Many of the Biblical promises rest upon the action of the reader or hearer. The little word “if” plays a big role in experiencing the Word. In the Bible, this two letter word contains the option to either accept or reject the Word. The Word of God is limited to man’s response. The Scripture lies dormant until man responds to its content. If man chooses to ignore the Word, it becomes nothing more than a conglomeration of phrases and sentences hidden under a book cover.
If it was not for the Bible, we would have no knowledge of God and His love for mankind. If it was not for the Bible, we would not be aware of Jesus and His earthly ministry. If it was not for God’s Word, we would never come to the knowledge of what Calvary was all about. Without the Scriptures, man would be like a ship without a rudder, a car without an engine, or a plane without wings. Without His Word, man would flow with the tide of changing opinions and life styles. Without the Bible, mans’ hope for purpose will never be achieved. Sixteen times in the book of Hebrews, this powerful word highlights the responsibility of the individual. In chapter three, verse six, the Believer is likened unto a house that is built by Jesus; but if, by the actions of Christians, the world sees a creation that is no different from its own life, what would draw it to seek our building Contractor? There are a lot of “prefab” Believers that build their faith around convenience and self-fulfillment, and, as a result, turn off prospective “buyers” of the Faith. The problem is many treat the salvation experience as an “upgrade” to their lives instead of as a total rebirth experience.
In this same chapter, verse four states that the Believer is a “partaker” (participant, sharer, associate, partner) with Christ. This means that we are to be a walking example and extension of Jesus’ earthly ministry. When the unbeliever sees us, they should be drawn to an individual whose actions far exceed the normality of human behavior. The reality of these two illustrations is contingent on the powerful word “if”. To evidence our participation as a “house” built by Jesus and in a “partnership” with Him, we are called upon to make a decision. “If we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.” (vs. 6, 14) We receive the fulfillment of the Word by making a decision to act on the Word. To reach that place we are confronted with that little word again, “If ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.”(vs.8, 15) Hearing His Word without resistance is the first step to experiencing the reality of Scriptural Truth. It is not just an initial step, but a journey that continues throughout our lives. It is not a one time acceptance of a Truth, but a continuing effort to display it. If there is no on- going exhibiting of our “house” and “partnership,” then we cannot apply those realities to our lives!
When one reads through the book of Hebrews, one is reminded again and again of the role one plays in experiencing God’s Word. The Believer faces the decision to accept the Word personally or read it as simply Scripture that requires no response. When there is no action by the reader, the Word will have little or no effect on him. Believers are continually looking for God to do something in their lives, while God is continually waiting for them to do something with His Word. Man seems to be in search of new truth by introducing “extra Biblical” revelation. Believers need to center on what God has already said and stop looking for a new ingredient to make their interpretation more palatable.
It is all up to us. When we are hungry for Truth, let us open the Word and feast at the banquet table. There is so much Truth in the Bible that all we have to do is open our eyes and make a decision to act on His Word.
We should also be aware of consequential “ifs.” Hebrews chapter’s ten through twelve highlights what they are and the pending results.