Agonizomai: Heb 13 - 13-15 - Christ - Source of Our Praise

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Heb 13 - 13-15 - Christ - Source of Our Praise

Heb 13 - 13-15 - Christ - Source of Our Praise

Heb13:13-15 Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. 14 For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. 15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.

The final exhortation comes in view of what has gone before - the superiority and exclusivity of Christ to anything that existed previously. It is, indeed, only a true faith in the uniqueness and sufficiency of Christ that, in the end, enables anyone to go on. O yes! We persevere - but only because we are preserved by God through our perseverance. He is in us, keeping and guiding us through faith in Him, and in His finished work.

But we cannot be in Christ and not expect the selfsame rejection that He suffered. We cannot have the light shining in the dark, piercing our own darkness, and not expect the light-snuffers to react. Men hate the light and will not come into it because their deeds are evil. They will not come so that it can be seen whether what they have done was wrought in God. They know it was not.

So also these first century Jews needed to get it together, but not without counting the cost. They had to turn their back upon the old way and turn their faces like flint towards the inevitable persecution which would arise from their doing so. But of course, like Joel Osteen, Jesus just wanted them to be happy!

Well, not really! Jesus wants us, as believers to experience the glories of His grace and righteousness reigning in us as we walk in a fallen world. This brings something far more than mere happiness. It brings assurance and joy - even in the midst of sorrow and grief. We mourn and yet we are filled with joy. We grieve at the darkness within and without and yet we celebrate the light. We cry over our own hardness, wilfulness and lack of true love, while yielding our members as instruments of the loving grace of God in the world. Such things are not intuitive. That’s why shallow and worldly philosophies like Osteen’s miss the mark by so much. These things are kingdom realities, made known to the hearts of Christ’s own by His Spirit, through the Word - and worked out in the providence of the Father.

Ours is a sacrifice that is no sacrifice. What have we ever had that we could give to God that He should receive anything from us? Are not all things from Him and through Him and to Him? This is why our sacrifice is one of praise. It is appreciation not for what we do, but for what Christ has done for us and is doing in and through us. This is fruit. It is the fruit of lips under which the poison of asps once lay, but which have been made willing and able to utter the praises of the glorious grace of God.


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