"And all these, having gained approval through their faith,
did not receive what was promised, because God
had provided something better for us,
so that apart from us they would not be made perfect."
Something better for us.
Celebrating Mother's Day, six year old Ezra got a far off look and said,
"I can't wait until Brother's Day!"
He thought that was something better.
"...having gained approval through their faith."
Hasn't our life been made happy or sad, easy or hard by the effort to gain approval? Have you ever worked hard to get it from somebody? A parent, a spouse, a boss? Have you been disappointed? Flip the coin. Have you ever had those who worked to gain your approval? Have they been disappointed? Don't miss opportunities to let those receive your approval when it is in your ability to give it. Sometimes there may be issues that separate people, but their hearts may still be joined by love. I have been blessed having been raised by those who were never stingy to give approval. I hope I have likewise been liberal in my approval. It is engrained into our very being, that which as a child draws us to our Father, the very heartbeat of love, the yearning for His approval.
What this Scripture is telling us is that though the forefathers did not receive what was promised, they still held onto it by faith. Andrew Murray says, "...the old saints had only the promise; we have the thing promised, the divine reality, the full inheritance of what were to them only the good things to come. The promise was sufficient to make them live a wonderful life of faith.
"They died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them from afar and embraced them...The witness borne to Abel that he was righteous, and to Enoch that he pleased God, was given to them all. God not ashamed to be called their God--the unseen God revealed Himself to them and was their God."
Aren't you glad we live this side of Calvary! Oh my. But how little most Christians live by this privilege. Andrew Murray continues, "The two words here, 'better' and 'perfect' are the words which characterize the new dispensation, the time of the fulfilment of the promise. We said before, the word 'better' occurs thirteen times. Christ has inherited a better name; He has brought us a better hope; He is the surety of a better covenant enacted in better promises...To them God spake in the prophets; to us in the Son. To them was offered the rest of Canaan; to us the rest of God. their high priest was a man who died; ours is a Priest for ever, in the power of an endless life. Their sanctuary was on earth, and even that had its veil; ours is the true sanctuary, with the veil taken away. Theirs was the old covenant, in which there was no power to continue; ours is the new, with the heart made new by the Spirit. Theirs was the blood of bulls and of goats, ours is the blood of Jesus. Theirs was a sanctifying cleanness of the flesh; ours is the cleansing of the heart from the evil conscience."
"The word 'perfect' is used fourteen times in the Epistle' The law made nothing 'perfect. Jesus is Himself, in His obedience and suffering, made perfect...And so He is the Perfecter of our faith; makes us His perfect ones, who press onto perfection...He does this in the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. Christ redeemed us, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. The Holy Spirit is the all-inclusive blessing of the better covenant. It is His to bring Jesus and heaven and the power of an endless life into us, and keep us in it."
In other words, we have been given a new heart, a perfect heart of perfect love towards God through the Holy Spirit as prophesied in Jeremiah 31:31-33
"'Behold, the days are coming,'
declares the Lord, 'when I will make a new covenant
with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,
not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day
I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt,
My covenant which they broke although I was a husband to them,'
declares the Lord. 'But this is the covenant which I will make
with the house of Israel after those days,' declares the Lord,
'I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it;
and I will be their God, and they shall be My people."