Dear Cornerstone brothers and sisters,
I pray the joy of the Lord is your strength this week. Often it is difficult to rejoice when we look at the fallen world without and our sinful flesh within. Tragedies like the shooting in DC simply remind us of the brokenness of this sin-cursed world; and the battle within between the spirit and the flesh wearies God’s children day after day. How can we rejoice? By fixing our eyes on Christ and on our eternal home – the city without foundations whose builder and maker is God. We are a pilgrim people; and the Lord is bringing us home. Our ultimate inheritance is not on this earth, but is reserved for us by the strong hand of the Lord. So may we keep our eyes fixed on Christ this week!!
Please remember to register for our Fall Conference next Friday, Sep 27th.
And men, there will be an informal breakfast with Dr. Murray at the Hilton hotel Saturday morning at 8:00AM.
You can register for the conference here: www.csopc.org/conference. Dinner and child-care will be provided.
Finally, this week’s devotional is a reflection from Hebrews on our great salvation and the gracious warning the Lord gives us.
From the Pastor’s Desk
Hebrews 2:1, “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard.”
The book of Hebrews focuses on the glory and sufficiency of Christ. Jesus Christ is the Father’s final word (Heb 1:1-4); he is the apostle and high priest of our confession (3:1); he is the priest of the order of Melchizedek (7:1ff); he is the mediator of a better covenant (8:6); he has opened a new and living way to the Father (10:20); and he is the author and perfecter of our faith (12:2). Hebrews was written to Jewish Christians who were considering turning away from Christ and back to their old Jewish traditions. Thus the author of Hebrews is saying to these believers, “What a glorious Savior we have! What a glorious salvation we have! Do not turn back! Jesus is sufficient! Persevere in your faith in Christ.” Moreover, interspersed throughout the book are warnings to the church of the danger of turning back from Christ (2:1-4; 3:7-13; 6:4-8; 10:26-31). Our heavenly Father knows our heart; he knows our need to be warned; he knows that we are ‘prone to wander,’ and thus he warns us to stay close to Him. One such ‘warning passage’ that I will mention is Heb 2:1-4: “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it … how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation …” In these verses, the author of Hebrews is writing as a concerned pastor exhorting his flock to pay attention to the gospel.
Note what he says – he exhorts them to ‘pay much closer attention’ to what they had heard. And what they had heard? The gospel! The glory and sufficiency of Christ (see Heb 1:1-14)! That is, he is exhorting them to hold fast to the gospel message of Jesus Christ. And what is the danger if we do not pay attention? If we do not hold fast to Christ?? The danger is drifting away from the Lord (‘lest we drift away’). And what a subtle danger this is. Oh how easy it is to drift away from Jesus, from the word of God, and from the church. Such drifting can appear innocent enough at first; but before we know it, we have drifted away from the Lord, and we are neglecting the ‘great salvation’ that is in Jesus Christ.
Dear brothers and sisters, there are three brief applications we should take from these verses: first, we should take these verses at face value – take them to heart. We must pay attention! We must guard our heart! We must not neglect the means of grace and the gathering of the church (Heb 10:25). Second, we should rejoice in our salvation. We should rejoice that Christ has won the victory once for all – that Christ “is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him” (Heb 7:25). And finally, we should see in this warning the kindness and mercy of our loving heavenly Father. That just as a parent warns his children because he loves them and knows what is best for them, so our heavenly Father warns us because he loves us and he knows what is best for us. Indeed, we have such a great salvation; may we keep near to our Savior!