“God Has Spoken By His Son” (Hebrews 1:1-4)
Listen to the Sermon:
Let me offer a brief orientation to our text since this is the first time, at least in a while, that we’re jumping into the Epistle of Hebrews. So, Hebrews was probably written sometime in the mid 60s AD or so. It’s a unique book in the New Testament canon because we don’t really know who wrote it. Unlike most of the epistles in the New Testament, the author never reveals himself. Although many in church history have suspected that the Apostle Paul, who wrote so many of the other epistles in the New Testament, is also responsible for the Epistle of Hebrews. That’s possible, but it also seems unlikely for a variety of reasons.
Among other options proposed for the mysterious author of Hebrews some have suggested Apollos, who we encounter in the book of Acts, that’s what Martin Luther thought. Others think that Luke may be the author. Others think Barnabas, and still others Silas or Sylvanus may be the author.
In the end we don’t know and it’s probably best to say merely that Hebrews is apostolic. It was almost certainly written by a companion of one of the apostles, and it without a doubt promulgates the apostolic gospel. Beyond that it’s probably best to land where Origin of Alexandria lands in the mid 3rd century AD on this question when he writes, “but who wrote this epistle? In truth God knows.”
Nonetheless, while we don’t know the human author who’s responsible for penning this theologically rich and pastoral sensitive sermon, many scholars actually say that this has more affinities to a sermon than it does a formal epistle. Nonetheless while we don’t know with certainty who wrote it, we do know like every other book of the Scriptures that this is a book with a divine author.
So, with that said, hear now the words of the Lord from Hebrews 1:1-4.
1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our Fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
Hebrews 1:1-4, ESV
Again, this is the word of the Lord. One of the major pastoral and theological concerns of this epistle before us, the book of Hebrews, is the issue of perseverance or endurance in the Christian life. We will hear this theme of perseverance or endurance repeat itself over and over as we work our way through the epistle. You see certainly acknowledged that the original Christian audience, to whom our author is writing in the mid 1st century AD, were faced with the potent persuasion by way of some type of persecution. We don’t know the nature of it but some type of persecution they were undergoing was causing some to renege on their commitment to Jesus Christ.
They were more than likely a Jewish Christian audience, hat is Christians who converted out of a Jewish background. They were undergoing some type of social marginalization, as our author writes. They may have feared something more severe, maybe something like martyrdom, lay on the horizon. Because of that, some among the original Christian readers of this epistle were ready to throw in the towel on Christ and to return to their former lives in Judaism. They were ready to go back to the Old Covenant, the Old Testament system of bloody sacrifices and temple. They had once embraced those systems that, theologically speaking, had been rendered obsolete given the person and the work of Jesus Christ, but systems for whatever reason that wouldn’t have stirred up as many waves as their present commitment to Christ was doing.
So, faced with these persuasions to turn back from Christ, to renege on their commitment to Jesus Christ and to live like Christ really hasn’t accomplished anything, our author presses his readers in all sorts of ways throughout this epistle. He presses them to stay the course, to recognize that the goal of everything the Old Covenant, Old Testament, system of bloody sacrifices for instance look to had all arrived in Jesus’ priestly ministry. So, don’t turn back from Christ, don’t return to shadows and types when the incarnate reality is there to behold by faith.
Not to be sure a few of us, and more likely none of us, have faced pressures to toss aside Christ for the sake of bloody sacrifices. Yet we do regularly face an equal and opposite persuasion to go beyond Christ. Whether it’s because we fear marginalization or ostracization in our world, the world that would seek to render the church irrelevant.
Maybe it’s because we can’t see how the Bible really has anything applicable to say the big questions of our day. Perhaps we have been persuaded in our Christian walk at one time or another to go beyond Christ, to live our lives as if the fullness of revelation in the Old Testament and New Testament that collectively bears witness to the person and work of Jesus Christ and His gospel, offers nothing more than an outmoded ethic that no reasonable or enlightened person could accept. To live and act as if Christ, and in particularly the Word of God where we encounter Jesus Christ, simply offers a sage advice that could be placed alongside any number of texts that promulgate the philosophies of our day.
