Hebrews 1:1-3 was our passage for discussion (two sermons from Pastor Jeff). The deity of Christ gives us assurance that Christ work is unlike any other as it is the final sacrifice restoring mankind to God. The key phrase was “After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” Jesus’ work is finished, he is seated down, unlike the Jewish priests, including the High Priest, his work is done once and for all. Jewish Christians can rejoice that their salvation is final and complete. The very first verse of Hebrews laid out that God who spoke to use through the nature, law, prophets has decreed that his final word to us is the Son of God himself. God’s Son is the full revelation of God, there is nothing more of God that can be learnt than what you can by learning of Jesus Christ.
The Apostle’s Creed is the earliest document or statement of faith put out by the early church fathers to try to establish the basic tenets of Christian faith. This is put to music and sung in the early Catholic Church service and still repeated in many forms in various Church communities. The important part is the assertion of Deity of Christ which gives us the greatest hope. Just as the Church forefathers intended, whenever we are in doubt we can be encouraged by understanding the significance of the deity of Christ and its impact on us. This was much needed for the early Jewish believers to draw strength when discouraged or in doubt. Good doctrine provides confidence and freedom needed in tough times which we all will face.
Show us the Father!
We read in John 14:1-9 an exchange between Jesus and his disciples (Thomas and Philip). Jesus says he ist the way, the truth and the life – and who has seen him have seen God. This is something Hebrew’s author is saying as he writes “radiance of glory” and “exact representation” (Character – Greek stamping tool – perfect replica – full representation) of God. There is nothing we can learn about God that is not already revealed in Jesus. This (John 14) was a sort of preparation of disciples for the hard life they will face when Jesus will be crucified. Hebrew believers in a similar way will have to keep walking in their faith remembering such a fact and assurance they got hold of.
We delve into this idea also of “So he became as much superior to the angels” – The idea here from the author is that Jesus became so much superior to the angels in the context of our life. Jesus is always been superior than everything created in one sense, but for us he became the source of a “better life” and is so much more than angels due to his incarnation, life and death
Spiritual freedom is actually free
Unlike famous quote of U.S. Air Force Colonel Walter Hitchcock, spiritual freedom is in fact free. Anything that we add to it can only diminish it. This free salvation entirely depends on Christ’s work on the cross, his work is finished and he is “seated” (symbolic of no longer working) at the right hand of God. This salvation is received from “faith to faith” (Rom 1:17) and is the product of “grace upon grace” (John 1:16). The author of Hebrews is driving his audience away from ongoing tendency to look elsewhere for “more” of our salvation. Isaiah 6 shows the “purging” of sins is done outside of ourselves (seraphim in Isaiah’s vision) and the purification is what that can lead us to service (“Here I am send me”). Isaiah 6 is also quoted in John 12:40-42 as it in many ways divides the Jews to belief or disbelief in Jesus’ offer for salvation.
The problem of suffering
Our study group wandered into this topic of suffering as to how can these things we have learnt help us in our struggle and in our times of depression. In some ways, when our body and our emotions fail, our mind can be reminded of the tenets of our faith (Apostle’s Creed), we can also go to throne of grace in prayer (Heb 4:16). Finally when our mind, body, feelings, even our prayers all together fail, it is still good to be reminded that “He is still faithful” [2Tim2:13], because he cannot deny himself.
One of my favorite part of Nicene Creed (slightly longer than Apostles Creed) in Latin liturgy:
Deum de Deo, Lumen de Lumine, Deum verum de Deo vero
God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God