Monday, March 28, 2016

For Lunch: A Hebrews Sandwich, with extra Let Us

Recently, I went on my 3rd Bible Intensive Retreat and our text was Hebrews 10. As we were noting the imperatives of this chapter we came across the 'Let us' in v.22-24.  We concluded that while these aren't technically 'imperatives' (they are subjunctives) they are functioning as commands for Believers. It's not that the command is 'softened' (like, 'ah it doesn't matter if you do this or not'), rather the way it is being said is one of encouragement as the author includes himself in the exhortation.

One brother gave the illustration of a marriage class he took one time where the instructor said, in terms of how men and women communicate with each other, that men are like buffaloes and women are like butterflies. I must admit, that was something we all laughed at pretty hard. But, I think there is a way we can try and 'buffalo' commands. "Hey you! Do this, now!" Admittedl, we do sometimes need things said like that don't we? We can be pretty hard headed. However, the author of Hebrews doesn't speak that way does he? While the warnings of Hebrews are very sobering, these 'subjunctive commands' are a gentle (but no less forceful) exhortation to Believers to continue in the faith. It's comforting I think that the author of Hebrews includes himself in these exhortations to other Believers. In my mind it sort of reaffirms the 'community' aspect of our Christian walk. We are in this together.

So, here's the extra 'Let Us' found in Hebrews:

HEBREWS 4:1 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. 
HEBREWS 4:11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. 
HEBREWS 4:14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 
HEBREWS 4:16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. 
HEBREWS 6:1  Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 
HEBREWS 10:22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 
HEBREWS 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 
HEBREWS 10:24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 
HEBREWS 12:1  Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 
HEBREWS 12:28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 
HEBREWS 13:13 Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. 
HEBREWS 13:15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.

Bonus lettuce! Thanks to Logos, I was able to search for the 'subjunctive mood' in the book of Hebrews and found that the author also uses the 'let us' in the following verses, although we can't pick it up as easy in English. Main point: Notice how the author includes himself in these exhortations.

HEBREWS 2:1 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 
HEBREWS 3:6 but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope. 
HEBREWS 3:14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. 
HEBREWS 6:18  so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.
I hope as you get just a small taste of the book of Hebrews that you find these exhortations beneficial to your soul. I think not only can we take away what these exhortations tell us to do, but we can also take away how they are said. In other words, there are times to be a 'buffalo' (funny, i know, but it communicates doesn't it!?). And there are also times to be generous with the Let Us.

I hope this psot encourages you to take up Hebrews as a whole and feast on it, lettuce and all.

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