The Apostle and High Priest of our Profession

Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus (Hebrews 3:1).

  What a comforting and inspiring way for the apostle to greet these early apostolic believers. He chose to remind them of their place in the family of God; a place they had not gained of their own accord, but through a calling extended to them from heaven above.

   As we contemplate the writer’s greeting, we can experience the same encouragement as the Hebrew Christians did when they received this letter so long ago. God’s Word has been preserved so that it can be of comfort to believers in every age. However, there are times when a Christian can become discouraged in his life of faith. There are many inner struggles that are the result of the spiritual warfare in which we must engage every day. Apostle Paul described these experiences by saying that the spirit and the flesh are at war with one another so that we often find we are not able to do the things that we should. As a result of this conflict, we may be left with the feeling that the salutation holy brethren can hardly apply to us. For that reason, it is always good to stop and consider what makes it possible, and even appropriate, for a Christian, surrounded by temptation in this world of sin, to be addressed in this way. Wherein lies our right to this exalted greeting?

   In the first place, we must always remember that we are not holy because we are without sin. We are holy in God’s eyes because of the provision He has made for the forgiveness of all our sins. And in the second place, we have been given the righteousness of Christ as a gift, and it is that righteousness that is imputed to us, and not our sin. It was because of this truth that King David possessed the eternal hope of which he wrote in the psalm: Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven and whose sin is covered Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity and in whose spirit there is no guile(Psalm 32:1). This is the mystery of living faith.

   Let us always remember that this amazing work of God does not bring us only to the place of being pardoned criminals, although that in itself is a great gift. This work of God, of which we speak, also elevates us to the place of being children of God, so that we can believe that we are the holy brethren spoken of in our verse of Scripture. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to us by grace, and it is received by faith. God is to be praised for the transforming work that He has performed in our hearts and that He encourages us to exhibit in our daily lives.

   Now after this greeting, the apostle urged the Hebrew believers to consider Christ Jesus whom he called the Apostle and the High Priest of our profession.  The word apostle means one who has been sent. Jesus is the one who was sent from the Father as His messenger. Malachi, the last of the Old Testament prophets, called Jesus the messenger of the covenant. And we know from other Biblical writings that Jesus was not only the messenger of the covenant, but He was also the mediator of the covenant–the New Covenant, the covenant of grace.

   And then we are also to consider Christ as the High Priest of our profession. As our High Priest, Jesus was not limited in His office to time and place as were all of the Old Testament priests. Jesus was of a different priesthood, the order of Melchizedek, King of Salem, the Alpha and Omega, the One who had no beginning and no end. Our High Priest did not enter into the holy places made with hands, but He entered into heaven itself with His own blood to obtain eternal redemption for us.

   We depend upon Jesus, the Apostle of our profession, as the one who alone could fulfill every one of the righteous requirements that are revealed in our Lord’s interpretation of the Ten Commandment law (Matthew 5:21-28). We depend upon Him as the High Priest of our profession through whom we have obtained pardon for and cleansing from sin in His blood of atonement.

 Seeing then that we have a great high priest that is passed into the heavens … let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was tempted in all points like as we are yet without sin.   (Hebrews 4:14-15)

From the archives of the late Pastor A.C. Holmgren- March 1997

Submitted by Pastor Stan

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