Thursday, January 14, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Is the Father Holding Up the Second Coming?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

God has given us the book of Hebrews as a treasure of truth. It's more soul-satisfying to read than the daily news, and if you understand what it's about, more interesting. It connects us directly with our Great High Priest who is just now conducting His closing work of preparing a people to stand through the final scenes of earthly time.

But it frightens some good-hearted people because its theme throughout is being "made perfect." "I don't see how I can ever become perfect," they say. And they turn away.

But wait a moment: think again. The theme of Hebrews is not making yourself "perfect." In fact, that's not your job; that precisely is the work of your Great High Priest. There's been a misunderstanding foisted upon God's people to make them think that the Father is holding up the second coming of Christ until "we" accomplish this impossible goal. The theme is for "us" to let our High Priest make His people perfect; He will do it if they don't resist and hinder Him in what He wants to do.

For example, note Hebrews 7:25: "He is also able to save to the uttermost [completely, perfectly, Amplified Bible] those who come to God through Him, since He ever lives to make intercession for them." Who does it? He; not we. Or, 11:40, the idea is to be "made perfect," not make yourself perfect. And 13:20, 21, the same Father who "brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, ... through the blood of the everlasting covenant, [will] make you complete [perfect] in every good work to do His will, working in you ..." Who does it? Our Father.

Or, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus ..." (Phil. 2:5-8). If you and I will take down the bars that shut the door of our hearts and let the Holy Spirit bring in that "mind," the great High Priest can have His way. The Father's "gifts" are given "for perfecting [KJV] of the saints, ... for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith ... to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; ... no longer children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine" (Eph. 4:11-14). Let Him labor on!

The great cosmic controversy between Christ and Satan hinges on whether the great High Priest can demonstrate that His "gospel ... is the power of God to salvation" (Rom. 1:16). Must His people always stumble and fail as did ancient Israel? It's not a crisis of doing "works," but a crisis of faith, believing--which faith then works all the good works motivated by love (agape).

The missing link is stated twice in Hebrews: "Consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus" (3:1), and "Consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, ..." (12:3). The word "consider" means a long, contemplative look at His sacrifice on His cross, and His resurrection High Priestly ministry that makes effective what He accomplished on His cross.

Yes, "Behold! The Lamb of God" is the idea (John 1:29).

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: August 6, 2003.
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