Hebrews concludes this section by pointing out that the appropriate response to God for all the wonderful things He has done for us is to show gratitude by offering Him an appropriate type of worship.
Compare Hebrews 12:28 and Hebrews 13:15-16. How do we offer God acceptable worship?
In the old covenant system, the sacrifice of animals was the way people showed repentance and gratitude, but these sacrifices were to be but a token of the gratitude and repentance in the heart of the worshiper. Thus, God made clear in the Psalms and through the prophets that what really pleased Him was not the blood of animals but the gratitude, good deeds, and righteousness of the worshipers (Psalm 50:7-23, Isaiah 1:11-17).
Thus, Paul invites us to worship God in the heavenly sanctuary by offering sacrifices of praise, confession, thanksgiving, and good works, which is the true worship that delights Him. We offer these sacrifices on earth, but they are accepted as pleasing to God in heaven. This exhortation embraces all the calls that the author has made throughout the letter for the confession of Jesus’ name (Hebrews 3:1, Hebrews 4:14, Hebrews 10:23) and His exhortations that we continue to do good works (Hebrews 6:10-12; Hebrews 13:1-2, , Hebrews 13:16).
The invitation of Paul to the audience to “offer to God acceptable worship” (Hebrews 12:28, ESV) implies that believers are truly now a priestly nation that has been perfected and sanctified through the sacrifice of Jesus (Hebrews 10:10-14, Hebrews 10:19-23). This fulfills God’s original purpose for Israel, that they would be a priestly nation through which He would be able to announce the good news of salvation to the world (Exodus 19:4-6; 1 Peter 2:9-10; Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:10).
Hebrews 13:1-6 describes in practical terms what it means to do good and share what we have. It means to show brotherly love, just as Jesus showed brotherly love to us (Hebrews 2:11-12). It means to be hospitable, to visit those who are in prison or have been mistreated (Hebrews 13:3), and to reject adultery and covetousness.
|Why is it important to consider good works and sharing what we have as part of our worship to God? At the same time, what are the very real ways that our spiritual sacrifices to God may be corrupted (Isaiah 1:11-17)?|