Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Obedience of Faith – holding your confidence until the end; Sin equaled unbelief to the writer of Hebrews and, grace is preeminent

Paul speaks of the obedience of faith in Romans. Rom 1:5 ESV through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, The obedience of faith is a very important concept in the gospel, justification by faith and, the grace of God that saves. Paul explains in Ephesians chapter one that God created the world, knowing that the fall was necessary, choosing to redeem through Christ (the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world) to the praise of His glorious grace (Eph 1:4-6). In God’s program, his plan from before the foundation of the world…. grace was preeminent.

In studying Hebrews, chapters three and four, it becomes evident that faith in God’s grace is the absolute driving factor in obedience. The writer equates unequivocally that faith is obedience and sin is unbelief and disobedience. Further, the author of Hebrews warns the Jewish believers that it is important that they hold their original confidence through to the end.

Hebrews three and four makes several points. First, by the use of midrash, in Hebrews 3:3-7, the writer overthrows the specularia of the rabbis and establishes the concept that Jesus, not the Torah, is the final word for faith a practice Secondly, the writer compares the ..Rest.. offered in Exodus that the Israelites missed because of unbelief, with the possibility of entering the Sabbath Rest of faith and confidence in the grace of God through Christ Jesus. Third, the writer equates sin and unbelief in an overwhelming way.

Heb 3:14-19 ESV For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. (15) As it is said, "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion." (16) For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? (17) And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? (18) And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? (19) So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

First notice that I have emphasized the statement showing that one of the prerequisites for salvation is to hold the original confidence firm to the end. He is using the example of the Israelites that sinned in the wilderness…they did not believe the report of Joshua and Caleb…rather, they believed the other ten spies that claimed that there were giants in the land. They trusted what they saw and did not trust God…man oh man, isn’t there a lesson for us in that situation. We must trust God, what he has declared about us and, not necessarily what we see in ourselves. The writer goes on to explain that the reason God was angry with them was that they sinned…were disobedient and, that the sin and disobedience was unbelief…i.e, not believing God’s promise.

We enjoy the Sabbath Rest when we believe God, what he says about us…we are his righteousness in Christ… Holding this confidence to the end is the prime directive. This is the meaning of perseverance of the saints. The …rest… is the catalyst for getting on to our reasonable service (Rom 12:1-2).

1 comment:

  1. And you know what I find most interesting? God told them that He was giving them the land of Canaan; He said He was giving them the land. God’s word is bond! When He says He is going to give you something you can rest assured that is it already yours! If you cannot believe the words coming straight from God’s mouth, I do believe you have some major issues with your faith!

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