A Study of Hebrews is very relevant for our day. Just as the Hebrew Christians were doing in the 1st century, people are apostatizing from the faith today. There are many Christians that do not know whether we live under the commands of Christ or Moses or both. They do not understand the distinction between the two systems and so they believe they can live under either or both.
The hope of Heaven is lost on many today because of a worldly mindset. There are those religious folks today that have their hope set on the false doctrines contained in premillennialism rather than the Word of God.
We use the word “hope” in both the past tense and present tense. For example, “I hope I did right” or “I hope I am doing right”. We also use it in the future tense. The Biblical usage of the word “hope” is always in the future tense, looking for that which is to come.
In Hebrews 6:18-20, the Hebrews writer points out the certainty of the hope we have. Our hope is based on two immutable things in which it is impossible for God to lie about. Immutable means never changing or unvarying. The two immutable things are God’s promise and His oath. God has promised mankind salvation in Christ by the precious blood of Christ, 1 Peter 1:18-19. This promise included those Christian Jews the Hebrews letter was writing to who would forfeit the promise if they turned back to Judaism. Not only the promise, but God “willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath” Hebrews 6:17. Concerning these two, the promise and the oath, it is impossible for God to lie. He is a promise making God and a promise keeping God.
This hope is an anchor of the soul. This anchor is sure and steadfast. As sure, steadfast, and immutable as the promise and oath. As sure, steadfast, and immutable as the One who made them. For these Hebrews to turn back to Judaism was to turn away from their salvation, was to turn away from the promise and oath made to man, and to turn away from the God of Heaven who made them. If they turned from God there was no other means of forgiveness to be found.
Just as the Hebrews of the 1st century, we also would have no hope were it not for Jesus Christ. Christ has ascended into Heaven itself and this is where our hope is, Heaven, and on whom is it centered, on Christ. He is our Prophet, Priest, and King. Hebrews 1:1-3
Paul’s logic was “ungetoverable”. Jesus Christ is greater than the angels, therefore He is greater than the Law of Moses. Jesus Christ is greater than Moses, therefore He is greater than the Law that came by Moses. Jesus Christ is greater than Aaron, therefore He is greater than the Levitical priesthood or any earthly high priest. Heavenly hope for Jewish Christians could not be found through Moses or Aaron, through angels or the Law of Moses. It was (and is today) only through Jesus Christ and his Gospel that hope can be found and attained.
Abraham looked for a “city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” Hebrews 11:10. David looked to the time when “I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever” Psalm 23:6. Jesus told His disciples “In my Father’s house are many mansions” John 14:2. Paul looked forward to “a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day” 2 Timothy 4:8. Peter spoke of “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you” 1 Peter 1:4. John on Patmos wrote of his vision “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away” Revelation 22:1. This is the hope that Paul is admonishing the Hebrew Christians to not forsake by going back to the Law of Moses.
This is the same hope Christians today can look forward to if we have been found faithful at the end of life’s journey, Revelation 2:10.
The Book of Acts begins, “The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach” (Acts 1:1). Our Lord Jesus Christ practiced God’s will and then taught men to do likewise. While we cannot be sinless as the Savior, we must be doers of God’s word if our teaching is to be effective.
Paul said to his converts in 1 Thessalonians 1:5-7:
For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake. And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe.
Paul’s life was not lived in sin and selfishness, but rather in moral integrity and sincerity before God. As a result, his converts in Thessalonica imitated his example, which in reality was emulating the Lord (1 Corinthians 11:1). By extension, the Thessalonian converts became examples to saints in Macedonia and Achaia. They were teaching others by their example.
When we talk to people about the gospel, the church, or what Christ means to us, we hope they will convert to Christ. The converts we make will naturally follow our example. Do people look at our lives and see only the talk of Christianity, or do they notice our genuine walk in the light of Christ’s word? Genuine disciples of Christ instruct others with their lives as well as their words.
The world is looking at Christians. Hypocrites among God’s people have given ammunition to those outside of His flock to criticize the people of God. People try to pigeon hole a whole group by one among them who is not behaving right. It is not fair; it won’t be an acceptable excuse to God in judgment; however, it is reality. Let’s not give any occasion for people to dismiss Christians as hypocrites because of the way we live our lives.
The word “examples” (NKJV) in 1 Thessalonians 1:7 comes from a word that means to strike an imprint. The Thessalonians probably did not realize how much they were an example to those in Macedonia and Achaia, so that’s why Paul tells them they made an imprint. We often don’t realize how much our example influences others; we make an imprint. The same word is found in John 20:25 to describe the print of the nails in Jesus’ hands. Has Jesus made an imprint on our lives? Are we crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20)? Can the world see the print of Jesus in us? We will make an imprint on others by the way we live. What will that imprint show?