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Living by Faith (Vol 82) - The Family of Faith

Sunday English Service - 21 JUN 20


Trust that all of you are doing well by the grace of God. We've been studying Hebrews chapter 11 for quite some time, verse by verse. We stayed on verse 35 to 38, if you remember, for several weeks, because it was a very important subject, the subject of suffering. People of faith suffering.

The reason we spent so much time on it is because people, especially believers, are not able to connect suffering with faith. Somehow, they've come to believe that if you have faith, you won't suffer. That if you suffer, that means you may not have faith. That these two things are incompatible. But you remember Jesus said, “In this world, you have tribulation. Therefore, be of good cheer. I've overcome this world.” At another time He said, “They have done this to me, what will they do to you? If they've done this to me, they'll do something more to you.” So He promised that there will indeed be suffering because of their faith in Him.

Paul teaches it, Peter teaches it. It's everywhere in the Scriptures. We went through some of those things. It is important to understand the biblical perspective on suffering. If you don't understand it, then you may have the idea that if you have faith, you won't suffer. And if you suffer, you don't have faith. Then if you end up suffering, some time or the other in your life, because of your faith in Christ or because of anything, then you will be devastated because you find yourself suffering and you have no explanation for it. And that will confuse you and that itself will be another kind of suffering. That is why I went through that passage very extensively. And I hope it's been useful for you.

But today we're going to do the last two verses of Hebrews chapter 11. And we're going to end the series today. From next week, we'll begin with something new. I'm going to read to you verse 39 and 40 of Hebrews chapter 11 and do the last two verses of this chapter. But before I read, let me remind you of the background of this whole epistle of Hebrews, why it was written, and so on. We talked about it a little bit when we began our study. But right now it needs a reminder because we're closing it today. And also it will make much sense when we interpret this verse.

Why was the epistle to Hebrews written? It was written to a people, who are Jewish people who are converts to Christianity. From Hebrew background they have converted to Christianity. And because of their conversion, they're now facing a lot of problems, a lot of torture, a lot of persecution by the Jewish community, which was a huge community in the first century in that area. So the author of the book of Hebrews is writing to them to encourage them.

In what way were they persecuted? They were taunted with words, mainly. They were told that they left a grand old religion and gone into something that is useless. They've gone to believe a man who died on the cross almost naked and in shame, who couldn't save himself and that they believe that he is Lord and God. They said, “What kind of nonsense is this? You left this grand old religion where we have Abraham as our father. God has sent angels to visitors us and speak to us. God has given us the 10 commandments. God has given us sacrifices and offerings. God has given us a great temple, the priest, the high priest, and so on. And you left all this to go and follow a man who died on a cross, who claims he is the son of God, and the whole world is laughing at you.” So they were taunting them with these words mainly. But they were also in trouble in many other ways. Their life was affected, family life, their business, their day-to-day life was affected in so many ways because of this enmity that they felt against these Christians.

And the author of Hebrews therefore, writes not just to console them, but to fortify them, literally to teach them and tell them, “Hey, look, you didn't leave something better and came to this, something that is worse. It's exactly the reverse of it is true. You left something that is far inferior to come into something that is far superior.” The whole claim of the book of Hebrews is the superiority of the New Covenant, the superiority of Jesus Christ. That is why the word “better” occurs again and again in this epistle. Why? Because he's trying to show Jesus is better, better than angels, better than Moses, better than Aaron. The blood of Jesus is better than the blood of bulls and goats. So the word “better” is the key.

And now when he comes to chapter 11, basically, that's what he's trying to do. He's trying to tell them about faith, the life of faith, and trying to encourage them by telling them stories of how people stood in their faith. How faith is a substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. That these men and women believed in something which they did not even yet see. But they believed so strongly. And because of their faith in these things that they did not yet see, they were even willing to give their lives and suffer. And they won great victories because of the boldness and the confidence and the power that it brought into their life. That kind of faith will bring great power into your life, for you to withstand against all troubles and win against all difficulties. And he's trying to encourage them. And that's how he comes to that passage on suffering from verse 35 to 38. That people that believed in God were ready to suffer for their faith and suffer so horribly in those days where they were sewn in two, they had to live in caves and dens of the earth and so on. They lacked basic facilities, food and other things and they had to sacrifice so much and he talks about that.

