Another passage similar to the two we’ve looked at on slaves and heirs is Hebrews 12:18-24, “For you have not come to a mountain that may be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind,19 and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word should be spoken to them.20 For they could not bear the command, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it will be stoned.” 21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, “I am full of fear and trembling.”22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels,23 to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect,24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.”
The book of Hebrews was written to Jewish believers who were under persecution by their Jewish community to return to living under the Law. The writer of Hebrews, (popularly believed to be the apostle Paul), intensely warns them through compelling comparisons not to turn back.
Hebrews 3-4 contrasts Two Houses. You should read these two chapters for yourself. Basically they are a comparison between the old and the new covenants: Moses is the house of Israel and Jesus is the house of God.
Of Moses’ House, it says Moses was faithful in his appointment from God over Israel and from that he gained some glory. He is the picture of the house of Israel, faithful as a servant but when they heard God’s voice, their master’s voice, they hardened their hearts. This is what slaves do. They don’t want to be someone’s slave and resent being told what to do. They kept up this rebellion that provoked God for 40 years even though through all those years they saw Him work miracle after miracle on their behalf! They always went astray, and did not know His ways. As a consequence, they would not enter His rest because they did not believe Him. They had good news preached to them but it still did not profit them because it was not mixed with faith. They were unwilling to believe. They kept the works of the Law but failed by disobedience to enter His Day of Rest of which Joshua and David spoke to them.
Jesus: God’s House
Jesus was appointed and faithful over God’s house which resulted in more glory. He is the builder of the church of believers. Christ is faithful as a Son. With Jesus as our example, when we hear His voice, we are not to harden our hearts; don’t have an evil, unbelieving heart, falling away from the living God. We aren’t to be deceived by that sin of unbelief and come short of entering His rest. We have the good news preached to us! Even God rested from His works; so must we! Today, now, it is our turn. The Sabbath Rest is Jesus and remains for us to enter. When you enter His Rest, you rest from your works. Be diligent to enter that Rest! The Word of God reveals that you are either living after the spirit in His rest or living after the flesh in works. In God’s sight no creature, new or old is hidden. He sees us clearly.
Sons of Moses, slaves in the house, do not act in faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross. They harden their hearts, run from God, and go to work to make up for the sin: pray more, read the Bible more, fast, “take lashes,” do penance, and try harder. All the while staying away from the Father. They choose to eat from the tree of independence, “I can fix it myself and then I’ll be all right with God again.” They are like the Prodigal Son, believing lies about their Father’s character, thinking He is stingy and demanding.
Sons of God, born again sons in the House, act in faith in Christ’s redemption, run to their Father, with confidence in His Word and in His true nature. They come to their Lord’s throne having received and resting in His Saving Grace, knowing they will find mercy, forgiveness, and acceptance there. Also they trust in the help from above, His Grace. They rest. They don’t trust in the weakness of the flesh. They rest in the transformation in their soul that shuts the door to that temptation.
Returning to Romans 8, verses 20-25, describes the restoration of all things, beginning with creation, which now groans under the slavery of corruption and likewise, we, ourselves, groan for the redemption of our bodies. This is referring to the many times we groan over our flesh and the suffering it causes us. When our flesh has led us to handle a hard situation in our own sufficiency instead of trusting the Lord and waiting for the Spirit’s leading. The disappointment inside us that we are still influenced by our flesh is the groan referred here for the final redemption; when our bodies will be changed and we are free for good.
In the meantime, God has provided the Help from above until that takes place.