early in this letter to the Hebrews the writer, having
made a many-sided and very great comparison and contrast
between the greatest persons and things of the old
dispensation and Jesus the Son of God, launches an
inclusive appeal and warning in superlative terms.
"How shall we escape if we neglect so great
salvation?" Throughout the letter he applies that in
various connections, but he does so as always governed by
that last clause
"So Great Salvation"
is what it is all about! Salvation. Great salvation.
So great salvation! As there cannot be two
salvations, this one and some other, but this one is
really what God intends by salvation, it is as well that
we look again at what has been said in these pages as to
the greatness of Christ, the greatness of our calling,
the greatness of our intended destiny, and the greatness
of our responsibility. One thing ought to emerge from
this consideration, that is, that salvation is a much
greater thing on the side of its unto than on the
side of its from. That is, there is much more in
God's purpose for man than to save him from sin,
judgment, death, and hell. However great redemption is,
it is only to get man back to the place where the
original full intention of God can be proceeded with. It
is a very costly 'fall' that has happened to man, but his
recovery has far more in it than the recovery itself. The
Gospel of Salvation as it is usually preached is so
largely occupied with man himself and the immediate
advantages and benefits of being saved. To promise, and
get him to, heaven is about the limit. The "so great
salvation" has immense issues bound up with it and
includes all the superlatives and "mysteries"
of Paul's unparalleled unveilings of "the eternal
purpose." Salvation's greatest aspect is what it is
unto, however great may be what it is from. If more of
this greatness had broken upon the preachers, and were
the mighty motive of their preaching, as it was in Paul's
case, and others, the impact upon men would need little
of the upholstery mentioned in our last chapter.
It is in
the light of this more positive aspect that our writer so
repeatedly appeals, urges, and warns, and it is now our
intention to close our meditations by surveying these
calls quite briefly.
the writer was too moved by his theme to stop for
systematizing his matter, it may help if we do something
in that way. We can therefore, quite without straining,
put these reiterations into three connections - A, B, and
assumed by this letter that those to whom it was written
were believers in the Lord Jesus and that they had given
themselves over to Him. They are called "holy
brethren" (3:1) which implies consecration to
Christ. On this assumption the writer bases his appeals
A. The Basis Of Consecration
basis is seen in the first series of appeals governed by
the words "Let us."
"Let us fear."
consecration to the Lord is a genuine one upon an
adequate apprehension of His superiority to all others,
it will have in it this element of holy fear. The context
shows that it is the great prospect which has come into
view with Christ that creates such a fear lest it should
be missed. Holy fear should always be a feature of a
Christian's life; not fear of judgment; not dread of the
Lord; but fear lest there might be a missing of all that
is implicit in the call of grace. The presence of such an
exhortation is itself enough to prove that just to have
accepted Christ is not enough to guarantee the attainment
(to use Paul's word) of all that which is included in our
having been "apprehended by Christ Jesus."
(4:11) "Let us give diligence"; literally
bears upon the time factor, especially the spiritual time
factor. "So long as it is called Today" or
"Today, if ye shall hear" is the ground of
appeal here. The lack of urgency and diligence will have
two effects. God's actual time opportunity - which is
never shown to be other than now - may be missed; and,
or, our capacity or ability to make good all that can be
apprehended may slip past, and we be found like ships
stranded on a mud bank.
(4:14) "Let us hold fast" literally
It is so
easy to lose grip and firmness of hold, and become loose
or slack. You have made a confession; reaffirm, and do
not let its full meaning and value slip out of your hand,
or be taken from you. Close your hand tightly upon it
against all that would steal it from you.
(4:16) "Let us... with boldness."
fear, timidity, uncertainty, or any member of that large
family of Doubt, will keep us away if possible. The
Throne of Grace is there. The Blood has opened the way.
The High Priest in all sympathy holds out God's hand to
take yours. Why be hesitant, doubtful, wavering? Staying
away means only to be more and more involved in
despondency and Satan's accusations. Make the bold plunge
of faith in God's mercy and love; give Him credit for
meaning what He says, and "draw near".
B. The Development of Consecration
"Let us go on..."
value of this exhortation is found in the implication of
the Greek word used. It is the same word as in Acts 2:2
("rushing") and II Peter 1:21
("moved"). It really means to be borne along by
another. This would indicate that God is moving on, the
Spirit of God is going forward. He is not tarrying or
delaying, but with great energy is pursuing His goal. Let
us fall in with Him. Let us be caught in His goings. Let
us yield to His energies. Let us not be left behind by
the Lord. "Full-growth" is His
goal; let us not remain infants or immature.
(10:22) "Let us draw nigh."
not the same as No. 4 above. That was a matter of
adjustment of ourselves to being received. This is unto
communion following the adjustment. In the one we need
not, and must not, stand without, asking whether,
peradventure, we dare approach. In the other, we should
not come with reserves that will keep us from entering
positively into the communion that is there for us.
(10:23) "Let us hold fast."
this is not the same as No. 3 above. That was taking
hold, taking a firm grip. This is maintaining our hold.
It is a matter of tenacity as to "our hope,"
"that it waver not." This goes right to the
root cause of this whole letter. It is a costly and
difficult way. It is "outside the camp, bearing His
reproach." We made a confession. Perhaps we
weakened. Having tightened our grip, let us not weaken
again, but be pertinacious.