And now we come to verse 39 and 40. So that is the background. And with that background, you will understand that. Verse 39 and 40 he’s still on that. He’s still trying to show that this is better, this is far better. “You have not left something to come to something worse. This is far better. This is superior to what you had before in the Jewish religion,” he’s saying.

So let me read to you verse 39 and 40. And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us, they should not be made perfect. Very loaded verse. Wonderful truths are there. I think we need to pay some attention to this because as he tries to prove the superiority of the New Covenant and superiority of Jesus Christ and superiority of this faith in Jesus Christ to anything else in the world, he’s bringing out certain truths. And it's wonderful for us to listen to that.

He first of all says, “These people are commended for their faith, but yet they did not receive what was promised.” And then he says that God has given to us or provided something better for us in the New Covenant and that apart from us, that apart from the New Covenant Christians, the Old Covenant believers could not be made perfect. Now, that's a very tall claim. That apart from us they couldn't be made perfect. Apart from us, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Moses and Abraham, all these great guys, they cannot be made perfect apart from us. Think about that. That's how he presents the superiority of Jesus Christ, superiority of this whole New Covenant and so on.

So we need to consider four questions here. If you answer four questions, I think you'll arrive at the explanation for the things that he is trying to say here and bring out the truth of what is available there. What he is telling there. Four things. One is, he's talking about a promise that was given to them. We need to understand what the promise is all about. What does he refer to when he talks about the promise? Secondly, he says that they did not receive the promise. In what sense did the Old Testament saints not receive the promise? Thirdly, he says that God has provided for us something better? The New Covenant saints have provided something better than the Old Covenant saints. What is that something better? Fourthly, what does it mean when he says that God determined that they should not be perfected without us? That apart from us, they should not be made perfect. What does he mean by that?

So four things. What is the promise? In what sense did they not receive the promise? And what is it that God has given to us that is called the “better thing” here, that is given to the New Testament saints? And what does it mean when he says that they, without us, should not be made perfect? Four things. Let's go at it.

First question. What is the promise? The way he puts it is this all these though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised. All these. All these obviously refers to the people that he’s been mentioning in Hebrews chapter 11, starting from Abel, going on to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, then Gideon, Barack and all these people and then these people that suffered and so on. All of these people. Everyone mentioned in the 11th chapter. All these were commended for their faith.

What does it mean when he says they were commended for their faith? It would mean two, three things. One, God has actually commended them for their faith, obviously, because God had made sure their history is recorded in the Old Testament. That's a wonderful thing. That these people are not ordinary people. They were commended for their faith. The Old Testament writes about them. That itself is a commendation. God commending them.

Secondly, their conscience. These people, their conscience commended them. That's one way you can think about commendation. I like what Paul says in 2 Corinthians chapter 1 and verse 12, our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in this world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom, but by the grace of God and supremely so toward you. Look at what he says. He says, “Our boast is about the testimony of our conscience. We are proud of the testimony of our conscience.” What did their conscience say? That they behaved in this world with simplicity and godly sincerity and not just depend on earthly wisdom, but by the grace of God. That's the way they did ministry. So their heart commended them. So God commends them. These people are so good, their heart commends them.

And then thirdly, they were held in great esteem by the people of the Old Testament. The Israelites held them with great respect because of the great achievements and because of the great faith. They were a different kind of people. They're different from the world in which they lived. They did great things for God. They believed God, they trusted God, they did great things. So God commended them, their own heart commends them, and their society commends them. All right. So all these were commended for their faith, but did not receive what was promised.

Now what is this promise? The greatest promise, I would say in the Bible, is the promise of the coming Messiah. It begins in Genesis chapter 3 verse 15. In Genesis chapter 3:15, we have the first promise of the coming Messiah. As soon as man sinned, Adam and Eve sinned, God comes into the garden, finds them, speaks to the serpent, woman, and man, all three of them. Now, here is God speaking to the serpent. He says, “I'll put enmity between you,” He says to the serpent, “and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” Very loaded verse. It’s talking about the Messiah as the offspring of a woman. Usually, the Bible talks about the offspring of a man. Whenever someone is referred to an offspring, the father’s name is mentioned, the father is mentioned. Here it’s the woman that is mentioned indicating that He’ll be born of a Virgin and also that He shall bruise your head, which is what happened on the cross of Calvary, that Jesus crushed the head of Satan and Satan crushed the heel of Jesus. Amazing loaded words. Just imagine what kind of impact those words would have had upon Adam and Eve.

