An Explanation of Lessons from Lent
In the next 40 days (8 now because you have already accomplished thirty-two), the weeks leading up to Easter, the posts on Glimpsed Glory will be different. I am reading through the New Testament during this time and I am hoping the Holy Spirit will lead me to a fresh revelation each and every day. I’m going into it with a prayerful heart and an expectant spirit but I will fully confess to you that my soul feels sluggish.
I have been in a place of exhaustion over these last months. My mind has been clouded, my body has ached and insomnia has been my companion since late December. The enemy has been and is still whispering in my ear that my Jesus has forgotten me . . . that He has finally tired of my imperfections and left me behind.
I’m not giving in to it! I am going to fight the good fight of faith and follow the example of my Nehemiah Man. I am going to stand firm in my faith because if I do not, I will not stand at all. I’m praising God for bringing me to a place of emptiness so that I can look to Him to fill my cup.
I’m coming before the Lord and I’m asking Him to do a new thing in me. To rouse my heart to His side and to draw me near in real and tangible ways. To plow through the fog that has settled over me in the form of health issues, physical stress, and emotional upheaval and lay a level path before me. I’m entering the throne room and I’m humbly reminding Him that He has invited me to come in my time of need. O Lord – be near to me. Love me where I am. Take me where I need to be.
That’s the cry of my heart Sweet Sister and I’m thinking that if I am in this place that perhaps you are too. It might be that different life situations have brought us here but here we are. If that’s the case, I want you to know that you are not alone and that you have a faith sister to walk through it with. We can do this together – you and I. It’s why God gave us to one another. We can join our hearts and we can offer up the next 40 days to the Beautiful One and trust Him to do the beautiful thing in us.
So here’s what I’ll do. I’ll post the daily reading on the blog (except for Sundays) and if you read the Scriptures not only will you have read through the entire New Testament by Easter but God promises that He’ll show you deep and unsearchable things you do not know. He promises that His word is alive and active and will transform your heart. I could use some transformation. What about you?
At the end of the daily passage, I’m going to share my “Lesson from Lent” – nothing long or drawn out just something that God uses to speak straight to my heart from the Scripture that day. I’m putting it at the end because if your time runs short on a particular day – I want you to skip reading my words, not His.
I’m hoping that you’ll start your own running record of what God is showing you. Maybe you’ll even be moved to leave a comment so your Sisters can glean from what you’re learning. No matter how you choose to keep track of all He shares with you . . . treasure it up in your heart Sweet One, meditate on it, mull it over, consider the whisper of the Lover of your soul. The God of the Universe is the only Voice we need to revive our tired souls. So, let’s you and I lean in close, pray for ears to hear and hearts to respond. Let’s dig in to the riches He has given us and prepare to be amazed by what He will reveal to our expectant hearts. O Sister, let’s boldly ask Him for a lesson from Lent and then brace ourselves for a glimpse of Glory!
March 27, 2015 ~~ Titus, Philemon, Hebrews 1-7
Footnotes: I’ve left the footnotes in place if you would like to track down sources in word study and language. Please follow the link to each chapter and scroll to the bottom of the passage.
Paul, a bond servant of God and an apostle (a special messenger) of Jesus Christ (the Messiah) to stimulate and promote the faith of God’s chosen ones and to lead them on to accurate discernment and recognition of and acquaintance with the Truth which belongs to and harmonizes with and tends to godliness, 2 [Resting] in the hope of eternal life, [life] which the ever truthful God Who cannot deceive promised before the world or the ages of time began. 3 And [now] in His own appointed time He has made manifest (made known) His Word and revealed it as His message through the preaching entrusted to me by command of God our Savior;
4 To Titus, my true child according to a common (general) faith: Grace (favor and spiritual blessing) and [heart] peace from God the Father and the Lord Christ Jesus our Savior.
5 For this reason I left you [behind] in Crete, that you might set right what was defective and finish what was left undone, and that you might appoint elders and set them over the churches (assemblies) in every city as I directed you. 6 [These elders should be] men who are of unquestionable integrity and are irreproachable, the husband of [but] one wife, whose children are [well trained and are] believers, not open to the accusation of being loose in morals and conduct or unruly and disorderly.
7 For the bishop (an overseer) as God’s steward must be blameless, not self-willed or arrogant or presumptuous; he must not be quick-tempered or given to drink or pugnacious (brawling, violent); he must not be grasping and greedy for filthy lucre (financial gain); 8 But he must be hospitable (loving and a friend to believers, especially to strangers and foreigners); [he must be] a lover of goodness [of good people and good things], sober-minded (sensible, discreet), upright and fair-minded, a devout man and religiously correct, temperate and keeping himself in hand. 9 He must hold fast to the sure and trustworthy Word of God as he was taught it, so that he may be able both to give stimulating instruction and encouragement in sound (wholesome) doctrine and to refute and convict those who contradict and oppose it [showing the wayward their error].
