In preparing this weeks blog I read some interesting facts I wanted to pass on to you in the Pew. Some books of the NT always garner a certain amount of discussion as to who wrote the book. Some of the writers are known beyond a doubt but Hebrews is one that has been caught up in the “who wrote it” thing. We can study that debate at a different time. But….. someone did have for me the best answer.
Origen made a famous remark: ‘who wrote the Letter to the Hebrews only God knows for certain’. (c. 185–c. 254), Christian scholar and theologian, probably born in Alexandria, Egypt. His most well-known work was the Hexapla, an edition of the Old Testament with six or more parallel versions.)
I like that and find it acceptable, a verbal point in a discussion in which I would lack the credentials to participate. We also read that no one really knew, lots of speculation as to the author but the book was well-loved and often read. It remained on the edge as to its inclusion in the NT due to this uncertainty. It gained that inclusion by being included on the list of the books written by Paul. Sometimes you will hear people argue that the number was fourteen, now you know why they do that. Moving past this here is an excerpt from William Barclay’s Daily Bible Study.
“To us, the author must remain a voice and nothing more; but we can be thankful to God for the work of this great nameless individual who wrote with incomparable skill and beauty about the Jesus who is the way to reality and the way to God.” ( Barclay, Daily Bible Study- Hebrews, Pages 10-11)
There is an urgent message in the Gospel that the years have diminished due to the demands and the influence of secular society. This message of salvation which came from the lips of our Lord has of lately become victim of our, we Christians to be exact, having a casual attitude to a gift we dare not neglect.
From Hebrews 2:1-4,
We must, therefore, with very special intensity pay attention to the things that we have heard. For, if the word which was spoken through the medium of the angels proved itself to be certified as valid, and if every transgression and disobedience of it received its just recompense, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, a salvation of such a kind that it had its origin in the words of the Lord, and was then guaranteed to us by those who had heard it from his lips, while God himself added his own witness to it by signs and wonders and manifold deeds of power, and by giving us each a share of the Holy Spirit, according as he willed it?
If we accept the theory of God’s truth being brought by the angels and ignored by people, ( Ten Commandments ) which brought punishment if broken, does it not magnify the importance of the revelation coming from the Son? The words spoken by Jesus Christ and to which God himself added his own “witness by signs, and wonders and manifold deeds of power”. With this salvation comes the blessing that Jesus Christ has broken down every barrier and opened a direct way for us to God. There are so many distractions today that the unique, “church first”, of us old timers is lost in a rush to fit into today’s list of must do’s. A massive re-arranging of changing priorities has lessened the place of the church in our society. I am not one of those doomsday advocates but I do believe we are allowing ourselves to drift into sin, which each day and each new priority we are pushed further and further from God. When we drift from our Christian beliefs we are then open to transgression and disobedience, which then leads to our refusal to hear God’s word or see his glory in others who have done a good work.
Our Christian faith is unique, it comes to us through the very voice of God, which comes to us in Jesus Christ. It must be transmitted to other people through those of us who know him. There is one other thing to be considered. The undeniable fact is that the effectiveness of Christian truth, the words spoke by God through His Son, does make bad people good.
“The theologian James Denney used to say, the ultimate object of Christianity is to make bad people good; and the proof of real Christianity is the fact that it can change the lives of individuals. The moral miracles of Christianity are still plain for all to see.”
It may well be fashionable in our world today to take a more casual attitude toward church, worship and relaxing the words of the Gospel to be more in line with societies expectations. This casual and neglectful attitude places us in danger of fulfilling our duty to God, the church and the lost. I pray that you may find your path to the good way, that it might be your Damascus road.
Thanks for being here in the Pew this week. Next week we will not publish but come back April 8th. I have a confession to make….. Life is Good