Immediately that would have caused a great sense of expectation inside of them. They would have said, “My God, that's good. The devil has landed us in big problem. We have sinned. We have lost all the blessings. We've been cut off from God. But God has got an answer. God is going to fix it. He’s going to send a man and He’s going to be born of that woman.” Which woman can she think of? She is the only woman there. So in chapter 4, when it says Adam knew his wife Eve and they bore a son, she cries out immediately saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.” What does that mean? She's not saying, “Well, I got a child with God's help. God has blessed me with the child.” No. This is the first child that's born. She says, “I've gotten a man with the help of the Lord.” That means that man that God was talking about, the man that was going to crush the head of Satan, that man I've got. That’s her expectation. She expected her first son to be the Messiah because God had promised. She expected a Messiah to be born through her. But unfortunately, Cain, the firstborn of Adam and Eve turned out to be the son of the devil really. I mean, he turned out to be a child of the devil with the devil's nature. He turned out to be a murderer who murdered his own brother. All right.

So the promise of the Messiah is the greatest promise. In 2 Corinthians chapter 1 in verse 20, we have this wonderful verse about Jesus, the promised One. It says, for all the promises of God find their yes in Him. That is why it is through Him that we utter our Amen to God for His glory.

Let me put it very briefly. It says, “For all the promises of God find their yes in Him.” That means every promise of God has some reference to Him. Every promise of God is centered on Him. You take Jesus out of the picture, all the promises of the Bible won't mean anything. All the promises of God are centered on Him. Without him, no promise. Therefore, all promises are a and amen, in and through Christ Jesus. He is the biggest thing that was promised.

In Acts chapter 13 and verse 23 again, Jesus is spoken of as the promised One. Acts 13 and verse 23, Of this man's offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as He promised. Paul is preaching here and he's talking about Jesus. He says, “Of this man’s offspring, God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as He promised.” He’s talking about Jesus being a descendant of David when he talks about offspring of a man, as a descendant of David, the son of David. Nevertheless, notice that He’s the promised one. Notice it says that God has brought Israel a Savior to Jesus as He promised. All right.

There's another verse in Acts chapter 13 verse 32 and 33. Here, it’s talking about how God raised Jesus from the dead. And look at the way he puts it. Paul again, And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this He has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, “You are my Son, today, I have begotten You.” In other words, Paul says about the resurrection of Jesus, that it was already promised in Psalm 2, where it says, You are my son, today I've begotten you. The way he puts it is we bring you the good news that what God had promised to the fathers that He has fulfilled to us by raising Jesus. So the risen Christ, the Jesus raised from the dead, brought forth from the dead is also a promised event. So the greatest thing that is promised in the Bible is Jesus Christ, the Savior, the Messiah.

So when it says that all these were commended for their faith but did not receive what was promised, it is referring to Jesus. They did not see Jesus in their lifetime. They did not see and witness what this Messiah would do. They hoped for him. They expected them. They were eagerly waiting for him. They desired to see him, but did not see him. Matthew chapter 13, Jesus talks about it in verse 17. He says, “For truly I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear and did not hear it.” Jesus is talking to the disciples and He says, “A lot of prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see,” because it was revealed to them that such a Messiah is going to come, that such a savior is going to come. There was this great expectation. They all desired. “Prophets and righteous people desired to see what you see, but did not see it and to hear what you hear and did not hear it,” He says. So believed in the coming Messiah, Savior and the salvation, but they never saw it in their lifetime. So they did not receive what was promised.

So, one of the reasons he's saying is, he's trying to show the strength and the perseverance of faith, that even though they did not see it, they persevered in their faith. They continued to look unwaveringly for so many centuries for Him that should come. But He never came in their lifetime. And they died believing. They died putting their faith in Him. That's what He’s trying to say. In other words, He's trying to say, “Hey, you're so blessed. You're living in days when He has come and He has done His work. He has completed His work. Look how fortunate you are, how blessed you are. These are people that expected Him. Just simply believed the promise, believed what the prophet said, believed what the Word of God said and expected and lived with expectation and died with faith.” All right.

