Sunday, April 03, 2011

The God Who Speaks

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; (Hebrews 01:01-02, NKJV).
Hebrews is another book of the New Testament that I have memorized and recited countless times over the past 12 years. It is preeminently a book detailing the superiority of Jesus Christ. 

He is better than the angels, better than Moses, the Lawgiver, better than the Law itself, better than Joshua who led the Children of Israel into the Promised Land, better than Melchizedek the ancient Priest of the Most High God, better than Aaron, the first Mosaic High Priest. He is the perfect Representative, the Perfect Sacrifice, the Perfect Mediator, the Perfect Heir, the Perfect Son. He is the Better Way, the Better Promise, and the Better Temple. He is God the Son, and the only way to draw near to God.

Hebrews was written to a group who would be known today as Messianic Jews. These were members of the infant church, brought out of Judaism into the liberty of Christ, who were tempted severely to return to the old, familiar, but inferior, and ineffective Jewish belief system. They were hated by their countrymen, persecuted by the world, and sorely tried in their faith. And it was the purpose of the writer of Hebrews to provide reason, comfort, encouragement and exhortation to continue steadfastly in the faith until they reached the end of their earthly pilgrimage and received "the promise".

Technically, the author of Hebrews remains anonymous. Many believe it was the Apostle Paul, others Apollos, or Timothy, or Epaphroditus. Since he remains purposely unidentified in the text itself, it serves little purpose to speculate. The one thing that is certain, based on its content and acceptance throughout church history as part of the Canon of Scripture, is that it was inspired by the Holy Spirit of God. Beyond that, its human authorship is insignificant.

These first two verses are worthy of much study. They reveal profound truths about our God and His relationship to Fallen Man. They begin to establish Christ's majestic position as both appointed heir and executor of Creation. In succinct and eloquent fashion, they lift our hearts and minds from the mundane aspects of mere religion, into the vast and wondrous universe of personal relationship with the Sovereign Eternal Lord of Lords and King of Kings, and they do so with an earthy matter-of-factness that upon deep reflection leaves us breathless with wonder.

Mankind has conceived of many gods none of whom are real, and many of whom are actually demons playing upon our innate need to worship something greater than ourselves. But their is only one Living God, transcendent, eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent and personal. It is this God who was from the beginning and who spoke time and space into existence, and Who, wondrously, amazingly, lovingly, mercifully and graciously, speaks to us. And He has done so from the moment he breathed life into the First Man, Adam.

Don't pass over that fact too quickly.

Without Him being the God Who speaks we would remain forever ignorant, vainly striving to make sense of the world and of life with our own finite minds.

Without Him condescending to reveal Himself to us, we could never know that we are born condemned. Nor would we know the way of escape.

We would not know why we were here nor how much He loves us.

We would be born without reason, live without purpose, and die without hope. All that occurred in this life would be filtered through the faulty capabilities and vain imaginations of our own futile thinking, and all of history would be lived as life without God; utterly dark and deceitful.

But because He has spoken, and given us His light, the chaos of ignorance is replaced with the beauty and order of knowing Him, His plan of redemption and His ultimate purpose for our creation: eternal glorious fellowship with Him.

And while in the past He spoke to prophets via dreams and visions and sometimes direct verbal revelation, now He is speaking to the world through His marvelous Son.

One day soon, He will speak again from Heaven itself, ripping open the fabric of the Universe and declaring His judgment. At that point, those who have refused to listen to Him will hear, whether they want to or not. But rather than a message of forgiveness through faith in the Son, they will hear the sentence being pronounced upon their own willful unbelief and rebellion.

And it will be too late.