[I’m hoping to write a short review of B.B. Warfield’s book on the early “faith-healing” movement in America and the U.K., entitled Counterfeit Miracles, but with visiting family a big reading list and barely any time to get my own personal studies done, it’s been hard to find the time to sit down and give a meaningful review of the book. So here’s a journal entry that ministered to me last night. Enjoy ;)]
Law/Gospel [vv.11-13]/[vv.14-16] (Judgment/Salvation)
[Read: Hebrews 4]
These two sections of Hebrews 4 are beautiful illustrations of Law/Gospel distinction (for more resources, some more technical than others, see Resources on the Law/Gospel Distinction at the Heidelblog) . Verses 11-13 show us the absolutely piercing, penetrating, and, quite honestly, terrifying nature of the Law which peers past all appearances into the very constitution of our intentions, and exposes us for what we are: Liars, thieves, adulterers, faithless, rebels, and God-hating blasphemers. We are filled with dread to know that God’s Word, and in fact Christ, sees the fibers of which even our intentions are made, and we tremble! We know that we, like Israel, have gone astray in our hearts, have disobeyed God, and have sought carnal satisfaction and not the satisfaction that comes from obeying the Lord who made us in His image.
In contrast to this, however, verses 14-16 show us that although Christ is the Word who stands as Judge of the quick and the dead, He is also our High Priest, who is not unfamiliar with the frailties of being human. And for all who hear His voice, we can draw near to the throne of grace in our time of need, and we can do so with full confidence that we will find that mercy. These two sections of Scripture stand in contrast to one another insofar as they show us God’s Word as Condemning Judge (vv.11-13) and God’s Word as our Savior/High Priest (vv.14-16).
Gospel/Law [v.14a/v.14b] (Indicative/Imperative)
There is, however, another instance of Law/Gospel distinction here, found in verse 14. Whereas the first Law/Gospel distinction is a declaration of Law (Judgment) followed by Gospel (Salvation), this second instance is Gospel (Indicatives) followed by Law (Imperatives). It is only because of the finished work of Christ that we can approach God with boldness and confidence as children who are weak, destitute in themselves, and in need of mercy and grace daily. Because the Holy Spirit humbled us with His Law, and then granted us faith to believe His Gospel, we who now believe the Gospel can be given commands which we want to obey because of our gratitude for what He has done for us in Christ. This is a powerful and beautiful truth that can be seen when we break the verse down in this way:
|We have a High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God||Therefore, let us hold fast our confession|