Thirdly, so we saw what promise is. The promise is concerning the Messiah. We understood in what sense they did not receive the promise. They did not receive the promise in the sense they did not see Jesus in their lifetime. And the Messiah coming and doing his work of salvation and all of that did not happen in their lifetime, all right? Thirdly, what is the better thing that God has provided for us? Because Hebrews 11 says, since God had provided something better for us. What is this something that God has provided that is called “something better”? It is important that we arrive at the right interpretation of what this “something better” is all about. Once again, let me remind you that he's trying to impress upon them about the superiority of Christianity over Judaism. He’s given many illustrations. Now he comes to another one. And what is the other one that he is giving? God has provided something better for us. “They are saying that you got a worse deal. But I'm telling you,” he says, “God has given you something better. You have ended up with something better than what the Old Testament saints had,” he says. The word “better” again is used.

It is very interesting to see how people interpret this “something better”. They come to it and they're very eager to show the New Covenant has something really wonderful. And therefore, they grab the opportunity to take a hold of these words. And to try to show that the Old Testament has nothing and the new covenant is the thing that has everything. And that is a wrong approach I believe. People have come to wrong conclusions, many wrong conclusions. Let me mention some of them.

One of the wrong conclusions that people have come to regarding the “something better” is that they believe that something better is the eternal life. Today, as Christians in the New Covenant, we have eternal life. What they mean to say is that Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all of them did not have eternal life. Moses didn't have eternal life. Abel didn't have eternal life. All these other people did not have eternal life. But you're going to go to heaven one day and you're going to find Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob there. How did they get there? Jesus is saying that they're there, that they will be there. So how are you going to justify them being there? Because if you believe that there was no eternal life under the old covenant, how do you think that without eternal life they got to heaven? So that's one thing. They say there's no eternal life in the Old Covenant, today we have eternal life.

Another thing they say is under the Old Covenant, the Old Covenant believers did not have any help of the Holy Spirit. They couldn't have the power of the Holy Spirit, the help with the Holy Spirit in anything.

Thirdly, they say that today we are members of the body of Christ. We have been integrated into the body of Christ. And in the Old Covenant, there was no body of Christ. There were not brought into that and so on. Like this, they go on and on and on. But let me tell you this. Every one of the saints of the Old Testament like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had God as their father, Jesus was their Savior, the Holy Spirit as their comforter, their guide. They had the ministry of the three persons of the Trinity. For example, God taught Abel the same kind of faith, as He does to us today. Where did Abel learn to bring that kind of an offering? When Adam and Eve sinned, God came into the garden found them naked, they were hiding. God brings them out. They say, “We were hiding because we're ashamed.” So God makes a coat of skin for them. Where did this coat of skin come from? God must have killed an animal in order to provide a coat of skin for them. That was a great teaching about redemption. The teaching said that without the shedding of the blood there cannot be remission for sin. That the wages of sin is death. That because of their sin and the shame that they have incurred, an innocent animal had to die.

And only by innocent animal dying a coat of skin can be made available. There, a lesson was taught to them. And that is how Abel ended up bringing a sacrifice like that. Not only did he bring a sacrifice that pleased God because he brought the best, the first and the best from his flock and showed how much he respected God, honored God, very important, that he worshipped God. He considered God as supreme. That's why he brought him the best and the first. But he also brought a sacrifice that involved shedding of blood, indicating that he now knows the teaching that he’s a sinner, he cannot come before God. In order to come before God, he need to come with the realization that he's a sinner, that he needs a savior. And that his sin problem has to be dealt with and then only God can receive Him. And that shedding of blood, an innocent animal dying, showed that I believe that I'm a sinner, and that animal has taken my sin and the punishment for my sin, that I stand before God through that. And because of that, because of God's mercy, that God has put my sin upon that animal and considers my sin as the animal sin, so that I can look upon God and He can look upon me. That’s the teaching that Abel got from there.

So don't think of Old Testament as something ordinary. There's the gospel there and the very first pages of the Old Testament.

What about Abraham? Abraham was justified precisely the same way as Christians are justified today. Read Romans 4. Talks about how was Abraham justified? By faith or by works? Paul says he was justified by faith, not by works. He goes through a great discussion on that.

