TAPE REVIEW: Hebrews
by Norman Grubb
I have to admit that except for Chapter 11, I’ve not focused on the book of Hebrews for answers to my life. However, Norman Grubb’s three-tape study of Hebrews has revealed the entire book to be a rich source of life-giving truth.
The outline of the book of Hebrews in my study Bible divides the book into two major themes: the superiority of Christ (greater than the angels, Moses, the Old Testament priesthood) and the superiority of faith. The relevance to us, according to the introductory notes, is the admonition to live by faith, not legalism. How refreshing I found Norman’s perspective throughout his taped study in Hebrews as he moves beyond these textbook headings to apply the truths in the book to the life of Christ lived in us as us.
Hebrews was written as a letter to Jewish Christians going through tough times-written to stabilize them in their faith. But, says Norman, it was also written to give us yet another revelation of God’s purposes through the ages which are centered in the Son and with Him in the sons. Using the first two verses in chapter one, Norman lays his foundation with a glimpse of human history from God’s perspective, "From the stretch of eternity comes an interlude where the sons complete what has to be completed." An interlude-what a summary of human history from the perspective of eternity! Then Norman moves on through the chapter as it reveals the Son, the "express image of the Father" and unfolds God’s purpose for Christ’s arrival into history to purge our sins: so that He can fulfill His plan to manage His universe through a vast family of sons-coheirs, a royal priesthood. The fulfillment of that purpose-and, more importantly, how this works in daily living-is the thrust of this study of Hebrews.
As usual, this series is filled with Norman’s insights that take me into deep spiritual truth. Never losing the thread of the passages, he takes time to dwell on a phrase or concept to bring it into the perspective of who we are in Christ. For example, in Chapter 2, Norman dwells momentarily on the significance of Jesus Christ as the "pioneer of our faith." In becoming a human like ourselves, Jesus gave up his unique position as the Son of God to take on human form. He had to give up his own right to be the unique Son of God in order to bring us into sonship-from "only begotten son" to the Son in the sons. Furthermore, through-out his talk Norman ties into the Total Truth concepts that I have never before fully understood: Christ "seated on the right hand of God"; "Today have I begotten thee"; how we "cease from our own works," elaboration on "the evil heart of unbelief," and the significance of Melchizidek in understanding how we function in our union with Christ.
I was surprised how well the sequence of ideas in Hebrews fit Norman’s traditional sequence of presenting the Total Truth. Each of his major concepts seemed to flow from the text and lead naturally on to his next point. Although he touches only lightly on angels, the tabernacle, the Aaronic priesthood and other familiar topics, Norman dives into deep waters with truths that are vital to our functioning as Christ-operated sons: the necessity and purpose of suffering; the contrast between seeing from an earthly and a heavenly perspective; the function of prayer; why we don’t need "teachers"; the importance of under-standing the difference between a covenant and a relationship with God; and the "work of faith."
Emphasizing that God’s final purpose is to have "eternal sons, not just redeemed sons," Norman unfolds the three stages of maturity in the faith: redeemed sons, union sons, eternal sons. As redeemed sons, we come into a recognition of our sins in the light of a Holy God and Christ’s sacrifice to pay for them and bring us to God. Then, faced with our inability to live a right life, even though saved, we come to recognize that Christ dwells in us and the fellowship we have with Him-union sons. However, our awareness still centers on what I have-Christ in me. And we are reminded that God’s purposes go beyond the benefits to me.
By far the most delightful part of the tape was the depth Norman plumbs to develop: the third stage of maturity in the faith, how we function as eternal sons-intercessor/priests. It is at the end of Hebrews 4 that Norman expounds (in more detail than I can recall from other tapes) this third level–I in Christ as an intercessor/priest. He describes the function of the High Priest as follows: "as a human he can show the way of faith to others: salvation, obedience of faith, accepting all from God, and moving into the faith of God in the mature life." The rich example given in Hebrews is the comparison of Aaron’s priesthood with the High Priest Melchizidek, an illustration Norman elevates above the factual to the meaningful-the revelation of God’s ultimate purpose and desire for all His redeemed sons.
The occupation of the book of Hebrews, says Norman, was to free them in Christ from themselves and "to indicate to them that this means the great privilege [to] be the commissioned person by whom others can find the freedom you’ve gotten." Norman’s Hebrews study makes that objective attainable. As such, it serves as an excellent vehicle to point out the Total Truth for personal Bible study or for a small study group of seeking Christians.
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 16 No 1
- Zerubbabel Focus: Teleconferencing Overseas
- How Acquire Faith?
- Editor’s Note
- Moments with Meryl
- A Look at a Book
- Our Second Despair
- Faith Lessons
- Area Fellowship News
- The Process of Faith
- The Blessings of Discipline
- Tape Talk
- Excerpt from The Intercession of Rees Howells
- The Delusion of Self-sufficiency
- Many Problems, One Solution–The British Fall Conference
- Wisconsin Fellowship Weekend: Three Perspectives
- Here Am I!
- Bible Study: Faith
- Questions & Answers
- Intercession In Action
- It Remains Tough
- On Faith and Discipline…
- Words to Live By…