Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Advent 4c - Hebrews 10:5-10

Hebrews 10:5-10
The book of Hebrews contains some memorable verses like “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” and “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and always” and “Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses…” These verses are not like those. Most of Hebrews is dedicated to carefully constructed and detailed arguments that would make a lawyer’s head spin. These verses are part of the concluding arguments for the case the unnamed writer wants to make, that God has replaced the entire legal system of the law with a new deal. It makes sense then that the new deal would require carefully reasoned arguments for the old one was itself pretty complicated. Even so it must have seemed beyond reason for those first readers of Hebrews for their entire relationship with God fully depended on God being pleased with sacrifices and offerings. Now they were being asked to believe the right relationship with God which had depended on their sacrifices had been replaced by God’s sacrifice. We are not so different for though we confess we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves we often live as if we believe God only helps those who help themselves. The new deal asks us to trust that nothing we do or say or think is a deal breaker because God’s will is to make us right despite what we do or say or think. And that is beyond reason, which is why faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see.

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