Thursday, April 07, 2005

It's All About Him: Hebrews -- Lesson 15

To start at the beginning of this series, click here. Posting is short today. Just a quick observation about this verse:
Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. (Hebrews 4:1, NASB 95)

Note the pronouns. "let us" and "you may." This verse could have taken any of the following forms:

Therefore, let you fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it.

In this form, the Writer points his finger at his hearers in rebuke. This does not have the same sense of family and brotherhood that the original has.

Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of us may seem to have come short of it.

The Writer may have written it this way if it were possible for him to come short of entering the rest. What is interesting is that the original has "us" and "you," but I believe that most people assume "us" and "us." One who does not read Hebrews carefully can come away thinking that salvation is not secure, but this is not the case at all. There is an assurance of salvation that is possible.

Therefore, let you fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of us may seem to have come short of it.

Although this reading is possible and might be meaningful in other contexts, it does not make sense here.

The "us" and "you" reading communicates these things:

  1. The Writer is concerned. The fear is shared. He fears because they may come short and it motivates him to write this letter of exhortation.
  2. If any of his readers does not have the same assurance of entering God's rest, they should fear and that fear should motivate them to believe.

I think that too often we communicate the gospel in a you/you fashion. Secure in our salvation, we do not fear for the lostness of others. I think that I am often guilty of this. Clearly the Writer of Hebrews has it right.

Test everything. Cling to what is good.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Henry IX said...

Andrew A. Bonar - Reminiscences of Robert Murray M'Cheyne:

I remember on one occasion, when we met, he asked what my last Sabbath's subject had been. It had been "The wicked shall be turned into hell." On hearing this awesome text, he asked, "Were you able to preach it with tenderness?"

Thanks for the reminder. I do often find myself preaching without that tenderness, or, as you put it, "the fear for the lostness of others."

carmich@bigfoot.com

11:00 AM  

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