Friday 30 October 2015

Bible Book:

] has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” (v. 14)

Hebrews 10:11-18 Friday 30 October 2015

Psalm: Psalm 119:17-32


This passage repeats what has been writtenalready in this Letter. Is the author simply being boring? Or arethey trying to get their mind around something dramatically new andbarely comprehensible: all they can think to do is to re-state theone way they have found of announcing the good news?

It's not that God has changed. Rather, onreflection, the author sees that God has persistently been nudginghumanity to a particular understanding - through God's engagementwith Israel. This produced amazing insights (which only now comeinto focus: they are enshrined in Psalm110 and Jeremiah 31:31-34, for example). But they wereblurred by misunderstanding and behaviour that undermined all God'sefforts to relate to people. Now, at last, in Jesus, God hasdelivered a game-changing breakthrough. The truth is out. Nothingwill ever be the same again.

Completely new ways of understanding God's willand ways, of worshipping God and living for God have to be workedthrough. But here and now the author of Hebrews is in the earlyflush of celebrating the 'paradigm shift' that has taken place.

Jesus, inspired by the Spirit, learned obedienceof God and lived - and died - in God's way. This brought into theopen what God has always wanted and worked for. God does not holdour dreadful behaviour against us or require penance (throughanimal sacrifices or any other procedure). God freely forgives andgladly welcomes people who trust in God into a fellowship andcommunion in which growth and change towards holiness can takeplace.

Jesus, for his part, is not only rightly honouredas the pioneer of our salvation. He has been affirmed by God. Thereis complete synergy between God's heart and will and what Jesus wasall about (in particular in his self-offering).

The regular (daily) sacrificial system proposedfor Israel in parts of the Old Testament is definitively finished.Faith is now not about 'religion' (in the cultic sense). It isabout trusting God to help and guide a morally serious explorationof human responsibility in everyday living. It is a way of lifethat is peppered with acts of thanksgiving and songs of praise.

To Ponder

  • God persistently nudges humanity to understand God's will andways. How do Christians perceive insights in other faithcommunities or in the everyday life of secular people which deepenour understanding or enrich our living?
  • If God's will and ways have been definitively revealed inJesus, how (in your experience) do we help one another in theChurch to make his character and spirit attractive to people whohave never taken him seriously?

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