Christian Worship In Hebrews 12:28 As Ethical And Exclusive -- By: Joshua Caleb Hutchens

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 59:3 (Sep 2016)
Article: Christian Worship In Hebrews 12:28 As Ethical And Exclusive
Author: Joshua Caleb Hutchens


Christian Worship In Hebrews 12:28
As Ethical And Exclusive

Joshua Caleb Hutchens*

* Joshua Caleb Hutchens is a Ph.D. student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and pastor of Mt. Tabor Baptist Church, P.O. Box 13, Buffalo, KY 42716. He may be contacted at joshuacalebhutchens@gmail.com.

Abstract: In the final warning passage of Hebrews, the command to give thanks by offering acceptable worship in 12:28-29 connects the ethical instructions of chapter 13 with the theological argument of chapters 1-12. Consistent with the rest of the letter, worship in Heb 12:28 is based on the cultic accomplishment of Christ. Consequently, Christian worship consists of ethical living rather than sacrifice. On this basis, chapter 13 utilizes cultic language to describe an ethical life. Finally, by citing Deut 4:24 in 12:29, Hebrews establishes Christian worship as the exclusive way to worship the God of Israel in the new covenant era.

Key Words: Hebrews, worship, sacrifice, exclusivity of Christ, Deuteronomy 4

The new covenant is better than the old. Hebrews persistently establishes this point in chapters 1-12 (1:4; 6:9; 7:19, 22; 8:6; 9:23; 10:34; 11:16, 35, 40; 12:24). But if the old covenant and its sacrifices have become obsolete in light of Christ, then how should God’s people offer him worship under the new covenant? Worship itself has not become obsolete since it is commanded in Heb 12:28, but what form should such “acceptable worship” take? Structurally, Heb 12:28-29 links the practical admonitions of chapter 13 to the rest of the book.1 Commentators have largely recognized that the ethical ins...

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