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The Christian’s Daily Duties
The author exhorted the Hebrew brethren to continue loving one another as members of the Christian family. He seems to assume that they are aware of the instruction of the law ofMoses ( Lev_19:34 ) and exhorts them to continue in such loving displays of hospitality. He reminds them that some have entertained angels without knowing it, ( Gen_18:2-10 ; Gen_19:1-3 ) thus showing that there are advantages to such hospitality. The greatest advantage would seem to be the display of love that must have gained a good name for Christians ( Heb_13:1-2 ).
Further, they were encouraged to be mindful of those who were bound and in prison. They, especially those who were prisoners because of wearing the name of Christ, deserved the sympathy of a loving people ( Heb_13:3 ).
It was also important for followers of Jesus to exhibit proper conduct in marriage, since God established it as the proper place to satisfy natural sexual desires. At the same time, the writer of Hebrews warned against the sins that so often slip in on those who do not keep their marriages honorable in all points ( Heb_13:4 ).
The author exhorted his readers to stay away from the world's greed. He asked them to be happy in the state in which they found themselves. This is more readily done when one remembers God will not forsake the righteous ( Psa_37:25 ). All things will be for the best as long as God is on one’s side ( Rom_8:28 ; Rom_8:31 ). This realization should help one to affirm the bold statement of Psa_118:6 , which displays the same total trust as Psa_23:1-6 ( Heb_13:5-6 ).
Further Duties In Christ’s Service
The Hebrew brethren were instructed to keep their rulers, which Milligan says would be better rendered “leaders,” in mind. After all, they had taught the word of God to the believers, thereby displaying a faith worthy of imitation. They were especially to do so after considering the type of life these men led ( Heb_13:7 ).
The author encouraged the brethren to imitate the constancy of Christ and to be constant because He is dependable. He also told them to remain steady in the faith since its foundation is firm and unchangeable. After showing the firm foundation upon which Christians stand, it was natural to plead for the brethren to hold tight to the firm doctrine of Christ and not go off into a strange, unstable, doctrine. The gracious doctrine of Christ is good to hold to and is much to be preferred over the doctrines of men and the Judaizing teachers. Remember, these brethren were not the first to face false teachers ( Heb_13:8-9 ; Gal_1:6-9 .)
The altar around which Christians gather seems to be the sacrifice of Christ for us ( 1Co_10:18 ; 1Co_9:13 ). To eat of the altar would seem to be to partake of the Lord's Supper, whereby Christ's sacrifice is remembered. It would likely also include active participation in Christ's covenant ( Joh_6:44-58 ). In an apparent reference to the Day of Atonement ( Lev_16:27 ), the author reminded them of the beasts whose blood was brought into the sanctuary by the high priest. The bull for a sin offering was carried outside the camp to be burned. This presents an interesting parallel to the death of Jesus outside the camp of Jerusalem ( Joh_19:20 ). Jesus was crucified outside of the gate, or camp, of Jerusalem. This was symbolic of His being outside of the camp of Israel. For this reason, Christians were encouraged to go without the camp and be with Christ, always ready to bear any reproach that might come as a result of so doing ( Heb_13:10-14 ).
Offerings for Jesus
No city on this earth will last forever, but there will be a city without end. This city would seemingly be the one spoken of in Heb_11:10 ; Heb_11:16 , which is a heavenly city. Through Jesus, Christians can offer a continual sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. The fruit of anything is that which it produces, therefore, the fruit of our lips is the words we speak. Since Jesus is the high priest of our confession, part of our lips' fruit would be the confession that Jesus is the Son of God ( Romans 19:9-10 ). The other fruits would be the praise and thanksgiving previously mentioned ( Heb_13:15 ).
In conjunction with the fruit of their lips, Christians need to offer up the good they can do in their lives, which includes telling others what they possess. It also entails obeying the leaders, or elders, since they have been given the task of watching over the flock, or congregation, and see that each sheep receives the proper spiritual food ( Act_20:28 ; 1Pe_5:2 ). As members of the flock, they should be subject to the elders' authority. They are to be in subjection because the elders have the job of watching over the souls of the flock. Elders rejoice in knowing some under their authority are truly in subjection to the truth ( 3Jn_1:4 ). If they have to render a final account of a soul in grief, then it certainly would not be profitable for that soul ( Heb_13:16-17 ).
Personal Matters and Concluding Comments
The writer asked the brethren to pray in his behalf, as well as in behalf of the apostles and other proclaimers of the gospel. He preached the one true gospel, as did they, in opposition to all else, including the Judaizing teachers, because he believed it was what God would have him to do. He wanted their prayers and seemed to hope that they would help speed his return to them ( Heb_13:18-19 ).
God can be described as the "God of peace" because He was the one that sent peace into the world ( Isa_9:6 ; Luk_2:14 ). He was the God who raised His Son from the dead ( Act_2:24 ; Act_3:15 ; Rom_4:24 ; 2Co_4:14 ; Eph_1:20 ; Col_2:12 ; 1Pe_1:21 ). The Jesus that God raised is also the "great Shepherd of the Sheep." That is, He is the leader of the church and the One everyone follows, including the shepherds, or elders of the local flock. Christ's resurrection was possible through the shedding of His blood. What else could have washed away the sins of the world? It is by virtue of that shed blood that Christians will also be raised one day ( Heb_13:20 ).
The author prayed God would equip the Hebrew brethren and make them ready for all of the good works they needed to do. To a God of such power and goodness truly should be the glory of all men forever. Additionally, he prayed the Hebrew brethren would receive with patience and kindness the letter which had been written in the same manner. He could have written much more on such a vast subject, but did not. It appears he made the letter as brief as possible so he would not make them mad on these points that were touchy for them. This might be taken as a good warning for all preachers to present the word in truth, but not to browbeat the brethren solely on one sore spot ( Heb_13:21-22 ).
The writer went on to tell his readers that Timothy had been set free, probably from prison, and if he came to him soon, they would be able to see the Hebrews. He sent his regards to the elders and teachers of the Hebrews, who had the rule over them. He also sent his regards to all of the saints, as did some Italian brethren. Finally, the writer prayed God's favor would be upon all of them ( Heb_13:23-25 ).
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Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Hebrews 13". "Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29