5th April 2023
Read - Hebrews 11:39–40
Message Alan Burke
Those who are listed in Hebrews 11, sinful men and women, sinners who were saved by grace though faith in Christ Jesus. It was by the grace of God that those listed received a commendation. Yet as v39 continues, after we are told they were commended for their faith we are told, “yet none of them received what had been promised”. They did not receive what was promised because they did not live to see the Christ to which that they hoped and longed for, the one that they were living by faith in. They did not see the coming of the new covenant in the blood of the Christ that they looked to, they did not see the kingdom arrive and yet in it all their future was secure in the Christ that they looked to. Even though in their own life time they did not receive the fullness of what was promised, the coming of the Christ to whom they looked, or the great and final resurrection at the second coming of the Christ. For that is where their hope ultimately rested, on the promises of God, on that city which foundations and builder is God himself. They did not receive the fulfilment of the promises of God, their hope was in the coming of Christ.
We are reminded here that for us “God had planned something better”. The something better for us which God had planned was the coming of the Christ, Jesus Immanuel, God with us. These listed were commended for their faith while they all looked forward to his coming they lived with shadows, they could only see dimly. They were like those with pieces of the picture but not able to see fully what God was doing, they had “A small spark of light led them to heaven; when the sun of righteousness shines over us” (John Calvin). It is to the coming of the saviour Jesus Christ that the saints of old looked to, how the Lord Jesus Christ when he came would inaugurated this final age in which the promises of God will be brought to completion.
Sadly often we do not always realise that we with them are all part of the Covenant of Grace, the believers that are here listed were justified the same way as we are under the covenant of grace, by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. They looked forward, whereas we look to what the Christ has done and we know what the Christ will come one day to do, to judge the living and the dead. What he had come to do, was to fulfil what the sacrificial system had pointed all the while to, the necessity of the shedding of blood for the forgiveness of sins. As Jesus Christ, the son of God, true God and true man went to Calvary’s hill, the something better for us is what God has done there on the Cross, as he placed the wrath that was due to us on his only begotten son.
On the cross Jesus paid the price for sin, for my sin, for your sins, for the sin of all of those who have lived by faith. God in his grace held back his judgement in his forbearance until Jesus came and dealt with the sin of all the saints, the saints who lived before the coming of Christ and the saints since, the saints today and the saints in the future, all those who believe in him are saints in Christ Jesus. In this God demonstrated his justice, the justice of God is seen in and through the Lord Jesus Christ who took the punishment that sin deserves for us and therefore the righteousness of God comes through faith in Christ Jesus. The Cross is the manifestation of the glorious wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:23, 24) so that we might be the redeemed of God, that we might have like those saints of old a hope of city whose foundations and builder is God, where we will dwell with him for eternity. Brothers and sisters in the midst of what you face know this hope by faith in Christ Jesus.
Q12 What special act of providence did God exercise toward man in the estate wherein he was created?
When God had created man, he entered into a (covenant of life) with him, upon condition of perfect obedience; forbidding him to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, upon the pain of death. (Gal. 3:12, Gen. 2:17)