My Theology of Hebrews final under Dick Gaffin is tomorrow. It will be the second time in my pastoral training that I’ve taken a class in Hebrews. The first time was at my undergrad with Daniel Ebert who did his PhD under Doug Moo and Don Carson – it was a pure joy. The themes were multifaceted, a lot of time given to the literary structure of the letter and its major themes, as well as critical issues – particularly NT use of OT. The second time under Gaffin definitely benefited from my first class’s experience, even though the flow and focus of Gaffin’s class was markedly different because the class majors on the theology of Hebrews.

I have to say after two classes I’m still very aware of my ignorance of this mighty thesis/homily/letter. Gaffin relied heavily upon Geerhardus Vos as an biblical-theological springboard. Something Vos said about Hebrews use of covenant reminded me of why I need Hebrews exhortation again, and again. Vos noted the way Diatheke (translated as testament or covenant) was used throughout Hebrews in pointing to the importance of the covenant community over individual faith, to the eschatological nature of the Church’s present experience in the wilderness, and to the incorporation of individuals into the worshiping community.

These three themes: covenantal community, eschatological community, and worshiping community fill out for me who and what the ‘Church’ is and who ‘I’ am in relation to the Son as one of the many sons.

In Christ I have been made a member of the covenantal community of God’s people, I didn’t have to take a class or sign a release form saying I’d do such and such, no, rather I have been made a member by his grace and mercy. And my membership isn’t a shallow passing out of 10% of my income and some Sunday lunchin chats. Its a more costly membership that has blessings and cursings attached to it. What I do to my brothers and sisters I do to my Lord, what I do to the sons I do to the Son.

And this community I’m apart of is one that is in the wilderness with God, like Israel was in the wilderness with YHWH. The Church is chiefly a wandering people in search of a heavenly city which is to come, and yet the power of that city is found in the resurrected Son of God. The Church is already and not yet experiencing the resurrection of the Son, she has in her adoption found a present-eschatological experience though she journeys toward a city to come. The journey of our churches aren’t reduced to our vision statements or building drives, the ministry of our churches aren’t reduced to a category list on a web-page. The hope of the church isn’t more members and nicer facilities or new road signs to generate them, but a new city that will descend from heaven where our High Priest is already reigning.

The covenantal depth and the eschatological hope we hold transforms us and exhorts us onward toward the only resonable end of being united with such a person as Christ, worship. Worship isn’t some pre-fab ordered list we run through on Sunday, its the climax of our calling together as a new people, new sons and daughters in the Son. More than just raising hands or enjoying the stillness of the Lord, worship is a way of being part of the community of God’s people. If I’m truly in Christ then I’m in a worshiping community.

I need to hear the message of Hebrews again and again, to be reminded that my membership to Christ body is covenantal, eschatological, and liturgical. That being in Christ means I’m a new person, not just a cheap replica or faithful store front mannequin, but a son in the Son