Friends what both of these approaches to Christ and His Word have in common, the approach that stops short of Christ and the approach that goes beyond Christ, is the belief that Christ is deficient. They share the common assumption that something is lacking in Christ and something is lacking in the fullness of the revelation that testifies to Jesus Christ in Old Testament and New Testament.
Whatever ways we might be persuaded in our lives to set aside Christ and his Word, whatever persuasions we face to capitulate, what we need to hear is exactly what the original Christian readers of Hebrews needed to hear. That is the absolute supremacy of God’s Son and the absolute sufficiency of his Word. It is a Word that reaches its completion, it’s fulfillment and fullness, in the God’s Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
So, our big idea this morning is this, God has spoken definitively in his Son.
In this text were challenged above all else to behold the Son of God by faith. To recognize that Christ, in whatever we face, is worth it really is worth it. That Christ is the Amen to all of the promises of God throughout the Scriptures and to trust that his Word is really sufficient to tackle the big issues that we face in our day and in our lives. In particular we’re challenged to behold the Son of God in three ways in our text, and here’s our outline.
1. Behold the Son as the Completion of Revelation
2. Behold the Son as the Fullness of God’s Glory
3. Behold the Son as Prophet, Priest and King
Behold the Son as the Completion of Revelation
So, first, behold the Son as the completion of revelation. When our passage opens our author offers up a proposition, a proposition that nearly every person among his original readers would have heartily assented to, but a proposition that remains extraordinary, nonetheless. Again, we read in verse one,
1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our Fathers by the prophets, Hebrews 1:1, ESV
Now right off the bat we learned something about the God that we have we worship, the God who calls his church into worship this morning. Namely that we worship a speaking God. A God who voluntarily and intentionally took the initiative, in diverse manners and ways throughout history, to communicate with his people divine truth so that we might know him. While our minds could never in themselves reach into the infinite depths of God and there is no possible way that we could reason that towards God, God gladly and willingly revealed himself in history to conscious subjects like you and me.
When we open up our Bibles, we see this voluntary revelatory act on the part of God unfold from the very beginning of history. In the Garden of Eden, in the book of Genesis, Adam didn’t have to engage in some kind of existential self-reflection about his own self existence or about the God who created him and created the world. God, from the very beginning, met with Adam and Eve in the garden. He spoke with his creatures and he revealed his will for them to walk in.
Then later after Adam and we find that God even speaks to Noah, he speaks to Abraham, he speaks to Moses, to David, and the rest of the prophets who prophesied both before the Exile, during the Exile, and after the Exile. He spoke in various epochs of redemptive history, progressively revealing more of himself and more of his will and in each of these epochs.
He also spoke, as the author of Hebrews tells us, in many ways. To some God spoke through angelic intermediaries, to others he spoke through dreams or visions, and we saw a little of both of that in our recent study of Daniel. As each prophet received revelation from God, well what did they do? They wrote it down, they wrote down what God communicated to preserve the Spirit inspired words of God for God’s people, which we have at disposal for us in the Old Testament Scriptures.
Friends understand that the God who we come before, the God who calls us into worship, is a God who speaks to his church. He spoke to our Fathers through the prophets and he still speaks to us today. Not in the sense of giving us new revelation mind you, or a fresh word from the Lord, but by his Spirit who illuminates the words that are written down and preserved for us in the Scriptures. We don’t look under a rock to find God. We don’t look into ourselves to find God, as an article proposes that I read this week. If you do that, you’re only going to find a god made in your own image, I promise you that.
Instead we look to God’s Word and God’s Word alone to find God and to meet with God and to know God. As remarkable as it is that God would speak, that we worship the speaking God, that God has spoken to us, that God still speaks to us through the Old Testament Scriptures, these words of the prophets that our author alludes to here were still in themselves incomplete.
The words of the prophets themselves looked forward in redemptive history to new revelation, they look forward to a new covenant that would come with covenant documents of their own. They also look forward to the completion of this metanarrative of redemption that began in the book of Genesis.
