As citizens of the West you and I have inherited certain ways of looking at things. We place a high value on individual rights and liberties rather than on “community.” In our religion we emphasize its forensic (legal) aspect. In short, we view salvation as a completed legal transaction rather than a divine transformation process. (Eastern Christians have a different view of salvation).

Some would argue that we Americans see salvation as a quest to attain and retain that coveted, cosmic, “Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card.” The purpose of joining a church is to make certain that our card is authentic. The purpose of attending a church is to make sure that the card we have placed in our wallet or purse (and rarely think about except during The Lord’s Hour) does not get revoked before we die.

According to this view, the purpose of living a faithful, religious life is so that we will be prepared to present our valid, un-revoked, Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card upon our crossing over the Jordan and our entry into Promised Land in the great by and by. According to the Hebrew Writer, however, there is another perspective that needs to at least be considered.

Sure Jesus paid the penalty for our sins. That legal transaction was completed upon the cross. “He paid a debt He did not owe, I owed a debt I could not pay . . ..” The song is lovely and the forensic perspective is correct. It just does not reveal the entire picture.

The Hebrew Writer goes to great lengths to demonstrate that Jesus not only “tasted death for every person” (2:9) but that He also now serves as our High Priest. (Eight out of thirteen chapters are devoted to this great theme.) And the point is that the payment of the penalty for our sins has now empowered God to have an ongoing, intimate and personal relationship with His people–right here and right now!

The amazing thing is that divine community is what Yahweh has longed for all along. It existed in the Garden; unfortunately, Satan attacked it and sin destroyed it. When we sinned, we lost our communal relationship with Yahweh.

But, Be Encouraged! Jesus restores it and faith enjoys it–right here and right now! And the purpose of our daily nurturance of this restored divine community is that we might be transformed.