10 For there are many disorderly and unruly men who are idle (vain, empty) and misleading talkers and self-deceivers and deceivers of others. [This is true] especially of those of the circumcision party [who have come over from Judaism]. 11 Their mouths must be stopped, for they are mentally distressing and subverting whole families by teaching what they ought not to teach, for the purpose of getting base advantage and disreputable gain. 12 One of their [very] number, a prophet of their own, said, Cretans are always liars, hurtful beasts, idle and lazy gluttons. 13 And this account of them is [really] true. Because it is [true], rebuke them sharply [deal sternly, even severely with them], so that they may be sound in the faith and free from error, 14 [And may show their soundness by] ceasing to give attention to Jewish myths and fables or to rules [laid down] by [mere] men who reject and turn their backs on the Truth.
15 To the pure [in heart and conscience] all things are pure, but to the defiled and corrupt and unbelieving nothing is pure; their very minds and consciences are defiled and polluted. 16 They profess to know God [to recognize, perceive, and be acquainted with Him], but deny and disown and renounce Him by what they do; they are detestable and loathsome, unbelieving and disobedient and disloyal and rebellious, and [they are] unfit and worthless for good work (deed or enterprise) of any kind.
But [as for] you, teach what is fitting and becoming to sound (wholesome) doctrine [the character and right living that identify true Christians].
2 Urge the older men to be temperate, venerable (serious), sensible, self-controlled, and sound in the faith, in the love, and in the steadfastness and patience [of Christ]. 3 Bid the older women similarly to be reverent and devout in their deportment as becomes those engaged in sacred service, not slanderers or slaves to drink. They are to give good counsel and be teachers of what is right and noble, 4 So that they will wisely train the young women to be [a]sane and sober of mind (temperate, disciplined) and to love their husbands and their children, 5 To be self-controlled, chaste, homemakers, good-natured (kindhearted), adapting and subordinating themselves to their husbands, that the word of God may not be exposed to reproach (blasphemed or discredited). 6 In a similar way, urge the younger men to be self-restrained and to behave prudently [taking life seriously].
7 And show your own self in all respects to be a pattern and a model of good deeds and works, teaching what is unadulterated, showing gravity [having the strictest regard for truth and purity of motive], with dignity and seriousness. 8 And let your instruction be sound and fit and wise and wholesome, vigorous and [b]irrefutable and above censure, so that the opponent may be put to shame, finding nothing discrediting or evil to say about us.
9 [Tell] bond servants to be submissive to their masters, to be pleasing and give satisfaction in every way. [Warn them] not to talk back or contradict, 10 Nor to steal by taking things of small value, but to prove themselves truly loyal and entirely reliable and faithful throughout, so that in everything they may be an ornament and do credit to the teaching [which is] from and about God our Savior.
11 For the grace of God (His unmerited favor and blessing) has come forward (appeared) for the deliverance from sin and the eternal salvation for all mankind. 12 It has trained us to reject and renounce all ungodliness (irreligion) and worldly (passionate) desires, to live discreet (temperate, self-controlled), upright, devout (spiritually whole) lives in this present world, 13 Awaiting and looking for the [fulfillment, the realization of our] blessed hope, even the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed One), 14 Who gave Himself on our behalf that He might redeem us (purchase our freedom) from all iniquity and purify for Himself a people [to be peculiarly His own, people who are] eager and enthusiastic about [living a life that is good and filled with] beneficial deeds. 15 Tell [them all] these things. Urge (advise, encourage, warn) and rebuke with full authority. Let no one despise or disregard or think little of you [conduct yourself and your teaching so as to command respect].
Remind people to be submissive to [their] magistrates and authorities, to be obedient, to be prepared and willing to do any upright and honorable work, 2 To slander or abuse or speak evil of no one, to avoid being contentious, to be forbearing (yielding, gentle, and conciliatory), and to show unqualified courtesy toward everybody.
3 For we also were once thoughtless and senseless, obstinate and disobedient, deluded and misled; [we too were once] slaves to all sorts of cravings and pleasures, wasting our days in malice and jealousy and envy, hateful (hated, detestable) and hating one another.
