and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.

(This is part eleven of a multi-entry blog series exploring theĀ Apostles’ Creed.)

This entry looks at the next line of the Apostles’ Creed where it says that Jesus:

“is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.”

Hebrews 12:1-2 is one of my all-time favorite Bible passages. I’ve written about it in 2009 and in 2010, so I guess this will be the time in 2011 that I write about it. For this entry I want to look specifically at what Hebrews 12:2 says: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Because this passage is so stinkin’ amazing, it’s easy not to pay attention to the fact that it says Jesus “sat down at the right hand of God.” What, if anything, does it mean that Jesus sat down?

Well, think about it for a minute. If you walk into a work area and everyone is sitting down, what does that tell you? Let’s suppose you work at some warehouse where people are supposed to be loading merchandise into boxes, boxes onto pallets, and then pallets into trucks. You walk into the warehouse area and everyone is sitting down. It tells you that all the work is done. There’s nothing left to be accomplished. As Jesus put it in John 19:30, “It is finished.”

Hebrews 10:1 paints a picture of the Old Testament sacrificial system when is says that the Law “can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near.” This verse is describing an endless cycle, repeated year after year, of sacrifices that did not take away guilt, but served as a reminder of guilt (Hebrews 10:3). In fact, Hebrews 10:4 says that “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” In this system, there is no sitting down; there is always more work to be done. Hebrews 10:11 paints this picture by saying that “every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.” The priests would stand in their service because their job was never finished; sin was never taken care of once and for all. This is the heart of religion; religion is a system that shows us what we must do for God.

Contrast this with Hebrews 10:12, where is says “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.” Why did Jesus sit down? Because, on the cross, Jesus finished His work “by a single offering” (Hebrews 10:14). Jesus now has the honor of sitting down and basking in a job well done. His work is complete. His work is sufficient.

This is exactly why a Gospel of “Jesus plus nothing” is the only Gospel there is. If anyone tries to add anything to Jesus, they are suggesting there is something more to be accomplished. They are suggesting that Jesus’ work is incomplete and insufficient. But Hebrews 12:2 describes Jesus as the “author and perfecter” or the “founder and perfecter” of our faith.

When you read this phrase, think of bookends. Jesus is the alpha and omega of our faith; He started it and He completed it; He is the author and the perfecter. Faith is a gift that God gives us and it’s something that God completes for us. That is why it is a gift. This is the heart of Christianity; it’s not about what we can do for God, but what Christ has done for us.

Hewbrews 4:12

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
This passage is really great for teaching new believers and explaining to them the importance of Scripture. I’ve always wanted to memorize it but just never did, so I’m glad I have it now.

This verse makes me think of a quote I once heard: “I read the Bible to find its faults, but it found mine.” The Bible is dangerous!

If you really read the Bible and compare yourself to it, the only response is to realize how great God is and how depraved we are. The Bible makes me very aware of my faults and how to fix them. The Bible challenges me and has, more than once, cut me very deep. It challenges me to grow in maturity, to draw close to God, and to live my life the way God wants me to.

God bless,
daniel

Hebrews 12:1

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

On Saturday, February 7th, I found out that a man who means a lot to me passed away. He had been battling cancer for a few years now, and it had always been considered terminal, so I’d had time to prepare myself. Nonetheless, when I found out Doug was gone, it really hurt. It’s especially been hard because I wasn’t able to make it for the funeral and really don’t feel any sense of closure. The good news is Doug is in Heaven…cheering his loved ones on as they continue this race called life.

Alhthough I memorized Hebrews 12:1 a long time ago, I wanted to spend the week reflecting and meditating on this one. In Chapter 11, we read about many of the Old Testament saints and how awesome and faithful they were. Then in Chapter 12, we’re told these saints are watching us and (I’d like to think) cheering us on. And that we should follow in their footsteps and throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. We’re told to run the race marked out for us.

This week I’ve really been asking myself if I’m living the type of life that will make my Maker smile. I certainly hope so!