So justification by faith is something that was available in Abraham's day and that is how Abraham was justified. That's how he was saved. Moses, consider Moses. Moses, the Bible says, considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. How did he know that the reproach of Christ is greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt? How does he know that his reward in eternity is going to be something greater and far greater than Egypt's? And that is why he rejected Egypt's wealth because he knew that was greater. How did he know? You see, these people seem to know much more than what we think they know. Are you surprised by it?

Take for example, David. He says that he was a stranger and a pilgrim on earth just like we, New Testament people, say. Stranger and a pilgrim, back in the Old Testament days in David's days, he said that. And look at how he speaks about eternal pleasures at God's right hand. You know Psalm 23, the last verse, I'll dwell in the house of the Lord forever and ever. But in Psalm 16:11, he says this, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand the pleasures forevermore.” So he looked at heaven, looked at the eternal pleasures and understood it perfectly.

The problem with people that think that the Old Covenant did not have eternal life, the Old Covenant did not have anything is that they think, that grace of God and all of these things, that New Testament subject in Old Testament there was nothing like that it was all Lord, and so on. There was nothing there. No, in the Old Testament, there was grace. See when you read Romans 4 and other passages like that where Paul talks about whether one is justified by faith or by works, you need to understand something. The Old Testament had the 10 commandments. God, when He gave the 10 commandments, said, “Do this and you’ll live purposely.” Not because they can do it and live, but to challenge them. Only when they’re tried, they'll know that they can't do it. And when they can't do it, they can't live. They'll have to die because the law condemns them as sinners, the law finds faults with them. That's why the law was given. The law was not given to save anybody. The law was given to accuse and condemn. Why? Because then only they'll turn to God for God's mercy. People are only saved by mercy in the Old Covenant also. Only by grace in the Old Covenant, never saved by the law. Not one person has been justified by the law under the Old Covenant or the New Covenant. No man shall be justified by the law. So God says, “Do this and live.” Not because they can live by doing it, nobody can do it. But He says that so that they will find themselves accused and stand as accused before the law and look to the grace of God and the mercy of God. And that is why, side by side with the law, the sacrifices were given. They had the law, the 10 commandments that accused them, then there were sacrifices. There was the law of God in the Ark of the Covenant that accused them. The high priest went there with the blood that was shed for the nation of Israel, for the people of God. The blood of the Lamb that was shed there and sprinkled it on the mercy seat to quiet the voice of accusation that came from the law. That's the picture given there.

So in the Old Testament, there is grace. Old Testament is not just all law, my friend, the Old Testament is full of grace and faith. It is salvation by grace through faith all the way So, the difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament is this, in the Old Testament, you have types and shadows, in the New Testament, you have the real and the substance.

Christianity is the full development of what existed in the Old Covenant. See in the Old Covenant things were not altogether different. The fundamental principles of grace, righteousness, mercy, justice, truth faithfulness are there in the Old Testament also. Read the Old Testament with your eyes wide open, it's there. Don't look at it as a book of law. People received grace there.

Let me read to you some verses to show that the Old Testament is also full of grace. Chapter 6 of Genesis and verse 8 talks about the flood of Noah's days. It says in verse 8, “But Noah have found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” “Found grace,” the older translations say. Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Well, nobody else found grace the eyes of the Lord. Noah found grace.

133rd Psalm and verse 3, I want to read to you about the eternal life being there in the Old Testament. It starts talking about how good and pleasant it is when brethren dwell together. It says in verse 3, it's like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the Lord commanded the blessing and life forevermore. Life was not absent under the Old Covenant. God commanded life. In places where people gathered together worship the Lord, the Lord commanded life. Life was there.

Look at Psalm 32 and look at how David appreciates sins that are forgiven. He says, in verse 1, Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. Actually, Paul quotes this in chapter 4 of Romans when he talks about how David living under the law, got saved by grace.

David didn't write a song saying, “Blessed is the man who has perfectly followed the law and found that he is justified.” No, he says, “Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,” it's the grace of God, “and in whose spirit there is no deceit.”

So, Nehemiah 9:20. This verse is about how, under the Old Covenant, there was the help of the Holy Spirit available to the people of God. Chapter 9, and verse 20, You gave your good Spirit to instruct them, and did not withhold your manna from their mouth and gave them water for their thirst. It's talking about how they had the Spirit of God help them to understand the Word of God. You gave them your good spirit to instruct them, to teach them, all right?

