Agonizomai: Heb 11 - 31 - Christ - Savior of Sinners

Friday, April 23, 2010

Heb 11 - 31 - Christ - Savior of Sinners

Heb 11 - 31 - Christ - Savior of Sinners

Heb 11:31 By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.

And while on the topic of Jericho, the writer reminds us of a character about whom much could be said, though there is little written of her. In the context of the faith of the saints in the church triumphant (and as an encouragement to the saints in the church militant) we remember that this harlot gave a welcome to the Israeli spies and demonstrated her alliance by risking her life and the life of her family by hiding them.

Think of all the alternatives. She could have earned reputation and gratitude by warning the city and turning the spies over. Undoubtedly, as a prostitute, her status in society was not good. She lived in a house built into the wall, rather than in a safer haven far inside the city. Her house would be first in the line of assault as the walls were stormed and battered.

But she did not turn them in, and we are told that it was on account of faith in the God of Israel that she did not. She believed that God would make Israel victorious and made provision by securing a promise that she and her family would be spared. And they were. Everyone else perished, man woman and child.

And so here you have a profligate sinner - a Canaanite woman - who made a living selling her body to men, and who kept a house of entertainment, finally betraying her countrymen by deceiving them and by aiding and abetting enemies bent upon their destruction. This is the woman who married Boaz’s father, Salmon, and became one of four women mentioned deliberately as being in the line of the Messiah. What a black eye for the religionists, if they only had eyes to see! {The other women in the list were no more pristine than Rahab, being Tamar who prostituted herself to her father-in-law, Judah; Ruth - a Moabitess, which was a race in intrepid enmity with Israel and with whom Israelites were forbidden to intermarry; and Bathsheba - an adulteress.}

And in all of these we see the underlying current of grace at work, even at the time of the dispensation of the law. This is what the higher dispensationalists miss when they insist upon God dealing with Israel in one way and the New Testament church in another. He deals with both by saving all true Israel by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.

So don’t miss the grace here. See its beauty. See its all-encompassing mercy. See its complete provision. See that it is sufficient to make even the basest of sinners not only just in God’s eyes, but a part of the family of God in every sense of the word. Such is Rahab. She is a woman whose name is memorialized by the grace of God. A woman found in immorality. A woman of the meanest heritage living among the most depraved people. A woman who believed God and it was counted to her for righteousness. What hope this gives to people like us! O that God should lay His hand upon us and, out of the same lump as the rest of humanity, make of us vessels of honour!

So Rahab was justified by faith and saved by faith - a faith that was a gift of God’s grace, but which was proven genuine by the fruit of her commitment in obedience to the call.


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