4 But when the goodness and loving-kindness of God our Savior to man [as man] appeared, 5 He saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but because of His own pity and mercy, by [the] cleansing [bath] of the new birth (regeneration) and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 Which He poured out [so] richly upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. 7 [And He did it in order] that we might be justified by His grace (by His favor, wholly undeserved), [that we might be acknowledged and counted as conformed to the divine will in purpose, thought, and action], and that we might become heirs of eternal life according to [our] hope.
8 This message is most trustworthy, and concerning these things I want you to insist steadfastly, so that those who have believed in (trusted in, relied on) God may be careful to apply themselves to honorable occupations and to doing good, for such things are [not only] excellent and right [in themselves], but [they are] good and profitable for the people.
9 But avoid stupid and foolish controversies and genealogies and dissensions and wrangling about the Law, for they are unprofitable and futile. 10 [As for] a man who is factious [a heretical sectarian and cause of divisions], after admonishing him a first and second time, reject [him from your fellowship and have nothing more to do with him], 11 Well aware that such a person has utterly changed (is perverted and corrupted); he goes on sinning [though he] is convicted of guilt and self-condemned.
12 When I send Artemas or [perhaps] Tychicus to you, lose no time but make every effort to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. 13 Do your utmost to speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; see that they want for (lack) nothing.
14 And let our own [people really] learn to apply themselves to good deeds (to honest labor and honorable employment), so that they may be able to meet necessary demands [a]whenever the occasion may require and not be living idle and uncultivated and unfruitful lives.
15 All who are with me wish to be remembered to you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace (God’s favor and blessing) be with you all. Amen (so be it).
Paul, a prisoner [for the sake] of Christ Jesus (the Messiah), and our brother Timothy, to Philemon our dearly beloved sharer with us in our work, 2 And to Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier [in the Christian warfare], and to the church [assembly that meets] in your house:
3 Grace (spiritual blessing and favor) be to all of you and [heart] peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah).
4 I give thanks to my God for you always when I mention you in my prayers, 5 Because I continue to hear of your love and of your loyal faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and [which you show] toward all the saints (God’s consecrated people).
6 [And I pray] that the participation in and sharing of your faith may produce and promote full recognition and appreciation and understanding and precise knowledge of every good [thing] that is ours in [our identification with] Christ Jesus [and unto His glory].
7 For I have derived great joy and comfort and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints [who are your fellow Christians] have been cheered and refreshed through you, [my] brother.
8 Therefore, though I have abundant boldness in Christ to charge you to do what is fitting and required and your duty to do, 9 Yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you just for what I am—I, Paul, an ambassador [of Christ Jesus] and an old man and now a prisoner for His sake also—10 I appeal to you for my [own spiritual] child, Onesimus [meaning profitable], whom I have begotten [in the faith] while a captive in these chains.
11 Once he was unprofitable to you, but now he is indeed profitable to you as well as to me. 12 I am sending him back to you in [a]his own person, [and it is like sending] my very heart. 13 I would have chosen to keep him with me, in order that he might minister to my needs in your stead during my imprisonment for the Gospel’s sake. 14 But it has been my wish to do nothing about it without first consulting you and getting your consent, in order that your benevolence might not seem to be the result of compulsion or of pressure but might be voluntary [on your part].
15 Perhaps it was for this reason that he was separated [from you] for a while, that you might have him back as yours forever, 16 Not as a slave any longer but as [something] more than a slave, as a brother [Christian], especially dear to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh [as a servant] and in the Lord [as a fellow believer]. 17 If then you consider me a partner and a [b]comrade in fellowship, welcome and receive him as you would [welcome and receive] me.
18 And if he has done you any wrong in any way or owes anything [to you], charge that to my account. 19 I, Paul, write it with my own hand, I promise to repay it [in full]—and that is to say nothing [of the fact] that you owe me your very self! 20 Yes, brother, let me have some profit from you in the Lord. Cheer and refresh my heart in Christ.
21 I write to you [perfectly] confident of your obedient compliance, knowing that you will do even more than I ask. 22 At the same time prepare a guest room [in expectation of extending your hospitality] to me, for I am hoping through your prayers to be granted [the gracious privilege of coming] to you.
23 Greetings to you from Epaphras, my fellow prisoner here in [the cause of] Christ Jesus (the Messiah), 24 And [from] Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers.
25 The grace (blessing and favor) of the Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) be with your spirit. Amen (so be it).
