We have a great high priest : an examination of the relation between Christ and the faithful in the thought of the author to the Hebrews
There is a tradition of interpretation, testimony to the influence of Kasemann's study of Hebrews which suggests that the finished work of Christ in the past is the guarantee of certain salvation for his faithful in the future. The relation between them is presented in terms of their following him to heaven. However, this does not allow that the emphasis on the completed aspect of Christ's work and the future element in the believers' salvation are connected with the occasional nature of Hebrews as a letter written to those tempted to abandon their Christian commitment. In fact the work of Christ is completed and yet continuing, salvation for the faithful both present and yet future. An analysis of major themes indicates that the relation between Christ and the believers is not future and indirect but rather present and direct. As rest for the people of God is both present and future, so faith has an 'invisible' aspect which is the foundation for its 'future' aspect. It is 'by faith' that the readers look to Jesus whose ministry ensures their present access to God 'in fulness of faith'. Integral to his understanding of sin and to his presentation of the sacrifice of Christ is the author's emphasis on the new covenant, under which sin is the deliberate rejection of its mediator, the Son of God who by his death has destroyed the power of death and lives for ever as High Priest, introducing his faithful into the presence of the living God. The relation of Christ to his faithful is present and direct, and indeed he is presented as one in whom they are included. A study focused particularly on 2:9; 3:14 and 10:10 reveals that integral to the epistle's central argument that Christ, who offered the only real sacrifice, is the only real priest is an estimate of him as not only absolutely alive but also as more than individual, as 'the inclusive Christ'.