Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Hebrews Chapter Eleven: 7

“By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not know where he was going.” Hebrews 11:8.

Stephen tells us that, “The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia…” Acts 7:2.

When the God of glory appears what do we do? John writes that, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth,” John 1:14. The God of glory has appeared to us in His Son Jesus Christ, what are we doing? There are only two choices – to obey or to disobey.

When Jesus walked by the sea of Galilee and called Andrew and Peter and James and John they had two choices – to obey or to disobey, to follow Jesus or not to follow Jesus. When we devise a third option of response to Jesus Christ, the God of glory, we change the Word of God for we change the call of God – a modified response means that we have changed, edited, the Word of God to make it something that it is not – we have made the Word of God a response to our will and action rather than responding to God in obedience. The serpent taught us this when he was the first to utter the words to man; “Has God said this? Has God really said this? God may have said this but God really meant this other thing.”

The idea of inheritance runs throughout the Scriptures and we see it in Hebrews 11. The men and women of Hebrews 11 look through and beyond the things of earth into an inheritance that is “undefiled and that doesn’t fade away” (1 Peter 1:4). Paul stresses that we are “heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ” (Romans 8). Coupled with the idea of inheritance is the thought of fulfillment – God’s purpose is fulfilled in us and our destiny is fulfilled in God; we inherit not “things” but rather God and God inherits us; whatever else is associated with this glory flows out from it – God in Christ, the Father and the Lamb, are our destiny – the koinonia of the Trinity is our calling.

This entails a “going out” and a “coming in”. We go out of the present age and into Jesus Christ. We also, if need be, go out of Babylon and into the true Temple of God in Christ. Jesus makes it clear that we are not of the world even as He is not of the world (John 17) and the Apostle John makes it clear that our hope and desire and inheritance are not to be found in the world (1 John 2:15 – 17). (The word “world” in these passages is not focused on the physical world but rather the systems of the world – ways of thinking, values, doing things, objects of worship – these systems are part of the enemy and will be brought to their end, in judgement, in Christ.) The Father has, “…rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son (Colossians 1:13).

We go out that we may come in.

Consider how the West is distracted by the idea of earthly retirement and provision. We are bombarded by images of relaxed retirement, of financial planning and the accumulation of wealth so that our “golden years” will be ones of leisure and security. Our time and attention is drawn to these images. While to plan is prudent, to allow ourselves to be engulfed in images of earthly retirement in comfort and security is to distract us from our inheritance in Jesus Christ, as well as of our mission to others in our advancing years. Abraham, I think, kept “going out” until that day when he fully “entered in” to the Presence of God.

How are we responding to the call of God? Are we modifying the Word of God?

Are we going out? Are we entering in?

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