Life Changing Letters 3
Hebrews bridges the world of the Old Testament with the world of the New Testament. The bridge has been created through a special messenger. God has always had His messengers: the patriarchs, the prophets, angels, and priests. But God has sent us His final word through His Son, the better messenger, superior to all others. Hebrews reveals Christ as Heir, Creator, Radiance, Representative, Sustainer, Purifier, and Lord over all. We have been given a new and better way to live: by faith. This new way is found in Christ our sacrifice. Our Lord provides us a calling, needed correction, and continuing faith that we might follow Him in this new way. Faith is the foundation upon which we stand. Faith’s examples, faith’s God, the obedience of faith, a faithful walk with God, and the final rewards of faith become clearer to us than ever as we march through the rich teachings of the book of Hebrews. James teaches us what an authentic Christian life should look like. In this study, you will be challenged to demonstrate love, control your tongue, live humbly, and seek heavenly riches. Emphasis is placed where it is so often needed: on the use of our words. In this regard, the book of James reads like a New Testament book of Proverbs. Both James and Proverbs directly address our use of words. We are taught to avoid arguing, boasting, complaining, evil speech, flattery, and lying. And we are encouraged to bless others with our mouths, by gleaning wisdom for our lives. Peter is a man who suffered for his faith. And through it all, he developed insights that can greatly help us when we face trials and tribulations. He teaches that once we see suffering from God’s point of view, we find within it hidden treasures. We must learn to recognize the good, the gold, and our God in each trial that comes our way. In his second letter, Peter outlines seven divine virtues, each building upon the other for our spiritual success. They are goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection, and love. By understanding and developing these virtues, we can ensure that we are God’s children, growing in our faith. However, if we are not growing in these seven key moral aspects, we may be spiritually blind and short-sighted, deluding ourselves. How do we know if we are really in the faith? The Apostle John writes in a very simple and yet profound manner as he weaves within his letters five tests. They are:
- anointing, and
The spirit of deception is strong in the world, and we must also learn, judiciously, how to apply these tests to others. John’s three letters may be summarized in this way: 1 John: keeping on track; 2 John: keeping pace; and 3 John: keeping together. Jude writes to warn us of false teachers who are set on leading others astray. Our assurance is this: God’s keeping power. We can access this power by understanding what God has done, what we should do, and what God will do. God’s promise is to love us, keep us from falling, and deliver us from evil. Wonderfully, Jesus Himself promises to present us to God faultless and with great joy! Once we embrace these glorious truths, we are poised to contend for the faith we’ve been given.