Keep the Faith
The book of Hebrews was written to Christians of a Jewish ethnicity (but it applies equally to those we help in India and Rwanda). People found strength in their community having the same customs and same religious practices. When individuals started putting their faith in Jesus, some in the community felt threatened and tried to convince them to revert back to Judaism and conform to the rest of their neighbors. It was to encourage these Jesus-followers to stay true to Christ that the book of Hebrews was written. Some of the highlights of the book are:
Christ-followers are under the New Covenant, which Jeremiah predicted (31:31) and the Lord Jesus actually instituted on the night of His arrest (Luke 22:20). The Old Covenant, or Mosaic Law, was one of external rules and rituals. The New Covenant is an internal relationship with God through the Holy Spirit. “I will put My laws in their minds and write them on their hearts.” (Hebrews 8:10)
Going back to animal sacrifices was not the answer. Hebrews tells us that those sacrifices were reminders that their sin was only TEMPORARILY forgiven and that they were unable to cleanse the sinner’s conscience of guilt. “But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” (Hebrews 10:3–4) What they had come to possess in Christ was PERMANENT forgiveness and cleansing of their conscience. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Hebrews 8:12)
In the tenth chapter, the writer likens the Jewish Law to “shadows,” as opposed to the reality of Christ. Let me give you an illustration of choosing a shadow over reality. It would be like asking a woman on her wedding night, “Would you prefer to have your husband occupy your bed with you or would you prefer to have a glossy picture of his smiling face on the pillow next to yours?” Jesus Christ is what the Law was pointing to. To revert back to the Law would be the same as settling for His glossy.
Judaism honored priests. But Hebrews reminded readers that a priest’s work was never done. “Day after day every priest STANDS and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.” (Hebrews 10:11) But after the Lord Jesus “had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, He SAT down at the right hand of God.” (Hebrews 10:12) Jesus is finished. There’s nothing more for Him to do.
The writer also wants his readers to reflect on the fact that their “loving” friends and family haven’t treated them very nicely in the past because of their faith in Christ. He doesn’t want them to give in and have their prior suffering be for nothing. “Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.” (Hebrews 10:32,35)
It’s hard being a Christian in a country like India. When others worship millions of idols, to choose to worship only Jesus and claim that He is the only Living God is often met with hostility. Your continued donations to Apple of His Eye Charity allow our partners in India, as well as in Rwanda, to care for and encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ.
While there’s nothing more for Jesus to do to provide salvation, there IS one more step for you. If you haven’t done so yet, that is to put your faith in Jesus, ask Him into your life, and become one of His followers.