Blessed Wishes!

Bible Book: Hebrews  13 : 20-21
Subject: Greeting, Godly; Wish, Blessed; Regeneration

Blessed Wishes from the author to the recipient. Best wishes is good; blessed wishes is better.

Dr. William Barclay (1907-1978) writes, “The great prayer of Heb. 13:20-21 draws a perfect picture of God and of Jesus.

(i) God is the God of peace. Even in the most troublous and distressing situation, he can bring peace to men’s souls. In any fellowship where there is division, it is because men have forgotten God and only the remembrance of his presence can bring back the lost peace. When a man’s mind and heart are distracted and he is torn in two between the two sides of his own nature, it is only by giving his life into the control of God that he can know peace. It is only the God of peace who can make us at peace with ourselves, at peace with each other and at peace with himself.

(ii) God is the God of life. It was God who brought Jesus again from the dead. His love and power are the only things which can bring a man peace in life and triumph in death. It was to obey the will of God that Jesus died and that same will brought him again from the dead. For the man who obeys the will of God there is no such thing as final disaster; even death itself is conquered.

(iii) God is the God who both shows us his will and equips us to do it. He never gives us a task without also giving us the power to accomplish it. When God sends us out, he sends us equipped with everything we need.”[1]

In Hebrews 13:20-21 we find the following great benediction: “Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”

Allow me to point out three blessed wishes from our text.

I. The first blessed wish relates to the power of the resurrection.

Dr. John R. W. Stott (1921-2011) writes, “Christianity is in its very essence a resurrection religion. The concept of resurrection lies at its heart. If you remove it, Christianity is destroyed.”[2]
Dr. Alexander Maclaren (1826-1910) writes, “Luther was once found at a moment of peril and fear, when he had need to grasp unseen strength, sitting in an abstracted mood tracing on the table with his finger the words, "Vivit! vivit!" ("He lives! He lives!") It is our hope for ourselves, and for His truth and for mankind. Men come and go; leaders, teachers, thinkers speak and work for a season, and then fall silent and impotent. He abides. They die, but He lives. They are lights kindled, and therefore, sooner or later quenched; but He is the true light from which they draw all their brightness, and He shines for ever more.”[3]
Dr. Joseph C. Macaulay (1900-1982) writes, “[Dr. Thomas] Arnold of Rugby [(1795-1842)] declared: ‘I have been used for many years to study the histories of other times, and to examine and weigh the evidence of those who have written about them, and I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort, to the understanding of a fair enquirer, than the great sign which God hath given us that Christ died and rose again from the dead.’”[4]

Hebrews 13:20a reads, “Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep. . .”

Dr. Adam Clarke (1760-1832) writes, “Brought again from the dead our Lord—As our Lord’s sacrificial death is considered as an atonement offered to the Divine justice, God’s acceptance of it as an atonement is signified by his raising the human nature of Christ from the dead; and hence this raising of Christ is, with the utmost propriety, attributed to God the Father, as this proves his acceptance of the sacrificial offering.”[5]
Dr. Albert Barnes (1798-1870) writes, “The word peace in the New Testament is used to denote every kind of blessing or happiness. It is opposed to all that would disturb or trouble the mind, and may refer, therefore, to reconciliation with God; to a quiet conscience; to the evidence of pardoned sin; to health and prosperity; and to the hope of heaven. John 14:27.

That brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus. Acts 2:32, 1 Corinthians 15:15. It is only by the fact of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus that we have peace, for it is only by him that we have the prospect of an admission into heaven.

That great shepherd of the sheep. John 10:1, 14. The idea here is, that it is through the tender care of that great Shepherd that true happiness is bestowed on the people of God.”[6]

II. The second blessed wish relates to the plan of redemption.

Rev. Charles H. Spurgeon writes, “The heart of the gospel is redemption, and the essence of redemption is the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ.”[7] Dr. John R. W. Stott writes, “Jesus came not only to teach but to save, not only to reveal God to mankind, but also to redeem mankind for God.”[8]

From our text in Hebrews 13:20b we read, “Through the blood of the everlasting covenant.” Dr. Albert Barnes explains, “The blood shed to ratify the everlasting covenant that God makes with his people. Hebrews 9:14, Hebrews 9:15-23. This phrase, in the original, is not connected, as it is in our translation, with his being raised from the dead; nor should it be so rendered, for what can be the sense of ‘raising Christ from the dead by the blood of the covenant?’ In the Greek it is, ‘The God of peace, who brought again from the dead the shepherd of the sheep, great by the blood of the everlasting covenant, our Lord Jesus’ etc. The meaning is, that he was made or constituted the great Shepherd of the sheep-the great Lord and Ruler of his people, by that blood. That which makes him so eminently distinguished; that by which he was made superior to all others who ever ruled over the people of God, was the fact that he offered the blood by which the eternal covenant was ratified. It is called everlasting or eternal, because

