Tag Archives: Hebrews 9

Church, church, church

In the last three weeks, we have had three completely different Sunday meetings as Albury Bible Church.

Week One was ‘normal’, as we used to describe it. In the hall at Albury High School. Sunday school in a classroom. Set up and pack down, including signage, PA and music. That was our week in Hebrews 9, the reminder that ritual does nothing for Christ is the real priest who does everything.

Week Two saw rules intended to slow the spread of corona virus, including a government ban on meetings over 100. We are not that large: no change for us! So we thought, until the education department decision to halt community use of buildings as another useful public health measure. Hastily, we arranged a Sunday gathering outside at the church office (aka, my backyard).

In a beautiful touch, we knew this would likely be our last gathering like this for some time, even as we turned to Hebrews 10 (“not neglecting to meet together …”). As the kids enjoyed more than 4m2 each inside the office, we discussed options for our church life. How will we stir one another up towards love and good deeds?

And so to Week Three – the ‘new normal’? – meeting online from home. Perhaps the most remembered verse of Hebrews 11 tells us that the experience of faith apprehends what we hope for and yet cannot see. Real things, that are beyond sight and touch, are known as real through trust (see Hebrews 11:1).

I love church and seeing my fellow church members. Here was ‘church’ when not one of us left home, and the ‘sight’ of my family in faith was via a screen. The gathering was not real, but virtual. The sight was also not real, but virtual. Yet, through faith, our gathering and mutual recognition were real.

Each of these three weeks differ significantly. And there are obvious downsides to every way we gather. Despite these, each week encouraged me to press on for Christ, and each week left me thankful for the body of Christ of which I am a part. At the most profound level, there is no difference between what happened any Sunday.

On the last three Sundays, we had church, church, and church. And it was wonderful!

Backyard church
Outdoor church


In the Bible, human death and judgement for rebellion are associated.

For every individual, death leads to the judgement

From Hebrews 9 (esv)
… it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment …

More than that, we can see when human death is judgement.

From Genesis 2 and 3 (esv)
[Before human sin] And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

[After human sin] “Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken.

So far, so straightforward.

But what about the argument that death always means ‘sin is present‘? It’s an argument in the opposite direction from the Bible material, which move from sin to death.

And yes, this is a post about young earth creation theories, which say that death is therefore impossible before human sin.

We’re not justified to argue in reverse, and we know this from the gospel.

The gospel of Jesus tells us that all who die trusting Jesus do so in perfect assurance of forgiveness. They certainly die, but not for their sins – it was Christ who died for their sin. In other words, there is at least one situation that uncouples death from judgement. Which means, of course, that there may be more than one such situation.

Perhaps I am mainly writing this for myself, and for thinking it through. That is, it’s likely I haven’t explained every step of the process or all the implications. But if you’d like to comment or ask for some more, go ahead. I’ll see if I make any sense!