Friday, 21 January 2022
"For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end….” – Hebrews 3:14
The Epistle to the Hebrews was written as an exhortation to those who were falling away from their original belief in Christ Jesus. The writer portrays the superiority of Christ over all Old Testament saints; he describes Him in many ways— ‘The Apostle and High Priest of our confession ‘(Heb.3:1); ‘the Author and Finisher of our Faith’ (Heb.12:2); ‘the Great Shepherd of the sheep (Heb.13:20). It is to Him, they are to hold steadfast till the end. A believer is a partaker of Christ- participating in His life, sharing in His blessings and destined to reign with Him in eternity. 2 Timothy 2:12 reminds us “If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us.” The Israelites who were freed from Egypt had to undertake a wilderness journey until they reached the Promised land and only those who endured and did not waver with unbelief reached there. The same applies to the believer who is called to live a life of endurance till the end. How do we hold our confidence STEADFAST to the end? A few thoughts from our reading itself:
Consider Christ Jesus who was faithful to the One who appointed Him (Vs1&2)
Jesus is our example of being faithful to God’s calling and mission. Apostle means “sent one”- He was sent to fulfil God’s purpose of saving mankind from eternal death. In being the High Priest, He interceded on sinful man’s behalf before a Holy God- that we would be made accepted through Him! Jesus proved faithful to His Father. Looking to His example, we too are called to be faithful.
Beware of an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God (V12)
Unbelief cost the major number of the Israelites in losing the entry to the Promised land. They saw the “giants” bigger than the All-Powerful God who could deliver and fulfill all that He had promised them. The next verse speaks of the deceitfulness of sin which can harden hearts! The lure of sin can easily pull one away from true belief in the Living God, leading one astray- far away from the ways of God. Do we doubt God and His promises over our lives? Beware of unbelief that takes you away from God!
Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion (V15)
In their rebellion against God, the Israelites ’hearts became hardened. They could not perceive what God could do for them even though the way ahead looked hard. The attitude of their hearts defined their actions! They complained and murmured against God and Moses- They even said, “Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?”(Numbers 14:3). They who had seen the mighty hand of God work on their behalf in parting the Red Sea and sinking their enemies now could not believe what He could do for them. How about us? How are our hearts toward God? Is there a hardening that has happened to your heart that you now rebel against Him?
Remember God’s loving kindness toward us in saving us from eternal damnation and bringing us into His Kingdom: “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” (Col.1:13,14). Would we easily forget the precious price He paid for our redemption? Would we forget that we are joint heirs with Christ (Rom.8:17) and would one day reign with Him? If we have gone away from His love, let us return to Him. As partakers with Him let us hold our confidence steadfast to the end!
A Promise: “…He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight—if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard…” (Colossians 1:21-23)