(1.) it was formed in the councils of eternity, or has been an eternal plan in the Divine Mind; and

(2.) because it is to continue for ever. Through such a covenant God can bestow permanent and solid ‘peace’ on his people, for it lays the foundation of the assurance of eternal happiness.”[9]

Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe explains about, “God’s work in the believer. As the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ died for the sheep (John 10:11). As the Great Shepherd, He lives for the sheep in heaven today, working on their behalf. As the Chief Shepherd, He will come for the sheep at His return (1 Peter 5:4). Our Shepherd cares for His own in the past, present, and future. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever! Our Great High Priest is also our Great Shepherd. When He was on earth, He worked for us when He completed the great work of redemption (John 17:4). Now that He is in heaven, He is working in us to mature us in His will and bring us to a place of spiritual perfection. We will never reach that place until He returns (1 John 2:28-3:3); but while we are waiting, we are told to continue to grow. . . .

The basis for this marvelous work is ‘the blood of the everlasting covenant’ (Heb. 13:20). This is the New Covenant that was discussed in Hebrews 8, a covenant based on the sacrifice discussed in Hebrews 10. Because this New Covenant was a part of God’s eternal plan of salvation, and because it guarantees everlasting life, it is called ‘the everlasting covenant.’ But apart from the death of Jesus Christ, we can share in none of the blessings named in this profound benediction.”[10]

Dr. Michael P. Green, former professor at Moody Bible Institute, shares, “Many unregenerate men consider themselves to be God’s children, or ‘sons of God.’ But being a product of God’s handiwork does not qualify one for a sonship relationship. A cabinetmaker constructs a cabinet. But this does not make the cabinet a ‘child’ of the cabinetmaker. A birth process would be necessary for this. The unregenerate man who claims sonship with God ‘because he made me’ is basing his claim merely on the fact that he is a product of God's handiwork. Like the cabinet, he lacks the new birth necessary for a sonship relationship.”[11]

On the “blood of the eternal covenant” Dr. Simon J. Kistemaker explains, “Through the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, God announces his intention to establish an everlasting covenant with his people (Isa. 55:3; 61:8; Jer. 32:40; 50:5; Ezek. 16:60; 37:26). This covenant is everlasting because it is sealed in blood—to be precise, the blood of the Messiah. In the messianic prophecy of Zion’s king who enters Jerusalem on a donkey (Zech. 9:9; also see Matt. 21:5 and parallels), God promises his people deliverance ‘because of the blood of my covenant’ (Zech. 9:11).

Two major themes dominate the epistle: the high-priestly work of Christ, summarized in the expression blood, and the covenant that is eternal. In this verse, once again and for the last time these themes are highlighted. God's covenant with his people will remain forever. That covenant has been sealed with Christ's blood which was shed once for all (9:26; 10:10).”[12]
Hebrews 10:29 reads, “Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?”

III. The third blessed wish relates to the purpose of regeneration.

Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) writes, “To expect Christian conduct from a person who is not born again is rank heresy.”[13] If you are not born again, I do not expect you to act like a Christian. In fact, it would be better for you if you would quit trying until you come to trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ for your salvation. Rev. Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892) writes, “Every generation needs regeneration.”[14] As Jesus said to Nicodemus, “You must be born again” (John 3:7b).

From our text in Hebrews 13:21 we read, “make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”

Dr. Simon J. Kistemker, “In the second part of the benediction (v. 21), we note these considerations:

‘May God. . . equip you.’ The [second] part of the benediction . . . reveals what God is doing in Christ's people. In this section the author utters a prayer in behalf of the readers and asks God to equip them to do his will. . . . A plaque with simple wording adorns a wall in our family room. Every member of the family can testify to the truthfulness of the wording. Here is the text: ‘The will of God can never lead you where the grace of God cannot keep you.’

