Friday, 7 September 2018
…but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end. Hebrews 3:6
The author now contrasts Moses of the previous verse to Christ here. Moses was a servant “in all His house.” This is speaking of Moses serving in God’s house. In contrast to that is Christ who is “as a Son over His own house.” The translation is not good. The word “own” should not be supplied. The Greek reads, “over the house of Him.” The word “Him” is speaking of God. The rendering should be, “but Christ as a Son over His house.” “His” is speaking of God. And so, speaking of God’s house, we can see the contrast –
Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant
…but Christ as a Son over His house
As has already been stated, this in no way diminishes the deity of Christ. He is fully God and fully Man. However, Christ the Man is what is being highlighted here. The Son of God is over the house of God. And what is that house? The author continues with the answer by saying, “whose house we are.” The author speaks in the plural, including himself and all others who are the house. The true house of God consists of the people of God. It is our fixed condition. This is referred to by both Paul and Peter elsewhere –
“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:19-22
“Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:4, 5
As you can see, the term “we” is being applied to the house of God cumulatively. An individual is not the house of God, he is a “member” in it, a living stone. And so, after noting that the people of God are, in fact, the house of God, the author then says that this is so “if we hold fast.” Again, he speaks in the plural. It is speaking of the people of the house. This is a theme which the author uses in Hebrews in order to keep the audience strong in the faith that they profess.
He then continues with, “the confidence.” The word “confidence” is a compound word formed from pas, or “all,” and rhésis, or “speech.” Thus, it is “a proverb or statement quoted with resolve” (HELPS Word Studies). It then is a witness to something that deserves to be taken seriously. After this he adds in, “and the rejoicing.” The Greek word speaks of a boasting which focuses on the object of the boasting. If it is in the Lord, it is positive. If it is in self, it is negative.
The author then says, “of the hope.” The hope is the rest of God (verse 3:11) as the house of God. One cannot hope for what one does not anticipate. The hope of the house, meaning the people of God, is a belief that the promises of God for His house will be realized. Thus, the confidence and rejoicing are in this rest that has been granted to the people of God, and which has come through the work of Christ. This hope is what we (plural) are to possess “to the end.” We are not to allow our confidence to waiver, nor are we to allow our rejoicing to falter. They are the evidences of the salvation of the people of the house, and they are what mark each as a member of the house of God, over which is the Son.
The word “end” here is telos. This is not speaking of the end of life, as if in a termination. It is “the point into which the whole life of faith finally gathers itself up” (Vincent’s Word Studies). Thus, this is speaking not of an individual faith which must be maintained, but the collective hope being expressed by the audience. One cannot hold fast to something when they are dead; only the collective can. The author’s examples of this which lie ahead show that this is speaking of a whole group, not merely individuals striving for salvation.
This entire clause, “if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end,” is wrongly assumed to indicate one can lose his salvation, as if simply losing our confidence and rejoicing in the work of the Lord is sufficient to condemn us. Actually, the opposite is the case. It is saying that those (plural as indicated) who do have true faith, which is grounded in boasting and confidence, will keep that to the end, showing that they are God’s house (as it says, “whose house we are”). If it were not so, God would have no house, nor could He have one until the very end.
The words are similar to what Paul says in Colossians 1:23 where he says, “if indeed.” The idea is, “If, as I presume.” There is a needful warning for the people of God, but the author does not anticipate failure. Rather, he refuses such a notion.
To think of what is going on, we can look to Israel in their relationship with the Lord. The Lord has promised to maintain Israel forever as a people. However, Israel as a people has often lost its confidence and rejoicing in the Lord. Despite this, they are still the Lord’s, and He has faithfully preserved them. The same is true with each individual in Christ. The Lord will never reject Israel collectively, and He will never reject those individuals who have faith in Christ. He is asking that his audience maintain their confidence as a whole. Christ is over the house (of who we collectively are), and we are to retain the confidence and rejoicing in that unto the end. In the case of the immediate context, the author is writing to the Hebrew believers.
Although this is getting a bit ahead, to show that this is not speaking of a loss of salvation, the coming verses will speak of disobedience and rebellion which lead to not entering God’s rest (verse 3:18). However, verse 4:3 says, “For we who have believed do enter that rest.” Therefore, those who have believed have entered into God’s promise. The words here, and to come, are speaking of those who have not believed. This will be explained again as the verses continue.
Life application: If we accept the words of salvation as an axiom – that we are saved by grace through faith, and that we are sealed as a guarantee – then we should be confident in that and rejoice in that, together with all the people of God’s house. All who have accepted Christ are individuals who then collectively make up the house of God. The house exists, and so we are to be confident in that. Our individual failure to maintain this confidence will not negate the fact that the house exists.
Lord God, thank You for the assurance of salvation You have granted to those who have been saved by You through the work of Christ. And thank You that this salvation is guaranteed from that moment on. You have given us a deposit until the time of our redemption, the Holy Spirit. No fear here! Knowing that we are sealed, we can be confident in the hope we profess. What Your word says is truth. Thank You for this wonderful assurance. Amen.