In many separate revelations [[a]each of which set forth a portion of the Truth] and in different ways God spoke of old to [our] forefathers in and by the prophets, 2 [But] in [b]the last of these days He has spoken to us in [the person of a] Son, Whom He appointed Heir and lawful Owner of all things, also by and through Whom He created the worlds and the reaches of space and the ages of time [He made, produced, built, operated, and arranged them in order]. 3 He is the sole expression of the glory of God [the Light-being, the [c]out-raying or radiance of the divine], and He is the perfect imprint and very image of [God’s] nature, upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe by His mighty word of power. When He had by offering Himself accomplished our cleansing of sins and riddance of guilt, He sat down at the right hand of the divine Majesty on high, 4 [Taking a place and rank by which] He Himself became as much superior to angels as the glorious Name (title) which He has inherited is different from and more excellent than theirs.
5 For to which of the angels did [God] ever say, You are My Son, today I have begotten You [established You in an official Sonship relation, with kingly dignity]? And again, I will be to Him a Father, and He will be to Me a Son? 6 Moreover, when He brings the firstborn Son [d]again into the habitable world, He says, Let all the angels of God worship Him. 7 Referring to the angels He says, [God] Who makes His angels winds and His ministering servants flames of fire;
8 But as to the Son, He says to Him, Your throne, O God, is forever and ever (to the ages of the ages), and the scepter of Your kingdom is a scepter of absolute righteousness (of justice and straightforwardness). 9 You have loved righteousness [You have delighted in integrity, virtue, and uprightness in purpose, thought, and action] and You have hated lawlessness (injustice and iniquity). Therefore God, [even] Your God ([e]Godhead), has anointed You with the oil of exultant joy and gladness above and beyond Your companions.
10 And [further], You, Lord, did lay the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the works of Your hands. 11 They will perish, but You remain and continue permanently; they will all grow old and wear out like a garment. 12 Like a mantle [thrown about one’s self] You will roll them up, and they will be changed and replaced by others. But You remain the same, and Your years will never end nor come to failure.
13 Besides, to which of the angels has He ever said, Sit at My right hand [associated with Me in My royal dignity] till I make your enemies a stool for your feet? 14 Are not the angels all ministering spirits (servants) sent out in the service [of God for the assistance] of those who are to inherit salvation?
Since all this is true, we ought to pay much closer attention than ever to the truths that we have heard, lest in any way we drift past [them] and slip away. 2 For if the message given through angels [the Law spoken by them to Moses] was authentic and proved sure, and every violation and disobedience received an appropriate (just and adequate) penalty, 3 How shall we escape [appropriate retribution] if we neglect and refuse to pay attention to such a great salvation [as is now offered to us, letting it drift past us forever]? For it was declared at first by the Lord [Himself], and it was confirmed to us and proved to be real and genuine by those who personally heard [Him speak].
4 [Besides this evidence] it was also established and plainly endorsed by God, Who showed His approval of it by signs and wonders and various miraculous manifestations of [His] power and by imparting the gifts of the Holy Spirit [to the believers] according to His own will.
5 For it was not to angels that God subjected the habitable world of the future, of which we are speaking. 6 It has been solemnly and earnestly said in a certain place, What is man that You are mindful of him, or the son of man that You graciously and helpfully care for and visit and look after him? 7 For some little time You have ranked him lower than and inferior to the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor and set him over the works of Your hands, 8 For You have put everything in subjection under his feet. Now in putting everything in subjection to man, He left nothing outside [of man’s] control. But at present we do not yet see all things subjected to him [man].
9 But we are able to see Jesus, Who was ranked lower than the angels for a little while, crowned with glory and honor because of His having suffered death, in order that by the grace (unmerited favor) of God [to us sinners] He might experience death for every individual person.
10 For it was an act worthy [of God] and fitting [to the divine nature] that He, for Whose sake and by Whom all things have their existence, in bringing many sons into glory, should make the Pioneer of their salvation perfect [should bring to maturity the human experience necessary to be perfectly equipped for His office as High Priest] through suffering. 11 For both He Who sanctifies [making men holy] and those who are sanctified all have one [Father]. For this reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren; 12 For He says, I will declare Your [the Father’s] name to My brethren; in the midst of the [worshiping] congregation I will sing hymns of praise to You.13 And again He says, My trust and assured reliance and confident hope shall be fixed in Him. And yet again, Here I am, I and the children whom God has given Me.
14 Since, therefore, [these His] children share in flesh and blood [in the physical nature of human beings], He [Himself] in a similar manner partook of the same [nature], that by [going through] death He might bring to nought and make of no effect him who had the power of death—that is, the devil—15 And also that He might deliver and completely set free all those who through the [haunting] fear of death were held in bondage throughout the whole course of their lives.
