You Need to Persevere
Mighty God, Your Word is true, reliable and changeless. Teach me and build me up according to Your Word.
Read Hebrews 10:26-39
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“I am no longer my own but yours. Put me to what you will. I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to your pleasure and disposal” (from the Methodist Covenant Prayer).
There is nothing squeamish about the author of Hebrews and he does not pull any punches here. He spells out the implications of turning back rather than persevering. Part of his point is that those who go back to live under the old covenant will be judged on the basis of that covenant (27). The apostasy that is described in v. 26–“If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth”–is not about things like falling back into old bad habits, struggling with persistent areas of weakness, struggling with doubt or even entering a wrong relationship. These are all sinful, but the proper response is to turn to Christ for mercy and help. What is described here is a deliberate and permanent turning from Christ (not the same as having difficulties with the church!), which denies him, spurns his cross and turns from grace (29). The strong language is the only appropriate language for such a betrayal.
But this author also has a pastoral heart. He reminds them that they have found Christ to be faithful in previous times of testing. They have stood up for their faith, and stood by one another under extreme pressure (32-34). With God’s help they can do so again. Whatever may have been taken from them in persecution, they knew they had something of far greater value that no one could take away. They are challenged to maintain that original confidence and so persevere. When Christ comes they will be richly rewarded (35). Verses from Isaiah 26 and Habakkuk 2 point them to faith as the way to both please God and find him faithful. Our author did not create the chapter breaks. He immediately begins his great section about the heroes of faith. Put together, the encouragement far outweighs the solemn warning.
How has Christ and his Word encouraged and challenged you recently? Is there someone who you can encourage today?
Gracious Father, permit me to witness authentically and serve You loyally. In situations where sorrow, shame and pain abound, may I point others clearly to You.
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