Agonizomai: Heb 13 - 20-22 - Christ - The Master Potter

Friday, June 11, 2010

Heb 13 - 20-22 - Christ - The Master Potter

Heb 13 - 20-22 - Christ - The Master Potter

Heb 13:20-22 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. 22 I appeal to you, brothers, bear with my word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly.

Even in saying his farewell, the writer finds a way to once more repeat the essence of his message by preaching Christ as both having died and been raised - as being the True Shepherd, the Over Shepherd - by Whose atoning and sanctifying blood sacrifice all that the believer needs is provided. That is to say, all that the believer needs in order to do the will of God, because that is what it is to be a true believer - to have been changed so that the desire of the heart is to do His will.

Note the ever-present twofold way that things are worked out; we are equipped with all that is needed to do His will, and it is God Who works in us that which is pleasing in His sight. The only possible understanding of these words is that the very obedience by which we are saved and sanctified is itself the evidence of God at work in us. Which is why he says explicitly that because this is all done through the (finished) work of Jesus Christ (and all that the Name and title encompasses) then all glory is unto Him for eternity. God does it all and it is all done in and through Christ, applied by the Spirit and exhibited in our obedience.

This is why we speak not of conforming ourselves to his image, but of being conformed to it. We are neither co-creators, nor are we co-recreators. We are clay in the hands of the Master Potter as He forms what His will and design purposed from eternity.

Finally, the writer entreats them, as Christian brothers (giving them the benefit of believing that their profession is true) to come to grips with what he terms his "brief exhortation." This means that, in the end, he sees the whole sermon as encouragement and not as reproof. O, to be sure, there is admonishment and rebuke in it for those who are wavering in the faith - but it is that sort of warning that is trusted to have the effect of actually encouraging true believers to get it together and remember what they have believed and Whom they have received.

Like any preacher, he seems to regret that time and space deter him from expounding more fully on the matters of concern laid on his heart - as if the Hebrews, like so many of us, could not sit for more than 20 minutes at one time to hear the gospel expounded and opened to them. In fact, it looks like he has kept it "short" precisely so as not to over tax them.


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