He disciplines

The Father

Hebrews 12:7-8  It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.

How does a child learn to do what’s right?  They learn through the example their parents give, yes, but they also learn through correction and discipline when they do the wrong things.  By being taught what the rights things are and disciplined over the wrong things, a child can grow into maturity, knowing right from wrong.

How does a Christian learn what God wants?  We have Jesus as our example and we have the commandments to guide us in what’s right.  But when we stray from what God has taught us doesn’t He also correct us?  Doesn’t He sometimes put us back on the right track because He loves us?  There’s a big difference between punishment and discipline.  Some have the view that God is up above watching for us to mess up so He can take His vengeance on us.  That action out of anger would be punishment.  But God doesn’t punish those He loves.  He disciplines them.

The truth is, we may not always even know we’re being disciplined.  The Father may remove something from us that isn’t good for us in a way that provides correction.  We may not even have been aware of what happened.  God may also put people in our lives at certain times that give some correction.  Whatever the method, God disciplines because He loves.  Any parent who provides no guidance and no boundaries to their children does not love them.  If a child is allowed to destroy themselves, the parent has no love for them.  But our Father does love us, and He loves us enough to make sure we’re everything we’re supposed to be.

Redemption in Christ

Ephesians 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace

If someone asked you what it means that we have redemption in Christ through His blood, how would you answer?  Dating back to the Old Testament, the understanding of a redeemer was one who ransomed someone else, freed them from slavery or captivity.  God was the Redeemer of Israel when He led them out of captivity in Egypt.

You and  I have been redeemed too.  When we accepted Christ we were freed from the slavery and bondage of sin.  We’re no longer guilty.  Christ’s finished work of atonement on the cross through His shed blood ransomed us from sin and we are no longer under its control.

Sometimes we still sin, but it’s not because we’re under the bondage of sin.  We’ve been redeemed, we’re bought and paid for with a price.  We belong to Christ.  His blood paid our ransom.

He adopts

The Father

Galatians 4:6  But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

Christian, you have been chosen.  Just as an adopted child is chosen by his parents, so too have you been chosen by God and given all the rights due one of His children. Women shouldn’t be put off by the masculine language here.  It’s good that we’re all called “sons” of God, despite our gender, because the firstborn son in any first century family who would have been reading this letter written by Paul would have had an abundance of rights that the other children would not have had.  We should all be pleased to be called sons of God.

He has adopted us into His family through His Son, Jesus Christ.  Through Jesus’ life, death on the cross, and resurrection from the dead, God sent an invitation to us to be part of the family.  When we respond, the adoption is final and we gain child status.  The adopted children of God have rights to everything the firstborn has as co-heirs with Christ.(Romans 8:17)

Not everyone is a child of God, though He created everyone.  Only those who belong to Him through faith in Jesus Christ are His adopted children.  But if you are His, take comfort in the knowledge that He chose you to be part of His family.  Even while you were still just a sinner, He chose you and called you to Himself.  He loves you that much.

Chosen for God’s family

Ephesians 1:5-6  In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

God predestined us for adoption. He chose, before the world even began, to make us sons and daughters.  So often we see family terminology used in the Bible to describe our relationship with God.  He is our Father, we are heirs, adopted sons. We can’t choose our own family members, but God can and did choose His.  If you’re in Christ, God chose you.  You are His and He is yours.  And He chose you with a purpose.

God’s will is that we would bring Him glory.  His main purpose is not merely our redemption but that His holy name would be praised through our redemption.  He wants to pour out His goodness and grace on us in Jesus Christ for His glory.

There is nothing quite like the knowledge that you’ve been chosen by God Almighty to be part of His family to carry out His purpose.  But what are you going to do with that knowledge?  What will you do with that feeling you get from it?  He’s equipped you, so what are you doing to act on this fact?

He provides

The Father

Matthew 6:11  Give us this day our daily bread.

We all have needs.  Every one of us has something that we can’t live without, even if it’s only the basics of food and water.  But no matter what our needs may be, they are supplied by our Father in heaven.  All good gifts are from above. (James 1:17)

What’s more, God knows what we need before we do.  He’s aware of our everyday necessities and even our desires.  He provides not only what we need to survive, but to thrive and to carry out His purposes.  If He calls us to it, He’ll equip us to carry it out.  We’re never left without the required tools and skills to be used by God.  He’s always ready to give.

Though He knows what we need, in some cases God does want us to ask of Him what we seek.  It may be at times that He gives out of His grace and we never even knew to ask.  It may, however, be at times that He withholds something from us until we petition Him.  This is His prerogative, but it’s done to keep us aligned with His will.  If we ask what He wills, it will certainly be given.

Chosen for holiness

Ephesians 1:4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.

What am I here for?  What is this life all about?  The longer we live, the more we seek meaning in life, the more we may be caught asking these questions.  So did God create us with some intent?  Did He make each of us with our own purpose?  Yes and yes.

Even before time began, when all that existed was God, He thought of you.  The Creator chose you in Christ (that is, He chose you to belong to Him as His child) before He even made the earth where you would reside.  He made you to be uniquely you, with special talents and abilities – and purpose.