16 For, as we all know, He [Christ] did not take hold of angels [[a]the fallen angels, to give them a helping and delivering hand], but He did take hold of [[b]the fallen] descendants of Abraham [to reach out to them a helping and delivering hand]. 17 So it is evident that it was essential that He be made like His brethren in every respect, in order that He might become a merciful (sympathetic) and faithful High Priest in the things related to God, to make atonement and propitiation for the people’s sins. 18 For because He Himself [in His humanity] has suffered in being tempted (tested and tried), He is able [immediately] [c]to run to the cry of (assist, relieve) those who are being tempted and tested and tried [and who therefore are being exposed to suffering].
So then, brethren, consecrated and set apart for God, who share in the heavenly calling, [thoughtfully and attentively] consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest Whom we confessed [as ours when we embraced the Christian faith]. 2 [See how] faithful He was to Him Who appointed Him [Apostle and High Priest], as Moses was also faithful in the whole house [of God].
3 Yet Jesus has been considered worthy of much greater honor and glory than Moses, just as the builder of a house has more honor than the house [itself]. 4 For [of course] every house is built and furnished by someone, but the Builder of all things and the Furnisher [of the entire equipment of all things] is God.
5 And Moses certainly was faithful in the administration of all God’s house [but it was only] as a ministering servant. [In his entire ministry he was but] a testimony to the things which were to be spoken [the revelations to be given afterward in Christ]. 6 But Christ (the Messiah) was faithful over His [own Father’s] house as a Son [and Master of it]. And it is we who are [now members] of this house, if we hold fast and firm to the end our joyful and exultant confidence and sense of triumph in our hope [in Christ].
7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: Today, if you will hear His voice, 8 Do not harden your hearts, as [happened] in the rebellion [of Israel] and their provocation and [a]embitterment [of Me] in the day of testing in the wilderness, 9 Where your fathers tried [My patience] and tested [My forbearance] and [b]found I stood their test, and they saw My works for forty years. 10 And so I was provoked (displeased and sorely grieved) with that generation, and said, They always err and are led astray in their hearts, and they have not perceived or recognized My ways and become progressively better and more experimentally and intimately acquainted with them. 11 Accordingly, I swore in My wrath and indignation, They shall not enter into My rest.
12 [Therefore beware] brethren, take care, lest there be in any one of you a wicked, unbelieving heart [which refuses to cleave to, trust in, and rely on Him], leading you to turn away and desert or stand aloof from the living God.
13 But instead warn (admonish, urge, and encourage) one another every day, as long as it is called Today, that none of you may be hardened [into settled rebellion] by the deceitfulness of sin [by the fraudulence, the stratagem, the trickery which the delusive glamor of his sin may play on him]. 14 For we [c]have become fellows with Christ (the Messiah) and share in all He has for us, if only we hold our first newborn confidence and original assured expectation [in virtue of which we are believers] firm and unshaken to the end.
15 Then while it is [still] called Today, if you would hear His voice and when you hear it, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion [in the desert, when the people provoked and irritated and embittered God against them]. 16 For who were they who heard and yet were rebellious and provoked [Him]? Was it not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses?
17 And with whom was He irritated and provoked and grieved for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose [d]dismembered bodies were strewn and left in the desert?
18 And to whom did He swear that they should not enter His rest, but to those who disobeyed [who had not listened to His word and who refused to be compliant or be persuaded]?
19 So we see that they were not able to enter [into His rest], because of their unwillingness to adhere to and trust in and rely on God [unbelief had shut them out].
Therefore, while the promise of entering His rest still holds and is offered [today], let us be afraid [[a]to distrust it], lest any of you should [b]think he has come too late and has come short of [reaching] it. 2 For indeed we have had the glad tidings [Gospel of God] proclaimed to us just as truly as they [the Israelites of old did when the good news of deliverance from bondage came to them]; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because it was not mixed with faith (with [c]the leaning of the entire personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness) by those who heard it; [d]neither were they united in faith with the ones [Joshua and Caleb] who heard (did believe).
3 For we who have believed (adhered to and trusted in and relied on God) do enter that rest, [e]in accordance with His declaration that those [who did not believe] should not enter when He said, As I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest; and this He said although [His] works had been completed and prepared [and waiting for all who would believe] from the foundation of the world. 4 For in a certain place He has said this about the seventh day: And God rested on the seventh day from all His works. 5 And [they forfeited their part in it, for] in this [passage] He said, They shall not enter My rest.
6 Seeing then that the promise remains over [from past times] for some to enter that rest, and that those who formerly were given the good news about it and the opportunity, failed to appropriate it and did not enter because of disobedience, 7 Again He sets a definite day, [a new] Today, [and gives another opportunity of securing that rest] saying through David after so long a time in the words already quoted, Today, if you would hear His voice and when you hear it, do not harden your hearts.