So our author continues in verse 2 that while God spoke long ago and many times and in many ways in the prophets, in what we now know as the Old Testament Scriptures, in these last days what he spoken to us by his Son, in the person and work of Jesus Christ, in all that Jesus Christ accomplished, we have God’s final word. Friends that completes the words of the prophets in Jesus and in Jesus’s apostles who testify authoritatively to his person and work with the New Testament Scriptures that that complete the Old Testament and finalize God’s revelatory activity for his church.
2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. Hebrews 1:2, ESV
Notice in our passage that God’s revelation in and through his Son is said to take place in these last. So, there’s a conclusive character to this revelation in his Son. Understand that when you encounter this phrase in the New Testament the last days or are similar derivatives of that which we encounter in several places in the New Testament, understand that that’s not a reference to something that still lies in our future.
Perhaps that’s what we think about when we think, or we read of the last days. Yet throughout the New Testament the shared understanding amongst the apostles is that the days in which we live, the days between Christ’s first coming and the days between his second coming, between these two poles are understood to be the last days. Wer ae in these last days right now, as much as Calvin was, as much as Augustine was, and as much as the apostles were.
As one scholar put it, “these last days isn’t a commentary on the length of time that remains until Christ comes again as much as it’s a commentary on the quality of time in which we live.” The last day signals that there’s no more redemptive work required until Christ comes again to make all things new and nothing else redemptively speaking that needs to happen before Jesus comes again and the curtain closes on the grand finale of redemptive history.
That has implications for how we understand the sufficiency of revelation, the sufficiency of the Scriptures. Understand that because God has already spoken in these last days by his Son, there’s no new revelation or word from the Lord that we should expect beyond the Scriptures, beyond the words of the prophets and the words of the Son. The Old Testament and the New Testament leave nothing unsaid that’s left to be said until Jesus comes again on the clouds and brings us home.
Divine revelation has been completed in and through Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and it’s to that revelation, the fullness of that revelation Old Testament and New Testament, that we as the people of God are called to look, to know God and to hear God’s voice speak authoritatively for his church. So, don’t, as maybe the original readers of Hebrews were tempted to do, don’t stop short of the fullness of that revelation but also don’t go beyond that revelation.
I’m going to circle back around to this point a little bit later, especially when we unpack a little application and what we’re supposed to take away from this text. Before we do that and consider our next point, there are two theological points that we should also bear in mind on this topic of divine revelation. Understand this is a theologically rich passage and so we’re getting a little bit theologically dense, so just bear with me because these are important thing, nonetheless.
The first is this, in the New Testament Scriptures, again we have the final complete and decisive word that God spoke, but that doesn’t mean that the words of the prophets that spoken many times or in many ways are of less or subsidiary value in comparison to the New Testament. After all, all Scripture, as Paul tells us, is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in all righteousness.
All Scripture, friends, has the same source. All Scripture is equally valuable to equip the church for lives of godliness and holiness. Our author’s point here isn’t that that the words spoken to us by his Son obliterates the words that were spoken by the prophets. Instead his point is that the words spoken to us by the Son completes and fulfills the words spoken by the prophets.
Now there is discontinuity also in terms of the Son’s ministry being so much more superior to the ministry of the prophets, and we’ll get to that in the next point. Importantly there’s also an indispensable continuity between Old Testament and New Testament. Together as the Word of God they unfold one grand story of redemption. There’s also continuity in the people of God right; the Fathers to whom God spoke through the prophets and the Old Testament are called, in this text, our Fathers. We are saved in the same way that they were, and they were saved in the same way that we are, through faith in Jesus Christ as God’s Messiah.
There may be two Testaments friends, but there’s one unified story of redemption, there may be Jew and Gentile, but in Christ we have become one. There may be two different agents of revelation, the prophets of God and the Son of God, but there is one God who speaks in and through the Scriptures. So that’s the first theological point that is to bear in mind.
