JohnSWilson3 Blog

“…may he adjust you in every good thing…”
November 23, 2012, 3:26 pm
Filed under: Q - Letter to Hebrews

Towards the end of the letter to Hebrews the author makes a tremendous statement, giving, as it were, his final greetings to the brothers and sisters. This statement holds the glue of their fellowship together in these tough times.

“Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, (may he adjust you in every good thing) for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (1)

It is Christ in us who is doing the work. It is Christ’s resurrection from the dead kind of life who is living in and to and through us as we keep our thoughts and eyes on Him as Lord, as Head of our gatherings. Interestingly, in Chapter 11 verse 3 a similar word for “adjust” was used previously by the author. “By faith we understand that the universe was formed (adjusted) at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” Is this not what is also happening by way of analogy as we live by His spiritual life together?

In Chapter 13 the author pointed out the importance of keeping on sacrificially loving one another and remembering how God has guided them through others and the results of their faith. We do not look to the types and shadows of Christ or the traditions of men for our spiritual life, we look to the Christ in one another, the experience of the Reality of Him in us. Because of this the author states that we are to “listen (to be persuaded) to those guiding us (in living by the life of Christ) and yield to them for they are sleepless on behalf of our souls (to God’s possessing of our souls), for they are giving Christ to you, so that it will be a joy to them and not sorrow, for it would not be useful if you did.” (2) Christ is adjusting us to a fuller expression of Himself, as He guides His people in and to and through one another. It is the keeping on loving one another, despite the difficulties that God gets what He wants.

This also has the sense of praying for one another, listening to Christ through one another. Perhaps this is the atmosphere of what Paul meant when he said when the brothers and sisters gathered together they each had something of Christ to share. Sadly many have used the biased translations of these words to create an abusive relationship of control and division in the body by ascribing some as being “leaders” and others being “followers” in the body.(3) Brothers and sisters, institutionalism or any other kind of division, has caused the body to “not be useful” because it perpetuates the false idea that only some are useful to the Lord and the rest are to obey them. There is only one Head or Leader in the body and He is Christ Jesus our Lord. By His Spirit the Lord guides His people organically as we each live by His life together to the building up of the body. We are adjusted by Him through one another by faith with love as we listen and yield to Christ in one another, this is what benefits the body! How much the joy of the Lord in the body of Christ has been lost because of not adjusting ourselves to the Christ in one another.

The author then says to also pray for them, especially that they “may be restored to you soon.” The author’s focus in this regard is based on having “a clear conscience” and a “desire to live honorably in every way.” Here in lies another aspect of how Christ adjusts us through one another and is part of the spiritual conflict that the body wrestles with together. Giving up our soul life so that Christ’s spiritual life can percolate and diffuse and control the body’s soul life. Prayer is hearing and responding to Christ, it is fellowship with Christ in and to and through one another, it is living by His life with one another, friends, and neighbors. And this is not just an individual matter but a corporate way of life. If we are hearing Christ and following Him together we will have “a clear conscience,” we will have “a desire to live honorably in every way” towards others. We will see Christ’s life expressed in and to and through one another, we will see a much larger Christ, a fuller expression of His life together. In the crucifixion of our soul life we will see a resurrected Christ in the spiritual life of one another, and it will be God who does this! It will be well pleasing to Him and He will find a place of rest and be our peace! May the Lord continue to possess my soul, may He continue to possess our souls, that He may “work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

(1) The literal translation of verse 21 is “may he adjust you in every good thing.” Alfred Marshall, The Interlinear KJV-NIV Parallel New Testament in Greek and English, 1975, The Zondervan Corporation, 669.
(2) The Greek word that is translated “obey” by almost every translation is from the root for “faith” and means “persuade.” “In the passive and middle voices, ‘to be persuaded, to listen to, to obey’ ” and for some reason the translators opted to use only the word “obey” giving a false sense of the original thought of the author. Vine’s suggest that “peitho, in NT suggests an actual and outward result of the inward persuasion and consequent faith.” It also seems to have a sense of what Paul told the ekklesia in Corinth, who were focusing on leaders, and were being called to adjust to the Christ through one another when he told the brothers and sisters when they gathered to hear what others say in the gathering “weigh carefully what is said.” The Greek word that is translated “rule” or “submit” by almost every translation is used only here in the entire New Testament. The word “hupeiko” means “to retire, withdraw.” Even Vine’s suggests that it can mean both “to yield” or “submit” but the translators choose to translate it submit. I am of the opinion that brothers and sisters are to submit to the Christ in one another, because of the many instances where the other Greek word “hupotasso” is used, but this is because of an inward persuasion from Christ Himself in one another. Why the KJV used “rule” is anybody’s guess. Yield has the sense of a community life, of yielding to one another as we listen to Christ in one another, in contrast to being overbearing but “rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” as Paul wrote to the ekklesia in Philippi. W.E. Vine, Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 438-439, 607.
(3) The KJV in its mistranslation states “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch over your souls, as they must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” For more on this topic, especially on the word mistranslated for “guiding” see my article titled: “…looking at the final expression of their manner of life…”


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