Who is this Jamin guy anyway?
I am the husband of one and the father of nine. I was created to sing, to worship, to encourage, and to be steady. I am the Owner & Executive Director of Trinity Arts Center, a multi-disciplinary Arts Center in Eastern Tennessee, and the President of Trinity Arts Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization focused on funding arts education and performance. I've been involved with four music projects in my life -- Hot Pink Turtle, Spin Radio, Stand Like Stone, and of course, Jamin Rathbun.

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Hebrews 5:11
We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn.

Boy, I can relate to that... and you have to love Paul's style. = )

Anyway... I'm going to skip through several chapters today, highlighting some of the more challenging passages (at least for me). Please take the time to read between the lines so you don't miss the context for these letters.

Hebrews 6:1-6
Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so. It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

As with chapters 10 and 12, this is strong language to those who would choose to reject God, especially if they had already been "enlightened". That reminds me of Luke 12...

Luke 12:47-48
That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

OK. That's enough of the warnings and rebukes. Let's touch on some of the things in Hebrews that bring hope -- Jesus as our high priest, replacing the temporary atonement with one that will last forever.

Hebrews 7:18
The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.

Hebrews 7:23-28
Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Such a high priest meets our need -- one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.

By the way, there's an interesting statement in verse 10 that pertains to the discussion about when life begins... "When Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi (Abraham's Grandson) was still in the body of his ancestor." Now there's something to think about. = )

Anyway... Back to the new covenant...

Hebrews 9:12-15
He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance -- now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

Hebrews 9:27-28
Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

There's more good stuff in chapter 10 but since we talked about that on Tuesday, I'll skip ahead to one of the most dramatic and inspiring passages in chapter 11. The entire chapter gives examples of how Old Testament saints were saved, not by the sacrifices of calves and goats but by faith. I can't copy all of it here, just read it when you have time. It gives brief examples of how Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and more stepped out in faith to receive God's promise. It closes with this statement...

Hebrews 11:39-40
These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

And that's where the thought ends... "God had planned something better... So that only together with us, they would be made perfect." I'm not sure what that means but -- I'm encouraged by the example of these saints who were faithful in the midst of many trials with far less "evidence" than we have today.

That reminds me of something I've said in the past... I don't think it takes much faith to believe in God. The evidence of Him is all around us and His truth is written on our hearts. What requires faith, I think, is to believe that God will do what He says He will do. It's belief in a promise that has not yet been fulfilled, in the things we cannot see.

Hebrews 11:1-2
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.

Have faith.

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