8 [This mention of a rest was not a reference to their entering into Canaan.] For if Joshua had given them rest, He [God] would not speak afterward about another day. 9 So then, there is still awaiting a full and complete Sabbath-rest reserved for the [true] people of God; 10 For he who has once entered [God’s] rest also has ceased from [the weariness and pain] of human labors, just as God rested from those labors [f]peculiarly His own.
11 Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves], that no one may fall or perish by the same kind of unbelief and disobedience [into which those in the wilderness fell]. 12 For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the [g]breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart. 13 And not a creature exists that is concealed from His sight, but all things are open and exposed, naked and defenseless to the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do.
14 Inasmuch then as we have a great High Priest Who has [already] ascended and passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession [of faith in Him]. 15 For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning.
16 Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it].
For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in things relating to God, to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2 He is able to exercise gentleness and forbearance toward the ignorant and erring, since he himself also is liable to moral weakness and physical infirmity. 3 And because of this he is obliged to offer sacrifice for his own sins, as well as for those of the people.
4 Besides, one does not appropriate for himself the honor [of being high priest], but he is called by God and receives it of Him, just as Aaron did. 5 So too Christ (the Messiah) did not exalt Himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed and exalted by Him Who said to Him, You are My Son; today I have begotten You; 6 As He says also in another place, You are a Priest [appointed] forever after the order (with [a]the rank) of Melchizedek.
7 In the days of His flesh [Jesus] offered up definite, special petitions [for that which He not only wanted [b]but needed] and supplications with strong crying and tears to Him Who was [always] able to save Him [out] from death, and He was heard because of His reverence toward God [His godly fear, His piety, [c] in that He shrank from the horrors of separation from the bright presence of the Father].
8 Although He was a Son, He learned [active, special] obedience through what He suffered 9 And, [His completed experience] making Him perfectly [equipped], He became the Author and Source of eternal salvation to all those who give heed and obey Him, 10 Being [d]designated and recognized and saluted by God as High Priest after the order (with [e]the rank) of Melchizedek.
11 Concerning this we have much to say which is hard to explain, since you have become dull in your [spiritual] hearing and sluggish [even [f]slothful in achieving spiritual insight]. 12 For even though by this time you ought to be teaching others, you actually need someone to teach you over again the very first principles of God’s Word. You have come to need milk, not solid food. 13 For everyone who continues to feed on milk is obviously inexperienced and unskilled in the doctrine of righteousness (of conformity to the divine will in purpose, thought, and action), for he is a mere infant [not able to talk yet]! 14 But solid food is for full-grown men, for those whose senses and mental faculties are trained by practice to discriminate and distinguish between what is morally good and noble and what is evil and contrary either to divine or human law.
Therefore let us go on and get past the elementary stage in the teachings and doctrine of Christ (the Messiah), advancing steadily toward the completeness and perfection that belong to spiritual maturity. Let us not again be laying the foundation of repentance and abandonment of dead works (dead formalism) and of the faith [by which you turned] to God, 2 With teachings about purifying, the laying on of hands, the resurrection from the dead, and eternal judgment and punishment. [These are all matters of which you should have been fully aware long, long ago.]
3 If indeed God permits, we will [now] proceed [to advanced teaching]. 4 For it is impossible [to restore and bring again to repentance] those who have been once for all enlightened, who have consciously tasted the heavenly gift and have become sharers of the Holy Spirit, 5 And have felt how good the Word of God is and the mighty powers of the age and world to come, 6 If they then deviate from the faith and turn away from their allegiance—[it is impossible] to bring them back to repentance, for (because, while, as long as) they nail upon the cross the Son of God afresh [as far as they are concerned] and are holding [Him] up to contempt and shame and public disgrace.
7 For the soil which has drunk the rain that repeatedly falls upon it and produces vegetation useful to those for whose benefit it is cultivated partakes of a blessing from God. 8 But if [that same soil] persistently bears thorns and thistles, it is considered worthless and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned. 9 Even though we speak this way, yet in your case, beloved, we are now firmly convinced of better things that are near to salvation and accompany it.
10 For God is not unrighteous to forget or overlook your labor and the love which you have shown for His name’s sake in ministering to the needs of the saints (His own consecrated people), as you still do. 11 But we do [[a]strongly and earnestly] desire for each of you to show the same diligence and sincerity [all the way through] in realizing and enjoying the full assurance and development of [your] hope until the end,
12 In order that you may not grow disinterested and become [spiritual] sluggards, but imitators, behaving as do those who through faith ([b]by their leaning of the entire personality on God in Christ in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness) and by practice of patient endurance and waiting are [now] inheriting the promises. 13 For when God made [His] promise to Abraham, He swore by Himself, since He had no one greater by whom to swear, 14 Saying, Blessing I certainly will bless you and multiplying I will multiply you. 15 And so it was that he [Abraham], having waited long and endured patiently, realized and obtained [in the birth of Isaac as a pledge of what was to come] what God had promised him.
