Morning Musing: Hebrews 3:14

“For we have become participants in Christ if we hold firmly until the end the reality that we had at the start.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

It’s amazing how the kind of debates you have depends on the kind of community you’re a part of. This doesn’t mean that some debates are necessarily more important than others (some debates are more important than others, but this isn’t a reason for it), rather that different communities have different concerns. One debate I haven’t had for some time but which I used to participate in fairly frequently is whether salvation can be lost once it has been gained. As far as the Scriptures go, Hebrews contributes more to the back and forth of this debate than just about anything else you’ll find in them, mostly because of verses like this one. Let’s talk about it.

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Digging in Deeper: Matthew 5:43-44

“You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” (CSB – Read the chapter)

I don’t mind owning the fact that I am pretty deeply influenced by the thinking, preaching, and writing of Andy Stanley. I’ve been engaging with his teaching for every bit of the last twelve years for sure and maybe longer, so I guess that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. And I really don’t listen to any other preaching. I should, but I only have time for so many podcasts. In any event, Andy has a new book out that I am just nearly through reading. It’s called Not In It to Win It: Why Choosing Sides Sidelines the Church. It’s brought together several ideas that have been cooking in the back of my mind for several weeks into one well-argued package. Let me process some of this with you.

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Digging in Deeper: 2 Corinthians 2:14-15

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in Christ’s triumphal procession and through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of him in every place. For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

A few weeks ago, I was riding in the car with some friends. As we drove, one of them popped a mint in her mouth. It was something she’d done numerous times before. For whatever reason, though, this time was different. A few minutes later, not realizing what she had done, I began noticing an odd smell in the car that was gradually growing stronger. It was minty fresh, but it was quickly becoming overwhelming. Eventually, wanting to be sure I wasn’t the only one smelling this, I asked what was going on. We finally had to have her spit out the mint and we opened the windows the smell was getting so strong. What has me thinking about that this morning is recent, heartbreaking and infuriating news from the Southern Baptist Convention, and something Paul says here about our lives smelling like Jesus. Let’s talk about it.

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Digging in Deeper: Hebrews 3:12-13

“Watch out, brothers and sisters, so that there won’t be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Let’s start with a quick pop culture quiz: Who is the hero of the Star Wars film franchise? That’s a trick question, of course. There are several possible answers, and if you find yourself on the right fandom website, it could spark hours of vigorous debate. But if you were going to have to pick just one, who would it be? I’d personally lean in the direction of Luke Skywalker, but I could be persuaded otherwise. However you answer that question, though, do you know who you’re probably not choosing? The franchise’s most popular character. There are two primary contenders for that particular distinction and neither of them were heroes. In fact, one of them is one of the chief villains: Darth Vader. But while Vader’s story ultimately has an heroic arc (which, I believe, is a big part of why he is so popular), it begins in tragedy. Seeing someone succumb to what Star Wars calls “the dark side” is always tragic. Having made his second case about the greatness of Christ, the author of Hebrews here offers us another warning. This time it is essentially to not succumb to the dark side. Let’s talk about it.

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Morning Musing: Hebrews 3:5-6

“Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s household, as a testimony to what would be said in the future. But Christ was faithful as a Son over his household. And we are that household if we hold on to our confidence and the hope in which we boast.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever been a part of something? I’m sure the answer to that question is yes. What that something looked like is going to vary, but you’ve been a part of something before. My interest isn’t so broad as that. Have you been a part of something big before? A movement perhaps? You may not have realized it at the time, but looking back, you can see more clearly. Often a movement like that only happens with a leader. And while there may be more than one leader in the movement, there’s always one person who’s at the top. As we continue unpacking Jesus’ relationship to the old covenant, let’s talk about His leading a movement.

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