So it's wrong to think that in the Old Testament, there is nothing. Some people think in the Old Testament, they were kept in total ignorance about the glorious future that awaited them, the new heaven and the new earth and glorified body and the glory that we will enter into and all those things. But Hebrews 11:13 and 14, look at what it says. These all died in faith, not having received the promise, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. Look at those people. They died in faith, it seems there is having received the promises. They just had the promises but they died in faith but having seen them afar off, didn't get the proper what was promised, but they've seen the promises happening in the future were persuaded of them, embraced them. That is they believed them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. They confessed they belong to God, they belong to a future age where they will live forever and ever with God. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And the word “country” in the Greek language, they say, signifies homeland or fatherland, something like native place, our homeland, this country.

So when these people say that they seek a country, they are saying they're seeking their father's home, a homeland, the fatherland. They’re going to go live with their father. They're not people that belong to this world.

So the Old Testament is fantastic. It's wrong to say that the Old Testament people didn't have anything. Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, they had salvation by grace through faith, just like we have. They had the help of the Holy Spirit, the power of the Holy Spirit helping them. They had enlightenment about the future age and the glory that is to come and so on. They were able to understand the Word of God through the Holy Spirit's help. They had the knowledge of their sins forgiven. They knew how blessed it is to know that your sins are forgiven.

So the Old Testament is almost like the New Testament, right? If that is so then exactly what is the better thing which God provides for us? If Old Testament looks just like the New Testament, then what is this thing about the better thing that God has provided for us? Let me give you some idea.

First of all, under the New Covenant, now we have a better view of Christ than the Old Testament saints had. We have a better view of Christ. See, they were looking forward to the One that is going to come but we are looking backwards to the One who has come, shown Himself, shown us the Father, lived and worked and did things and died on the cross and rose again and gone back into heaven. We have a better view. They saw Him chiefly through pipes and promises. But we view Him through the work He has accomplished and fulfilled; the work of redemption, right?

Better view. How many of you understand this is a better view? Would you get a better view looking from the Old Testament or from the New Testament? Very clearly from the New Testament because Jesus has come in flesh, lived among us, walked around, did things, taught, died on the cross. We have a better view, my friend.

Secondly, today we have a broader foundation for faith to rest upon. Why do I say that? They look for a Christ to come, who would come and would put away their sins. But we look at a Christ who has come and who has put away our sins. We are living on the basis of the finished work of Christ, our foundation is broad based. We have a different kind of idea when it comes to understanding the finished work of Christ. We understand the length and the breadth and the height and the depth of God's love. We understand a lot more. So I would say we have a broader foundation for faith to rest upon.

Thirdly, and this is very interesting. Thirdly, the book of Galatians gives another insight. It says that the Old Covenant people were like little children. They were like immature little children that did not know much. They were children. They were heirs but did not have much rights because they were children. You don't give rights to children because they don't understand it yet. That's the way he described. Paul describes it. It's very interesting. He says, I mean, the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything. You see, in the wealthy families of old, when a child is born in that family, that child is going to be the heir of everything that they've got, right? He's going to be the owner of everything. But he is not different than the slave that lives in that house it seems. The slave actually wants nothing and he can’t own it. He has no rights. He just does what he is told to do. Slave is a slave. And the child is like a slave even though he's the owner of everything. No different from the slave it seems.

And it says, but he is under the guardians and managers until date set by his father. In the same way, we also when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent for His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who are under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

Looking at the New Covenant Christians he is saying, “You're an heir through God, you're a son. You have the spirit within you crying, calling “Abba! Father!”” He's showing the difference between the Old Testament saints and the New Testament saints. He says the Old Testament saints are like this. He says, “They're like little children. And when little child is there in a home he is no different from a slave. Though he owns everything, he is just like a slave.” What they will do is this, a slaves is in charge of caring for a child. When he gets up, the child is washed, the child is dressed, the child is fed, and then the slave takes him by his hand and takes him to the teacher who will teach him in the school. The slave is responsible for all that. The slave is not responsible for teaching him. That slave is responsible for cleaning him, washing him feeding him, dressing him, and taking him to the teacher. That's exactly what the law has done for us, it says. The Old Testament is like that, he says. What has the Old Testament done? It has brought us to Christ. It has led us to Christ, taken us by our hand and shown us Christ. Without the law, we would never have come to Christ. Without the law, we would have never understood what Christ is all about.

