每日诗歌: Softly and Tenderly
Ezekiel 17 [Read]
Ezekiel 18 [Read]
Ezekiel 19 [Read]
Hebrews 13 [Read]
The book of Hebrews is often viewed as a theological book, and it has been analyzed in many ways for its messages. Now that I am a pastor, I grow to see it with a pastoral perspective and understand a little bit more about the author’s pastoral heart.
Death is the common destiny for mankind, and pastors know that most people, whether they admit or not, are afraid of death. The most precious thing about our salvation is that “by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Heb 2:14-15). When the destiny is seen with a different light, the journey will be totally changed. When death becomes a gateway to eternal rest, its sting is eliminated and its power diminished. True life begins from that point.
Salvation is wanted by all, but pastors know that not all are sincere. The author uses the history of grumbling Israelites in the wilderness to remind the flock, and he warned against the unbelief: “they shall never enter my rest” (3:11). For those who have shared all the good things with the faithful ones (6:4-5), if they are still unsatisfied and fall away, there is no other salvation for them (6:6) for “there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Perseverance is a must for salvation.
But perseverance cannot be based on human will. Pastors know the importance of sound doctrines, so they teach theology, the study of God. A new covenant has been established (8:8), and it is based on the blood of the eternal high priest (9:12). Our assurance does not come from a blind faith based on our feeling, but it’s from an understanding of who God is and who Christ is and what he has accomplished for us. Head knowledge alone is useless, but without head knowledge is hopeless.
At the end, pastors know that it all come down to faith because “without faith it is impossible to please God” (11:6). Many witnesses are cheering us on, and the author and perfecter of our faith has already sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (12:1-2). So, keep our eyes on the unshakable kingdom (12:28). One day, we shall reach that better country, a heavenly one (11:16). Amen.
Keep on reading, you have finished the 44th book.