The Deceitfulness of Sin; the Faithfulness of our Savior

Sin whispers, “Is God really good?” Sin suggests, “You can do better than God’s way.” Sin befriends, “God doesn’t have your best interest at heart; I do.” Sin cajoles, “Just this once.” Sin promises, “You’re in control. You’ve got this. Nobody needs to know. You can stop at any time.”

Sin deceives.

In the Garden, our first parents believed sin’s lies that God was holding out on them, that he wasn’t really good. They were given paradise, but believed the lie that God might not be good, that there was a better way to true fulfillment. They had the privilege of walking with God in the cool of the day, but believed the lie that God hadn’t disclosed everything they truly needed. By believing and acting on the lie they learned the truth of the goodness they forfeited, the paradise they lost, and the friendship with God they’d severed. And their children have been enslaved to the deceitfulness of sin ever since.

In the wilderness, the Israelites believed sin’s lies and grumbled and complained until their hearts were hardened to the point of rebellion, provoking the God who’d rescued them from bondage to “swear in [his] wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest’” (Ps. 95:11; Heb. 3:11). The vast majority of the people who witnessed God’s mighty acts in the Egyptian plagues, who benefited from the release from slavery, who walked through the Red Sea on dry ground, and who watched the waters of that sea consume the Egyptian army not only complained against the Lord and Moses, but they accused God of rescuing them only to kill them in the promised land (Num. 14:3). “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘How long will this people despise me? And how long will they not believe in me, in spite of all the signs that I have done among them?’”  (Num. 14:11). In believing and acting on sin’s lies, they displayed their unbelief which resulted in hardened hearts that despised the Lord. Continue reading “The Deceitfulness of Sin; the Faithfulness of our Savior”

Hold Fast to Jesus

My husband Jim and I went kayaking last month on Lake Superior with a group led by our daughter Erin. (Not every post will begin with a story from that vacation, I promise) Being a good guide, she gave us a safety briefing before we began. Part of her briefing included the need to stay together. The first morning we went out there was an unusually heavy fog, which posed a higher risk of getting lost or running into danger if we didn’t pay attention and keep close to one another. Erin carries a whistle, and she explained that if we heard one toot it meant “Hey, I’m trying to get your attention, and you’re probably too far away,” two toots meant “Hold your position,” and 3 toots meant “Danger—there’s an emergency—paddle hard and get back together as quickly as possible.”

Chapter two of Hebrews begins with a safety briefing for our souls. This is the first of several warnings against apostasy in the book of Hebrews. The author is blowing his whistle to get our attention, warning us of a very real danger to which we are all liable: drifting away from the gospel truth of our great salvation by either lack of attention or neglect. He underscores his warning by harking back to the superiority of Christ which he so carefully set before us in the first chapter (that’s what the therefore is there for). For the superiority of our Lord Jesus Christ means that the salvation he accomplished at the cross and freely offers as a gift of grace is far greater than the salvation offered through the Law of Moses (the message declared by angels, Deut. 33:2; Acts 7:53). If this salvation is so much greater than the other, in which every transgression was justly punished, then the consequences of neglecting it are correspondingly higher. Continue reading “Hold Fast to Jesus”

Jesus Christ, Our Superior Prophet, Priest, and King

A few weeks ago we went to Wisconsin, along the shore of Lake Superior, for a beautiful week of vacation. The local residents love their lake, and they clearly enjoy the adjectival advantages of living next to North America’s largest lake, which is “superior in magnitude to any of the lakes on that vast continent.”[1] While there we enjoyed “superior” coffee and “superior” dining, visited “superior” orchards, and took in “superior” views. The breakfast we had our final morning there was amazing, and definitely worth going back for—Eggs Benedict over smoked trout, be still my heart! But, while these were all nice, and some of them even great, none of them were truly superior to all others in their respective categories, either in essence or substance. They were superior only by association with and in proximity to the great lake.

The first chapter of the book of Hebrews plunges straight into the superiority of our Lord Jesus Christ in his essence and being, his person and his work. Christ’s superiority over all things in heaven and earth is not by association or proximity, but is inherent to his Eternal, Immutable, Divine, and Sovereign being. Continue reading “Jesus Christ, Our Superior Prophet, Priest, and King”

Welcome to our study of Hebrews!

Dear Ones,

Our first week for our Fall Bible study is finally here! I’m excited to be meeting with you to study the remarkable book of Hebrews, and I hope you are too.

You received the notification for this post on our new-and-improved Women of Purpose blog because you have registered for the study of the book of Hebrews. Each week Kathy and I will be writing posts about the studies we are leading with the aim of capturing the gist of our lessons and discussions for those who may have missed class, and for those who wish to reflect further on what we studied together. We may also, on occasion, share articles or resources which relate to our respective studies. Our goal is always the enrichment of our understanding the Scriptures: primarily through the study of the Bible itself, and then secondarily through reliable commentary and resources.

If you haven’t already gotten your study guide, they are available in the office. (They are $8 each) If you can’t stop by to pick one up before we meet, I will have them in class on Wednesday. This week (9/22) we will be going over the first lesson, which covers the first chapter of Hebrews. Our focus will be on the ways in which God has spoken to us, and what we learn about the divinity and supremacy of Christ. We will then dig deeper into the Old Testament passages quoted by the author of Hebrews to see the light they shed on Jesus.

Please come to class with your study guide (if you already have it), your Bible, and, if you are a note-taker, a notebook and pen.

It is my sincere prayer and hope that together, as we study this marvelous book of Scripture, we may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.

Grace and peace to you,

Barbaranne