So, he says, “Now we are mature people.” Under the old covenant, they were like minors, they were little children. But now we are mature. That's the third thing. For three under the old covenant, that salvation was limited to one nation. But today God's grace is poured out to the whole world, preaching the gospel to every nation, every creature. And now a wider outpouring of God's grace is available not just to one nation, but to the whole world to every creature. Not confined to one nation anymore, amen?

So that's the difference. Four differences I told you. We have a better view of Christ than the Old Covenant because they had only types and shadows. But we can look through Jesus and understand more. Secondly, there's a broader foundation for our faith to rest upon because we know the finished work of Christ. Thirdly, they were like minors, we’re like people who have reached the age of maturity, that's the way Paul puts it. Fourthly, there it was available for only one nation now it's grace poured out everywhere upon all creature. All right. Finally, let's come to the fourth one.

What is meant by “that they should not be made perfect without us.” This “made perfect” is something that is referring certainly to the perfection at the end. Last few weeks I've been talking about it, right? That we do not reach perfect state right now. We're living in this world, the world nothing is perfect. The world is not perfect. We are not perfect. World is a world of sin. The body is a body of sin. All this has to change. We have to have a new world, new body, get rid of Satan, get rid of sin. Everything has to become new. That is going to happen when Jesus comes, then only perfection will come.

There are those who believe that the entire sanctification is now possible and that's a wrong doctrine I told you. Today, we are forgiven our sins, the guilt of our sin is gone, the punishment of our sin has been put on Jesus. We’re given the power, overseen by the Holy Spirit and by the Word. We’re kept from the pollution of sin with the help of God's Word and the Holy Spirit. The pollution’s like dust settling in. You close the house completely lock it in, seal it, still dust will come and settle. That's how the world is. That's why you cannot be 100% perfect in this world. Somehow the dust comes and settles in, in your thought, somewhere it lodges. Sin comes and lodges by the thought, by deed, by something, by word.

It comes and settles in. So 100% perfection is not for now. So it's talking about perfection that's going to come in the future, all right? They cannot be made perfect without us, it says. So, the question is, why do we have to wait all that time until something that is going to happen in the future until Jesus comes and the perfection comes?

See the Old Testament Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, they were all saved long time ago. They were saved by faith in Christ. They believed in Jesus, saved by grace and faith. Why couldn't they have perfection any sooner than that? Why did they have to wait until the end? Why? Because God took the Jewish people so that through one nation, He can show His love and His laws and His truth and reveal it and then from there take the gospel to the rest of the whole world to every creature. So the work is not over. He finished with that one nation, showed them, then brought Jesus and then He died on the cross. Now the gospel is preached everywhere. Now, Jesus has come and died on the cross. He became sin, so we become the righteousness of God in Him. We are saved. God looks upon us. And when He sees us, He sees perfection of another kind. He does not see me as 100% sinless, perfect, He sees His righteousness covering me, clothing me. I'm clothed with His righteousness. It's a gift of righteousness. It's not that I have done righteousness and I have completely achieved perfection. When He sees me, He accepts me not because I've been so good, because He is good that He has given His righteousness freely to me. This is what Martin Luther understood and got excited around and we got the whole Protestant moment started.

So this is wonderful. Righteousness given by God. So He sees us as perfect in another sense now. Not that we are perfect, but His perfection is given to us so that He can look upon us and we can go to him and so on.

Are we perfect in the sense that we are perfect in every way? No, we are not perfect in every way. We're going to be perfect in the future. That’ll have to wait. Right now He has given us the power to walk by faith and to walk free from sin and He gives us victory day by day as we depend upon Him, as we do the Word, as we go into the Word, meditate upon the Word, practice the Word, and depend on the Holy Spirit. He gives us victory.

Day by day. And when we sin, we confess our sins. And He washes and cleanses us and makes it right. This is how we live now. And we go on like this. And then when we die, our spirit goes to be with the Father. Just like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, all of them are there right now. Our spirit goes and resides with the Father in heaven. And then one day, our spirit and our bodies are going to be joined together. If we are dead, we're going to be raised from the dead, given a new body, an immortal body for living at the time when He comes. We're given a transformed body. And this is going to happen to all of us at the same time, the Old Testament saints, the New Testament saints. It’s like God's program is like that. All of us together will enter into glory and eternity.

