Grace Points is dedicated to examining bible truths and sharing the gospel (good news) of God's grace. Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.
Accomplished? There were many crucified by the Romans before Jesus of Nazareth, and the only thing those crucifixions accomplished was the brutal, torturous death of yet another miserable sinner.
So why was this crucifixion different? What qualifies this particular crucifixion as a mystery?
Well, it is a mystery because this particular casualty not only did nothing to deserve such a horrible execution, He had no sin whatsoever. He was made in the likeness of sinful flesh, yet without sin (Romans 8:3 & Hebrews 4:15). He was truly a spotless lamb. Indeed, He was THE one and only spotless Lamb.
This crucifixion marks the greatest single event in human history. God the Son going voluntarily to the cross to bear all of mankind’s sins upon Himself: a great sin offering for all of humanity, once for all. “And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified” (Hebrews 10:11-14).
At the cross of Calvary, the grace of God far eclipsed the sin of man.
What does all of this mean to us? The Bible says that all of us have sinned, and are continually falling short of the glory of God. That’s the bad news. The good news is that God is declaring wrong people right because He is completely satisfied with Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross. This Godly righteousness becomes ours through faith, and faith alone, the moment we accept Christ’s death as our own. Won’t you accept Christ’s death as your’s right now?
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.” Acts 16:31
The authorship of Hebrews has long been a bone of contention among the brethren. Since the earliest times it has been debated whether Paul wrote the Book of Hebrews or whether the authorship should be ascribed to another, such as Luke or Apollos. While it is not our desire to rekindle an old controversy, we would like to set forth a number of thought provoking arguments in the defense of the Pauline authorship of Hebrews.
Some, of course, believe it is unimportant who wrote Hebrews, claiming that where God is silent, we should also be silent. But has God been silent on this matter? The author of the first five books of the Bible is also left unnamed, but who among us would question that Moses wrote the Pentateuch? The term “Trinity” is never used by the Holy Spirit, yet it is the plain teaching of the Word of God from beginning to end that God is a Trinity. It is true that Paul is not mentioned by name as being the author of Hebrews, but this does not mean that he is not the writer. As a matter of fact, the evidence that he did write it is overwhelming. With God’s help, we hope to give some new and helpful insights from the Scriptures as to who wrote the Epistle to the Hebrews which, by the way, is perhaps the greatest treatise on the preaching of the Cross that the Bible contains.
“And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
“As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction.” 2 Peter 3:15,16
There are few who would question that the Apostle Peter was writing to Hebrew believers (1 Pet. 1:1). One of the reasons Peter wrote to them was to explain why the Lord had delayed His return. He also takes the opportunity to assure them that, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. . ” adding that they should, “. . . account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation. . . .” In other words, they should be thankful that God has wonderfully opened the door of salvation to a lost and dying world on the basis of Christ’s finished work. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom. 10:13). Peter reminds them that Paul had also written to them along these same lines. This is why he says, “. . . even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you.” Did Paul write a letter to the Hebrews? According to this passage he did.
Under the direction of the Holy Spirit, Peter specifically says that Paul’s letter to the Hebrews is a part of the writing of Holy Scripture. Let’s follow Peter’s thought here to its logical conclusion. Brethren, Paul hath written unto you (the Hebrews Epistle) as also in all of his epistles (the Gentile Epistles), speaking in them (all 14 epistles), of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood.” Here Peter is undoubtedly referring to things, such as the truth that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, accounting that the longsuffering of God is salvation, “which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the OTHER SCRIPTURES, unto their own destruction.” In essence, Peter is saying that these scoffers have not only twisted Paul’s words (which are Holy Scripture), but they have also twisted the other Scriptures to their own destruction (1 Peter 3:3-9).
Peter calls what Paul had written unto them, Scripture. If the Apostle Paul did not write the Epistle to the Hebrews then we are missing one of the books of the Bible. I don’t know about you, but I think you would have trouble convincing the brethren that this is true, including me!
Literary criticisms to Paul’s authorship, such as style, vocabulary and contents all vanish away when we remember that Paul is not writing to the Gentiles but rather to the Hebrews. He naturally would deal with them differently, seeing that some of them were even of the Priesthood who were attempting to keep a dying religion alive. Also, his Hebrew background eminently qualified him to deal in detail with Judaism.
Every writer has certain characteristics that distinguish him from other authors. We might say authors are like fingerprints–no two individuals have the same print. The Apostle Paul’s usage of the pronoun “we” is one of the trademarks that sets him apart from the circumcision apostles. All of the writers of the Epistles use the pronoun “we” inclusively when referring to all in a certain group. For example: “But if we walk in the light . . . … here John includes himself with all the believers to whom he was writing. On the other hand only Paul uses the pronoun “we” co-operatively when referring to himself and his fellow-workers who have ministered on the behalf of others. For example: We (Pastors Stam, Sadler and Miller) have prayed often on your behalf that God will continue to increase your knowlege in His Word rightly divided.(See Baxter on Hebrews–Pg.277.)
