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Faith, Hope, and Love

Devotions

As one Christian teacher put it, the Bible tells us “what is true” and then tells us “what to do.” Theology is never an abstraction or mental exercise; it always includes an application to our lives. That is also true for the book of Hebrews.

Having laid out the great truth of Christ’s priesthood, sacrifice, and new covenant, Scripture now calls us to apply it to our lives. Three specific exhortations follow. First, we are told, “let us draw near to God” (v. 22). We should do this with “confidence” (v. 19) and “full assurance” (v. 22), not in ourselves, but in our “great priest” (v. 20). By His blood, our “new and living way” (v. 20), we have been purified and cleansed. As a result, we now have permission “to enter the Most Holy Place” (v. 19), and that is what we are called to do—draw near to God in faith.

Second, we are told, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess” (v. 23). In addition to faith in God’s present salvation, we also look forward to a future hope. But again, our expectation rests not in ourselves, but in God, “for He who promised is faithful” (v. 23). It is His character that allows us to live in hope and profess it in our lives.

Third, we are told, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on” (v. 24). The Christian life is not just about faith and hope; it is also about love in a community of fellow believers. Given all that God has done for us, we are now told to encourage our Christian brothers and sisters toward “love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together” (vv. 24–25). As John Wesley famously said: “The Bible knows nothing of a solitary Christian.”

Apply the Word

Have you neglected the practice of gathering together with fellow believers in worship? Or maybe someone you know has drifted away from regular worship. The body of Christ is important for our Christian walk! Encourage that person (or yourself!) to renew your commitment to regular communal worship.

BY Bryan Stewart

Bryan A. Stewart is associate professor of religion at McMurry University in Abilene, Texas. His particular interests are the history of Christian thought and the way that early Christians interpreted the biblical canon. He is the editor of a volume on the Gospel of John in The Church’s Bible series (Eerdmans), and he has done extensive research on the ways that the early Church preached on this Gospel. He is an ordained minister. 

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