Wednesday, September 08, 2010

The Living God

Hebrews 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

31 φοβερὸν τὸ ἐμπεσεῖν εἰς χεῖρας θεοῦ ζῶντος.

This was a tough chapter for a few reasons.  One is that I had a tough time keeping up with the Greek.  Another is that there is so much wonderful stuff in here that it was very difficult to pick out a verse to write about.  I thought about writing on the verses previous to this as they seem to speak very clearly regarding the lordship of Christ in salvation.  However, I think that this one verse is worth focusing on by itself.

The first thing I note is that God is ζῶντος.  That is a present active participle.  It is in the genitive because it describes the hands into which it is fearful to fall.  Whose hands?  The hands of the living God.  But what does this mean?

It means that God is real.  He is alive.  He is a present reality.  Most folks live as if this were not the case.  Most of us (and even we Christians from time to time) act as if God is not real and that He is not ultimately going to judge.  We choose sin over obedience which is implicitly saying that we don't believe God will truly satisfy and that He will meet our deepest needs.  We turn to functional saviors rather than the living God.

But at an even deeper level, this verse should spur us to evangelism.  There are a lot of folks out there who are going to fall into the hands of the living God.  Hands are a metaphor for power.  In short, this verse tells us that there are a lot of people who are going to have to deal with the judgment of the living God.  This is not the living God of Oprah or even Joel Osteen.  This is the true God, and we are to fear Him.

Do you have a reverent awe of the living God?  Do you live as if He is real or do you pretend that He is not there?  The weight with which we read this verse changes quite a bit.


Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

All of your posts on this epistle have been full of excellent thoughts, brother, and my one comment on this one is to congratulate and thank you for them all. I want to make only one point, coming from this verse, that I offer you as a suggestion and an encouragement.

When Orthodox (big "O") writers write theologically about God, about Jesus, and about the saints (those who have already fallen asleep in Christ), and when they write carefully and intentionally, they always write about them in the present tense: Jesus says, holy apostle Paul writes, etc., never in the past tense. We do this, I do this, intentionally, and it's because of this verse and of others, in Revelation for example, where God is called 'the Living One'. And not only in writing, but in speaking and even in thinking, we try to remember to use the present tense whenever considering God. This discipline is what helps us live our lives as if the Resurrection of Christ really happened, and as if Jesus Christ is still the most active Human Being in the history of the world, because He is, He "was dead but is alive and forevermore" (Revelation 1:18).

Jason said...

Thanks brother. I tend to agree with you.