“Jesus Christ, the same yesterday and today and forever. Be not carried away with diverse and strange doctrines, for it is a good thing that the heart be established with Grace—not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. . .By Him, therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His Name.”
Hebrews 13:8-9, 15
In Him we find everything we’ll ever need.
Many years ago a Chinese preacher by the name of Watchman Nee preached a series of sermons on “Christ: The Sum of All Spiritual Things.” These were later compiled into a book, which is well worth the reading for any serious-minded Pilgrim.
In his message, Nee stressed the importance of our not praying for “the Peace of God” or “the Love of God” or any other “thing.” Instead, he said, “We should pray that Jesus will be our Peace. Jesus will be our Love” and so forth. And, in reality, that’s the basic, bottom-line message of the entire Epistle to the struggling Hebrews by our anonymous author.
When he wrote “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever” in our Manna, he was declaring the “Truth of the Ages.” In this day-and-age of relativism and subjective pluralism—where “my belief’s just as good as yours”—there’s definitely a need to know that the Gospel is changeless; otherwise we’d have no “sure-and-steadfast Anchor of the soul” (Heb. 6:18-19).
How wonderful to know that the One Who came down to this earth is faithful and trustworthy! Equally wonderful is knowing the way He acted in the Gospels. . .the truths that He taught, etc. . .are still relevant for us and worthy of our hearing and heeding.
That’s why we’re admonished to be “established with Grace” in all we do. This is the “foundation of our faith and practice” and keeps us from “being carried away by various strange doctrines”—or, as Paul put it, “our being blown about by every wind of doctrine that blows like small children on a rudderless, captain-less sailboat at sea” (Eph. 4:14).
Truly, when we’re “built upon the Truth of Christ’s Life and Teachings, we’ll be like the man who built his house upon a rock—not the sand—and weathered every storm that came his way” (Mt. 7:24-27). This doesn’t mean possessing much “head knowledge” through doctrinal study, Scripture memorization, etc.; instead, it is putting into practice what we’ve learned, for that’s the only way He can make a difference in our lives.
We should also guard against lapsing into old, familiar patterns of worship where rote rituals become the norm (vv.10-11)—for Christ became God’s “Final Sacrifice” and His Blood paid the price for our penalty of sin (v.12). This should cause us to continually offer unto Him “the sacrifice of praise upon the altar of our lives, where the fruit of our lips is thanksgiving to His Name.” And, when these spring from a “broken spirit and contrite heart,” we need not wonder if the Lord is pleased (Ps. 51:16-17). May the Holy Spirit help us today to “present our bodies as living sacrifices to Christ so we can demonstrate what is good, perfect and acceptable Will of God” (Rom. 12:1-2).