every direction - even God himself (Job 19:11-12)
  • all my family and friends have abandoned me (Job 19:13-17)
  • my wife won’t let me kiss her (Job 19:17)
  • even little kids won’t have anything to do with me (Job 19:18)
Sometimes the best thing you can do in such a situation is to return to one rock-solid truth and start all over again. Sometimes it’s the only thing you can do. Find one absolute certainty and rebuild upon it.

Francis Schaeffer told of the time he had to do that. Even after years of ministry, first as pastor in America and then as evangelist/apologist in Switzerland, he faced a crisis of faith and had to get away and start over from scratch. During several days alone with God and his Bible in the Alps, he reexamined and rebuilt his hope in God.

Here’s my rock-solid starting point:
  1. There is a God.
  2. He has chosen to reveal himself.
  3. That revelation is found in Scripture.
The Bible is the self-revelation of the eternal God. He has revealed himself in nature but that is primarily sufficient to understand that He exists and that He is powerful (Rom. 1:20 & Ps. 19:1). There are some truths about Him that will be known only in eternity but the Bible is sufficient for every need we have.

However, Job didn’t have the Bible yet. In fact, he probably lived in the patriarchal days, some 600 years before the first words of Scripture were ever recorded. His statement of rock-solid faith probably came by direct revelation from God:

I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.... In my flesh I will see God...with my own eyes.... How my heart yearns within me! (Job 19:25-27)

New Testament: Hebrews 5


There’s been enough time. By now we should be in spiritual college instead of still doing ABC’s in kindergarten! Unless you’ve only recently been saved, there’s no excuse for still being unskilled in using the Word.

There’s been enough teaching. Maybe you’ve only gotten milk and very little solid food. If you’re still eating baby food, it might be your own fault - you get what you demand. Too hard? Is it hard because of the difficulty of the revelation? or because of the density of the reception?

There’s been enough truth. Just a glance at the list in Hebrews 6:2 should bring some conviction. Where do you stand on those doctrines? Could you explain them to someone else satisfactorily? Can you “distinguish good from evil”? That can only come from “constant use” (Heb. 5:14).


Don’t be dull. The meaning of “slow to learn” in Hebrews 5:11 is “dullness” or “sluggishness”. This is something that comes upon the believer gradually. The process is described in previous chapters: drift (2:1-3) leads to doubt (ch. 3-4), which leads to dullness. Being dull prevents further understanding. It is unproductive and requires being taught all over again (Heb. 5:12).

Move on to maturity. Though it’s part of the next chapter, Hebrews 6:1 is linked with a “therefore” and must be kept together with what we’ve been seeing here in chapter five. Maturity is defined as being trained by constant use of Scripture to distinguish good from evil. Actually the part about “go on to” is passive and means to “be moved along to”, i.e. not personal effort but personal surrender to an active influence.

Maturity is...
  • teaching vs. being taught
  • coming to understand vs. struggling forever
  • seeking unity vs. promoting disunity
  • studying for yourself vs. accepting others’ opinions
  • active faith vs. apathetic coldness
  • confidence vs. fear
  • using God’s Word vs. deciding for yourself

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Sunday, July 27, 2014


Daily Reflections from Scripture:

Old Testament: Job 14-16

Time! We all have exactly the same quantity. Rich or poor, you can’t buy any more. Not even Bill Gates can purchase more time. He can figure out ways to use it better but so can we.

Today’s texts have a lot to say about time:
  • Job 14:5 - “Man’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.”
  • Job 14:6 - “put in his time”
  • Job 14:13 - “set me a time”
  • Job 15:7 - “brought forth before the hills” (= “as old as the hills”)
  • Job 15:20 - “all his days...all the years stored up for him”
  • Job 15:32 - “before his time”
  • Job 16:22 - “Only a few years will pass before I go on the journey of no return.”
Minutes are a precious commodity. They are an asset that is deposited in our account every day. We must use them wisely. What we squander, we lose. Or worse. We can cast them onto the debit side and will have to make up for them later. In the end, we will give an accounting for all of them.

They are also like a coupon book. We can turn in a few and get a better deal. They can be invested wisely and bring rich dividends later. We can “redeem time” by filling it with good.

“Thank you Lord for giving me time to accomplish everything You intend for me to do. Help me to use it wisely and well. Help me, above all, to use it for You.”

