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“O, Blessed Scalpel!” (A Look at Hebrews 4:12)

I am well acquainted with the surgeon’s primary instrument, the scalpel. I’ve gone through two hernia surgeries, the removal of a kidney tumor that was supposed to be cancerous but wasn’t, achilles surgery, and heart surgery. By God’s grace I’m still around and kicking. [I also get an injection into my right eye every three months to slow down my macular degeneration, but that’s another story.]

I’m incredibly grateful for those surgeons who have operated on me. But there is Another Surgeon, a divine One, whose cutting is critical in my life. And His instrument is God’s Word, the Bible.  We read in Hebrews 4 –

I’m aware that the imagery here is of a “double-edged sword.” And a sword’s normal purpose isn’t to be used for surgery, but for execution! However its purpose here isn’t to end one’s life, but to penetrate one’s life, one’s heart. This sword’s goal, of course, is to “judge the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” And that’s why I say, “O, Blessed Scalpel!”

Today’s Challenge: Where in your heart is required some serious spiritual surgery? Expose that area to God the Holy Spirit whose primary instrument in changing us is the Word of God!

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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The Forgotten Third: Developing a Relationship with God the Holy Spirit — What Do We Learn from HEBREWS about the Holy Spirit?

There are two ways of approaching the doctrines of the Scriptures. One way is to collect all the data throughout the Bible into logical categories (called “systematic theology”). The other way is to work through individual books of the Bible, collecting the data on a particular subject (this is called “biblical theology,” although the term is used in other ways in less than conservative circles). When we ask, what does the epistle of Hebrews say about God the Holy Spirit, we are taking a kind of biblical theology approach. Our conviction in these posts is that, while some believers overemphasize the Spirit, others overlook Him. We want to do neither, but long to have a balanced view of the Third Member of the Trinity.

What do we find when we unit-read (read straight through at one sitting) the epistle of Hebrews? We find that there is precious little reference to the Spirit of God in Titus! But here’s the one reference that we do have —

Ch. 2 – We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2 For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3 how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

Ch. 3- 7”So, as the Holy Spirit says …”

Ch. 4 – veiled ref. to the Spirit: 12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Ch. 6- 4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen[c] away, to be brought back to repentance.

Ch. 9 – 6 When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. 7 But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. 8 The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still functioning. 9 This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. 10 They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings—external regulations applying until the time of the new order.

13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death,[c] so that we may serve the living God!

Ch. 10 – 15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:

29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[d] and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”[e] 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

What do we learn about God the Holy Spirit from the book of Hebrews?

1. We see that the Holy Spirit confirmed the gospel of salvation “by signs, wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will” (2:4).

2. We see that the Holy Spirit speaks (3:7; 10:15 – He “testifies”).

3. A primary passage about the word of God being alive and active implies His skill in spiritual surgery, for “nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight” (a possible reference to the Spirit?, 4:12-13).

4. We read of the sadness of those who turn away from the gospel, those who have “once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age . . .” (6:4-6).

5. In referring to the Old Testament rules for the high priest, we read: “The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed . . .” (9:8).

6. We see that it was “through the eternal Spirit [that Christ] offered himself unblemished to God . . .” (9:14).

7. The Spirit of grace can be “insulted”, we read in 10:29).

A lot about the Spirit in the book of Hebrews. Which aspect above grabs you today?

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2019 in The Holy Spirit

 

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Medical Update

Friends:

This past Monday (Aug. 24th) I had two stents implanted in my arteries (one was a bit complicated and took over two hours) and will have a third implanted in a few weeks.  I will then have my mitral valve repaired (probably robotically) this summer in Atlanta.  I deeply appreciate your prayers — if you prayed for me.

If you’ve not had an opportunity to watch my three-part video of my interview on Canadian television, please do so at your convenience.  The videos are found at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXenx2oT-Z0

The first of three can be accessed by clicking on the picture below (which shows the host Jim Cantelon of “100 Huntley Street” and myself.  The other two videos are available on the YouTube site on the right hand side.  100 HUNTLEY STREET 001

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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