Turn to Jesus, not the Law for salvation. He is a perfect High Priest.

“For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.” (Heb 7:26)

Keeping the Law doesn’t save, but Jesus does. The law in what we refer to as the Old Testament doesn’t provide us with salvation because it cannot make us perfect (Heb 7:19). But Jesus is a better hope. He makes it possible for us to draw near to a perfect God. Our verse this morning highlights the reason. Jesus is holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners in every way.

If we place our trust in rules and regulations, if we believe keeping the law and adhering to the commandments will make us righteous, we are sadly mistaken. The Law made it possible for man to live in God’s presence. Not through our goodness, but through the sacrifices the priesthood offered daily on man’s behalf. It was that covering for sin that allowed man to live in the presence of God.

Jesus is that covering for us today. Except He is a perfect covering. One that will not end. He is a priest according to the order of Melchizedek. A priest who has no beginning and ending. A priesthood completely different from the old order (Heb 7:17; 22; 25). Jesus, then, is able to save to the uttermost, making intercession for us as a faithful and eternal high priest (Heb 7:25).

Turn to Jesus, not the Law for salvation. He is a perfect High Priest.

You are a theologian, be a good one.

“But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

(Heb 5:14)

You are a theologian. You may not believe yourself to be a theologian but you are one. You have an opinion about God. You believe He does and doesn’t operate in one way or another. You even tell others what you believe about God from time to time. Your belief causes you to act in a certain way. You are a theologian. 

You may not be a very good theologian, but you are one. As Christians, we should want to be good theologians. Our understanding of God should be accurate. The only way we will have an accurate understanding of God is if we are in a constant state of growth. 

When we come to faith in Christ, we have ideas about God. But those ideas need to be adjusted and shaped. Our wrong thoughts about God need to be replaced with right thoughts about Him. As well as what we don’t know needs to be sured up. 

Sadly, many Christians don’t grow in their knowledge of God. They are happy to exist with the knowledge they already possessed. Or they are happy to remain in an immature state. But remaining immature like little babes is not a mark of a good theologian. It doesn’t benefit us nor does it benefit those with whom we live in community. In the previous verse, the writer chastises those who are immature when he says, 

“for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.

(Heb 5:13)

Those who are immature are unskilled. They are not able to handle the Word of God rightly, which leaves them vulnerable, unable to “distinguish good from evil.” (Heb 5:14b) and unable to accurately communicate who God is, and how they and others should live in light of who God is. 

Immaturity in the faith is not a badge of honor. It opens you and others up for harm. You are a theologian, be a good one.

By the Grace of God, you are a gift for Jesus’ glory

“To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power,” (2 Thess 1:11)

We need the prayers of the saints for our growth. As believers, we are to look after and encourage one another. We should desire to see the best for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. What could be better than their growth in Christlikeness.

Becoming more like Christ means we become more like the people God originally designed us to be. When we live according to God’s designed, life generally goes well for us. Even if we experience difficulties such as persecution or set back, we can have joy. Joy because we have hope. Hope for a future when we will see Jesus in all His glory. Joy because even in the difficulties we are able to accomplish our purpose in life, which is to glorify God. In verse 12, Paul reveals the end to which he prays,

“so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thess 1:12)

The end is Jesus glory in us and us in Him. Jesus is ultimately glorified in us, not by our work, but by the grace of God. In this way, we are a gift to Jesus for His glory. What a privilege it is to be used by the Creator of the world, the King over all, the All Sovereign Lord as a gift to His Son for His glory and our own.

Should we submit to the government?

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” (Rom 13:1)

Among all the the things we have experienced in 2020, we can add a season of political turmoil. A season that doesn’t want to end. Come January though changes will happen. Some of you may be glad for those changes while others will disagree.

Whether we agree or disagree, we are to heed the instruction found in God’s Word. We are to be subject to the governing authorities. Whether they represent our political party or not, we can be subject to them because every authority has been instituted by God. Paul even goes so far as to call them God’s servants for our good and the avenger who carries out God’s wrath (Rom 13:4).

Given some authorities bent towards immorality it is hard to believe they are put in place by God, considered His servants, and are to carry out His wrath. But God’s Word reveals that is their position. It is how the sovereign Lord uses them. Since they are appointed and used by God, we are to respect their position. We are to pray for them. Where we can, in good conscience, we are to follow their direction and the laws of the land. To be sure, God is our first ruler. Where His law would be transgressed, we are to resist, but by and large we are to respect and honor our rulers.

While we may believe that to be a radical request, Paul, the author of Romans, is writing these words while living under Roman rule. Rule that was ruthless and, at times, antithetical to and persecutor of Christianity. As Christians in the USA we experience much more freedom than those in Roman society. While many would like to erode those freedoms, we are still to trust the Lord, His wisdom, and His Word. We are to be subject to the ruling authorities for they have been instituted by God.

May the Lord strengthen your soul today!

“On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased.” (Ps 138:3)

The Lord hears the prayers of His saints. He is not a distant God. He is not asleep. We do not have to wake Him with shouts or sacrificial actions. His ears are attuned to the prayers of His people. He hears us in the morning, midday, and throughout the night. He is attentive to our needs.

Our prayers don’t go in one ear and out the other. He hears us and He answers us. To be sure, His answer doesn’t always match how we want Him to answer. But He answers our prayers. In the case of David, we learn that the Lord strengthened His soul. He did not immediately take away the difficulty he was experiencing. Instead, the Lord provided him strength so that he might continue to press on, worshipping and serving Him despite the difficulties.

May the Lord strengthen you as well. May He provide you what you need in order to keep on keeping on. In order to worship the Lord even when the world is pressing in on you. May you continue to be a witness to the Lord in the midst of a world that rejects His rightful rule over them.

May the Lord strengthen your soul today.

God showers blessings on those who align with His will

“Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways!” (Psalm 128:1)

Blessed means that God looks favorably on you. You experience divine favor. The psalm highlights God’s blessings. You are able to enjoy the fruit of your labor. Life goes well. You wife is fruitful and your children are like olive shoots. In other words, your family is growing and operating well. You experience prosperity and long life. Those who follow the Lord, who live aligned with His will experience peace and a good life as God showers His divine favor on you.

Aligning yourself with God’s will, then, not only pleases and glorifies God but we also experience benefits from God’s pleasure and glorification. These benefits are not earned per se. God is not in our debt because we align ourselves with His will. He instead willingly pours out blessings on our life at His pleasure and for our benefit.

Our God is a loving Heavenly Father who desires to give good gifts to His children. Those who desire Him live in a loving relationship with a generous and caring Heavenly Father, experiencing His blessings on their life.