New Testament: Hebrews 4

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Heb. 4:12-13)

What are the qualities that make for a good sword? It must have...
  • good steel - so it won’t break easily under stress
  • a sharp point - so it will penetrate the toughest skin
  • a razor edge - so it will slice and divide asunder
  • a solid grip - so you may hold on to it firmly
How is such a weapon rendered most effective?
  • you must be thoroughly familiar with it (know how it works, know all its various parts well)
  • you must be prepared to use it (a weapon can’t do it’s job without someone to wield it)
  • you must use it properly (otherwise, it can be a danger both to you and to others)
How does the Bible stack up in this evaluation?
  • it is “living” = able to produce life (regenerate)
  • it is “active/powerful” = energetic (from energes), able to transform
  • it is “sharp” = for defense and punishment
  • it is “penetrating” = piercing (a bad attitude, a closed mind, a rebellious spirit, a lustful heart)
  • it is “discerning” = dividing and judging (from kritikos) both thoughts (what) and intents (why)
How do you rate on weapon usage?
  • are you thoroughly familiar with it?
  • are you prepared to use it?
  • do you use it properly?

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Saturday, July 26, 2014


Daily Reflections from Scripture:

Old Testament: Job 10-13

Can you “talk back” to God? If your answer to that question is “no” then you’ll have to do some explaining to Abraham, Moses, and David. And to Job.

As our children grow older, there comes a point at which we encourage them to talk back to us. Not in rebellion but in mature interaction. Healthy engagement is part of growing up. It may not always be easily definable but there is a red line over which they may not cross. Both they and we can sense when things have gone too far. An outsider (like Zophar in chapter eleven), hearing our conversation might not understand. The words and/or tone might convey the wrong idea.

So it is with Job and his conversations with God in this book. Don’t forget God’s evaluation of Job in the first two chapters (1:8 and 2:3). We’re dealing with a very mature child of God here. We’re being allowed to eavesdrop on an interchange that builds all the way through chapter 37. Then the heavens split open and justice rolls down in Job 38. At times Job gets dangerously close to the red line. Sometimes it even looks like he crosses it but the Heavenly Father lets him keep talking. We learn some things about prayer in the process.

(1) The purpose of prayer is not to change God but to change us. Prayer changes things? Yes! It changes us. We don’t change God’s mind. Though He chooses to listen to us, we don’t change the way He does things. We don’t change the outcome of things. Would we if we could? How presumptuous to even think so. Instead, we want to submit to His will in all matters. Prayer helps us to bow before Him appropriately and acknowledge His sovereignty.

(2) The process of prayer is more important than the words we use. If Job could edit the book written about him, I’m willing to bet he’d take out some things. He’s probably embarrassed by some of his own words and wishes they weren’t flapping in the breeze for everyone to read. I don’t want everyone to hear me when I bare my soul before the Lord. Job shows us that it’s okay to pour our heart out to God. He already knows but He has encouraged us to do it anyway. Sometimes the very articulation of those thoughts to Him helps us see things more clearly.

(3) The power of prayer is evident in the slightest of answers. It’s always hardest when God says “later” rather than giving an immediate yes or no. Job had to wait it out but God was actually answering prayer long before Job felt he got his answer. Even the on-going conversation with his miserable comforters was part of God’s way of answering Job’s prayer. Job was being used of God even as he waited.

It’s like the Murphy’s Law calendar page: “They said, ‘Cheer up, things could be worse.’ So I cheered up and, sure enough, things got worse.” Even when things got way worse, Job didn’t give up. He says, “though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him” (13:15). Prayer can do that for you.

New Testament: Hebrews 3

A few years ago now, Hank Williams, Jr. had a song with an [unintentional] spiritual application:

Your cheatin' heart will tell on you
Your cheatin' heart will make you weep
You'll cry and cry and try to sleep
But sleep won't come the whole night through
Your cheatin' heart will tell on you
When tears come down like falling rain
You'll toss around and call my name
You'll walk the floor the way
I do your cheatin' heart will tell on you

The author of Hebrews speaks of a hardened heart (Heb. 3:7-11). God’s sentence for Israel’s sin was because they provoked God when they:
  1. didn’t hear His voice
  2. hardened their hearts (c.f. vs. 13 & 15)
  3. rebelled
  4. tested and tried Him
  5. went astray in their own hearts
  6. never really knew Him
Or, you might have a straying heart (Heb. 3:10,12-14). You need to protect your heart (vs. 12 - “see to it”). You need to help each other (vs. 13 - “encourage one another daily”). You need to persevere (vs. 14 - “hold firmly till the end”).