See, that's how it comes to an end. That's how the end comes. Because a lot of people say, “Why can't we have the glory now? Why can't we have the perfection now? Why do we have to wait until then?” Well, God has got a program and you are in that program. You are part of that program. Be glad about it. You are one family with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all these people. We're going to be all together as one family with God forever and ever, living together in a glorified body, in a sinless, perfect state, in a world without problems

And that is what the heaven is going to be like. A glorious life with God forevermore. Even the world restored to its glory. That is how the Bible teaches it. That is why it says that they should not be made perfect without us. All Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, everybody's waiting. Why they're waiting? They waited for Jesus to come, they waited for Him to die on the cross, rise again, then send forth the disciples and preach the gospel to every creature for so many centuries. They're waiting and they're waiting in the presence of God until the gospel is preached everywhere and the gentile world comes to the knowledge of Jesus Christ, so that people come to the knowledge of the truth so that God's grace can be shown to everyone, that everyone will be given an opportunity to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. What a wonderful thing and they're waiting. They cannot be made perfect without us. And the Bible speaks about it in so many ways.

You read about it in Genesis chapter 49 verse 10. It says, unto Him shall the gathering of the people be. It’s about this. Matthew chapter 8 verse 11, Jesus spoke these mystical words. He says, I say unto you. That many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. It's going to happen.

And Jesus declared, in John chapter 10 verse 15, and 16, He says, I lay My life for the sheep. He meant the Old Testament saints. Any other sheep I have which are not of this fold, that means He's referring to the New Testament people. He says, them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.

And then in John chapter 11 verse 52, we read, that Christ will gather together in one, the children of God that are scattered abroad, throughout all dispensations of all ages. So this is the great and grand picture that we have of what is going to happen. What is going to happen is this, that God has so arranged the matters in this way. That the complete accomplishment of the promise both of the Old Testament and New Testament believers shall take place together. They shall be made perfect but not without us. We and they shall attain perfection together. That's the way it's going to happen.

So to be made perfect means to really receive the accomplishment of all that is promised enjoy together the complete realization of this better thing. The “better thing” that the book of Hebrews has been talking about throughout. Verse 39 and 40 is all about. He’s saying, “It’s going to happen.”

The complete accomplishment of all that is promised. And there'll be a complete enjoyment of everything together. A complete realization of this “better thing” that has been promised. It's going to happen, he says, amen? Praise God. God bless you.

Think about these things. Rejoice over these things. You and I are part of these things. And we have been blessed to be a part of this great and grand program that God has for all eternity.

The author of the book of Hebrews, is telling the Hebrew Christians in the first century, he says, “They cannot be made perfect without you.” You are so important in God's program. You're part of God's plan. Those people that still stayed as Jewish, Hebrew, in the Hebrew religion, they got stuck there. Instead of progressing into this and going on to the future and eternity, they stopped there with the Jewish religion. They’re just stuck there. They should have gone over to the other side and just progressed with this hope. But they did not make it. But he says, “You are fortunate enough. You are blessed because you are part of this and they will not be…even Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets and saints of God of the Old Testament cannot be made perfect without you. They're all waiting for you to get ready, for you to be prepared. And we’ll all together enter into eternity and glory and live forever with God forevermore.

What a great plan and purpose of God. He says all of these things so that they can be encouraged. Because this is the truth. He wants them to be encouraged. This is how those people gave their lives because they believed in this. They did not care if they died because of their faith. They were sawn in two, did not care. Historians say that Isaiah was cut in two and the whole time he was speaking the words of God, it seems. Did not care about it because he knew that God can give him back his body all fixed and in great shape one day, as a glorified body.

So when you understand these things, when you understand God's great plan for the ages and where you fit in and how you are part of it, all your worry and care leaves you. The burdens leave you. Fear leaves you and you begin to rest in God because you are in God's hands. God has got you in His hands. God has a great plan and purpose for you. God has got wonderful things for you.

Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. That's what Romans chapter 8 and towards the end says. Nothing can separate us. We are in God's hands. So rejoice my friend. Be joyful, be happy.

Even in the midst of trouble, even in the midst of these unusual days that we live in, trust in God, praise God. When the whole world is in turmoil, troubled, worried, walk with confidence in the fact that you are a child of God, you are in God's hand and everything is going to be all right. God cares for you.

Amen. God bless you.

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