The second is this; even though God spoke in these last days through his Son, which again corresponds to the New Testament Scriptures, that doesn’t mean that the Son of God was in any way absent in the Old Testament. Reformed theologian, Michael Horton, reminds us that, “In every external work of the Godhead, the Father speaks in the Son, and by the perfecting agency of the Spirit.”
Remember a few weeks ago that Pastor Jacob reminded us that every external work of the Godhead is both undivided and common. Well the same is true in terms of God’s revelatory activity, whenever it took takes place, the Father, Son, and Spirit do not exist apart from one another and neither do they work apart from one another. In 1 Peter 3:18-20, I’ll be at a text that elicited a fair amount of debate, we learned that even in the days of Noah, many years before Jesus Christ incarnate ministry on earth, Christ actually preached in the Spirit through Noah. U
Unlike the revelation of the Son in these last days, this was still revelation mediated through a prophet, but the eternal Son of God was nonetheless present throughout God’s revelatory activity throughout the Old Testament. So that’s the second, somewhat dense but important, theological point to keep in mind. In all of this, in both of these theological points and also in the text itself, lies an important expectation for us to heed an exhortation that’s summarized so saliently for us later in the Epistle to the Hebrews, where in Hebrews 12:25 our author exhorts,
25 See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. Hebrews 12:25, ESV
Friends, as you interact with God’s Word in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, don’t spurn Jesus Christ by failing to trust him and him alone as the solution to our sin problem, a sin problem that runs the gamut of the story of redemption. Don’t spurn Jesus Christ by treating him, or appraising him, as anything less than the way, the truth, and the life. Don’t spurn Jesus Christ by looking beyond his Word for answers to the big questions of life. Look to the Son and to his Word as the climax, the completion, and the fulfillment of God’s revelation.
Behold the Son as the Fullness of God’s Glory
As we come to our next point, our second point, we learn why this revelation in and through the Son is the fullness and the completion of God’s revelation. That is because the Son who speaks is also himself the fullness of the glory of God. So, second point, behold the Son as the fullness of the glory of God. Now if we were to study this passage in a classroom setting, which might be fruitful to do at some point, and maybe even get into the Greek of this introductory four verses a little bit, we’d be able to marvel at a few things.
One we’d be able to marvel at just how intricately structured these four verses are, how well-written they are. You know Hebrews is generally said to have the best Greek in the New Testament, and that’s the case especially in these first four verses. We’d also be able to see even more how theologically dense and rich these first four verses are, there’s so much that’s packed theologically speaking into these first four verses.
One of the structural features that we would also notice if we were to unpack this passage in a classroom the setting is that this entire passage, structurally speaking, drives us towards the center, it drives us towards the end of verse 2 and the beginning of verse 3. There our author takes us not to the climax of revelation in the Son, nor to the work of Christ’s redemption, as important as those topics really are and we’ll get to them, but he takes us into the mystery of the inner life of God.
Brothers and sisters this is why the revelation in the Son is the completion and the fullness of the revelation spoken by the prophets, because in the Son of God we learn what is the fullness of the glory of God. He is, as our text tells us in verse 3, the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.
Now in helping us to think of this divine Son relation, our author uses two metaphors from nature. The first is of the radiance of light and its source. Now as theologians who unpack this metaphor note, while you can distinguish the light from its source, whatever lights you’re talking about, you can’t separate the two.
If for instance I were to shine a flashlight at you right now, you could distinguish between the rays of the light that are shining and the flashlight itself. Yet as long as the flashlight is on and it’s working properly, you couldn’t really separate the two, you couldn’t really separate the source from the light. So, it goes with the Father and the Son. The Father and the Son remain, as our confession says, two distinct persons, but they share in the same essence and the same nature.
The second image of our text is that of an imprint. If you think of the imprint of a face on a coin, which mirrors the stamp when it’s pressed down upon a piece of metal thus leaving an exact representation on the face of the coin. Well just as you can distinguish between the two, the stamp that presses down on the piece of metal and leaves an imprint and the coined imprint on the coin itself, they nonetheless share the same exact imprint. So, it goes with the Father and the Son.
