Arthur W. Pink [in An Exposition of Hebrews, p. 15] writes, “In several noticeable respects Hebrews differs from all the other Epistles of the New Testament. The name of the writer is omitted, there is no opening salutation, the ones to whom it was first specifically and locally sent are not mentioned. On the positive side…the typical teachings of the Old Testament are expounded here at greater length than elsewhere; the priesthood of Christ is opened up, fully, only in this Epistle; the warnings against apostasy are more frequent and more solemn, and the calls to steadfastness and perseverance are more emphatic and numerous than in any other New Testament book.”
G. Campbell Morgan made three observations about Hebrews:
- First, appreciation for Jesus Christ is foundational to faithful perseverance.
“The reason many Christians turn away from the Lord is that they do not appreciate His greatness. Many church congregations get very little preaching and teaching on who Jesus Christ is, and the many-sided splendor of His person.” Personally, I have sat in church services where the Name of Jesus Christ was never mentioned. Prayers have been offered “in Your Name” but that makes me wonder who this “Your” is?
Many people who are now members of cults were once in Christian churches. They left them because the cult promised a deeper understanding of the truth, which they felt was more meaningful than only hearing the ever simple gospel message in their church.
- Second, Christian leaders need to emphasize the Christian’s hope more in their ministries.
We live in a present-oriented culture that values immediate self-gratification. Many Christians are apostatizing [drifting, neglecting, or falling away] because they do not appreciate the reward that they will receive if they remain faithful to the Lord. This life is preparation for the next life—and future rewards.
- Third, we need to realize that God will judge Christians who apostatize.
We will not lose our salvation, but we will lose much that we will wish we had never given up. Continue walking by faith (cf. Romans 8:18). It is hard to finish well, but it is possible (cf. Jude 24; Hebrews 12:1-3). “Our motivation should include a combination of the fear of God and the love of God, like the two wings on an airplane.” [Adapted from G. Campbell Morgan, Living Messages of the Books of the Bible, 2:2:107-21].
Thomas Constable [Plano Bible Chapel, edited] writes: The writer did not want us to suffer loss, but to enter into our full inheritance, our full rest, the fullness of our salvation. We must know, and appreciate, the greatness of Jesus Christ. In this epistle, the writer presented Him as the greatest revelation that God has given humankind. God’s revelation in His Son is superior to all other revelations that He has given:
- First, it supersedes all other revelations: God’s revelation through angels (the Mosaic Law), His revelation through humans (the prophets), and His revelation through rituals (the Old Covenant). When Jesus Christ came to reveal God, He brought revelation that superseded what had preceded Him. The revelation that He brought was similar to that of a spotlight, compared to previous candle-like revelations.
- Second, God’s revelation in His Son is sufficient to meet every basic human need.
- God spoke through His Son, so the need for a prophet (a revealer of God) no longer exists.
- He established a New Covenant, so the need for a priest (a mediator for mankind) no longer exists.
- And He exalted His Son to His right hand, so the need for a king (a righteous ruler) no longer exists.
- Third, God’s revelation in His Son ensures final victory in every basic sphere of life.
- The individual (the human order) attains perfection through the Son.
- Society (the social order) will experience perfection through the Son.
- And the universe (the cosmic order) will reach perfection through the Son.”
The recipients of the epistle to the Hebrews were Christians, but they had little appreciation for the glory of their calling, they misconstrued their experience, thinking too highly of themselves, and they allowed themselves to drift away from the boldness of hope and intensity of faith they had as new believers.
May our study of Hebrews rekindle our joy and love of our wonderful Savior, Jesus Christ.