How does God do it?

Here’s a puzzle for Bible scholars. What is the most important thought contained in the Old Testament?

There may be some discussion of this question, but certainly, some would turn to these words in Deuteronomy.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart” (Deuteronomy 6:4-6).

There is no question that the reality of one God, who has revealed himself to the Hebrew people, is an essential fact of history.

The next statement contains a command and an awesome opportunity. The one God of the universe wants us to love him.

Love is not a one-sided affair and neither is it ephemeral. The one God who commands our love permits humans to experience his love in a real and personal way.

A love relationship with God is experienced in the inner self, the heart.

In the face of such a profound opportunity, the human heart is unfortunately “an evil, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God” (Hebrews 3.12).

Jesus makes a way.

Jesus both made the way for humans to experience the three aspects of Deuteronomy 6, but he also modeled how to do it.

Hebrews quotes Psalm 40, Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,

“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
but a body you have prepared for me;

In burnt offerings and sin offerings
you have taken no pleasure.

Then I said, ‘See, I have come to do your will, O God’
(in the scroll of the book it is written of me).” (Hebrews 10.5-7)

Jesus’ perfect obedience enables us to love God from the heart.

And it is by God’s will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all (Hebrews 10.10).

Jesus has cleansed us from the pollution and dominion of sin, so we can have access to the Father. As the Ultimate High Priest and sacrifice, Jesus paved the way for humans to interact with God.

A genuine relationship with God creates the environment where we can obey his command and opportunity to live in a loving relationship with him.

The best is yet to come.

Hebrews contrasts the work of priests with Jesus, the Ultimate High Priest. In the picture of that contrast, the letter points us to the Second Coming of Christ.

First, we remember the actions of the priest.

And every priest stands day after day at his service, offering again and again the same sacrifices that can never take away sins (Hebrews 10.11).

Notice, how things change with the Ultimate High Priest.

But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, “he sat down at the right hand of God,”

And since then has been waiting “until his enemies would be made a footstool for his feet” (Hebrews 10.12-13).

Hebrews interprets Psalm 110.1 and 4, informing us that Jesus is at the right hand of Majesty and prepared to conquer his enemies at the Second Coming.

Once again, we return to the prophecy in Jeremiah, as it is applied to us.

And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying,

“This is the covenant that I will make with them
after those days, says the Lord:
I will put my laws in their hearts,
and I will write them on their minds,” (Hebrews 10.15-16)

How do the work of Christ and the new covenant apply to us?

God says, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more” (Hebrews 10.17).

We are the privileged heirs who live in the time of fulfillment. We have the opportunity through the work of Jesus and the Holy Spirit to fully live in the opportunity of Deuteronomy 6.

We are free from the bondage to sin to live in a loving relationship with God.

YouTube Video

Rudy Ross and I talk about Hebrews today on YouTube. You can see the video on the Bob Spradling channel.

I am indebted to Gareth Lee Cockerill’s commentary on Hebrews for the information contained in this blog.

Please email your prayer request to bsprad49@gmail.com. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.

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