The Principles of Contentment Hebrews 13:5–6 Podcast by Pastor John MacArthur for Grace to You
Hebrews 13. We’ve called the 13th chapter “Christian Ethics,” or “The Believer’s Behavior. The Believer’s Behavior.” As we saw last time, the book of Hebrews finally resolves in chapter 13 in a series of practical exhortations, and we were reminded again of a principle of which we have reminded you on many, many occasions, and that is this: that before there is ever exhortation to duty, there is instruction regarding doctrine. Doctrine is always the foundation upon which duty is built. Your obedience to a given standard doesn’t mean anything unless there’s a reason for that standard; and so doctrine always precedes duty, position always precedes practice.
Now we have been seeing for twelve chapters principles of the new covenant; all of its dimensions have been spelled out. And now in the 13th chapter, he branches from there and simply says, “Because of all of this, because of who you are in Christ, because of what is yours in Christ, because of what is yours in the new covenant, here’s the kind of behavior patterns that we expect from you.”
All through the book he has presented Christ, and he has said, “You can cling to Christ. He is sufficient; He is superior; He is supreme. He’s all you ever need.” And that’s been the repeated message over and over again. And to sum it up, he says, “Now that you have Christ, here is how you ought to live.” And believe me, people, no man will ever be able to follow these ethics unless he knows Jesus Christ; or he has no power to do so. But again we see that same principle: The practical life is only possible when we have come to a knowledge of Jesus Christ, and a foundation of sound doctrine.