In the closing chapter the writer of Hebrews addresses influences Christians should be aware of and avoid: Sex, Power, and Money. Taking a quick glance at CNN this morning I saw headlines about what is in this year for staying sexy (apparently butts are out and faces are in), how to gain power over others in the business world, and multiple articles about people’s obsession over money (favorite headline: Drag queens, fake beards and chocolates: Notable diamond heists).
You will sacrifice for what you love. We don’t have to look too far to see how quickly we sacrifice for sex, power, and money. Women put themselves through horrible pain to attract guys. Guys spend tons of money to get women into bed with them. People sacrifice friendships and partnerships to gain power over others, not to mention the moral sacrifices that are often made to gain power. Parents are absent from their kids lives because they work endless hours at their jobs to support the level of living they desire to keep up. Hebrews response to this is that God has said that he will never leave us or forsake us so quit searching for security in all the wrong places.
We’ve seen a moral decline in our country but things weren’t any better in the early centuries. Though they may not have been bombarded by it like we are today in our media, advertisements, and the rest of culture, sex was rampant in the Roman Empire. Sex has been dumbed down to a physical action that is following the natural instincts embedded in us. We ignore the emotional aspects of sex. It is the greatest level of intimacy you can share with someone and there will be a connection with that person that is hard to let go of. As a 29-year-old virgin I’ve found that our culture finds me a bit taboo and even a bit unrealistic. I’ve heard all kinds of comments from women in my dating life because I’ve found that this is something I need to be upfront about since it is so expected in our society. Sadly we’ve dumbed abstinence down to a “rule in an old book” (an accusation I often hear). Here’s my take on my virginity based on this passage. Sex is the greatest level of intimacy I can share with someone and that emotional and very deep connection is a gift that I want to give my wife. The response I typically get is that my wife most likely hasn’t done that for me but a gift isn’t a gift if something is expected in return. Forgive as Christ has forgiven is where I sit on this. All in all, we need to reclaim sexuality from our culture.
“Keep on loving each other as Brothers and Sister.” Hebrews calls us to be the great cloud of witnesses to one another as well. We have received a Kingdom that cannot be shaken! We are going to mess up. We are going to fight from time to time. Leaving the community of believers is not an option though. We have been brought into the body of Christ, the Family of God, and Family sticks together. Love as Brothers and Sisters. All things should be done in community together. At the very foundation of who we are as a Body is Christ. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We are not a people waiting for tomorrow to come. We live in the reality of today knowing Christ.
The Hebrew writer also mentions a number of times to “remember your leaders” and uses words like “obey” and “submit” in when talking about our relationship with them. In a lot of our churches we have become more so democratic in our relation to our church leaders. We don’t take these positions as seriously as we should. It isn’t that leaders should walk around with heads high in their authority. They are still to be servant leaders in the image of Christ but they are our leaders nonetheless, put there by God, and accountable to God. Submission and obedience are hard things to do in a culture that constantly pushes you to desire power and authority.
I want to end our time in Hebrews with the prayer in 20-21,
Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.