16 Men indeed swear by a greater [than themselves], and with them in all disputes the oath taken for confirmation is final [ending strife]. 17 Accordingly God also, in His desire to show more convincingly and beyond doubt to those who were to inherit the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose and plan, intervened (mediated) with an oath. 18 This was so that, by two unchangeable things [His promise and His oath] in which it is impossible for God ever to prove false or deceive us, we who have fled [to Him] for refuge might have mighty indwelling strength and strong encouragement to grasp and hold fast the hope appointed for us and set before [us].
19 [Now] we have this [hope] as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul [it cannot slip and it cannot [c]break down under whoever steps out upon it—a hope] that reaches [d]farther and enters into [the very certainty of the Presence] within the veil, 20 Where Jesus has entered in for us [in advance], a Forerunner having become a High Priest forever after the order (with [e]the rank) of Melchizedek.
For this Melchizedek, king of Salem [and] priest of the Most High God, met Abraham as he returned from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2 And Abraham gave to him a tenth portion of all [the spoil]. He is primarily, as his name when translated indicates, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, which means king of peace. 3 Without [record of] father or mother or ancestral line, neither with beginning of days nor ending of life, but, resembling the Son of God, he continues to be a priest without interruption and without successor.
4 Now observe and consider how great [a personage] this was to whom even Abraham the patriarch gave a tenth [the topmost or the pick of the heap] of the spoils. 5 And it is true that those descendants of Levi who are charged with the priestly office are commanded in the Law to take tithes from the people—which means, from their brethren—though these have descended from Abraham.
6 But this person who has not their Levitical ancestry received tithes from Abraham [himself] and blessed him who possessed the promises [of God]. 7 Yet it is beyond all contradiction that it is the lesser person who is blessed by the greater one. 8 Furthermore, here [in the Levitical priesthood] tithes are received by men who are subject to death; while there [in the case of Melchizedek], they are received by one of whom it is testified that he lives [perpetually]. 9 A person might even say that Levi [the father of the priestly tribe] himself, who received tithes (the tenth), paid tithes through Abraham, 10 For he was still in the loins of his forefather [Abraham] when Melchizedek met him [Abraham].
11 Now if perfection (a perfect fellowship between God and the worshiper) had been attainable by the Levitical priesthood—for under it the people were given the Law—why was it further necessary that there should arise another and different kind of Priest, one after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one appointed after the order and rank of Aaron? 12 For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is of necessity an alteration of the law [concerning the priesthood] as well. 13 For the One of Whom these things are said belonged [not to the priestly line but] to another tribe, no member of which has officiated at the altar. 14 For it is obvious that our Lord sprang from the tribe of Judah, and Moses mentioned nothing about priests in connection with that tribe.
15 And this becomes more plainly evident when another Priest arises Who bears the likeness of Melchizedek, 16 Who has been constituted a Priest, not on the basis of a bodily legal requirement [an externally imposed command concerning His physical ancestry], but on the basis of the power of an endless and indestructible Life. 17 For it is witnessed of Him, You are a Priest forever after the order (with the rank) of Melchizedek. 18 So a previous physical regulation and command is cancelled because of its weakness and ineffectiveness and uselessness—19 For the Law never made anything perfect—but instead a better hope is introduced through which we [now] come close to God.
20 And it was not without the taking of an oath [that Christ was made Priest], 21 For those who formerly became priests received their office without its being confirmed by the taking of an oath by God, but this One was designated and addressed and saluted with an oath, The Lord has sworn and will not regret it or change His mind, You are a Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
22 In keeping with [the oath’s greater strength and force], Jesus has become the Guarantee of a better (stronger) agreement [a more excellent and more advantageous covenant]. 23 [Again, the former successive line of priests] was made up of many, because they were each prevented by death from continuing [perpetually in office]; 24 But He holds His priesthood unchangeably, because He lives on forever.
25 Therefore He is able also to save to the uttermost (completely, perfectly, finally, and for all time and eternity) those who come to God through Him, since He is always living to make petition to God and intercede with Him and intervene for them. 26 [Here is] the High Priest [perfectly adapted] to our needs, as was fitting—holy, blameless, unstained by sin, separated from sinners, and exalted higher than the heavens. 27 He has no day by day necessity, as [do each of these other] high priests, to offer sacrifice first of all for his own [personal] sins and then for those of the people, because He [met all the requirements] once for all when He brought Himself [as a sacrifice] which He offered up.