‘May [God] work in us.’ In preceding verses the writer encourages the reader to live a life that is pleasing to God (11:5-6; 12:28; 13:16). A person who lives such a life is commended by God himself and is rewarded (II Cor. 5:9-10). But man looks to God for help, direction, and wisdom. And because of the eternal covenant he has made with us through Jesus Christ, he grants us assistance. The writer of Hebrews prays that God may work in us to do that which pleases him. . . . Why is God willing to work in us? The author is almost repetitious in the wording of this benediction. He spells out that through Jesus Christ—note the combination of the two names (also see 10:10: 13:8)—God himself works in us and equips us to do his will. Through Jesus Christ, therefore, we are in God, and God works in us (John 17:21).”[15]

In an article titled, “ARE WE GROWING MUSHROOMS, OR OAKS? A word to Prospective Maniacs,” Dr. Vance Havner (1901-1986) shares, “I am convinced that if the devil cannot make us lazy, he will make us so busy here and there that the best is sacrificed for the good.”[16]

Dr. A. J. Gordon (1836-1895) writes, “Regeneration restores man to his forfeited life, the unfallen life of the Son of God, the life which has never wavered from steadfast fellowship with the Father. ‘I give unto them eternal life,’ says Jesus. Is eternal life without end? Yes; and just as truly without beginning. It is uncreated being in distinction from all-created being; it is the I-am life of God in contrast to the I-become life of all human souls. By spiritual birth we acquire a divine heredity as truly as by natural birth we acquire a human heredity.”[17]

Dr. J. I. Packer writes, “The new birth or regeneration is an inner recreating of fallen human nature by the Holy Spirit. It changes the disposition from lawless, godless self-seeking into one of trust and love, of repentance for past rebelliousness and unbelief, and loving compliance with God's law henceforth. It enlightens the blinded mind to discern spiritual realities and liberates and energizes the enslaved will for free obedience to God.

The use of the figure of new birth to describe this change emphasizes two facts about it. The first is its decisiveness. The regenerate man has forever ceased to be the man he was; his old life is over and a new life has begun; he is a new creature in Christ, buried with him out of reach of condemnation and raised with him into a new life of righteousness.

The second fact emphasized is that regeneration is due to the free, and to us, mysterious, exercise of divine power. Infants do not induce or cooperate in their own procreation and birth; no more can those who are dead in trespasses and sins prompt the quickening operation of God’s Spirit within them.”[18]


C. A. (Charles Andrew) Coates (1862-1945) writes, “It matters little whether I am doing great things or small things, whether I am appreciated by those whom I seek to serve or otherwise, whether I am prominent or obscure, whether I see much result or little. The paramount question is: Am I in the place, circumstance, service, and condition of soul that pleases the Lord, so I have the consciousness of His approval?”[19]

May we apprehend or lay hold on the power of the resurrection, the plan of redemption, and the purpose of regeneration. Blessed wishes!

[1]William Barclay, Barclay's Daily Study Bible (NT). Database © 2012 WORDsearch Corp.

[2]Edythe Draper, Draper's Book of Quotations for the Christian World, (1992), 533, Database © 2009 WORDsearch Corp.

[3]Knight's Master Book of New Illustrations, ed. Walter B. Knight, “Vivit! Vivit!” (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1956), 554. Database © 2007 WORDsearch Corp.

[4]Knight's Master Book of New Illustrations, ed. Walter B. Knight, “Overwhelming Evidence!” Joseph C. Macaulay, D. D. in Moody Monthly, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1956), 557. Database © 2007 WORDsearch Corp.

[5]Adam Clarke, Adam Clarke's Commentary. Database © 2013 Wordsearch.

[6]Albert Barnes, Notes on the New Testament Explanatory and Practical. Database © 2012 WORDsearch Corp.

[7]John Blanchard, The Complete Gathered Gold: A treasury of quotations for Christians , (Evangelical Press 2006), 520, Database © 2007 WORDsearch Corp.

[8]Blanchard, Gold.

[9]Barnes, Notes.

[10]Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary – New Testament, Volume 2, 330. Database WORDsearch Corp.

[11]Illustrations for Biblical Preaching, ed. Michael P. Green, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group, 1989), 299.

[12]Simon J. Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: Hebrews (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1984), 429. Database © 2008 WORDsearch Corp.


[14]Blanchard, Gold.

[15]Kistemaker, Hebrews, 431.

[16]Evangelical Recorder, ed. Douglas C. Percy, Vance Havner, “ARE WE GROWING MUSHROOMS, OR OAKS? A word to Prospective Maniacs,” Vol. 84, No. 3, (Willowdale, ONT: Ontario Bible College, September, 1978), 8.

[17]A. J. Gordon, The Ministry of the Spirit, (Philadelphia, PA: Judson Press, 1949), 102.

[18]J. I. Packer, Your Father Loves You, (Wheaton, IL: Harold Shaw Publishers, 1986), January 22.

[19]Christian Truth, Volume 38, C. A. Coates, “The Lord’s Approbation,” (Addison, IL: Bible Truth Publishers, n. d.), Accessed 04/14/14, .

By Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, pastor First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort 30775 Jay Drive Spanish Fort, Alabama 36527

Author of Don’t Miss the Revival! Messages for Revival and Spiritual Awakening from Isaiah and

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