Friday, January 15, 2016

The Vision (1.15.16): Weak Yet Beloved Saints

Note:  This devotion taken from last Sunday morning’s sermon at CRBC on Hebrews 6:7-10.

Hebrews 6:7 For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: 8 But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. 9 But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.

In Hebrews 6:7-8, the inspired author is challenging his hearers (and through them, us) to self-examination:  What type of ground are we?  Are we the cultivated and blessed ground (v. 7) or are we the barren and thorn infested and rejected ground whose end is burning (v. 8)?

He brings this very dire message home to the first recipients, however, in a very hopeful and, we might even say, an unexpectedly encouraging manner in v. 9.  He has issued a dire warning (6:4-8), but he has done so out of a heart of brotherly love and concern.  Rather than thinking the worst of these Hebrews to whom he writes, he instead assumes the best.  He assumes that they are genuine Christians no matter how misguided they might have been.

We see this in the title he gives to those he addresses in v. 9:  “But, beloved.”  They are “beloved.”  Not only are they beloved of this inspired servant of God, the author of Hebrews, but, most importantly, they are beloved of God.  In Colossians 3:12 Paul describes believers as “the elect of God, holy and beloved.”   In 2 Thessalonians 2:13 he describes the believers as “brethren, beloved of the Lord.”  They are beloved of God, because, as Paul said in Ephesians 1:6, they have been “made accepted in the beloved,” the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Father loves the Son, and when we are in the Son, we too become the objects of that Fatherly love.

Imagine you are among the backslidden Hebrews who are receiving this letter for the first time, and it is being read aloud.  You hear the dire warning that is here contained, including this description of those who are a spiritual wasteland turned over to their own ends (v. 8), and then you hear this:  “But, beloved, we are persuaded of better things of you and things that accompany [echo:  to have or hold] salvation, though we speak thus.”

What does this give you but relief, encouragement, assurance?  You are weak but not dead.  You are still beloved of God.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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