September 20, 2016
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 20 September 2016
Have you ever heard a testimony of someone proclaiming a newfound faith in God, yet who was associated with a local church for many years? Perhaps this person even attended a Christian school. All throughout their school years, they heard truths regarding faith in God, yet never truly believed the message of salvation from the Bible.
Have you ever heard a testimony of someone proclaiming a newfound faith in God, who for many years lived with indecision regarding his/her eternal destiny, and who had to decide whether to commit his/her life to Christ or choose to live for that which is temporal. By God’s grace, some wisely commit to Christ; however, many others do not.
The church includes all — and only those — who have been regenerated (born again). The new birth (by the Holy Spirit) results in faith and repentance in the completed redemptive work of Christ Jesus, and union with Christ and with fellow believers (Acts 2:47; 20:28). Members are placed into the body of Christ through the baptism of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:13). The building in which the church meets regularly for worship may be occupied by people who are very close to salvation and make unwise choices leading to their detriment. The book of Hebrews addresses this very issue.
Hebrews 2:3 asks, “how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” The question therein is the type asked by someone who would say, “I understand God, I understand the gospel message, I know it is true, I believe it factually yet I choose to neglect it." If someone acts in such manner, what would cause him/her to think they can escape God's justice?
All throughout the book of Hebrews, there are warnings to the person who knows the truth of the saving gospel of Jesus Christ, who not only knows what that entails but also affirms it historically, who understands the theology of it, but will not repent of sin and come fully to Christ (confessing Him as Lord and Savior). Such a person is in the ever-present danger of being close to salvation (sort of like being inoculated or vaccinated with a small dosage so as never to contract a sickness of the body). Of all the warning passages in Hebrews, and indeed, in the Bible, none is more forthright and none is more compelling than the one in chapters 5 and 6 of Hebrews.
Hebrews 5 begins by describing the office of high priest in ancient Israel. The high priest was to act on behalf of human beings “in things pertaining to God.” Each high priest was divinely appointed to office (Exod 28:1-4; Numb 20:22-29; cf. 1 Sam 13:8-15; 2 Chron 26:16-21). The office necessitated that the high priest demonstrate compassion for wandering sinners and to offer sacrifices for sins. Jesus demonstrated his qualifications to serve as “a great high priest” for his people. Jesus did not serve in accordance with the imperfect priesthood of Aaron. He is “a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
Even though Jesus is a perfect High Priest for his own, there are factors that may result in spiritual immaturity. First, one may be “dull of hearing” (5:11). Second, one may fail in teaching others (5:12). Therefore, in this scenario, one must train their senses “to discern good and evil” (5:14). Some may linger so long in mediocrity that they become content with that manner of living.
In reading Hebrews 5, you will have a more extensive comprehension of the ability of Jesus to demonstrate compassion to wandering, weary sinners. You will also receive a warning against careless living and spiritual lifelessness. God gave the Bible to provide his people with the ability to develop understanding and to make decisions in view of eternity. God has granted understanding so we can yield “the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Heb 12:11), and thus have a lifetime of usefulness.
Your Capitol Missionary-Pastor,
Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia
Capitol Commission is prepared to encourage and enable local churches to participate in reaching our capitol communities for Christ (1 Tim 2:1-4). We only need to hear from you, if you have not already contacted us. We also seek to enlist individuals, businesses, and churches to become strategic partners with us in this ministry (2 Cor 8:3-6). Our success as a ministry is based upon God blessing all facets of the ministry, which certainly includes partners in this ministry. We earnestly desire to engage those who desire to participate in the ministry by offering their time and talents (Matt 25:20). If you have not already done so, join us and experience the joy of bringing hope, light, transformation, and truth to those who constitute our capitol communities.