Posted On July 21, 2020

Hebrews 4:2, “For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.”

Yesterday we saw how the author of Hebrews understands the entry into Canaan as a type of the eternal rest God has promised to His people. Today we will see how faith is essential if a person desires to enter into God’s promised rest.

A few weeks ago, we saw that when God makes a covenant with a group of people, that group of people always includes both believers and unbelievers. True believers, because of their faith, receive all the promises of the covenant while unbelievers, because of their lack of faith, ultimately receive only the curses of the covenant.

With this background, we can now look at Hebrews 4:2. The author tells us that “good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.” The Good News that “came to us” must refer to the Gospel message that comes to those under the new covenant. This is the same Good News that came to “them,” the Israelites who left Egypt. Clearly, the author is telling us that both old covenant and new covenant believers receive the same message of salvation, though there are slight differences in the message’s administration. Old covenant believers had to look forward in faith to the Messiah who was yet to come. New covenant believers like us have to look back in faith to the Messiah who died and rose again.

This Good News did not benefit all of the members of the old covenant because some were not “united by faith with those who listened.” In this verse, we have to understand “listened” as meaning “obeyed,” which is also an acceptable rendering of the Greek. All old covenant Israelites heard the Good News but it did not benefit some of them because they did not have saving faith like those who obeyed. Some translate this verse to say that the message did not benefit some Israelites because “it did not meet with faith in the hearers.” This translation makes the same point. The Good News does not benefit a person if he does not believe it.

More than three thousand years ago, the Good News came to the generation that left Egypt, but few benefited because only a few had faith. The implication is clear. The Good News has come to a new generation and only those who listen in faith will receive its benefits.

Coram Deo

Unfortunately, there are many in the church today who think Old Testament believers had a different path to salvation than New Testament believers. As we have seen today, this view is foreign to Scripture. Remember that salvation is accomplished for all of God’s people by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone.

United by Faith, Copyright (2020), Ligonier Ministries.

Related Posts

Riches for the World

Riches for the World

Romans 11:11-12, “11 So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather, through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. 12 Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means...

Why God Forgets Our Sins

Why God Forgets Our Sins

On today’s episode, a listener writes in and asks Dave, “Does God forget our sins?” What you’ll hear in this episode The Lord Forgives and Forgets Our Sin. The Christian and Assurance. Forgiveness and Assurance. The Apostles Creed and Forgiveness. Micah and...

Road Signs

Road Signs

Daniel 9:13-14, “Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come on us, yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth.  The Lord did not hesitate to bring the disaster on us, for...

Who is Israel?

Who is Israel?

Romans 11:7-10, “What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, 8 as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.” 9 And David...

Dave Jenkins- Contending for the Faith Without Being Contentious

Dave Jenkins- Contending for the Faith Without Being Contentious

On today’s Equipping You in Grace show, Dave considers the importance of growing in and pursuing gentleness with fellow Christians, why effective Christian engagement has five biblical correction, and instruction, and why Christians must be committed to sound doctrine...

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.

Share38
Tweet15
Reddit
Email
Buffer