Hebrews 3, 4, 6, 7. Part 14a.
How do we hold fast, remaining faithful to Christ? How do we continue in the faith when discouragement, fear, or doubts overwhelm us?
Like any other relationship, our feelings are often out of sync with our commitment. We don’t always feel crazy about those we love, even though they are dear. Likewise, we may have periods of time when our faith-filled emotions feel flat, when we’re merely going through the motions, when we question and doubt and flail around in frustration.
To address these very frustrations, the authors turn from the “elementary” truths we know about Christ, detailed in the first five chapters of Hebrews, to spell out how we are to persevere. They address 1) growth in faith and 2) encouragement for those who struggle with their faith.
Given the harsh persecution the first readers faced, the authors repeatedly circle back to this topic, expressing their concern in parental tones, agonizing over the readers’ temptation to abandon the faith and exhorting these to hold fast. They urge their readers to grow in faith and confidence in Christ. Persevering to the end is the evidence that our faith is true.Hold fast, grow in faith and confidence in Christ. Persevering to the end is the evidence that our faith is true. #liveyourfaith Click To Tweet
As previously stated in the letter:
“But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory. So, as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” (Hebrews 3:6-8a NIV).
“Take care, brothers (all believers), lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ; if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end” (Hebrews 3:12-14 ESV).
We must take care and deliberately resist the hardness and unbelief that can creep into our hearts. We watch and guard our hearts from everything that can draw us away. We don’t give way to bitterness or hopelessness. Instead we keep a responsive heart, a heart that is soft toward the Holy Spirit’s work. We continue to spend time with those who will exhort and encourage us. We hold fast to our original confidence in the Savior.
“Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed. Now we who have believed enter that rest…Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts… Let us make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish” (Hebrews 4:1-3a, 7, 11a NIV).
Like them, we have the responsibility to make every effort to stay true to Christ.
“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. 12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised” (Hebrews 6:10-11 NIV).
Believer, continue to do what is right. Continue to meet with other believers regularly. Continue to serve others with love and concern. Continue to meditate on and to have confidence in God’s Word. Continue to pour out your hopes, fears, and frustrations to God in prayer. Continue to press toward the Beloved. Continue to turn toward him with your whys. Don’t lose hope.Believer, continue to meditate on and to have confidence in God's Word. Continue to pour out your hopes, fears, and frustrations to God in prayer. Continue to press toward the Beloved. Don't lose hope. Click To Tweet
With motherly concern, these admonitions are mentioned again and again. And yet, there is a balancing truth to our perseverance.
God is the One who keeps and sustains us. We rest in Jesus. As believers who have entered his Sabbath rest, we know we can’t earn or retain our own salvation. The Lord empowers any good thing we undertake, including our perseverance. He remains faithful, no matter how tired, flat, or sluggish we feel. Entering his rest means we recognize that while we are to hold fast, HE did and does the sustaining work, not us.God is the one who sustains us. He remains faithful, no matter how tired, flat, or sluggish we feel. Entering his rest means we recognize that HE did and does the sustaining work, not us. #livingbyfaith Click To Tweet
With this in mind, we strive to live out the Christian life. We carefully tend our hearts. We continue to meditate on and to have confidence in what God has said. We don’t ease off in our final years or during the current struggle or when we doubt, but we imitate those who through faith and patience continued walking with the Lord, as detailed in Hebrews 11.
Because we believe, we will inherit what was promised. We will persevere in the faith, for he holds us fast. As he turns us toward himself again and again, the love and affection we have for him will grow. All we have in Christ will be completely realized when we see him face to face.
“And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end” (Hebrews 6:11 ESV).
Persevering to the end is evidence that our faith is indeed real. The Lord himself will keep us secure until the final day. He will turn us back and back again to him when we turn prodigal or falter or doubt. We have every possible reason to hope.Persevering to the end is evidence that our faith is real. The Lord himself will keep us secure until the final day. He will turn us back and back again to him when we falter. We have every reason to hope. Click To Tweet
Jesus is the guarantor. He holds his priesthood permanently. Because Jesus eternally serves as our great high priest, the one who sacrificed himself for us, who intervenes for us, who pleads our case before the Father:
“He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for us” (Hebrews 7:25 ESV).
Jesus isn’t giving up on us. He isn’t quitting. He won’t stop interceding for us before the Father. His help is promised and guaranteed. He will hold us fast. He will continue to plead for us. He will continue to do what he has promised. He is steadfast. He won’t let go of us.Jesus isn't giving up on us. He won't stop interceding for us. His help is promised and guaranteed. He will hold us fast. He will continue to do what he has promised. He is steadfast. He won't let go of us. Click To Tweet
His indestructible life guarantees our salvation. This is the grounds we have for our hope, our expectation of good. By his grace and with his enablement, we can and we WILL hold fast.
Jesus is carrying us, even when our emotions are battered and bruised. Our assurance of hope in Christ can and will remain steadfast until the end. He will see that it does. This is the proof of our salvation.
What about you?
Will you continue in his path, walking in his ways, doing what he has instructed? Will each of us hold fast, knowing he is faithful? How do you, as a believer, live this out?