Chapter 3 begins with three words which sum up the first two chapters. ‘‘Therefore Holy Brethren’’.
Chapter one emphasises the Divinity of Christ. He is God. God is Holy. Chapter two emphasises his Humanity- he is man- he is one of us- Chapter two says “he is not ashamed” to call us holy like Himself. Jesus is more aware of what he has done for us than we are ourselves. He is not only Holy himself but by his sacrifice has shared His Holiness with us. He has made us Holy. We are now both divine in our character. He is not ashamed to call us his brethren. There are no black sheep in the family of God. Therefore the writer to Hebrews makes this amazing summary by calling the Hebrews both Holy and Brethren Heb. 2:11-12 For both he that sanctifies and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, Verse one declares that we all have an heavenly calling. The call of the Gospel is a call to higher ground. Our calling is not only heavenly in that the call comes from heaven, i.e. God calling us back to Himself, but also we are called to heaven. To see this calling is to give purpose to the Christian life. Fulfilling our calling is to set our minds from earthly things, to the heavenly city. The children of Israel were called from Egypt unto God. Sadly most of them perished in the wilderness. Here the Hebrews are warned of a similar danger to them. Salvation is not inevitable to all those who start or who accept it. To neglect it is to be lost. To refuse to follow after the calling is to perish. (1 Cor. Ch. 10.) We are to consider the Apostle and High Priest. Once again in a few words chapters one and two are expressed. The word Apostle means “One sent” (Hence the sunday school teaser “How many apostles do you get for a dollar?” - answer- 100 - the number of “one cents in a dollar) The first two verses in the epistle declare that God has sent his living word amongst us. His apostleship is the theme of chapter 1 and his high priesthood is the theme of chapter two. Chapter 3. v 1-6. The Jews took great spiritual pride in being in the house of Moses, but it seems that the Hebrews are being shown a better house. For the one who built this better house is the same one who built the house of Moses. The one who gave the Law has given us a new covenant under which roof we must abide and trust. The Jews sheltered (put their trust) under the roof of the house of Moses. But was it not God who built the house? So God is more important. Having compared Jesus with angels (who no doubt helped bring the Law to Moses) now he is compared with Moses. As the angels were below God - so was Moses. He is very human but Jesus is very God. Moses was only a servant in someone else’s house but Christ is a Son in his own house. Moses was a council tenant, as it were. Jesus owned his own, and it was paid for. To those who believe in the non-scriptural phrase ‘‘once saved- always saved’’ these chapters in Hebrews together with 1 Corinthians chap. 10 and the Epistle of Peter chapter two, constitute a hard rock to swallow. True we are not saved by our own efforts, but by faith. - By resting. But if a man stops resting or stops believing how then can he be saved? This letter is not written to those who have returned to their drunkenness and debauchery, but to their good works of religion. A mere leaning to their own righteousness, constitutes a lack of faith in the work of Christ. (The Galatians backslid in similar fashion) Twice in this chapter the Jews are exhorted to continue to the end. It is not sufficient to be called, we must fulfil the calling to be as those who are the chosen. Many are the called but few are chosen in number. It is a call to believing and continued faith v 12-14. The danger of developing a hardened heart, is to all who will not listen to the Holy Spirit (v7) He will not always strive with man. If a man hears the gospel call and fails to answer through unbelief, his heart will be harder the next day. So having exercised his free will, in refusing the gospel, God sometimes hardens the heart even further. Such was the case with Pharaoh, who appeared to repent three times, but each time he returned to his wilfulness. So God hardened his heart even further, for His own purposes. He was able to demonstrate to all Egypt that there was a higher and stronger power than their god king. In God's amazing wisdom he has used such hardened hearts for his own purposes. Some are used to oppose the believers, cause tribulation and so make the believers grow in faith. (Rom 8) Had not the Jews hardened their hearts they would never have crucified Christ. But none can say that for 2000 years God did not beg and plead with them as his beloved people to turn from their idolatry, unbelief and answering back. So when Jesus came that God's purposes might be fulfilled Jesus spoke to them in parables, deliberately, lest they understand and believe. Once the heart is hardened against the Spirit there is no possibility of forgiveness in this life or the life to come. There cannot be. The gospel is good to those who believe but to those who hear and reject or neglect it is a double damnation. Far better had they never heard than to reject; far better never to have received the gift, than to neglect it in preference for the lesser. To neglect is as to reject. It is worth remembering that Paul is preaching from His bible just as we preach from Hebrews today. He finds a passage which calls for a response ‘‘today’’. The latter verses are the theme of 1 Cor. Ch. 10 which also speaks of the dangers of losing one’s faith. We must believe today. Salvation is a "today" thing. God only lives in the present- Today. Hence his name "I am, that I am" There is no salvation promised from yesterday, nor tomorrow, we must be believing "today". And that means surely that if Jesus came back today. we would be found believing. Jesus told parables about the second coming in which he says "and at midnight the door was shut". The "day" of salvation had ended. The bible contains many big words such as redemption, justification, reconciliation, propitiation etc., but one of the most powerful and some would say biggest words in the scriptures has but two letters- IF. Heb 3:14-15; For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end; While it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.
BOARD SUMMARY: CH 3 Addressed significantly to Holy Brethren, with a Heavenly calling. Consider Jesus therefore as APOSTLE – meaning “one sent” ( this is ch. 1.) And GREAT HIGH PRIEST. (this is ch. 2.) Compare Him with Moses the mediator of the Old Covenant: Moses was a Servant in God’s house. Jesus is a Son of God in His own house. Moses brought the people from slavery to the hope of a promised REST. However through unbelief they failed to enter that Rest. Salvation is a "TODAY" thing.