Friday, 22 February 2019
For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: Hebrews 10:36
The words here explain the thought of the previous verse where the author spoke of not casting away one’s confidence because it has great reward. That great reward, which lies yet ahead, is what is being referred to starting with, “For you have need of endurance.” In verses 10:32-34, the author described the hardships that had been faced by his readers. In not casting away their continued confidence, they would need to endure. This implies that the hardships of the past can be expected in the future as well.
When such hardships come, there is no sense in throwing in the towel and calling it quits. The course has been set, the prize is yet ahead, and in the interim, believers are to maintain the faith needed to endure. With this in mind, the author then shows that this is what is expected of believers. This is found in the words, “so that after you have done the will of God.” We are not given tests, trials, hardships, and pains in order to frustrate us, but to challenge us to remain steadfast. If believers give up their faith because of tough times, then how are they any different than non-believers?
But because there is the anticipation of future glory, there should be a willingness to endure through these frustrations with a sound, and even joyful, hope. The end goal of this, as stated by the author, is that “you may receive the promise.” This is what was stated at the end of verse 10:34 with the words, “knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven.”
The promise is the enduring possession found in heaven. This same promise is alluded to in Hebrews 11:13 & 11:39. Those who had gone before, under the Old Testament, had been given the promises. They patiently waited for them, living in faith that what God had promised would someday be realized. Now, in Christ, that promise is assured to believers. As this is so, how much more should we endure by faith, which is the will of God, and thus receive the promise? This is what the author is trying to get across to his audience.
Just because we are in Christ, we are still in this world. We are still in fallen bodies which have temptations, limitations, and frustrations galore. It is not this world which is our hope. If it were, we wouldn’t have much of a hope. But it is the promise which lies ahead that we are to hold fast to. The inheritance is assured. And so, despite our weaknesses, we are asked to hold fast to the promises of God.
Life application: The words of this verse are similar to that of 1 Timothy 4:16 –
“Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.”
Paul asked Timothy to persevere in his “life and doctrine.” Like Paul, the author of Hebrews asks his audience to persevere in doing “the will of God.” Outside of the Bible, we have no special revelation of the will of God. We can only determine things about Him from creation. But through the Bible, we have specific insights into God’s nature, His standards for us, and His purposes and promises. The promises include rewards based on our faithfulness in carrying out our Christian lives. Salvation is a gift and something we can in no ways merit apart from the work of Jesus, and eternal life is a promise based on our salvation. They go hand in hand. Our rewards, which come with a promise, result from what we do with the salvation He has provided. Therefore they must be eternal in nature.
One thing we do which deserves reward is to persevere. We are promised a reward for continued faithfulness. This should be obvious without ever being said. The Bible tells us that God is ever faithful so it shouldn’t be any surprise that faithfulness on our part reflects His image and is something we can expect to be rewarded for.
Are you living faithfully for Christ and watching your life and your doctrine closely? Be attentive to the few short years you have been given. Squandering eternal rewards because of temporary pressures, temptations, setbacks, or trials is hardly worth it. When you are feeling any of these, find a close friend to help redirect your steps, or do a topical study in the Bible to redirect your ways. In all things, remember to persevere, “so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive the promise.”
Lord Jesus, keep us from the pressures, temptations, setbacks, and trials which take our heart and our focus off of You. Direct our steps each and every day and keep our hearts softened to the things You require. In turn, we will follow where You lead all our days. But Lord, should such trials come, help us to endure through them, honoring You with our lives and actions to the best of our ability. To Your glory we pray. Amen.