So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
Almost a year ago, my articles started covering the book of Hebrews verse-by-verse. Today we start studying the final chapter of the book, examining the divinely inspired author’s final comments to his readers.
“Let brotherly love continue” (Hebrews 13:1). Philadelphia is called the city of brotherly love. It’s appropriately named, because philadelphia is the Greek word for “brotherly love” which the Hebrew author used here. God inspired him to use it here because he wants Christians – brothers and sisters in God’s family – to continue to love each other.
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Hebrews 13:2). Abraham was initially unaware that his visitors were actually the Lord and two angels (Genesis 18). Peter and Paul both commanded Christians to show hospitality to each other (1 Peter 4:9; Romans 12:13). Paul went on to command Christians to do good to everyone at every opportunity (Galatians 6:10). Friends, we should always take every opportunity available to us to help those who are in need, even when we do not know them. It is one of the best ways to let our light shine (Matthew 5:16).
“Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body” (Hebrews 13:3). The reason Hebrews was written was because many Christians of Hebrew nationality were being persecuted by their fellow Jesus and needed encouragement. Earlier, the Hebrew author had brought out how some of his readers had shown “compassion on those in prison” (Hebrews 10:34). Now, he continues to encourage them to help those of their number who were in prison and were suffering mistreatment. Jesus commanded something similar (Matthew 25:31-46). Paul had defined the church of Christ which we read about in the New Testament as Christ’s body (Ephesians 1:22-23). All who are baptized into Christ’s body are Christians, those saved by Jesus (1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 5:23). All Christians should remember those among them who are hurting, and do their best to encourage and support them.
“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous” (Hebrews 13:4). Our society increasingly embraces that which God considers to be sexually immoral: adultery, homosexuality, and sexual relationships outside of marriage. This is sad because God created sex and the joys that can be found within it. He wants his creation to enjoy it, only within the boundaries of monogamous marriage between a husband and a wife (Proverbs 5:15-19; Song of Solomon; 1 Corinthians 7:1-5). Unfortunately, marriage itself is looked down upon in our culture today instead of being upheld in honor as God wishes. The increasing divorce and adultery rate show how many in our culture view marriage in a dishonorable way, lacking love, patience, self-sacrifice, and commitment. Christians must be different from the rest of the world. May all who wear the name of Christ who are married honor God through marriages that would please him!
“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” (Hebrews 13:5). Money itself is not evil, but God still inspired Paul to warn us about the love of money. “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (1 Timothy 6:9-10). Jesus likewise warned about how the love of money can take us away from heaven. It can cause the Christian to not bear fruit due to being “choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life” (Luke 8:14). God would rather have us be content with what we have, regardless of its quantity (cf. Philippians 4:11-13). Quoting the Lord’s promise to always be with Joshua (Joshua 1:5), the Hebrew writer applies it to Christians also.
This is why we can “confidently” join with Hebrews in quoting Psalm 118:6: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” Friends, this is one of the greatest blessing Christianity offers us. God is our constant source of aid and comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). He will always be with us, and what a wonderful relief that is!