17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.
18 Pray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably. 19 But I especially urge you to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner.
20 Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
22 And I appeal to you, brethren, bear with the word of exhortation, for I have written to you in few words. 23 Know that our brother Timothy has been set free, with whom I shall see you if he comes shortly.
24 Greet all those who rule over you, and all the saints. Those from Italy greet you.
25 Grace be with you all. Amen.
My pastor explained how he handles counseling people. When he gives advice to someone, or to a married couple, and then they call to make another appointment, he asks if they did what he told them at the last meeting. If the answer is no, then no additional appointment is scheduled. If you aren’t going to follow the advice that you asked for, why would you come back asking for more advice? It is time-consuming for the advisor and unprofitable for the advisee.
If you submit to the spiritual leadership at your local church, then consider what that should look like. Are they calling you to press into the Word and allow it to refine you? Are they encouraging you to take growth steps in your faith journey by serving or leading? Do they talk about the value of giving financially? Do you keep saying “no” to those things? Do you seem stuck and wonder why? Do you see where I’m going with all of these questions?
If you aren’t willing to take the basic steps that your church leadership is calling you to take, consider that they are doing so for your benefit. They want you to experience the fullness of life as a Christ-follower. If you aren’t experiencing fullness and you also aren’t taking growth steps that they have encouraged, then the math is pretty clear. No condemnation – just get started!
As we close this devotional journey through the book of Hebrews, remember that we have looked at two covenants. We’ve seen clearly that Jesus has fulfilled the Old Covenant and established a New Covenant that is better, and based on better promises. I love that verse 20 of today’s passage refers to the blood of the everlasting covenant. The Old Covenant had an end. The New Covenant is everlasting. We can’t wear it out, and God will never revoke it. From now through eternity, He will remember our sins and lawless deeds no more. Notice also that it is through the blood of this everlasting covenant that He makes us complete for every good work.
This New Covenant is our new place of permanence. Unmerited favor, forever. Members of the household of God through all eternity. Let’s not trade those things for religious rules. Brave grace, and rest in the everlasting covenant in Christ Jesus, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.