In reading through the book of Hebrews recently, I was struck by a repeated emphasis. The author is writing to Christians who have come from a Jewish background and, because of persecution, are in danger of slipping back into Judaism. So, throughout the book, the author is declaring the supremacy of Jesus Christ above all other revelations that have come from God – above Moses, Joshua, angels and all other priests that had preceded the Lord Jesus.
The repeated emphasis I saw was a coupling of “since” and “therefore”. Since Jesus Christ is the fullest expression of God’s nature and communication to mankind, readers are repeatedly exhorted to “therefore” kinds of responses:
– “Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus…” (3:1)
– “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.” (4:14)
– “Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus….and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings…” (10:19-22).
As I read these statements I was struck by the fact that flowing out of all that’s above we have many “since” and “therefore” realities in our lives to declare and live into. I’ve noted a few of these below.
- Since God has so faithfully cared for us in the past, guiding and providing for us all along the way, therefore I will trust Him to care for today’s needs and tomorrow’s uncertainties. I’m impressed with David’s words in Psalm 43:3 – “Send me your light and your faithful care, let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.” As we reflect on God’s faithful care in the past we’re once again brought to the “holy mountain”, a place of renewed trust in God.
- Since He has called us into ministry, therefore I will go forward into the opportunities He gives resting in the assurance of His presence with me and that He will bring about fruit that will remain, whether I see it or not. “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last….” (John 15:16) – “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (I Cor. 15:58).
- Since He has been and continues to be immensely generous to me beyond all measure, therefore I too will be generous toward others with my time, talent and resources – not clinging to what He has entrusted to me. “You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God” (II Cor. 9:11).
- Since Jesus has defeated death, been resurrected from the dead and entered into heaven, therefore I too have the assurance of eternal life for loved ones who have gone before me, trusting Christ to be their Savior, and for myself as I rest in His finished work. “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf…..” (Hebrews 6:19).
- Since the Heavenly Father has provided all of the above and so much more, therefore I would be among those who offer to God eternal thanks and praise.
As the author brings the book of Hebrews to a close, reflecting on the repeated couplets of “since” and “therefore” which have gone before, he pens these words –“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess His name” (Hebrews 13:15).
More about Ralph
We’ve been blessed to have mission pastor Ralph Anderson, and his wife Joyce, at OC International for 20 years. They tend to our souls through the Word, prayer, counsel and encouragement.
Read more articles here: From the Pastor’s Pen.