Hebrews 13

Hebrews 13:5

Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,”

I will never desert you. As Jesus said to the disciples, “Surely I am with you always” (Matt. 28:20).

Some worry that the Spirit leaves us when we stumble, but God has promised to never abandon us under any circumstances. The Father, Son and the Holy Spirit abide or make their home with the believer (John 14:16–17, 23). Home means home. You are not a motel room for the Lord. You are the temple of the Holy Spirit and he will never leave you.

Hebrews 13:6

so that we confidently say,

The Lord is my Helper. The God of grace helps the helpless.

Life is too big for any of us to handle, but the good news is that God is our very great Helper who rides across the heavens to help us (Deu 33:26). He is our present help in times of trouble (Ps. 46:1).

“Lord, help me!” cried the Canaanite woman (Matt. 15:25). “Help us!” cried the father of the demon-possessed boy (Mark 9:22). Like Paul, who obtained help from God (Acts 26:22), these people understood that asking God for help in our time of need is how we receive his grace (Heb. 4:16).

God does not merely help us overcome sin; his grace is divine aid for whatever need we face (Heb. 4:16). “Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings” (Ps. 63:7).

God the Father is known as the Helper (Deu. 33:29, 2 Cor. 6:2); so is God the Son (Heb. 2:18) and God the Holy Spirit (John 14:16).

Further reading: “Who’s your Helper?

Hebrews 13:7

Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.

(a) Those who led you. Those who led you to Jesus, the Living Word of God.

Older Bibles translate this as “Remember those who rule over you,” but the only person who rules over the church is Jesus. The church is a family, not an army. Nowhere in the New Testament is there any suggestion that some are to rule over others (see Matt. 20:25–26, 1 Pet. 5:3).

The word of God is literally Jesus. To speak the word of God is to tell people about Jesus. See entry for Word of God.

(c) The result of their conduct. The church is not a cult where we blindly follow those in charge. Rather, we follow those who bear good fruit.

(d) Imitate their faith. We can learn from people who are further along in their spiritual walk or who excel in spiritual gifts.

Hebrews 13:14

For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.

(a) We do not have a lasting city. The city that falls is the City of Man.

Humanity’s fall and redemption is a tale of two cities. After Cain murdered his brother, he went east and founded a city built on violence and vengeance (Gen. 4:16–17). In contrast, Abraham went west looking for a city whose architect and builder is God (Heb. 11:8–10). Cain’s city, or the City of Man, embodies the murderous spirit of Satan. It is the “dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit” (Rev. 18:2). It is Satan’s home from where he has exported untold misery and pain (Rev. 18:24). This bloodstained town is the home of hurt and the seat of all suffering. But the King of kings shall send his heavenly armies and burn that hellish city (Rev.18:18, 21).

The City of Man will never recover from God’s ultimate destruction. In the end, there shall be only one city, the King’s city from heaven, which endures forever.

Further reading: “The City of Man

(b) The city which is to come or the city of the living God is a Biblical metaphor for describing the corporate body of Christ (Heb. 11:10, 12:22, Rev. 3:12, 21:2). See entry for 2 Cor. 6:16.

Hebrews 13:17

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.

(a) Obey your leaders. The original word for obey (peitho) means to convince or persuade. It does not mean obey in the sense of a dog obeying its master. A better translation may be, “trust your leaders” or “have confidence in your leaders.” Those who watch over you are doing so because they care for you and want you to succeed. Listen to them.

Older Bibles translate this as “Obey those who rule over you,” but the only person who rules over the church is Jesus. The church is a family, not an army. Nowhere in the New Testament is there any suggestion that some are to rule over others (see Matt. 20:25–26, 1 Pet. 5:3).

(b) Submit to them. To submit means to yield, defer, and respect. We submit to our leaders not because there is some perverse chain of command, but because we know they love us and they are watching out for us (1 Pet. 5:5).

Hebrews 13:18

Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things.

A good conscience. Paul was convinced that his conscience was good and perfect before God (Acts 23:1).

The conscience is that inner sense that lets us know whether we are walking in the will of God or whether we have departed from it. Paul’s conscience convinced him that he was doing the right thing in the eyes of the Lord.  See entry for Conscience.

Hebrews 13:21

equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Equip you in every good thing. You can be confident that the good work Jesus began in you, he will see through to completion (Php. 1:6).

Hebrews 13:24

Greet all of your leaders and all the saints. Those from Italy greet you.

The saints. Throughout scripture, Christians are consistently referred to sanctified saints. See entry for Acts 26:18.

Hebrews 13:25

Grace be with you all.

The grace of God is a gift freely offered to all.

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