“A Better Thing” ( Hebrews 11: 39-40, GENEVA 1599 ) by Carley Evans


The author of Hebrews delineates the champions of faith from the time before Christ, then says that although their faith allowed them to “obtained good report;” nevertheless they “received not the promise.”

“these all through faith obtained good report, and received not the promise,

40 God providing a better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.”

In order to obtain perfection, these Old Covenant saints needed us. What do we have that they don’t? The author says they have faith. What are they missing that is found in us? It isn’t as if God did not forgive sins during the Old Covenant times, it’s that it required the repetitive sacrifice of bulls and goats and lambs and doves – it required a great deal of shed blood.

What we have that the OC saints did not is – of course – the shed blood of Jesus Christ, the one and only sacrifice. His sacrifice is the promise we obtained; the promise they only looked for as through a glass darkly. The OC saints yearned for a better country – perhaps we should say – a better time, a better thing.

“Life Is Christ” (Philippians 1: 21, NEB) by Carley Evans


“For to me life is Christ, and death gain; but what if my living on in the body may serve some good purpose?” The purpose of which Paul speaks is to “stand by [us] all to help [us] forward and to add joy to [our] faith.” (Philippians 1: 25) Paul would rather die and be with Christ, which “is better by far.” (Philippians 1: 24)

Paul calls us to “look to each other’s interest and not merely to [our] own.” (Philippians 2: 4) It is in Paul’s best interest to exit life to be with Christ — for to Paul “death is gain.” Instead, he knows “there is greater need for [him] to stay on in the body.” (Philippians 1: 25) He puts our interests above his own. Paul says, “Let your bearing towards one another arise out of your life in Christ Jesus. For the divine nature is His from the first; yet He does not think to snatch equality with God, but makes Himself nothing, assuming the nature of a slave.” (Philippians 2: 5 – 8)

The author of Hebrews writes of men and women of faith who die “not yet in possession of the things promised.” Instead, they “see them far ahead and hail them, and confess themselves no more than strangers or passing travellers on earth. Those who use such language show plainly that they are looking for a country of their own. If their hearts are in the country they leave, they could find opportunity to return. Instead, we find them longing for a better country — I mean the heavenly one.” (Hebrews 11: 13 – 16) For them death is gain. For us, too, death is gain. But we remain in the body so as to serve one another, build up one another, love and care for one another.

“The World Is Passing Away” (1 John 2: 15 – 16, ESV) by Carley Evans


“The world is passing away along with its desires,” writes the author of 1 John.
The author of Hebrews writes of Christians of great faith who “acknowledge that they [are] strangers and exiles on earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland… As it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared for them a city.” (Hebrews 11: 13 – 14, 16)

Therefore, exhorts the author of 1 John, do not love the world. Why love the world which is passing away – why want the world and its desires?

“By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. By faith, Moses when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharoah’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.” (Hebrews 11: 23 – 26)

1 John’s author says, “For all that is in the world — the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions — is not from the Father but is from the world.”

Paul states, “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish…that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3: 8, 11)

God has prepared a city for us, for those of us who have left behind the world to actively wait for our inheritance — even the salvation of our souls.