that the King of Glory may come in."
4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, Who has passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
Having taken nearly two chapters to discuss first the superiority of Christ over Moses, and then the necessity for God’s people to enter His rest, the writer now jumps back to the point he started out to make at the end of chapter 2 and the beginning of chapter 3: we have a high priest.
As he will go on to show in the following chapters, however, this high priest is quite unlike, and in every way superior to, the high priests of the old dispensation. Back in 2:17 he showed that this high priest has been made like us in every way, in order to identify with us and make reconciliation for us.
Since the writer has for the last chapter and a half been laboring the point that we must not fail to enter God’s rest through disobedience and unbelief, we must at this point ask how Christ as our high priest relates to entering that rest. In 1:3 the writer told us that “when He had by Himself purged our sins, [He] sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high …”
Just as God labored in creation, then rested, so Christ labored in redemption, then rested. He has not only borne our sins, sicknesses and sorrows in His death, but in His resurrection and ascension He has entered into rest on our behalf. All the more reason why we should not fail to enter that rest for ourselves.
… who has passed into the heavens …
It is not just that Christ has returned to the position that, as God, had been His for all eternity. No, something far greater has happened: He has entered heaven as Man. He has entered heaven as our high priest. Forever more, there is a Man seated at the right hand of the Father.
Christ’s role as out high priest did not cease at His death. For all eternity, He continues to represent us to the Father. What’s more, His sacrifice is effective for all eternity. Having been offered once, it does not have to be repeated, but goes on forever providing forgiveness and reconciliation for mankind.
… let us hold fast our profession.
It has been truly said that the Christian life is not just a step, but a walk. Yes, we take that first step when we repent of our sin and surrender our lives to Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour. We profess our belief in Him and our desire to follow and serve Him. But then we have to walk in it. We have to hold on to the things that we have said we believe, even when everything around us is pushing us in the other direction.
It is so easy to fall back into struggle; to fall back into trying to be good enough by our own strength, or to conform to some external form of legalism. It is so easy to fall into unbelief concerning the things that God has promised, or into disobedience concerning the things that He has required of us.
That’s when we need to remember our high priest: remember that He has already completed the work of redemption, as surely as God completed the work of creation; and that He is now at rest even whilst continuing His priestly role on our behalf, therefore we can rest in Him whilst allowing His Spirit to continue to work in us and through us.
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