Now of course as Calvin reminds us, any time you take metaphors from nature and you apply them to the Father-Son relationship, you can’t assume the two are absolutely identical in nearly every way. Any metaphor you used to describe the inner life of God, especially a metaphor from nature, is going to break down eventually if you press it beyond its original intent. The same goes here.
While that remains true, and it’s important to qualify that the doctrinal point our author is making is nonetheless abundantly clear. That is that the Son of God is no less than the Father either in substance or in glory. Although each person in the Godhead can be distinguished, after all the Father is not the Son and the Son is not the Father, and the Father, Son, and Spirit remain separate persons, nonetheless together they share in the same essence, the same nature, and the same glory.
Now theologically the church has confessed throughout history, based of course on the Scriptures, that when we read about the Father begetting the Son, you know we read that kind of language elsewhere in Scripture or we read in the case of our text that the Son is the light or from the source of light of the Father, that the Scriptures are teaching in all of those different metaphors a doctrine known as eternal generation.
Eternal generation and this doctrine teach us, to paraphrase one theologian, that in the infinite depths of God’s triune life the Father, who is life in himself, has granted somehow the Son to have life in himself. Both Father and Son are again completely equal in being, and contrary to the early church heretic Arias, there was never a time when the Son was not.
Nonetheless from eternity past, before the foundations of the earth, the Son, who was equal in power and glory with the Father, has his Sonship eternally from the Father. Yet never apart from the Father. Now if all this sounds somewhat mysterious and challenging to grasp and conceptualize, well there’s a simple explanation for it; it is. God is the incomprehensible one and although he graciously gives us revelatory glimpses into the infinite depths of his divine life, we do not, and we cannot know God exhaustively.
We nonetheless confess what’s revealed to us, and actually at the end of today’s sermon we’re going to do just that by confessing the Nicene Creed together. There’s much in that creed, which we confess often during the Lord’s Supper, that reflects and mirrors what we find in this text. When we get to our confession of that creed at the end of our sermon, you’ll hear specific language that reflects this incredible doctrine of eternal generation, specifically in a phrase in the Nicene Creed, “the only begotten Son of God, begotten of his Father before all worlds. God of God, light of light, very god of very God. Begotten not made, being of one substance with the Father.”
All of those rich theological statements that we find reflected in the Nicene Creed reflect what we find in this text, the inner life of God. These glorious realities that God gives us gracious revelatory glimpses into so that we can know that the one who speaks to us in his word is in fact God himself.
Now when we understand the nature of the Son of God in this way, it comes as no surprise why the author of Hebrews continues in our text by predicating or attaching to the Son of God God’s works of creation and God’s works of providence. First, we learn in in Hebrews 1, the end of verse 2, that through the Son God created the world. The apostle Paul reflects the same kind of thing in Colossians where he writes,
16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
Colossians 1:16, ESV
Just as we noted a few minutes ago, every external work of the Godhead involves all three persons in that work, so to in creation. Then we learned that God’s works of providence also belong to the Son. He upholds the universe, our author tells us, by the word of his power or by his powerful word. The words of Colossians 3, again he’s before all things and in him in Jesus Christ all things hold together.
All things friends are sustained and governed and directed towards a particular ordained end according to the eternal decrees of God in and through the Son of God. New Testament scholar F.F. Bruce writes, Jesus upholds the universe not like Atlas supporting a dead weight on his shoulders, but as one who carries all things forward on their appointed course.”
Friends, all of these remarkable Christological realities that plunge us, in this text, into the inner life of God’s triune lie and that they move us then outward into the external works of God in creation of providence. They explain for us why the Son of God is so much better than the prophets and why the revelation revealed in and through the Son is more complete and fuller and more definitive. It’s because in the Son of God we have God himself. In Jesus Christ we look upon the face of God through faith and faith alone. In the work of this perfect sinless spotless Son of God a victory was won for us and for our salvation, that would not have been possible otherwise.