Now let’s compare one of Paul’s Gentile writings with the Epistle of Hebrews where we are going to observe that this exact same fingerprint is found in both. “For this cause we (Paul, Timothy and Titus) also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you… (Col. 1:9). “But, beloved, we (Paul, Timothy and Titus) are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak” (Heb. 6:9).
Another trademark of the Apostle Paul, found only in his writings, is his use of metaphors associated with sporting events. Having visited Corinth on more than one occasion, the Apostle had undoubtedly witnessed at first hand some of the Isthmian games from which have come our modern-day Olympics. He very effectively used these various events as a springboard to show us how the Christian life, like the training of an athlete, takes time, discipline, endurance and patience. For example:
“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain” (I Cor. 9:24).
“I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight [boxing] 1, not as one that beateth the air” (I Cor. 9:26).
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers…”(Eph. 6:12).
Paul also challenges the Hebrews, like the Gentiles, not to allow sin to weigh them down, but like the athlete who has brought his body into subjection it is important to finish the race that is set before them.
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight,and the sin which cloth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us” (Heb. 12:1).
“So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places” (Phil. 1: 13).
“But I beseech you the rather to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner” (Heb. 13:19).
Perhaps the most convincing evidence of the Pauline authorship of the Book of Hebrews is how the Apostle closes the letter. Even avid critics admit these words of benediction sound all too Pauline. The reason for this, of course, is because they are! There is no question that the writer of Hebrews was a prisoner in Rome at the time of the writing (Heb. 13:23,24). We should point out that there is a striking resemblance to Paul’s instruction to the Church at Philippi and his closing words here to the Hebrews. As a matter of fact, they seem to be a sequel to one another with the Hebrew letter answering to the Apostle’s words in Philippians.
In Philippians Paul and Timothy are both prisoners in Rome and we should carefully note that the Apostle expects that Timothy will soon be released (Phil 1:1; 2:19). We learn from Hebrews 13:23 that Timothy was, indeed, set at liberty at which time he apparently traveled to Philippi. The writer of the Hebrew letter is well known by at least some of his readers because he requests their prayers on his and Timothy’s behalf (Heb. 13:18). Paul, himself, expected to be released although at the point in time when he wrote to the saints at Philippi he did not have the final confirmation on this matter (Phil. 2:23,24). However, in Hebrews 13:23, we discover that he was set at liberty and expected to follow up his letters with personal visits.
Finally, after the problem that the Apostle encountered at Thessalonica with his signature being forged, he determined to alleviate the situation by closing all of his epistles in the same manner. “The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen!” (II Thes. 3:17,18). The Book of Hebrews follows suit, closing in the same manner with personal words of salutation to the saints followed by his unique closing: “Grace be with you all. Amen!” Was this too, perhaps, in his own handwriting?
While there are some who deny that Paul wrote the Book of Hebrews it has been our observation that the majority of the great Bible teachers of the past acknowledged that it did, indeed, come from the pen of Saint Paul. We trust you will be a Berean and study to be sure that these things be so, that all men might have the praise of God. Well, beloved I have constructed the frame and have drawn the canvas tightly; now it is time for Pastor Stam to paint the portrait as to why the Apostle Paul wrote this great epistle.
Reprinted from The Berean Searchlight, the official organ of the Berean Bible Society. (Volume L, Number 2.)
Used with permission
Through the graciousness of God and His infinite love, God is offering the greatest gift ever—eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Can anybody take away what God has given us? Can we lose our salvation? Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? God answers this question empathetically with a loud NO! in Romans 8:38-39 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
It is the everlasting God (Rom 16:26) with his everlasting power (1Tim 6:16), who can not lie (Tit 1:2 in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began,) who has made this promise of eternal life. John 3:15-16 “that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Once God has saved you there is absolutely NOTHING that can separate you from God. John 10:28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.
This should bring peace to the troubled heart. We are in the hands of God and there is no safer place to be. No matter what the world throws at us we are more than conquers Romans 8:37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
Here are some other versus you may want to study. These are just a sampling on the theme of eternal life that resonates throughout the whole bible.
1John 5:11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.
Romans 5:21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
1John 2:24 Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.
1John 2:25 And this is the promise that He has promised us–eternal life.
1Ti 1:15-17 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
2Ti 1:8-10 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,
Romans 6:22-23 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.