Friday, January 24, 2014

Law Gives a Glimpse of Duty; Gospel Gives Fullness of Done

Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.  For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?  It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.  (Heb 2:1-4)

The ministry of angels was involved in the first giving of the Law, whereas in this case the Lord in person was first to propose the saving teaching, and those who were in receipt of the apostolic grace welcomed it.  While the Law gives us a glimpse of what has to be done, the Lord's teaching is the source of eternal salvation.

Now, since Moses also employed wonder-working, it was necessary for [the author] to show the superiority of grace in this respect, too.  In this case, it was not only the Lord who worked wonders but also his divine disciples and their successors.  He also showed the New Covenant to be resplendent with spiritual gifts: of old the inspired authors alone shared in the spiritual bounty, whereas now all the believers enjoy this grace.

While he said this to encourage them to give heed to the divine teaching more zealously, he brought out the difference between the former and the latter under guise of exhortation.  It was very wise of him to say God witnesses to the message through miracles.  The demonstration is beyond question, and the reliability of the witness indisputable.

Theodoret of Cyrus, “The Epistle to the Hebrews”

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