Hebrews 10:23

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23

The author has already twice implored his readers to hold fast. In verse 3:6, he said –

“…whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.”

And then once again the same Greek word is used in verse 3:14 –

For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end.”

This is now the last time he will use it, and the last time it is used in Scripture. He urges his audience to “hold fast the confession of our hope.” In this then is the second of the three standard attributes which the author speaks of. In verse 10:22, the author wrote of “faith.” In this verse, he writes of “hope,” and in the next verse he will speak of “love.” The “confession of hope” is the surety of the promise of God as it applies to the life of the believer. We can have faith that God is merciful, but do we have hope that His mercy will be applied to those who believe in Christ? Such is the point of the author’s admonition.

The audience is exhorted to hold fast to that which has been promised, and they are admonished to do so “without wavering.” The word is found only here in Scripture, aklinés. It signifies “unbent,” and thus resolute and firm. There was to be only the mental assurance that what is promised will be delivered.

The lesson of Israel in the wilderness comes to mind. The people certainly knew that the Lord promised them entrance into Canaan, but they did not have faith that He would be with them in the process, and their hope was thus not grounded. Instead, it wavered. In this, they turned their hearts away from the Lord and back to Egypt. And in response, the Lord sentenced them to die in the wilderness. They failed to realize that “He who promised is faithful.”

Believers have been presented with the truth that Christ has gone before His people, through the veil, and into the Holy Places. Further, He is even now ministering as High Priest before God in order to mediate on our behalf. And so, to ensure that the reader doesn’t waver, he reminds them now that He is, in fact, faithful. Because He is, then why should His people do anything but hold fast to the hope they confess?

The lesson of Israel, being spared throughout the ages, and still remaining as a people now, demonstrates that God keeps His covenant even when His people falter and fail. As we have this demonstration of past (and continued) performance, and as we have the message of Christ revealed to us through the apostles, then there should be no wavering in our hope at all.

Life application: As a society progresses from honoring hard work to one which is entitlement-based, the very moral character of that society changes. Instead of being productive and tending to one’s own needs, the people begin to expect things they did not personally earn. Eventually, they take what is not theirs from those who have earned it. This is the direction that much of the industrialized world has been going, and in many cases, it has already arrived.

The moral fabric of many Christian denominations has followed this change and has become a social gospel rather than one based on a personal commitment to Jesus Christ. Another result of this move is that people in churches allow personal faith, and the surety of their hope, to become entitlement-based as well. Church attendance moves from focusing on the glory of God to discovering what God can do for the congregant. Pastors no longer preach on personal responsibility or Christian values, but instead preach that we should “expect a blessing” or “expect a miracle” in our lives.

People no longer come to the table in gratitude, but rather in expectation. When they arrive, they claim rather than proclaim; instead of “I proclaim the name of Jesus,” it becomes “I claim in the name of Jesus.” Ideally, holding fast to the hope we confess should include honoring the One in whom our hope rests, not demanding from Him.

If we really believe God exists and that He is sovereign, then our faith will remain strong in crisis as well as in prosperity. When we expect a reward for our faith, then our faith is misdirected – the reward was received when Jesus saved us. Everything else which comes after that must be taken in its proper context. Jesus is ever-faithful – our sins are forgiven, our resurrection is assured, and our eternity is settled. Let us remember to praise Him for His faithfulness.

Thank you, Sovereign Lord, for the perfect Gift of our Lord Jesus. Give us willing hearts to hold fast to the hope we confess in Him. Keep us from willful presumption, and rather, give us hearts that petition You in humility. Glory and honor belong to You! Amen.

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