What you must especially guard against is an unbelieving heart (Heb. 3:12,16-19). This can be the result of the deceitfulness of sin (vs. 10), the disobedience of rebellion (vs. 8,15,16), or the doubts of unbelief (vs. 12,19), but it must be dealt with. Put the stethoscope of God’s Word to your heart! Has stress and anxiety raised your pressure lately?

Remember this:
  1. Faithfulness flows from a clear and healthy view of Jesus. It involves the INTELLECT.
  2. Faithfulness involves choosing obedience based on trust in God. It involves the WILL.
  3. Faithfulness grows from an encouraging association with the community of faith. It involves EMOTIONS.

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Friday, July 25, 2014


Daily Reflections from Scripture:

Old Testament: Job 7-9

How good we are at self-defense. Just look at some of Job’s rationalizations, whining, and self-serving arguments:
  1. Few people have gone through what I have. I have a right to complain. (Job 6:1-7)
  2. Sometimes I wish God would just take me home. There’s really not much reason for me to still be here anyway. (Job 6:8-13)
  3. No one seems to understand what I’ve been going through. I don’t have anyone I can unload on. (Job 6:14-21)
  4. I don’t ask for much. You’d think a person could expect a little more consideration. Instead, all I get is condemnation from you. (Job 6:22-30)
  5. Life is so hard. Sometimes the days seem to drag and sometimes I wonder where the time has gone, but one thing’s sure - it’s messed up either way. (Job 7:1-10)
  6. Get off my back! Will you just lay off for awhile? I’m sick and tired of this. (Job 7:11-21)
Have you heard these things before? Have you been guilty of saying or thinking some of them yourself? Doesn’t it tire you out even to just read them? We’ll have to wait until the end of the book to hear God’s answers but, for now, consider the following advise:
  1. Stop and listen to yourself. Would you like to hear that coming from someone else? Would you put up with it?
  2. Develop some thicker skin. Let some of this stuff slide off. Don’t take everything so personally.
  3. Get yourself a project. Get your eyes off your own problems and help someone else who’s really in need.
Indeed, Job’s response to Bildad (chapter 9) demonstrates some spiritual maturity:
  1. I know you’re right. I just need to get my eyes back on the Lord. (Job 9:1-10)
  2. I need to shut up for awhile. I know He’s in control and I just need to listen to Him again. (Job 9:11-24)
  3. Life is too short to live this way. I don’t want to blow it. I don’t understand some things but I know you can help me Lord. (Job 9:25-35)
As the Jewish saying goes, “From your mouth to God’s ears!”

New Testament: Hebrews 2

If you stop to think about it, it is pretty amazing. That the Son of God, God himself, should call us “brothers” is nearly incredible.

Nearly, but not. It’s not incredible because God tells us it’s true and anything God says is eminently credible. In this case, He also give us a reason why it had to be that way. Since Jesus came not to help angels but to help Abraham’s descendants, “he had to be made like his brothers in every way” (Heb. 2:17).

The topic of Abraham’s descendants had already received significant attention elsewhere in Scripture. Paul developed the fact that Abraham has physical descendants (the Jewish people through Isaac and Jacob) and spiritual descendants (all who believe God’s promise as Abraham did). Galatians 3 and Romans 4 both speak of Abraham’s offspring being heirs of the Promise. Both explain how Gentiles have been included in the Covenant.

But the author of Hebrews is writing to a Jewish audience for who being a descendant of Abraham is a precious truth but not a new concept. Rather, they would be deeply moved by the thought that God became a man and dwelt among us. This was such a foreign idea to them that it needed some serious explanation and proof. Jesus had to be made like us - as a brother in every way.

Why? This passage in Hebrews gives us three initial reasons:
  1. “that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest” (Heb. 2:17b). For most of the rest of the book this truth receives attention and further explanation. He was able to enter the Holy Place once and for ever to obtain our eternal redemption.
  2. “that he might make atonement for the sins of the people” (Heb. 2:17c). By offering Himself as the spotless Lamb of God, He accomplished full atonement for us. The last Adam gives life (I Cor. 15:45-49) and we who “have borne the likeness of earthly man...[will] bear the likeness of the man from heaven”.
  3. that He might be “able to help those who are being tempted” (Heb. 2:18). Since He was “tempted in all points like as we are” (Heb. 4:15), but didn’t ever sin, we can “find grace to help in our time of need”.
Yes, if you stop to think about it, it is pretty amazing that the Son of God should call us His “brothers”. It’s nearly incredible. Nearly, but gloriously not.

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