11/04/2010

Our Faith is Already, But Not Yet (Heb. 4:1-16)

We Christians are like we're already the Mona Lisa--the greatest painting in the world--but not yet fully the Mona Lisa. Sorry for this corny illustration!

Strive to Enter God's Rest
(Heb. 4:1-13). Have we Christians already received God's rest? Or are we yet to receive God's rest in the future? Heb. 4:1-13 answers "Yes" to both. Our rest is already inaugurated, but still awaiting consummation. We live in the time between Jesus' ascension and His 2nd Coming. Until that glorious day, we live in the humble confident state of "Already, But Not Yet." Because our present life is "Not Yet" and looks to the future, we need to continue to strive to enter God's rest (Heb. 4:1,11,14). Yet, because it is simultaneously "Already" we have the sure promise of the cessation from all the struggles of this life (Heb. 4:9,10). It is when we screw up this "balance," that our Christian lives become weird, even ugly: either blindly overconfident, arrogant, and triumphalistic, or despairing and defeatist with a victim's mentality--both leading to failure, unbelief, disobedience (Heb. 4:6,11). But with proper balance, God, by his grace alone, enables us to be both bold and humble simultaneously. We are boldly confident because we are already the Mona Lisa. Yet, we are truly humble because we are a bald Mona Lisa!

For proper balance, we need the Word of God. Heb. 4:12,13 say, "For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account." We, in our sins, can't balance ourselves. But God Himself, through His Word, constantly exposes our innermost thoughts and intentions. Our total dependency must be on God's absolute authority (Pro. 3:5,6) expressed through His word.

Tempted, Yet Without Sin - Jesus the Great High Priest (Heb. 4:14-16). To serve as high priest on behalf of humanity, Jesus must be human (Heb. 2:17). He had to satisfy God's wrath and make propitiation for our sins by being the atoning sacrifice in our place. Our confidence in "holding firmly" (Heb. 4:14,16) to our faith, is that Jesus is not foreign to any temptation that entices us (Heb. 4:15).

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