II HEBREWS 13
THE FAITH WE PROFESS
I continue to remind you that neither words nor facts have any meaning until we interpret them and ascertain what significance they are meant to convey. The writer of Hebrews often uses a statement which must be interpreted in the light of the entire concept he is trying to establish. A good example is found in his statement in chapter 4 verse 16. Here he says, “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need”. The word “then” in this statement means something has gone before that gives significance to this word of admonition.
He has just established that Jesus Christ is our High Priest, appointed by God Himself, to be our advocate before the throne of Heaven. In this connection he says, in verse 14, that we should hold
firmly to the faith we profess. He conditions our confidence in coming to God’s throne of grace on our living by the faith we profess. The significance of this must not be overlooked. When we call ourselves Christians, we profess faith in Jesus Christ. Too many profess this faith, but instead rest their religious faith on the church they belong to and feel justified if they attend and carry out all the rituals it dictates. This often does not carry over into their life away from the church. Faith in church membership is a far cry from the “faith we profess” when we say we are Christians. That faith would go with us as we walk with Him twenty-four hours a day in a personal relationship with Him as the Lord of our life. If our faith is in Him, then we can boldly walk into the throne room of Heaven and talk to God, asking for help in our time of need. If our faith is in our High Priest we know that the Father will hear and give us the things we need to be pleasing unto Him. And that is the true meaning of life.
In the next chapter the writer says he would like to talk to his hearers about the deeper truths of God, but they are still only talking about the elementary things of the Gospel. They are still so immature in their faith that they are not ready for solid food. Then he says what he means by “solid food”. It is food for the ones who have trained themselves, by constant use, to distinguish between good and evil.
The tremendous import of this is that the mature Christian is one who has walked with Jesus so long and so closely that he does not have to find a chapter and verse to know what to do. He has been with Jesus enough that he knows “intuitively” what He would want him to do in any circumstance. That is the difference between “church” religion and faith in Jesus Christ as a personal companion in life. When I walk with Jesus, then I am in the family of the Lord, and that is what the true church is.
Christianity has too many church members, and not enough who live the “faith they profess” by having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. That is why there is so much division between churches, and even competition between those who should be brethren who love one another and are one, as the Lord prayed they would be. If we create a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the church will take care of itself.
When I say, “A personal relationship with Jesus Christ”, I mean that one’s prayer life should not be confined to saying “grace” at the table and an evening prayer at bed-time. One needs to recognize His presence all of the time. When Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them”, He did not mean that when we come to church, He comes to be with us. He meant that He is always present, but the only time we benefit from His presence is when we recognize Him and are ready to follow His guidance in what we do.
Prayer is primarily a recognition of the reality and presence of God. When Jesus told His disciples, “I will be with you always”, He gave His disciples in every age the promise of His constant presence. That means He can be talked to as a friend any time. No formal position or address is necessary. Ask Him for guidance in any situation as you would ask a friend who is at your side. True worship is the way we behave when we are conscious of the presence of God. Adoration is thanking Him for every small blessing, for every good thing comes from Him. Fill your day with silent prayers and know the peace that comes from having the Prince of Peace at your side. That is having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
The church gathering is important for fellowship and encouragement with other saints, but your worship should not be confined to that hour, and it is only valuable if the Lord comes with you when you come, and leaves with you when you leave, to direct and influence every facet of your life.