Posted On November 30, 2020

Hebrews 11:13, “ These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.”

Today’s passage makes it clear that the examples of faith from Hebrews 11 are not given only so that we will know what faith looks like. Rather, these examples show us the superiority of the new covenant and encourage us to be faithful to the witness of the old covenant saints through our faithfulness to the new covenant.

You may remember that many in the original audience of Hebrews thought that they could abandon Christ without any dreadful consequences. They thought that they could be faithful to the example of the old covenant saints if they returned to the old covenant system. Most amazingly, some thought that by going back to the old covenant, they would be returning to a superior age.

However, this was (and still is) a false assumption. For verse 13 tells us that the old covenant saints “all died in faith, not having received the things promised.” The old covenant system was a system lacking fulfillment. The people under it could only hope and wait for final redemption without being completely aware of how it would come. The author is here demonstrating that the old covenant period is not superior to the new covenant brought by Christ. He is teaching that to abandon Christ would be a dreadful mistake. He is telling his audience that they must not forsake the day the old covenant saints waited for — the day that begins our final perfection (v. 40). This day Jesus has brought, and it must not be abandoned.

Moreover, the author also corrects the idea that his audience could be faithful to the example of the old covenant saints if they went back to the old covenant system. For in verse 13 we also read that even though the old covenant saints never received the things promised, they still saw them, however dimly, and “greeted them from afar.” All those who live after the first coming of Jesus, live in the last day in which God has begun to fulfill, continues to fulfill, and will complete the fulfillment of, all His promises. This day is what the old covenant saints waited for. To be faithful to their example means not that the new covenant community abandons Christ and follows the old covenant system exactly as the old covenant saints did. Rather, we live in faithfulness both to God and to their example only if we hold onto Christ, the one who brings the kingdom for which they waited.

Coram Deo

John Calvin said that if the old covenant saints, having only a shadowy glance of Christ, could persevere in faith to the end of their lives, how much more ought we do the same? We know more fully the superiority of Christ Jesus. Let this awareness be your primary motivation to hold onto Him with all your strength.

Strangers and Exiles, Copyright (2020), Ligonier Ministries.

Related Posts

The Matter of Whether Necessary Evil Is Biblical or Not

The Matter of Whether Necessary Evil Is Biblical or Not

On today’s episode, a listener writes in and asks Dave, “Is a Necessary Evil Biblical?” What you’ll hear in this episode How Scripture Speaks of Evil. Three Helps for Facing Evil and Suffering. Subscribing, sharing, and your feedback You can subscribe to the Servants...

Israel’s Temporary Hardening

Israel’s Temporary Hardening

Romans 11:23-24, “And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive...

Dave Jenkins- The Relationship Between Scripture and Tradition

Dave Jenkins- The Relationship Between Scripture and Tradition

On today’s Equipping You in Grace show, Dave considers the meaning of Sola Scripture, tradition, and the value of church history, the authority of Scripture, Christian conscience, and tradition, and why the Church has good answers to the issues of the day. What you’ll...

What’s the Problem? Dealing with Life

What’s the Problem? Dealing with Life

We live in a day where everybody seems to have problems constantly. I often feel like I am surrounded by people saying, “I do not know how to adult,” while I am sitting at my desk thinking, “Well, I do.” Sure, some of this is just a Western cultured joke, but the...

Broken Branches

Broken Branches

Romans 11:19-22, “19 Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the...

Approved Workers

Approved Workers

On today’s Warriors of Grace show, Dave continues the 2 Timothy series looking at 2 Timothy 2:14-21 and teaching Christians the truth and how to handle error correctly, and dealing with false teachers. What you’ll hear in this episode Dealing with false teachers....

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share33
Reddit
Email
Buffer
Tweet