READ : Hebrews 13:20-25
Bear with my word of exhortation. (v. 22)
The book of Hebrews was written to encourage wavering Christians. Its recipients were people who professed the Christian faith, but now were having second thoughts. The writer of Hebrews calls his letter “a word of exhortation,” and his thirteen chapters of exhortation can be boiled down into one simple phrase: “Don’t turn back!” The Christians to whom Hebrews was addressed had spent their early life as Jews, and the traditions and teachings of that community constituted the old, familiar world for them. It’s not easy to give up your whole world for the sake of a new faith. And when difficulties arose, it was tempting to want to return to the old ways.
An essay I was reading argued that Christianity and Judaism were essentially the same religion. Both were ways of knowing and relating to the one true God, the God of Israel. Both taught that salvation was by grace through faith. According to this essay’s author, the purpose of Christianity’s mission was to enable Gentiles to know Israel’s God, but there was no need for Jews to become Christians; Christianity had nothing to offer Jews that Judaism did not already provide.
“Except Christ,” I thought to myself as I finished reading. And Christ is everything! Whatever it may cost you, it’s worth it all to gain Christ. Don’t ever turn away from him!