At the beginning of the year – and in the spirit of fresh beginning – I began an endeavour to study the book of Hebrews, partly because I was not as familiar with it as my favourites: Ephesians, Psalms and Isaiah; partly because I knew that it was rich in meaning, shining the light of Christ on many of the ceremonies associated with the temple.
Regretfully this endeavour is not yet finished but one of the things I learned is that Hebrews (in a nutshell) is about the superiority of Christ who is better than Moses, Joshua, Aaron, the priesthood and the sacrifices of the Old Testament.
Hebrews 10:10 explains that ‘…we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.’ Verse 12 carries on to confirm that Christ ‘…sat down at the right hand of God’, signifying that salvation is complete, a done deal. Verse 14 re-affirms that ‘…by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.’
Our salvation rests completely in Him, in His finished work, which was by His initiative and plan.
Hebrews 6:19 speaks of that hope as an anchor for the soul, that is fixed behind the curtain.
How differently and cheaply we use the word ‘hope’ in our everyday speech. We use hope interchangeably with the word ‘wish’. I remember with fondness a curmudgeonly movie about ‘Grumpy Old Men’ (1993; Warner Bros.) where one of the characters talks about wishing, to which Grandpa Gustafson replies that ‘You can wish in the one hand and [poop] in the other and see which hand gets full first.’
A wishing type of hope is actually wishy-washy and has no heft. It’s a throw-away sentiment.
This year I have had hope that the Sharks will go all the way in Super 18 and wouldn’t you know it, they’re tripping and falling and stumbling to the conclusion of the pool stages. Some people hope in the lotto to be the answer to their life situation and let me tell you that there will always be heavy disappointment associated with that windfall that never happens for over 99.9% of the people that participate. We have all at some point placed our hope in someone and been let down. At worst other people are slick and have the gift of the gab, at worst they are simply flawed or weak.
Hoping in God is the only sure thing there is. 1 Peter 2:6 says that whoever believes or trusts in him will not be put to shame. How do I know that this hope is secure? That I’m not merely wishing it? Well, there’s an empty tomb in Jerusalem where the body of Christ was once. And his Holy Spirit keep me coming back to him when my feet turn to the left or the right.
Ephesians 1: 13b – 14: “When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”