July 2008 - Vol. 21

How Does God Speak to Us?

Reflection on the Letter to the 
Hebrews – Part 1

by Don Schwager

Hebrews 1:1-14 and 2:1-4
How does God speak to us? From age to age, the prophets, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, spoke the word of God. Now God has spoken to us through his only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ alone brings us the full revelation of God and he alone enables us to enter into the very presence of God.

In this section the author of Hebrews contrasts Jesus with the prophets who have preceded him. The prophets were given special counsel or revelation from God (see Amos 3:7). Their message, however, was fragmentary. Each had a part, but not the whole. In Jesus Christ we see the fulness of God's revelation and truth. In him we see not some part of God but all of him. The prophets spoke of God. Jesus reveals God in himself, not only in what he said and did, but in who he is. The prophets were the friends of God; Jesus is the only begotten Son. The prophets grasped part of the mind of God; Jesus is the mind of God. He is the Word of God made flesh (John 1:14).

In Jesus we see the glory of God, a glory that does not crush and is not severe. It is a glory which shines through Jesus' humble service and death on a cross for sinners. It is a glory of redemptive and suffering love.

The author to the Hebrews warns against two kinds of sins: transgression and disobedience. Transgression literally means to step across a line. God tells us through his word and by our conscience what is right and wrong and what he expects of us. To step across that line is to sin. Disobedience is related to hearing. It literally means imperfect hearing, or careless hearing. In the end it means the unwillingness to hear the voice of God. God has spoken to us through his own Son. It is both an awesome privilege to hear the word of God and to be changed by his life-giving word, and an awesome responsibility to believe what God says and to obey it. Are you attentive to God's word?

“Lord Jesus Christ, your word is life and truth. Nourish me by your life-changing word and help me to study it diligently and to conform my life to it.”

Return to > Introduction to the Letter to Hebrews

[Don Schwager is a member of The Servants of the Word and the author of the Daily Scripture Reading and Meditation website.]

Hebrews 1:1-14; 2:1-4

1:1 In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has obtained is more excellent than theirs.

5 For to what angel did God ever say, "You are my Son, today I have begotten you"? Or again, "I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son"? 6 And again, when he brings the first-born into the world, he says, "Let all God's angels worship him." 7 Of the angels he says, "Who makes his angels winds, and his servants flames of fire."

8 But of the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever, the righteous scepter is the scepter of your kingdom. 9 You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your comrades."

10 And, "You, Lord, did found the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; 11 they will perish, but you remaine; they will all grow old like a garment, 12 like a mantle thou wilt roll them up, and they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will never end."

13 But to what angel has he ever said, "Sit at my right hand, till I make your enemies a stool for your feet"? 14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation?

2:1 Therefore we must pay the closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2 For if the message declared by angels was valid and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard him, 4 while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his own will.

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