This week I was reminded of a particular story from World War Two history and let me explain. On August 15, 1945, so this is the very end of the Pacific Theatre in World War Two, the Emperor of Japan, Emperor Hirohito, did two things that were unprecedented in Japanese history and culture. first as I understand it in the Japanese Shinto religious tradition, the Emperor of Japan had been considered for centuries a divine figure, a divine like monarch.
One of the implications of this national theology of Japan at the time was that the Emperor’s voice was rarely, if ever heard in a public setting. It was too transcendent to be heard by the masses in public. In fact, before August 15, 1945 the public had never heard the Emperor’s voice over the radio waves. On that day the Emperor, a person who believed himself to be divine and was believed by the masses to be divine, broke that precedent and he addressed the nation of Japan himself not mediated through couriers or servants, but himself, over the radio waves.
Here’s where he did the second thing that was unprecedented in Japanese history and culture. The message that this divine monarch communicated wasn’t what one might expect to hear from a supposed god, because it was a message of unconditional surrender. It was a call to the people of Japan to endure the unendurable and to lay down arms. When this purported divine monarch person who is considered transcendent above all peoples in Japan spoke, he issued a message of defeat.
Friends, when our Lord Jesus the eternal Son of God in human flesh, spoke in these last days to the people of God, he issued not a message of defeat not a calling for his people to endure the unendurable but the message of victory. A message that through his person redemption has been accomplished and the forces of sin, death, and the devil have been vanquished. He did this by becoming for us the perfect mediator, the perfect prophet, priest, and king.
Behold the Son as Prophet, Priest and King
This leads us tour in the final point where we read third that we should behold the Son as prophet, priest, and king. So, what we learned this passage at revelation reaches its climax, it reaches culmination in the Son of God, the one who eternally proceeds from the Father. We also learn that in his work of redemption, the Son is for us and for our salvation the perfect mediator, the perfect prophet, priest, and king.
Now you may know then the Old Testament these were three offices that God had set apart for his Old Testament church for Israel. There were prophets in the Old Testament people like Moses and Elijah and Isaiah who were called to speak the truth of God’s will. They were vested with the authority of God himself to the people of God. They spoke God’s voice, “thus saith the Lord”, they often said.
Then there were priests who were called offer sacrifices on behalf of God’s people to God to assuage God’s wrath. They were to offer sacrifices of thanksgiving unto God. There were kings who, subject to the Lord, ruled and governed God’s people according to the Law. They defended the church the Old Testament church from all of her enemies near and far.
When we come to the New Testament, we learn throughout the New Testament that Jesus Christ the Son of God occupies perfectly these three offices. First according to his prophetic ministry, we learn in the New Testament and in this text that Jesus is the prophet to whom all of the prophets looked. A prophet like Moses, but the one who was better than Moses. A prophet who perfectly represents the Lord in his person and all of his work, because he is again by nature the radiance of God’s glory and the exact imprint of his nature both before and after his incarnation.
As on scholar say says he, “quote exercised his prophetic office in a particular way, by even causing the origination of Scripture.” In both word and deed, friends, our Lord Jesus Christ perfectly and authoritatively reveals to us in the Scriptures God’s will for the church.
Second then as it pertains to his priestly ministry, Jesus is the great high priest. In the words of our author here in verse three, “who made purification for sin”. He offered something better than the blood of bulls and goats that the original readers were tempted to return to. He offered a better sacrifice for sin on behalf of God’s elect, in the words of our text, after he made purification for sin.
What did he do? He then sat down. Well the Levitical priesthood of the Old Covenant, the Old Testament, stood daily. Our author will tell us this later in Hebrews 10, that the priests stood daily to offer sacrifices in the tabernacle and temple. This sort of endless cycle on repeat every single day and year.
We learned that Jesus is the great high priest who offered a single sacrifice for sin and then sat down, indicating completion and perfection. From that high heavenly position our Lord Jesus also intercedes for his church. In the words of our catechism, “he makes continual intercession for us, praying for us in the heavenly places as our great high priest.”
