Statement of Faith in the light of Sacerdotal Christology Unique to Hebrews

It is hard to find a statement of faith that directly uses The Book of Hebrews when addressing salvation. This is because, with salvation as the topic, more often texts like Galatians 2:15-21 are used. A text which Luther called “… the principal article of all Christian doctrine, wherein the knowledge of all godliness consisteth” (Stott, 1986, p. 59). With the clear ringing call to salvation by faith alone in so many texts in the New Testament, what does Hebrews offer that could compliment the salvation choir? The answer to this question is that Hebrews shows Christ’s continuing sacerdotal work on behalf of the ones redeemed by the New Covenant (Granerød, 2009). In Hebrews, the author belabors the point of Jesus as a high priest “after the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 7:17, ESV). Even other biblical text like Romans 8:34, “who [Jesus] is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us”, indicate that to have faith means to believe that the priest forever has interceded and is interceding on behalf of his blood-bought. Each church must deal with and preach this message of faith alone and the Assemblies of God is no different. In the 16 Fundamental Truths that constitute the statement of faith for the Assemblies of God (hereafter AoG), in the section on salvation, this statement stands out, “being justified by grace through faith” (Assemblies of God 16 Fundamental Truths. (n.d.)). Even though Hebrews is not directly cited in the statement, the nature of being justified by faith directly means believing in the sacerdotal nature of Christ’s work and his ability to save. Therefore, Hebrews clearly teaches that Christ’s work as high priest continues in Heaven to this day for His people which cannot be condemned because they believe in his work; and every statement of faith, which is true to the doctrine salvation by faith alone, even if it is not directly cited, is consistent with the Hebrew’s teachings that salvation  relies on belief in this effectual sacerdotal interceding that Christ performs.

Jesus as a high priest “after the order of Melchizedek”, is a statement directly intended on the authors part to separate Jesus from the failed Aaronic line (Hebrews 7:17, ESV). This separation is specifically intended by the author to highlight the failure of old way and encourage the hearer to place trust in Jesus “as a forerunner on our behalf, (Hebrews 6:20, ESV). In Hebrews the argument for faith rests entirely on the person of Jesus Himself, as Son of God he cannot fail in saving those that trust in him. After placing such a high acclimation on the work of Christ, the author continues to show that throughout history all that have been saved are saved because of faith in “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1, ESV). These things not seen to them are Jesus’ works as “the founder and perfecter of our faith” which has been now revealed. (Hebrews 12:2, ESV).

The AoG statement of faith states that men are “justified by grace through faith”(Assemblies of God 16 Fundamental Truths. (n.d.)). This statement is entirely consistent with the Hebrews account of faith, just as the Hebrews account is consistent with the rest of the New Testament narrative. This means that every statement of faith that deals in faith alone as the means of salvation, and if it is not faith alone it is no real faith, is inherently drawing on the sacerdotal nature of the work of Christ. The AoG statement of faith makes one other very Hebrews like statement ” the hope of eternal life” (Assemblies of God 16 Fundamental Truths. (n.d.)). Hebrews centers around the hope for salvation on a high Christology, so essentially anything that has hope for salvation by Christ’s work has parallels in Hebrews.

Hebrews clearly has some of the highest Christology to be found anywhere in scripture as it portrays Christ as the high priest in heaven to this day interceding for His people who are beyond reproach because of his work. Every statement of faith where salvation is by faith alone is in accordance with Hebrews which portrays salvation by faith alone in this effectual sacerdotal interceding that Christ performs.

 

Reference List

Assemblies of God 16 Fundamental Truths. (n.d.). Retrieved June 11, 2017, from https://ag.org/Beliefs/Statement-of-Fundamental-Truths#5

Granerød, G. (2009). Melchizedek in Hebrews 7. Biblica, 90(2), 188-202

Knowles, A. (2001). The Bible guide. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg.

Stott, J. R. W. (1986). The message of Galatians: Only one way Leicester, England; Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

 

Posted in Blog, Theology.