It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by eating ceremonial foods, which is of no benefit to those who do so. Hebrews 13:9
A strong heart. That’s what I want, don’t you? I want my life to be rooted in the stability of pure doctrine, the doctrine of grace and the love of God. If it is, I will know-that-I-know that I am loved and nothing and no one will shake it. I will know-that-I-know that I am at peace with God and no sin, past or present, will drag me down. Stability is found in the truth of the pure Gospel of grace through faith. God forbid that this would be a cliché that has no effect on my daily life and the relationship between God and me.
The concerning thing for the writer of Hebrews was that his audience (a persecuted Jewish population) had shifted their stability from the undeserved bestowing of God’s grace upon them to the keeping of ceremonial laws. They did this in two ways ~ 1.) They went back to old laws that were no part of the New Covenant, and 2.) They adopted strange new teachings that had never been relevant to the Law. The effect was really the same. They had a false sense of all being right with their world. Their stability was misplaced.
God forbid that I might not take this seriously and believe that they had simply kept all those rules for nothing! This whole matter is much bigger than that and Paul addressed it. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. Romans 6:14 He didn’t call the keeping of the law a waste of time; he called it sin. What a leap. Why is it sin rather than just wasted steps to please God? Because to wander away from grace is to make Jesus and the cross irrelevant. It is to make His sacrifice a trivial, unnecessary thing. If they could find peace and stability with God through religious practices, why was grace needed!
To put all my trust in grace means that I place no trust in my own efforts to make God happy with me. Grace reminds me that I am a sinner and absolutely lost without the love of God poured out through the sacrifice of His Son upon an undeserving person. Grace is humiliating if I value my own sense of pride. Grace is empowering if I’ve embraced the truth that I fall short of God’s glory and need a Savior to clothe me with His righteousness.
You and I are loved. If we are trying to do anything today to make God happy with us ~ this message is critical. We may not be eating ceremonial food under the Law but we are performing a litany of needless rituals under the same Law that held these early Jews captive. Rest in grace. Savor it. Dance because of it. Breathe in its beauty. God’s grace is poured out in limitless measure.
To know such love, a love that never changes no matter what I do, is my rest. Amen