Until the End

Sunday, February 12, 2017, 7:43 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “I Will Lift My Eyes.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Hebrews 3 (NASB).

Consider Jesus (vv. 1-6)

Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession; He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house. For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God. Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house—whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.

This is written to true believers in Jesus Christ, i.e. to the church, the body of Christ collectively, among whom may also be those who have a profession of faith only in Jesus, but who may not have a genuine relationship with Him. When this tells us to consider Jesus, this is not a casual suggestion, like asking if us if we have given any thought or consideration to a particular subject. This consideration takes seriousness of thought to where we fix (fasten) our thoughts on Jesus, i.e. to where we focus our attention straight at him and at nothing else, to where we consider closely and attentively what it is that we are to grasp and to clearly understand about him.

Jesus Christ is the Son of God, yet he is God the Son, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Through Jesus Christ, God made the universe (Heb. 1). All things were created by him which were created. God the Father sent his Son Jesus Christ into the world to take on human form, to suffer as we suffer, to be tempted in like manner as we are also tempted, yet without sin, and to die on a cross for our sins.

When he died, our sins died with him and were buried with him. When he was resurrected from the dead, he rose victorious over sin, hell, Satan and death on our behalf. Through faith (God-given) in Jesus Christ we can be delivered out of slavery to sin, be given new lives in Christ Jesus to be lived to his righteousness, escape eternal punishment, and have the hope of eternal life with God beginning now and continuing on into heaven when we leave this earth.

The house being spoken of here is the true church, the body of Christ, comprised of those who have genuine believing faith in Jesus Christ as Lord (owner-master) and as Savior of our lives. True faith is God-given faith, of the Spirit, and it is divinely persuaded as to God’s perfect will for our lives. It accepts that Jesus died, not just so we could escape hell and go to heaven when we die, but so we might be set free from enslavement to sin, that we might become bondservants of Christ and of his righteousness.

We are the temple of God in whom God dwells via his Spirit, IF we have been born again of the Spirit of God, dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus, our Lord (See: Ro. 6:1-23). Jesus Christ is a faithful Son over His house, i.e. he is our head, and we are that house (the body of Christ, his church) IF we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end. We, as well, have become partakers of Christ, IF we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end.

If You Hear (vv. 7-19)

Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says,

“Today if you hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me,
As in the day of trial in the wilderness,
Where your fathers tried Me by testing Me,
And saw My works for forty years.
“Therefore I was angry with this generation,
And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart,
And they did not know My ways’;
As I swore in My wrath,
‘They shall not enter My rest.’”

Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end, while it is said,

“Today if you hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts, as when they provoked Me.”

For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.

Ok, again this is written to the church. He addresses them as holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling (which includes female believers in Christ, too). And, yet he warns them against hardening their hearts against God. He cautions them against rebellion. He counsels them, as well, that they are to be careful and to make certain that none of them has a sinful and an unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. Then, he states that we have come to share in Christ, or we have become partakers of Christ if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end.

So, what is he saying here? He is saying that genuine faith in Jesus Christ, which is God-given and God-persuaded faith, as to God’s divine purpose and will for our lives, must endure till the end if we are to have the hope of eternal life with God. We are not saved on the basis of past belief. God so loved the world that he gave his One and Only Begotten Son that whosoever believing (present tense) in him shall not perish but have everlasting life (Jn. 3:16). This is saying that we must continue in our faith firm till the end for us to be partakers in Christ and to be of the household of God.

Now, some will say that this is speaking of those who made a profession only of Christ, and that they were not genuinely saved to begin with, but I don’t believe that fits the context. This is saying that we must hold firmly to our confidence, our faith, our assurance and our hope that we had from the beginning until the end for us to be partakers in Christ and part of God’s household. If we had a profession only in Christ, and not genuine faith, then why would we be instructed to hold firmly to that until the end?

I think to understand what this is saying we need to understand that our salvation is progressive, i.e. we are saved (past), we are being saved (present continuous) and we will be saved (future) when Christ returns. It is then that our marriage relationship with Jesus Christ will be consummated (completed; accomplished). Until then, we are in process. It is not as though we lose our salvation every time we sin, though, as some would teach, but I do believe scripture teaches that we can turn away from God, and that belief can turn into unbelief, and that is why there are so many warnings given to the church in the Bible with regard to watching our own lives closely.

Consider these scriptures: “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain” (I Co. 15:2). “See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he promised us—even eternal life” (I Jn. 2:24-25). “Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” “Jesus answered him, ‘If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him’” (Jn. 8:51; 14:23).

All these warnings are written to the church for a purpose. We still live in flesh bodies. We still have the propensity to sin and to rebel against God. So, even though Jesus delivered us out of slavery to sin, it is possible for us to go back under slavery if we do not guard our hearts, remain in Christ, his Word remain us, and us remain steadfast in our faith until the end.

Yet, I believe this also serves as a warning to those who just think they are saved because they believed with human faith that Jesus died to take their punishment for sin and to give us who believe in him the promise of heaven when we die. If there was no transformation of heart and mind away from living for sin and self to living for Christ and his righteousness, then new birth in Christ did not take place, and there is no promise of heaven when we die. For, Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. If we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (conduct our lives) in darkness (wickedness, sin), we are liars, and we do not live by the truth (1 Jn. 1:6). If we continue walking in sin, living to the flesh, holding on to our old lives of sin, scripture says we will die in our sin (See: Ro. 8:1-14).

Yet, when we have true biblical faith in Jesus Christ, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life, to be lived to HIM. We are delivered out of slavery to sin, and we are set free to now walk in (to live to) his righteousness. His Holy Spirit comes to live within us and to empower us to live holy lives, pleasing to God. Now our focus is on him, and on following him in obedience, because we love him.

I Will Lift My Eyes / An Original Work / December 12, 2012

Based off Psalms 121-125

I will lift my eyes to my Lord Most High.
My help comes from Him, who saved me from sin.
He will not let your foot slip, and He who watches will not sleep.
Our Lord watches over you, and your life He will keep.
I will lift my eyes to my Lord Most High.
My help comes from Him, who saved me from sin.
I give thanks to Him.

I will lift my eyes to my God in heav’n.
I look to the Lord. My sins, He’s forgiv’n.
Because of His great love for us, He made us alive with Christ.
Through the kindness of our Savior, He gave us new life.
I will lift my eyes to my God in heav’n.
I look to the Lord. My sins, He’s forgiv’n;
My home, now in heav’n.

Praise be to the Lord, who is on our side.
Our help found in Him. He gives peace within.
Those who trust will ne’er be shaken. God will supply all we need.
Our Lord has done great things for us. He’s our friend, indeed!
Praise be to the Lord, who is on our side.
Our help found in Him. He gives peace within.
I can count on Him.

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