Hello everybody, and welcome in to episode 75 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Hebrews 11 today and our focus is on the faith of Rahab the prostitute and your citizenship status. We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Thanks for listening! Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan
Before we get to Rahab, let’s talk about your citizenship and mine. Lots of noise these days in the U.S. about Christian nationalism, which has reared its head on other countries too. The thing about it is, though I was born in the U.S., I am not first and foremost an American. Why not? Because I am promised to another – I am owned by another, so says 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “You are not your own, 20 for you were bought at a price.“ Some of the implications of that purchase are that my primary citizenship has transferred. We see a hint of this in Hebrews 11 today:
13 These all died in faith, although they had not received the things that were promised. But they saw them from a distance, greeted them, and confessed that they were foreigners and temporary residents on the earth. 14 Now those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they were thinking about where they came from, they would have had an opportunity to return. 16 But they now desire a better place—a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. Heb rews 11:13-16
So, I am first a citizen of Heaven, as Paul makes explicitly clear in Philippians 3:20:
Our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly wait for a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Does this mean that I am not an American, and I shouldn’t work for the good of my country or be a good citizen? Not at all – I am an American – you are a citizen of your country – and I want to be a good citizen…but my primary allegiance is to King Jesus and His kingdom. Let’s read our passage and then talk about Rahab.
Next topic. Prostitution. As you might imagine, this is not an activity that is encouraged in the Bible, and yet the Bible speaks of individuals who are sex workers in a surprising way – surprising, at least, to some who have an implicit view that Christianity is a religion for good people. Hebrews 11 has what many people have dubbed the ‘faith hall of fame,’ meaning that Hebrews 11 gives us many examples of men and women of the Old Testament who were faithful in one way or the other. Some of the names on the list are surprising, and maybe the most surprising of all is Rahab the prostitute:
31 By faith Rahab the prostitute welcomed the spies in peace and didn’t perish with those who disobeyed. Hebrews 11:31
Here’s a question for you: How did a Canaanite woman, who didn’t know the God of Israel at all, act in faith? While you’re thinking about it, here is another question: How did a prostitute act in faith? If you are struggling with those questions it is likely that a part of your struggle is because you equate faith with being good…and there’s probably some valid reasons for that. But Rahab didn’t know God, and her profession was one absolutely forbidden by the Bible. How could she have faith? How could she be in the “faith hall of fame?” Here’s the thing: faith means simply means belief. Rahab believed the Israelite spies and what they said about God. She believed, and she was saved. But wait, you say -she was a Canaanite! But wait, she was a prostitute?! That’s right – faith isn’t just for the righteous and the Godly. In fact, the testimony of the Bible is that ALL OF OUR righteousness, apart from Christ, amounts to a bunch of filthy rags. So, whether we are criminals, or prostitutes, or politicians, or pastors, or whatever before we meet Christ, it doesn’t matter. We don’t bring ANYTHING to the table. The most virtuous person adds nothing more to their salvation than the prostitute does. We all come to Christ empty-handed – with nothing to commend us. In fact, the criminals and prostitutes might be BETTER off than a seemingly virtuous person, because they know they have nothing to offer God, and when offered salvation by faith in what Jesus has done vs. salvation by being good – a criminal or a prostitute might jump at the offer. Jesus spoke of this dynamic to the most law-abiding law and order people of His time:
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you.32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you didn’t believe him. Tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him; but you, when you saw it, didn’t even change your minds then and believe him. Matthew 21:31-32
This reminds me of that great truth of Romans 5:8: 8 But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
So, we shouldn’t marvel that God saves prostitutes and criminals, or that there are prostitutes and criminals in the faith hall of fame – we should marvel and rejoice that God saves ANYBODY – while we were still sinners…Jesus died for us!
End of the Show: Bible memory verse for March: Hebrews 7:25 “Therefore, [Jesus] is able to save completely those who come to God through him, since he always lives to intercede for them.”
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