Our purpose on this earth is not to succeed financially and become rich, nor is it to make a name for ourselves and become famous (James 2:5).  God made us to be holy and blameless before Him (1 Thessalonians 4:7).  But how can we achieve this holiness?  We can’t be good enough to meet God’s standards.

The Lord planned all along that those He chose would be made holy “in Christ” (Colossians 1:22).  We are sanctified and redeemed by the Son of God, and He always intended it this way.  Those who are chosen in the Son of God become sons and heirs of God (Galatians 4:7).

Jesus is greater than Moses

Hebrews 3:3-6 For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.

If there was ever a man who had earned God’s favor it was Moses. The one chosen to lead God’s people out of slavery and into the Promised Land had many flaws, like you and I do, but altogether he lived a life devoted to the Lord. And yet still, the author of Hebrews wants us to know that even Moses doesn’t stand up in comparison to Jesus Christ.

There could have been lost of examples here. Jesus is greater than David, Abraham, or even John the Baptist, but the author of Hebrews had good reason to make a distinction using Moses. To this Jewish audience, Moses was the guy. He was the one that wrote much of the Old Testament, primarily the books that Jews consider most holy, the Torah. It was Moses who received the ten commandments straight from the hand of God. It was Moses who handed down the Law and it was Moses who led God’s people out of Egypt. He was kind of a big deal in the Jewish religion and many of these early Christians had once been Jews. They knew Moses. The author of Hebrews wanted to acquaint them with Jesus.

The point to take away here is that no one, regardless of their standing can even come close to Jesus. Moses gave God’s Law to the people, Jesus came to fulfill the Law. Moses plead with God not to destroy the people, Jesus gave His own life as a sacrifice so that we wouldn’t face destruction. Moses led God’s people out of slavery, Jesus came to truly set us free. If Moses did it, Jesus fulfilled it. He’s greater than Moses. And everyone else who has ever walked the earth.

Jesus is greater than angels

Hebrews 1:4-14 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”? Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”? And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.” Of the angels he says, “He makes his angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire.” But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.” And, “You, Lord, laid the  foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.” And to which of the angels has he ever said, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”? Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?

The author of Hebrews goes out of his way to make the point that Jesus is greater than the angels. Why do you think that is? For the Jewish worshipers hearing this message, it was commonplace to hear of the works that angels do on behalf of God. They are His ministering spirits, His messengers. Before Jesus, the message of God to His people was entrusted to angels. In the incarnation of Jesus Christ, God’s message was on display. God appeared in person instead of sending His message through His workers. Jesus isn’t God’s messenger. He’s God’s message.

The angels were sent to serve those who were to inherit salvation. Jesus is our salvation. Angels serve the King of Kings. Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. There is no one else higher, no one else greater. Even the Father has not counted himself higher than the Son. He has elevated Him to the throne. He has made the name of Jesus the name above all names. It’s to Jesus that every knee will bow on heaven and on earth, not to angels. Even the angels will fall down before Him in worship and sing praises to Him.

We get caught up in a lot of religious things and that can include putting too much emphasis on angels. Angels are good. They’re God’s servants. But they’re not God and they’re not worthy of worship. Jesus though, Jesus is worthy of all worship. He’s the one to whom the angels answer.

He protects

The Father

Psalm 23:4  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Our loving heavenly Father watches over His flock and will not lose even one without knowing about it.  There’s nowhere that we can go where we’ll be outside His sight and His protection.  He can and does protect us.  We have nothing to fear.

The things of this world can be dangerous to anyone, but to a follower of Christ, some of them are downright disastrous outside the grace of God.  He keeps us from harm and allows nothing to prosper against us as we carry out His purposes.  If we’re on the path He sets us on, we’ll see plenty of opposition, but He’ll be the One who keeps us going, guarding us all the way.

He know our weaknesses and won’t allow us to face more temptation than we can bear.  In fact, when faced with temptation, God provides us a way out!  He gives us the avenue to get away from it, because He cares about our future.  He has things for us to do and He’ll provide a way for us to make it to the finish line.  He’s there for us, even when it sometimes seems He’s not.  He’s never off duty, He’s always watching over us, like a shepherd who cares about each and every one of his little sheep.

Jesus is greater

Hebrews 1:1-3 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high

Have you ever read a really great book and just wished you could interact with the author? I mean, what’s better than actually being able to go right to the source with your thoughts, your questions, and to just really get great insight? What if you could do that for God’s Word?

The great news is that you can! The author of Hebrews tells us that just as God spoke to the prophets of old through direct messages, He spoke even more clearly in the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He is “the exact imprint” of God’s nature, meaning that anything God ever wanted us to know about himself He told us through Jesus. His character, His works, His words, all of Jesus’ life was a message. He was and is the Living Word of God.

What could be greater than getting to know God in the flesh? Nothing. This is made clear to us through Hebrews and in other books of the Bible like Colossians. There is nothing we need to know about God that we can’t discover through His Son, God with skin on. So if you really want to know God, study Jesus. Get to know Him in a real relationship. If you seek out the truth, God will reveal it to you.

Nothing is greater than Jesus. If we spent a lifetime learning about Him, we would still never discover the depths of His being.

Equipping believers to follow Christ and make Him known