Friday, December 18, 2015

The Vision (12.18.15): Let us hold fast our profession

Image:  CRBC baptism service, August 2015

Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession (Hebrews 4:14).

At the end of Hebrews 4:14, the inspired author draws to the point.  Given the reality of Christ, the great high priest, he exhorts his hearers not to abandon the faith which they have embraced and professed.  Thus, “let us hold fast [krateo, the verb means to grasp, to hold, to seize, or even, to arrest] our profession.”

What is meant by the term “profession”?  The Greek word is homologia and it is usually translated as profession or confession.  It is the declaration of one’s fundamental faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Compare:

Matthew 10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Christianity requires public identification with Christ and public confession of one’s faith in Christ.  In the revivalistic days of the American frontier making a profession of faith came to be associated with having some special religious experience or “walking the aisle.”  This became an almost third sacrament (alongside the Biblical ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper) in many churches.  But when we look at Scripture, it appears that the public stand for Christ and the public declaration of faith in Christ came at one’s baptism.  The experience of the Ethiopian Eunuch sets the pattern:

Acts 8:35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. 36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

The inspired author of Hebrews is likely urging those who have professed faith in Christ and who have been baptized upon that profession not to waiver from that profession.

We might add that the foundational means the Lord has given us for the renewal and reaffirmation of our faith in Christ is the Lord’s Supper.  Again, frontier evangelicals invented the idea of “rededication.”  But Biblical rededication comes through the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper as a man examines himself and then takes the bread and cup in obedience to Christ’s command and in renewal of his commitment to Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:28).

Indeed, seeing that we have Christ as our great high priest, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess in him.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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