Summary: What are some modern day ways that we can fall into the same error as the Hebrews? Also - carving down to the nugget of God’s truth - and - letting the Spirit live out the Law of God in our lives.
How do you sum up a letter like Hebrews? I see two ways that the author takes this chapter to make his final points to a people who were afraid to leave Judaism behind and fully plant their feet in Jesus.
His first point is that they are not really leaving all they knew behind - but they will see its actual fulfillment in their hearts and through their lives. I see this in these verses in a practical outworking of the Law in the life of the Christian.
The second thing is a final encouragement to stay the course - trust in those that are looking out for you - and ultimately, the Lord - that by service, perseverance, and worship - you can have everything you need.
This is a practical section - no longer is the author dealing with the heavy theology and philosophical arguments for the supremacy of Jesus Christ - now he’s encouraging them to live the life.
1 Let brotherly love continue. 2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. 3 Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.
The Ten Commandments can be summed up in just four words: Love God, love others. The second part of that is what we see in verses 1-3. But notice the character of this love for others. We are to show "brotherly love" which is the Greek word Philadelphia. There was a new kind of relationship that these people had with others who shared a faith in Jesus - brothers. This would have been pretty foreign to someone from Israel, now calling someone outside their nation a "brother." And it was to "continue" as if to say that because of the seed planted by the Holy Spirit - they already have this love for others - even gentiles!
Second he says "do not neglect" - which means keep something from slipping out of your mind. Don’t just substitute one kind of exclusive family for another - but also reach out to those who you don’t know. Both Abraham and Lot entertained angels unawares - it doesn’t mean it will happen to you - but you never know who the Lord might put in your path. Ministry can happen when you least expect it. That’s why Paul told us to be prepared to share in season and out (2 Timothy 4:2)
Then he says "remember" those in prison. It means "to recall." Identify with those who were perhaps already arrested or mistreated for this faith in Jesus - it’s a picture of connection - you guys are now connected to this new family - it is a part of you.
Jesus uses the picture of a vine and branches. Paul picks this up to say that we have been grafted into the vine - and that Israel was cut out due to unbelief, but can quickly be grafted back in again.
So then he focuses on two other important aspects of the Law:
4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. 5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." 6 So we can confidently say,
"The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?" (Psalm 118:6)
Just because they came to Christ and have new relationships and a new family doesn’t mean that they can just chuck their wives and husbands - nor does it mean they can just go out and do anything they want with the forgiveness of their sins. God’s character has not changed - and He is in the business of creating people who are more righteous, not less.
It means not letting the physical senses take over - both relationships with others and relationships with the world. The book of the Covenant talked a lot about personal responsibility with money and possessions - and then there is always "do not covet your neighbors wife or your neighbors donkey" (paraphrase of Exodus 20:17).
There was a real possibility that when these people came to Christ out of Judaism, that their families and communities would shun them - so they needed to know that their Lord would never shun them nor leave them but would provide for them.
And if you want an example of those who have gone this route and done okay - consider the elders:
7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.