The NIV subtitles Hebrews chapter 13, “Concluding Exhortations.” Be it a letter from Paul or a written sermon from some other inspired writer, Hebrews is a masterpiece inspired by the Spirit of God. The main thrust of the letter is that Christianity is far better than the Old Testament way. The old days were about law-keeping and waiting for something better. The Gospel age is about loving obedience to the supreme lawgiver, the one who sacrificed himself for our sins (Heb. 9:25-28). The writer closes his self-styled “word of exhortation” with very practical instructions (Heb. 13:22).
No duty of the new covenant age is more natural than the call to “Keep on loving each other as brothers” (Heb. 13:1). Born from above into the family of God (John 3:3-5), we must love one another “down here.” It is not possible to truly love the Father without loving his children (1 John 4:19-21). The original recipients of Hebrews were living in a time of threat and persecution. Sometimes pressure causes people to turn on one another. Witness the shouting on a football sideline when things go wrong! The writer of Hebrews exhorts, pleads that we practice philadelphia, brotherly kindness. The first verse literally reads, “Brotherly love, let it remain.” Keep on acting like the family of God. Let the natural bond hold us together.
These are tough times. God will watch over us and see us through it, and all the better if we work lovingly together. Let us pray for and support our leaders as they do their best to direct us into greater service for God (Heb. 13:17).
To be a child of God is the greatest privilege we have, but we also have responsibility. May God bless us all as we work with his Spirit to develop the character the Father expects of his children. TC