Hebrews 13:22 And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation: for I have written a letter unto you in few words.
23 Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you.
24 Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.
25 Grace be with you all. Amen.
In these closing words, God directed the writer (who we believe is the apostle Paul), to encourage the readers to have a proper attitude toward God’s Word. We have talked about the fact that Biblical doctrine is absolute. God does not fool around. He is firm and He is right. He does not need to apologize for being right or for being firm. When something is right, it does not need to be changed. It does not need to be opened up for other opinions.
Human nature bristles over things that are absolute. Some people do not mind if they set some absolute standard themselves, but they bristle at the thought that someone else might make an absolute statement. The only thing that we can honestly be absolute on is the Word of God. Remember that Paul asked the saints to pray for him, that he might live honestly. True Christians do not need to apologize for God’s Word.
Our government has been fairly successful in taking over the majority of religion in this country. This past week the Alberta government announced that it had put together a “slush fund” to assist religious groups with the expenses around added security due to the attack on religion in that province. I would suggest that any religious group that applies for and accepts money from the government for any reason, is already on that slippery slope of state run religion. (The Alberta government is already guilty of being the most oppressive in Canada with regard to religious liberty.)
A godless state believes that it is the highest authority there is. We have seen that in Canada for a long time. The last two years have magnified that, but the government (whether municipal, provincial, federal) have assumed that they are the authority. There is a ranking there. The federal government raises taxes and gives some of that money to the provinces. The province raises taxes and gives some of that plus some of the federal money to the municipalities. The municipalities also raise taxes and claim to use some of that for the good of the people.
Biblical Christianity is under the authority of the God of Creation. Biblical Christianity cannot bow to any other assumed authority. The world needs to be reminded that the God of Creation is in charge, whether they like it or not.
In our text, God directed the writer to “beseech the brethren.” The word translated as “beseech” means to “speak to in the way of exhortation, entreaty, instruction.” God never begs man to do something. He does encourage man to carefully consider what He says. In our text, God is speaking to saved people and He is encouraging them to take what He has said in this letter seriously and not to take offence to any of it, but rather to humbly accept it as truth.
The word translated as “suffer” means “to sustain, to bear, to endure”. The saints needed to stand up like true saints and accept what was given them and make the necessary changes in their thinking and in their lives to align themselves with God’s Word. The word translated as “exhortation” means “admonition, encouragement.” Those who are saved need to take God’s Word to heart. That is the case all through the Bible. God often talks of the need to “hear” what He is saying. Biblical hearing is more than just hearing a sound. It is listening with the intent to receive and act favourably upon what is said.
God also reminds us here that He wrote this letter in few words. God directed the apostle John to make some closing remarks in the Gospel he wrote with these words:
John 21:25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.
God has many things to say to us. As John wrote, much more could have been said about what Jesus did. However, John wrote that which was needful for us. The same is true of the book of Hebrews. Much more could have been said, but God limited His instructions in that book to the words we have recorded. We do not need to waste our time trying to find some lost copies of the book. God tells us that He preserved His Word from this generation and for ever. (Psalm 12:7). The reality is that we have more text in the Bible than we can ever master in a lifetime.
In verse 23 we are told that Timothy was released from prison. It was not just Paul that was imprisoned for true faith in God. Others like Timothy were also persecuted and faced prison time. Paul was waiting for Timothy to come to meet up with him and his hope was that they would then go and meet with the saints.
In verse 24 some final greetings are given. Notice again the reminder of those who “have the rule over you.” There is an order to things with God. The pastor is not any better than anyone else. However, the office of the pastor is important and needs to be respected. The pastor needs to be a faithful servant of God who is worthy of respect. He needs to be a man of the Word and a faithful student of the Word of God. All the saints also need encouragement and greetings. Paul also sent greetings from the saints in Italy. The inclusion of that phrase gives further indication that Paul was the writer. We know he went to Rome, and that he was imprisoned there.
In verse 25 we have the final words of God given to the writer of this letter. God’s helping and strengthening grace is very important for the child of God. That grace is necessary for all saints. The word “Amen” simply means “so be it”. It is the fitting conclusion to the book.
All of God’s word is settled. It does not need to be changed. It needs to be accepted and applied to the heart of the saint. Those who are saved need to be careful to walk in the Spirit so that they will receive His Word as He intended. The Holy Spirit helps the child of God to see the value of the Word of God. It is a great blessing to be governed by the sure Word of God.