Change of Law

Since this “ Word spoken in a son ” is complete and definitive, it is “ better than ” the partial revelations of the past “ spoken in the prophets .” Unlike his predecessors, the Son, “ having achieved the purification of sins ,” sat down at God’s right hand where he remains to this day mediating for his people as their faithful High Priest. Logically, this means that the previous “ words ” by the prophets and the ministries of the Levitical priests proved insufficient to remove the stain of sin from the covenant community.

His Penetrating Word

After urging believers to enter God’s “ rest ,”  Hebrews  provides an eloquent description of the powerful Word of God and returns to the subject of the priesthood “ after the order of Melchizedek .” Believers must strive to enter His “ rest ” while the opportunity remains - “ TODAY, hearken to His voice .” In contrast, Ancient Israel refused to believe the words of God and suffered the consequences. In the final analysis, no one will escape from His penetrating Word.

Enter His Rest

The Letter continues with its analogy to  Israel’s rebellion  in the wilderness, thereby summoning believers not to make the same error of unbelief and fail to enter God’s “ rest .” In the desert, Yahweh decreed that the generation of Israelites that fled from Egypt would not enter the Promised Land. And so, disciples of Jesus who fail to “ hold fast the beginning of their confidence firm unto the end ” will face a similar fate. They will not inherit the promises of God.

Mercy and Enemies

The reality of persecution raises important questions. How should disciples of Jesus react, especially when persecuted by the State? Is resorting to anger or acts of civil disobedience appropriate, or should they instead emulate examples from the life of Christ? In his teachings, he warned that all men who decide to follow him would experience “ tribulation ,” and he summoned them to follow his path (“ If they persecuted me, so they will persecute you ”).

Plight to Solution

In his Letter to the Romans , the Apostle Paul argues from plight to solution. The Gospel that he proclaims is the “ power of God for salvation .” Due to sin, two forces are at work in the world – Righteousness and Wrath . In his Son, God has provided the solution to the desperate plight of all men that is now available to all on the same basis - “ from the faith of Jesus Christ .” Moreover, this “ Good News ” was promised beforehand in the Hebrew scriptures and is now being fulfilled as the Gospel is preached.

The Faithfulness of God

The righteousness of God refers to His faithfulness to fulfill His promises, and this is demonstrated by the salvation He has provided in Jesus .  In his Letter to the Romans , Paul stresses the “ righteousness of God ” that is revealed whenever the Gospel is proclaimed. It is the “ power of God for salvation to everyone who believes .” Moreover, in this message, His “ righteousness ” is being proclaimed throughout the Earth, to “ Jews and Greeks ” alike. Salvation is now available to all men through the “ faith of Jesus Christ ,” His “ Righteous One ” (“ From faith for faith… My Righteous One will live from faith ”).