28 For the Law sets up men in their weakness [frail, sinful, dying human beings] as high priests, but the word of [God’s] oath, which [was spoken later] after the institution of the Law, [chooses and appoints as priest One Whose appointment is complete and permanent], a Son Who has been made perfect forever.
And as our minds whirl with the Old Testament flash forwards, we declare the Amen
I think if someone were to ask me, and maybe you too, if I would always choose the good thing for myself over the bad, I would confidently answer yes. It seems pretty cut and dry, Common Sense 101, but Sister our ancestry, our human heritage, well, it shows that just isn’t the case–that all of mankind must’ve missed that class. Left to look through the lenses of our humanity and the desires of the flesh, we have no idea and are not capable of seeing the good thing, the beautiful thing, the best thing clearly.
How do you think Eve would’ve responded to that question? Or Adam? I choose them to ponder on not simply because we know how clouded their vision was but also because they didn’t have a bad home life to pin the haziness of their sight on and they didn’t have a twisted family tree to hang their distorted views from. They had their own heart and their own perception. The choice before them was to trust God and obey the boundaries He had set for them or to act apart from His goodness and do what they thought was best. We know the choice and we live the outcome. . .
And when the woman saw that the tree was good (suitable, pleasant) for food and that it was delightful to look at, and a tree to be desired in order to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she gave some also to her husband, and he ate. Genesis 3:6
But I don’t judge Eve at all, because left to myself, I know without a doubt that I would walk right alongside of her and I would lean in just as close as she did to hear the serpent’s every word. And just like it did for Eve, the hiss of Satan would drown out the holiness of God.
The deceiver didn’t flat out ask Eve if God had given her His very best, He led her into looking at it through her own humanity and the desires of her flesh and entertain the notion that God might be holding out on her. At the beginning of the conversation, it doesn’t even seem that Eve knew she was weighing her options. . . that she was sliding on her black robe and exalting herself to be the judge of God. I think that’s most often how the enemy gets to us . . . little by little . . . and pretty soon we have our black robe on and the gavel in our hand, all set to judge the word of God.
1 John 2:16 couldn’t be clearer. The same three areas that faced Adam and Eve in the Garden still face us today . . .
16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh [craving for sensual gratification] and the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind] and the pride of life [assurance in one’s own resources or in the stability of earthly things]—these do not come from the Father but are from the world [itself]. 1 John 2:16
See it line up . . .
And when the woman saw that the tree was good (suitable, pleasant) for food—(lust of the flesh)— and that it was delightful to look at—(lust of the eyes)—, and a tree to be desired in order to make one wise—(pride of life)—, she took of its fruit and ate; and she gave some also to her husband, and he ate. Genesis 3:6/1 John 2:16
Satan doesn’t change his game, because we don’t change. We’re still tempted by what our flesh wants, what our eyes see, and what we think makes us look good. Beloved, Satan tried all those same tricks with Christ in the desert and Jesus did not bow to a single temptation.
He remained the Sinless One, the Perfect One. He stared temptation in the face and He chose obedience.
Jesus never sinned, but He became sin and He died as if He was the One who had been lured from the goodness of God to serve Himself. He never wavered but He paid the price. He didn’t swerve but it bore the wrath.
Jesus stood firm in His full humanity and overcame every temptation and . . . the Spotless One is alive and well. He has left the tomb behind, and made His home in each of us. The Christ living in us, empowers us to stand firm when our hearts are tempted. And when we cry out to our Savior He is ever-present to strengthen us in the battle. He does not guess what we need because He knows! Our Mighty Warrior has fought this battle, He faced the enemy, and He has overcome!
18 For because He Himself [in His humanity] has suffered in being tempted (tested and tried), He is able [immediately] [c]to run to the cry of (assist, relieve) those who are being tempted and tested and tried [and who therefore are being exposed to suffering]. Hebrews 2:18
15 For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning. Hebrews 4:15
Does He know this world conspires against you? Absolutely He does. Is He aware of the powerful pull to the things our eyes see and our flesh wants? Without a doubt He is. And does He understand the difficulty of the battle? Oh Sweet One, He does! Not in a far off, analytical, “life on earth is tough” kind of way. No! Our Savior has fought the good fight up-close and personal. Oh yes Girlfriend, He knows the war you are fighting and He will never let you fight alone.
We never fight alone . . . #lessonsfromlent