Bible: What Does Hebrews 3 Teach Us About Faith and Obedience?
Jesus: Worthy of All Glory
Is obedience necessary in the Christian life?
The Church, Salvation, and Behavior
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Moses on Mt. Nebo
Hebrews 3: The Need for a Persevering, Obedient Faith
Jesus is Worthy of More Glory Than Moses
Addressing his readers as “holy brethren” and “partakers of a heavenly calling”—suggesting that he regards them as true believers in Christ, not mere professors of the faith—the author directs their attention to Messiah Jesus, whom he designates “the Apostle and High Priest of our confession” (v. 1).
[The Father sent the Son to make the once-for-all sacrifice for sins; to this Person, the Hebrew believers have pledged their allegiance.]
He then compares Jesus’ faithfulness toward God’s commission with Moses’ loyalty as a believer among his people in the house of Levi (v. 2).
The writer considers Christ “as worthy of more glory than Moses” because He built the “house” while Moses only served in it (vv. 3, 5a; cf. Zech. 6:12-13).
[What “house” did Christ build (or is Christ building)?
The author appears to mean the Church (cf. Mt. 16:18; Heb. 3:6), though Christ is also destined to preside over the building of the literal millennial temple.
The latter part of verse four seems almost parenthetical, for it does not relate to the context unless the author is identifying Christ, the Architect of the Church, as God, the Creator of the universe.
He may very well be asserting that fact.]
Believers Must Persevere in Their Faith
Moses served his people faithfully; Christ, however, rules over His own house, the Church, as “a Son” (v. 6a).
The author suggests that believers must persevere in their confidence in Christ “to the end” to remain members of His house (v. 6b; cf. 3:14).
[Only those who persevere in their faith until death prove that they truly believe God, yet salvation is of the Lord from start to completion.
He provides the strength and will that enables believers to maintain their faith until the end.]
Focusing on the believer’s need to persevere in obedience, the author cites the Holy Spirit whom he believes spoke Ps. 95: 7-11—a passage that illustrates what happens to people who do not continue to trust God.
Specifically, during David’s time the Spirit was warning that current generation of OT Israelites who heard His voice not to imitate the attitude of their forefathers who hardened their hearts, rebelled against God’s authority in the wilderness, and consequently were not allowed to enter the Promised Land (“My rest”) [vv. 7-11].
Believers Should Encourage One Another in the Faith
The author of Hebrews likewise warns his brethren to keep themselves from cultivating “an evil heart of unbelief” and apostasy (v. 12).
Instead, he exhorts them to encourage one another daily so that their own sinful will does not deceive them and cause their heart to become like a stone before God (v. 13).
Again, he mentions the Hebrews’ need to persevere in their faith in order to prove that they have become “partakers of Christ”; his reiterating Ps. 95:7, 8 indicates that he understood the struggle to keep their heart soft to be a daily challenge (vv. 14-15).
The Peril of Unbelief and Disobedience
Now the author employs five, rapid-fire rhetorical questions to show that it was indeed the sinfully disobedient nation of Israel which Moses led out of Egypt that God caused to wander forty years and die in the wilderness (vv. 16-17).
The LORD truly did swear that He would not allow the disobedient to enter into His rest; Israelite unbelief prevented their entry into Canaan (vv. 18-19).
[Does this “rest” refer to eternal salvation or temporal blessing? If eternal salvation, then all of the elder Israelites who fell in the wilderness were never “saved” spiritually].
© 2013 glynch1