Tuesday, October 29, 2013


      Thirteen times in the book of Hebrews, the writer of the epistle declares the Lord Jesus Christ and His saving work on our behalf to be "better."  

    "The law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did, by the which we draw nigh unto God" (Hebrews 7:19).

     That which brings us close to God must always be viewed as superior to anything and everything else.  The Lord Jesus alone provides this "better hope," both now and forevermore.  The practical outworking of such grace involves ongoing determinations to believe in the surpassing excellency of Christ's presence, and of His way and His will in our lives.  Strong temptation to believe otherwise continually tempts us, however, and we must expect a "good fight of faith" if our Savior's superiority is to be realized and revealed in our heart and lives (I Timothy 6:12).  Our spiritual enemies offer to us thoughts, attitudes, words, actions, and inactions that challenge the truth of the Lord's "better," even as a young man I know and respect once said, "Satan makes good things seem bad, and bad things seem good."  Or, in terms of our present consideration, the devil tempts us to believe that lesser things are better, and the better thing is lesser.

    Let us suppose, for example, the temptation of discouragement confronts us.  Our flesh may respond with the feeling and inclination that a pity party, as it were, is in order.   The Bible, conversely, offers the joy of Christ as the alternative for our hearts, minds, and bodies.  "Rejoice in the Lord alway, and again, I say, rejoice" (Philippians 4:4).  Which is better, a morose descent into self-focused despair, or a gaze of praise and thanksgiving directed outward and away from ourselves to the Lord Jesus?  The answer is obvious in principle and doctrine.  The outworking practically, however, requires the determination of faith whereby we choose to believe and affirm that the realized presence and way of Christ is better.  It is - He is - but "the good fight" must often be waged if "the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord" is to be known joy infusing reality of the moment.  "Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy" (Psalm 43:4).

    The Lord Jesus is better than everything.  Thus, His person, way, and working in our lives offers to us "a more excellent way" of the love of God in all things (I Corinthians 12:31).  This we must believe because it is true, and because the superiority of Christ realized, affirmed, and followed leads to the glory of our transcendent Lord being revealed in and by us.  Yes, our Lord Jesus is better, and our Heavenly Father privileges us with many opportunities to serve as the shining light of "His excellent greatness" (Psalm 150:2).

"For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.  For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious."
(II Corinthians 3:9-11)

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