II HEBREWS 4
Roy Osborne 2004
Chapter 3 begins with the writer addressing his readers as “holy brothers”. In the preceding chapter emphasis has been placed upon Jesus coming to earth to suffer as a man, and by that suffering being identified with us. It was not that God needed to understand our problems, and identify with us. It was so we could identify with Him. The ancient gods of the Greeks and Romans were creatures to be feared. God wanted a relationship with man…a relationship of shared love…and so He caused His Son to leave the perfect and eternal state of Heaven, and come here, so we could identify with Him. Worship of God is not satisfying His demands, as with the ancient gods of the Romans and Greeks. It is sharing His love, in true faith.
We cannot overstate this important principle. Those who view our relationship to God as a legal one, and who stress obedience to rules as the primary thrust of our religion, ignore the fact that God wanted a close family relationship with us so much that He sacrificed His Son to make it so. That is why the New Testament writers spend so much time pointing out that the law relationship was nailed to the Cross. This does not simply mean the Law of Moses. As we find, in Paul’s letters, and later in this book, it was the principle of law justification that was eradicated.
In a practical way, this means that your Christian religion does not consist in going to church, and obeying all the rules. It is not satisfying the demands of God. Being a Christian is walking with Jesus 24 hours a day in a close relationship with the Father. It affects every relationship you have, from your family to the stranger on the street. Jesus called us “brothers” because we were members of His Heavenly family, and therefore different from the family of the world. Acting like the brother of Jesus takes a lot of prayer time, and a mind-set which sacrifices our ego-centered living, for the disciplined life of a child of God.
When God created the world, He created a place, apart from Heaven, where He placed a special creature called man. He wanted this child, whom He had created, to love Him, and share Heaven with Him. In order to do that, the creature had to have a choice, so God made him a moral creature, with the power to choose right and wrong. Right is God. Wrong is not. Every time we choose to do the right thing, we choose God. Every time we choose to satisfy ourselves, instead of doing what is right, we reject God. It is that simple.
Into this created world, with its creature, man, who had within him the characteristics of God, and therefore the ability to relate to Him as Father, and eventually go to live with Him in the eternal state of Heaven, God sent His Son, to bring the message of His love. This messenger showed man what a great and wonderful Father he had, and that He loved him so much that He was willing to sacrifice Heaven’s finest for him. The response to this, from men of faith, who recognize how magnificent it was, should be adoration and love for the Father. This is the “plan of salvation”, not a set of rules to obey. This sacrifice on the Cross, which removed the barrier of man’s foolish choices, i.e., sin, and brought him the message of God’s love, should cause men to follow the “Pioneer” of our faith to a new and close relationship with the Father. This is why Jesus called us “brothers”.