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Bible Pathways 12/13/2003

December 13

Read Hebrews 5 -- 7

In Today's Reading:

Christ, the High Priest; appeal to believe; priestly order of Melchizedek; Aaronic priesthood inferior to Christ's priesthood

How thankful we are that mercy is an attribute of God. It is one of our greatest daily needs. Mercy is an expression of His willingness to forgive sinners and deliver them from eternal hell. Mercy involves love as well as a practical demonstration of compassion.

Because God is also holy, He must enforce the penalty for sin, and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). In the Old Testament, an innocent, sinless lamb took the place of an Israelite and was slain in his place for his sin. The devout Jew was continually reminded that it is the blood that makes an atonement for the soul (Leviticus 17:11). But, the need for numerous sacrifices ceased when Jesus, the innocent, sinless Son of God, died on the cross for our sins and became the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29).

He became the Author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him (Hebrews 5:9). By His own blood He entered in once into the Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. . . . How much more shall the blood of Christ, Who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot (defect) to God, purge (cleanse) your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (9:12-14).

Since we so often fail to be all that we should be and deserve the judgment of God, it is His mercy that gives a Christian assurance of a continued relationship with Him. In turn, the true believer will express mercy in his relationships with others because the Spirit of God dwells in his heart. We have His promise: Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy (Matthew 5:7).

Put on therefore, as the elect (chosen) of God, holy and beloved, bowels (heartfelt) of mercies (compassion), kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another (Colossians 3:12-13).

Cross References:

For Hebrews 5:5: See Psalm 2:7. Hebrews 5:6: See Psalm 110:4. Hebrews 6:14: See Genesis 22:17.

Word Studies:

6:17 immutability = unchangeableness; counsel = purpose, will.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Evangelist Robert Shushu, Swahili translator in Tanzania · Government Officials: Rep. Anna Eshoo (CA) and Gov. Tom Vilsack (IA) · Country: Gambia (1 million) in West Africa · Major languages: English and Mandinka · Religious freedom · 87% Muslim; 10% animism and ancestral spirit worship; 2% Roman Catholic; .7% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Call upon the Lord in time of trouble, for He promises to hear us (Psalm 18:6).

Memory Verse for the Week: Ephesians 5:6

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