Dear Student of the Word,
I trust you had a blessed Resurrection celebration and that the power of the cross and resurrection are more effective in your life than ever. I am in California, but have some time before I take a redeye flight home tonight to send you this latest installment from our Hebrews study. This week I wrote in this first part of our seven-day study:
Study Five, Day One
15 And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, 16 one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is declared: "You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek." 18 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19(for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.
7:15&16 - At this point, I have completed studies of every New Testament book. In my studies, I have noticed that Paul spent considerable time in Galatians and Romans addressing the issue of the Law and grace, trying to convince the readers that Jesus represented a better way than the Law and Temple regulations ever provided. Here the writer addressed the same issue.
The issue of legalism is still prevalent in the Church today, making the issue of the Law as important today as it was 2,000 years ago. People are a religious beings, always searching for some system that will codify and structure their service to and relationship with God. The Lord isn’t interested in a system, but a relationship with His people. If the early writers spent a lot of time addressing legalism, then perhaps we should, too.
We want a system because we want God to be predictable so we can control Him. Whenever that happens, we become God because we have found principles that can make Him do what we want. God will not permit that to happen.
The writer stated that Jesus’ priesthood was based not on the past but the present and future. His priesthood wasn’t based on the family tree but eternal life. By that I mean that Jesus did not come to teach men to follow the Law, but to give them eternal life, something which He possessed and had the power to bestow.
7:17 – Jesus can perform His priestly duties forever, because He lives forever. There is no end to His priesthood, as there was to every Levitical priest. They all died, but Jesus keeps ministering, because He had no beginning and no end, just like Melchizedek.
7:18&19 – The former regulation for the priesthood and the Law was put aside in Christ. We now draw near to God through a better hope by far – the hope of Jesus and His eternal priesthood. Yet the readers were considering whether to abandon this hope for the reliability and predictability of the Old Testament Law. On what basis do you draw near to God? On weak regulations and legalism or strong and eternal hope in the Son of God who lives forever? The answer is important, for it will determine how you relate to God and His promises.
As always, I welcome your comments to this week's study. For additional Bible studies, check out my website archive, which contains a complete collection of all my verse-by-verse New Testament studies, along with the unpublished daily devotional entitled A Daily Taste of Proverbs. Thank you and I hope you continue to enjoy this study of Hebrews from God's word.