Summary: And so we live in Today - a time between Yesterday and Tomorrow. Yesterday when God’s plan of salvation was made known and Tomorrow when all of creation will be re-made complete and whole. We live in Today, between the act of salvation and its completion.
Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ in unity with the Holy Spirit.
“But encourage each other daily, while it is still called Today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception.” Hebrews 3:13 HCSB The author of Hebrews uses the word ‘Today’ in a curious manner in this passage. When would a day not be called ‘today’? Is he simply saying that we should encourage each other in our faith every day? That would just be repetitive as he has already said “Encourage each other daily.” And tomorrow will be called today when it becomes tomorrow. The author quotes from Psalm 95, a song of praise which also reminds the people of Israel of the failure of their forefathers to trust in the Lord. “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” What is meant by the word ‘Today’?
The author is applying the term Today to the time between Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven and His triumphant return. Today is the day of salvation for those whose hearts are not hardened to the call of the Holy Spirit. Yesterday, God sent His Son Jesus Christ into the world to pay the price for our sins. Jesus died on the Christ as the sinless sacrifice so that we can made righteous before our Holy God. Yesterday, Christ rose from the grave to win our victory over sin and death. Yesterday, Christ ascended into heaven to rule over all creation. Yesterday, God made His grace and mercy clear to all who will hear His glorious message of redemption that He does love you and that He wants you to spend eternity with Him in endless joy. Yesterday was the day that God’s plan of salvation was made possible. Tomorrow, Christ will return in glory with power to make all things new. Tomorrow, Christ will right the wrongs and bring the fullness of His justice to a broken world.
And so we live in Today - a time between Yesterday and Tomorrow. Yesterday when God’s plan of salvation was made known and Tomorrow when all of creation will be re-made complete and whole. We live in Today, between the act of salvation and its completion. Today is the time when those who believe in Christ as their salvation anxiously await His return and seek to make known the Good News to everyone. God wants everyone to know Him. God wants everyone to be saved and live for eternity. God does not want anyone to be condemned and so He is patient. When it comes to faith, Today is the day to answer the Lord’s call. Today is the day to listen to the call of the Holy Spirit. Tomorrow may be too late. Tomorrow, Christ will return in glory to gather up His sheep, those who have answered the call of the Holy Spirit and believe in the One and Only Son of the Most High God. Today is the day of your salvation.
God will bring Tomorrow when the time is perfect. And God wants us to live in Today by faith that Tomorrow will come. He wants us to use the time that we have been given Today to seek Him with ever more desire, to worship Him ever more thoroughly, to love Him with the love He has for us. But we can be discouraged while we wait. We can begin to doubt. Today has been a long time. Today has stretched from days to months to years to centuries. And still we wait for Tomorrow, still we wait for Christ’s return.
That long wait for Tomorrow can be discouraging, especially in a day like ours in a culture like ours in which hearts are hardened towards our Lord and King. We are anticipating the fulfillment of God’s promise just as the Hebrew people who wandered in the desert anticipated the fulfillment of God’s promise for them in their version of Today. Yesterday, the Hebrews had seen the wonders of God as He freed them from bondage in Egypt. Tomorrow, they would enter the Promised Land. But in their Today, they wandered in the dry land; they became discouraged and their hearts began to be hardened. When Moses went up on Mount Sinai to hear the voice of God and receive the Ten Commandments, they wondered if he would ever return. They thought that they had been forsaken by God and by Moses. And so they rebelled, forging a golden calf to worship in place of the One true God. In just 40 days, they lost heart and turned away because their leader was not physically present with them. They were discouraged and we also can become discouraged in the physical absence of Jesus Christ. We have waited nearly 2000 years. We can begin to doubt that He will keep His promise to return. We need encouragement to keep the faith. We need encouragement to hold on to the promises of God. The long day of Today can be discouraging, so we need to encourage one another as the author of Hebrews urges us to do. “But encourage each other daily, while it is still called Today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception.”