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14 On this earth we don't have a city that lasts forever, but we are waiting for such a city. 15 Our sacrifice is to keep offering praise to God in the name of Jesus. 16 But don't forget to help others and to share your possessions with them. This too is like offering a sacrifice that pleases God. ~ Hebrews 13:14-16
Today, we return to our study of the book of Hebrews. We return to the practical part of the book, the last chapter wherein the question, "What difference does knowing all of this doctrine make in my everyday life?" is answered. Someone once said, "We should not be so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly good."
In v.14 of today's passage we read, "On this earth we don't have a city that lasts forever, but we are waiting for such a city."
The Lord Jesus Christ died to bring us into a personal relationship with God. He died so that we would stop trying to make this earth that we currently live on, our paradise. When man sinned, we were introduced to time, and with time, we were introduced to the temporal and the uncertain. Sin is not original, it has not always existed. And, when God created this world, out of nothing, He demonstrated that He alone is independent, absolute, and eternal. But, the sin of man wrecked what God made that was all good. As a result, nothing in this world, apart from the spirits and souls of all men and the word of God, will endure beyond the temporary. This world and all that is in it has an expiration date, and time as we know it, will one day come to an end.
The Lord Jesus' death on the cross was an utter necessity for hopeless and sinful man. With Him at the helm of our lives, our whole approach to life is being changed. In fact, the longer I walk with Him, I discover myself moving toward need, not comfort. With Him at the helm of our lives, we find ourselves looking for a city that has a totally different orientation, a city that is yet to come. But, when it comes, we will know all that which we have long longed for while on this earth. Radical confidence in a glorious future with God is what Christ died to produce in our everlasting existence.
In v.15 of today's passage we read, "Our sacrifice is to keep offering praise to God in the name of Jesus."
When we were introduced to the Lord Jesus, we were introduced to eternity and eternity's language is a sacrifice of praise. Through His work on the cross, the Lord Jesus has saved us completely, made us perfect forever in God’s eyes, set us free from our fear of death, and now, He lives to grant us an intimate and personal relationship with Himself for eternity. Nothing can separate us from the love of God that is found in the Lord Jesus. This is the fuel for our praise that expresses itself in our choices to sacrifice our possessions and our very existence.
According to Ecclesiastes 3:11, eternity is placed in the heart of all humans at the point of conception. We are born with the desire to reach beyond. This explains our dreams for a better life. Our problem is our view of a better life has been stunted by the debilitating effects of sin in our lives. And, with the introduction of sin into our existence, covetousness was born. But, God's remedy to our covetousness is His grace.
The grace of God is not a leaky faucet, it is a massive breach in the main water line. Grace is not an autumn mist, it is a torrential downpour. The kind that brings flash flooding. And it floods our souls with the overwhelming love of God, only if we let it. Many believers do not enjoy all of the benefits of the New Covenant because deep down we still believe that our sin is greater than God’s grace in our lives. Nothing could be further from the truth. All of our sins were removed through the precious blood of the Lord Jesus on the cross. Hebrews 10 makes it clear that the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus has perfected believers forever.
As a result, our sin and its destruction upon our psyche does not stop God’s grace from flowing in our lives. We, with our poor theology, are the only ones who can stop the incredible work of grace within. Grace is unearned and unmerited by you and me. Oh, it cost the Lord Jesus more than we can imagine. It is His grace that is the antidote to our covetous sin. Many believers in Christ desperately try to be better Christians through their adherence to the Law of Moses. They lack the understanding that the Law was given to expose our sin. In fact, the Law of Moses has no power to stop sin in our lives. Spirituality is not morality, it is a life rendered in the life of the yielded believer in Christ by the abiding Spirit of God who lives in each of us.
In v.16 of today's passage we read, "But don't forget to help others and to share your possessions with them. This too is like offering a sacrifice that pleases God."
We learned back in Hebrews 11, the only thing we humans can do that brings pleasure to God is our faith. And, when we lose sight of His grace, we lose sight of His faithfulness which is what creates faith in us in the first place. But, when we discover how to wallow in His grace, we will be mindful of others, mindful enough to help them and to share our possessions with them. When we make generous and sacrificial use of our earthly possessions, we declare that our treasure is in heaven, not on this earth. When our hearts are set on seeking the city that is to come, we will be set free from bondage of this world's wealth and we will gladly give generously as yet another act of praise to the God who gave us His only begotten Son.