Agonizomai: Heb 13 - 18-19 - Christ - The Evidence of Fruit

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Heb 13 - 18-19 - Christ - The Evidence of Fruit

Heb 13 - 18-19 - Christ - The Evidence of Fruit

Heb 13:18-19 Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things. 19 I urge you the more earnestly to do this in order that I may be restored to you the sooner.

Remembering the audience to whom the homily is addressed helps to understand the (to me) strange request for their prayers for him "because he is sure he has a clear conscience". For myself, I should more desire prayer when my conscience was troubling me. But here, the discourse making the case for the dismantling of Judaism and its replacement with the gospel of grace in Jesus Christ is now completed. The case has been made, but he has tried to make it respectfully and accurately. He has not held up the former way of life to ridicule even though he has shown its complete inadequacy as a means of justifying anyone before God.

He has also sternly warned more than once (three times, actually) about the temptations to either go back to the old religion, or to try to mix it with the new. But again, he has done this strictly for the sake of truth and in the service of Jesus Christ. He has made a defense of the gospel, but with gentleness and reverence. Therefore, his appeal to them is to join him in the blessings of a clear conscience in the loving arms of truth by praying for him. For their prayers themselves would be a sign of the grace of God at work in them, conforming them to the image of their Saviour. They would be means themselves of the fruit bearing of the word he brought to them by the Spirit of God.

And these prayers, being now in accord with the fullness of gospel truth and no longer wavering in doubt, would themselves bear their own fruit in the writer’s life, perhaps being part of God’s means in releasing him from whatever is hindering his face to face ministry to them.


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