Our cosmic calling is to be ministers of reconciliation through Christ's cross, serving His worldwide kingdom, and working toward the reign of the Great Shepherd.
Scripture: Hebrews 13:20-25
- Our God is the God of Peace who has taken the initiative to restore us to wholeness (Romans 15; 1 Thessalonians 5).
- The Great Shepherd of the sheep has given us peace with God.
- The covenant with Christ is a renewed covenant, with a new blood type and a new location for the law: written on our hearts (Isaiah 55:1-3).
- All people are either covenant keepers or covenant breakers.
- God establishes and expands one everlasting covenant with Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, etc.
- This one great covenant is explained and expanded on until it is complete when Christ makes full restitution at the cross.
- Through all of history, the only way sinners can be reconciled to God is by faith in Jesus Christ (cf. Isaiah 24:5).
- God has called out a people for Himself to covenant status and privilege in Jesus Christ.
- God’s purpose does not change. By the blood of the covenant God will call a remnant and fulfill His purposes in our time.
- Christ paid our sin debt in His blood according to an eternal agreement with God the Father. Therefore, Christians may rest in the security of God’s unchangeable nature.
- In Christ justice was satisfied, the law was fulfilled, and in Him we are given all we need for life and godliness.
- The nature of Christ’s shalom is that His covenant people enjoy total wholeness and deliverance from guilt and fear.
- By the atoning work of Christ, a legal fact is established: if we know Christ we are declared justified and thus we are free from guilt and fear of punishment (Romans 4:24-5:1).
- How we conceive of God impacts all our relationships. Doctrine is not for intellectual satisfaction; it gives us peace with God.
- If Christ has made atonement for my sin, I do not need to make atonement for my own sin. I am freed from that burden.
- Outside of Christ, people are guilty, and seek atonement by sadomasochistic activity, either punishing themselves or others.
- No matter how much we punish ourselves or others, we cannot atone for our sins.
- Our culture is breaking down because of efforts at self-atonement.
- In our culture, acts of “freedom” and rebellion are actually efforts at self-atonement: e.g., promiscuity, hostility, self-hatred.
- Apart from God, people are looking for someone to bear away their guilt. Self-pity is a self-punishment that ascribes the greater sins to other people. We are concerned about collective injustices done to us. “I’m the victim. It’s God’s fault.”
- All these efforts fail to achieve peace with God. Apart from Christ, people seek deliverance by sin, not from sin.
- The Christian is released from guilt into faith, grace, joy, and hope; we are made free to work and to serve the living God.
- We alter the present and future in terms of God’s Word.
- Leaders can burden people with guilt to better control them.
- The epistles end with a benediction: pronouncements of God’s grace and peace to His people.
- The Great Shepherd of the sheep leads us in His pasture to accomplish His purposes. He works in us all those things that are pleasing in His sight.
- The church is called out by the blood of the covenant. We are God’s mighty army with a cosmic calling to be ministers of reconciliation through the cross. We serve His worldwide kingdom, and work toward the reign of the Great Shepherd.
- How has God accomplished peace for us?
- What does the Peace of God mean for us?
- What is the one way of salvation in God’s eternal covenant?
- How does God’s unchangeable nature impact our security?
- What false forms of atonement does our culture seek after?
- Why should we accept our vocations as holy callings?
- In what ways can we serve Christ this week, accomplishing what is pleasing in His sight?