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Saturday, December 24, 2016

The "Gap Life" (Hebrews 10:36, 38)

"You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he promised." But my righteous one will live by faith. If he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him."

Gap life: the distance between the promise given by God and the promise realized or experienced by man; the opportunity given by God whereby man appropriates the promises of God and learns to walk with God by faith.

A gap exists between the promises of God and the fulfillment thereof. Those in-between-spaces develop our faith muscle as we hang on to the promises of God in spite of what we see or experience in the natural realm. Hebrews chapter eleven, the "Hall of Faith," lists those who walked with God by faith, those folk who lived "the gap life."

Consider Abraham. God promises him descendants when he is seventy-five years old in spite of the fact that his wife is barren. After ten years of "gap life" (they have the promise without any indication of its fulfillment), they decide to assist God in fulfilling His promise and bring Hagar into the mix. God doesn't need what they can do; Sarah's barrenness isn't an issue with Him and Hagar isn't the solution. Nearly fifteen more years of "gap life" pass before God does the impossible: He opens an old lady's womb and Sarah has the child of promise.

It takes faith in the promises of God to live the "gap life" and endurance to hold onto the promises of God when nothing seems to change in the natural realm. To have the promise, however, is to have the fulfillment. Nothing pleases the heart of God more than when His children simply take Him at His Word.

The writer of Hebrews addresses an audience of "gap lifers" who entertain returning to Judaism because the way is difficult and persecution abounds. Therefore, he demonstrates how superior the New Covenant (the way of faith in the promises of God) is over the Old Covenant. How they needed the reminder of the superiority of the New Covenant and this letter to the Hebrews must have encouraged them while living in the gap. Christ is superior to Moses, the Law, the priesthood and its sacrifices. And, how they needed to remember previous "gap lifers," those who received and acted on the promises of God.

"For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise . . . the just shall live by faith."

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Hebrews 10:19-12:29
  • List the five "Let us" statements that are the benefits of the New Covenant in Christ Jesus.
  • Why were the Jewish believers tempted to make light of what Christ has done for them?
  • How does the writer of Hebrews encourage the Jewish believers to embrace the life of faith?
  • Why are we debtors to those who've lived in faith before us? (11:40)
  • List the remaining "Let us" statements that summarize why we must endure "gap life" living.
  • What is God's purpose in discipline?
  • What does the writer say about God that causes him to list the string of warnings found in chapter twelve?
Turning truth into prayer
Are you struggling to live the "gap life" and to hold onto the promises of God when all in the natural realm seem to contradict those promises? Ask the Lord to remind you of His great and precious promises. Spend a few moments praising God for all that He has done for you in the New Covenant.