Then finally, as it relates to his kingly office, Jesus is the one who rules, protects, and governs his church. In one sense Jesus has always been king by virtue of being the Son, by virtue of sharing in the divine being. Or who this law says he possesses from eternity royal power over all creation that belongs to God. Ever since creation, ever since there were believers on the face of the earth, the Son has exercised his rule as king. Then it is in incarnation Jesus was revealed to the world as king, a king before whom every knee in heaven and earth and below the earth should bow. He is a king who now reigns into heavenly places and rules and defends us.
Especially when we think things are chaotic and out of order on this earth, friends, we have a God who is in control, ruling and reigning through King Jesus. This is the one we behold, the Son of God, Jesus Christ who for us and for our salvation is the perfect mediator, the perfect prophet, the perfect priest, and the perfect king.
So what should we take away from this passage then? Well three applications.
1. Do not look for further divine revelation. Providentially Pastor Jacob talked about this in last week’s sermon when we studied 1st Corinthians 12. The same theological point is also addressed in our passage in Hebrews 1:2, because God has spoken in these last days through his Son there is no further revelation. Through his apostles we have been given the New Testament Scriptures to complete the Old Testament revelation and to close out God’s revelation for his church. Therefore, there is no more word from the Lord that we could receive outside of this book. We no longer have apostles, or prophets, or the spiritual gifts associated with those offices because God has spoken conclusively, definitively, in these last days through his Son.
Now of course that doesn’t mean that the Spirit is no longer at work. Of course, the Spirit regularly illuminates the Scriptures to us every time we read and study them and encounter Jesus in them. He draws out fresh application for us in whatever life situations we face and drives us to a conviction of our sin in whatever sins we might be entangled. The spirit continually uses the ministry of the word to draw people near and far to Jesus Christ. Friends don’t mistake that for me saying the Spirit is not at work because the Spirit of our Lord is very much at work, just not in the sense of speaking fresh revelation.
Only the Bible is the final authority for us. Sufficient to guide us and to lead us in all righteousness and knowledge of the Lord. So that’s our first point, look to the Scriptures friends, don’t look beyond them.
2. The second is really an implication of the first point that is, the Scriptures are authoritative and enduringly relevant to address the pressing issues of the day. One commentator in my studies this week made the very simple, but very important, observation that if God wrote this book, if he’s responsible for every word in this, then the Bible is both enduringly relevant and supremely authoritative.
Friends the Scriptures are relevant to guide us as we navigate the most pressing issues of the day, whatever they are whatever they are. The Scriptures are authoritative to speak into those very same issues. If these are the words of the eternal, the timeless, the omniscient, and the only wise God, how why would we expect anything other than that when we come to the Word of God?
Now that doesn’t mean they give us step-by-step instructions we navigate Coronavirus or navigate racial tensions in our day. Yet they do address the fundamental reason for brokenness, and they hold before our eyes Jesus Christ and his kingdom as the only hope for the sin and misery we face this side of glory.
So, yes read up on other issues of the day, other solutions to those issues, but friends don’t toss aside the Bible as if it’s irrelevant or non-authoritative to address the most pressing issues of the day. It very much is.
3. Marvel at the Lord who speaks. Anselm of Canterbury, about a thousand years ago, once famously remarked, “we believe that thou art a being than which nothing greater can be conceived.” Friends while we can never know exhaustively the infinite God, we’ve nonetheless been given true revelation of God through His Word. So as much as we come to this word, which is authoritative and relevant, to direct us this way and that. As much as we come to this word to learn how to navigate this situation or that or to know what we should believe about this situation or that come. Regularly to the word, as well, to simply marvel at the God who speaks to us in his word and to know God and his Son who stands as the only mediator between God and his elect.
Let me pray. Lord God we thank you for your word. We pray that we would love your word more and more as we go about our lives and as you sanctify us by word and Spirit. Help us to be captivated more and more with who you are as we read your word and encounter you in your word. Help us to dive deeper into your word every single day we live, move, and have our being. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.