(10:24) "Let us consider one another."
Rather "study" one another, with a view to
(a) Emulating the good in one another.
(b) Inciting one another to good; to love and good works.
short, let us take account of one another with a view to
positively helping one another toward the goal - not to
noting one another's faults and defects and so retarding
their progress and our own.
C. The Characteristics Of Consecration
made his appeal for renewed consecration, and having
shown what consecration is, by the same phrase -
"Let us" - the writer proceeds to a series of
exhortations which indicate the kind of person a really
consecrated person will be; what is necessary as
characterizing such an one.
(12:1) "Let us lay aside."
really mean business in relation to this "heavenly
calling" (3:1) we must and shall look at everything
from the standpoint of whether it is positive or negative
as relating thereto. Does this thing help? If not it must
go. For it to hinder, or retard, or make heavy going is
its condemnation. The course must be as clear as we can
make it, and anything or anyone not in the real business,
but just obstructing or loitering, must be pushed aside.
This will apply to 'the luggage of life'; it will apply
to distractions and diversions; it will also apply to
discouragements and disheartenments. There is no place
for temperamentalism and moodiness in this race, and the
easily-besetting sin of doubt and mistrust will bring the
pilgrim quickly to the Slough of Despond.
2. (12: 1) "Let us run."
Not talk about consecration; not be
interested in it; not be merely a member of the
'Consecration Committee'; not be an expert in the
technique of athletics, knowing about running and
runners, courses, rules, outfit, and prizes; but
"Let us run," let us do it. How
many know all the teaching and doctrine of consecration
who are slow starters, or poor runners, always needing to
be urged, encouraged, get refreshments, or have a rest!
Let us get on with it, and "with patience." Keep
on with it.
3. (12:28) "Let us have (or take)
grace whereby we may serve..."
Here the Greek word for serve suggests
that it is return for something received. Grace is a
great blessing and benefit. The grace which has called us
with such a "heavenly calling," into such
a 'partnership' (3:1) surely creates a responsibility
born of indebtedness. Let us take this grace with
grateful hearts and prove our sense of indebtedness by
4. (13:13) "Let us go forth unto
Him without the camp."
In appreciation of the supreme greatness
of Christ and of the grace bestowed upon us, let us show
that we are not ashamed of Him, but rather are prepared
to suffer with Him and share His reproach. If we are
really consecrated to Christ we shall be glad to stand by
Him while and where He and His fullest interests are
excluded, even from the Christian-Judaistic system which
is more for itself than for Him.
5. (13:15) "Let us offer up a
sacrifice of praise continually."
This is the topstone, the crown, of
consecration. Reproach and rejection, yes, and all else
involved; but is He worth it? Will the end justify it?
Sonship, dominion, partnership with Christ crowned with
glory and honour, God's House for ever; these are the
things held up to view in this letter. If we have really
seen Him, and what partnership with Him means,
so that we are abandoned to Him, we shall be in that
priestly course of singers which - in David's
constituting - never ceased. This letter is so largely on
the line of the House and the Priesthood and the
Sacrifice, so that it is not surprising that it should
end on the "twenty four courses of the singers"
by implication - a course for the whole circuit of the
sun, day and night. "A sacrifice of praise
continually," or "a sacrifice of perpetual
Thus fourteen times in this letter the
appeal is made against any and every failure to be always
characterized by an active outreach after God's fullest
thought for His people. The spirit of Caleb is so apropos
to it all; he "wholly followed the Lord," and
at an advanced age requested hill country and a mountain
to prove that he was still of that mind, and that the
Lord honours such with supplies of spiritual vitality. He
had seen that God had made known what was His mind for
His people and that was what mattered. He - Caleb - would
not accept anything less. He would not talk about that
being 'the ideal, but quite impracticable,' or 'the state
of things being what it is - in ruins - we must accept
it, and make the best of a bad job.' Any such talk would
be to Caleb treachery or betrayal: disloyalty to the
Lord: an admission that God had intended something, but
it had proved unworkable and must be scrapped for
something less. The mind of Caleb was that; the
majority might take the other attitude, but until God
gave another and modified revelation of His purpose,
though he were the only one to "go on" he was
going on. This attitude, spirit, and activity God fully
honoured, and not only did Caleb inherit, but Judah came
into their inheritance because of his faithfulness. And
Judah stands for something in the Divine thought!
While "Hebrews" and
"Ephesians" still remain a part of the Bible,
that is what God means for His people, even if but a
comparatively few "go on". It can only mean
serious and grievous loss to take any other attitude.
Hence with the repeated "Let us" the writer
links a repeated warning note "Lest". The nine
occurrences of this warning note are worth considering.
They cover every form of possible cause of failure - from
the lack of alertness necessary to grasp the mooring as
the vessel is carried by the current either out to sea or
onto the rocks, to a definite hardening of heart against
the appeal "Today, if ye shall hear His voice".
This last is an appeal to Christians, not here
to the unsaved as it is almost exclusively used by
All this, then, brings us back to our
starting point - the implications of this letter - and
should cause us to examine modern Christianity and our
own position to see if it is a set system, a tradition,
an inheritance; or whether it is really - and now
- bringing to the Land and the goal, the fullness of