Hebrewsby Robert M. Solomon
Having called for confidence in the truths about Jesus as our High Priest and Saviour and cautioned against leaving these truths, the author now urges his original readers to persevere in their faith in Christ (Hebrews 10:36). Most of the Jewish Christians were thankfully faithful to Christ, though there were some who had already drifted away from their faith into apostasy. They had left the Christian faith to return to Judaism because they would thus escape the severe persecution directed at Christians.
Thus far, the writer has written persuasively about the unshakeable truths about Christ and the foolishness of drifting away from Him. Lest those who had remained faithful thus far be tempted to drift away as well, the writer reminds them of how they ″received the light″ (responded to the gospel) and stood firmly in their faith amid great persecution and suffering (Hebrews 10:32). They had been persecuted in several ways (vv. 33-34). They were publicly insulted. Some were imprisoned; some had their properties confiscated. In all of this they had stood firm and in solidarity with their suffering brethren. They knew that even if they lost their earthly possessions, they would inherit lasting possessions if they were faithful (v. 34; see 1 Peter 1:4). The writer urges the remaining steadfast believers not to throw away their confidence in Christ (Hebrews 10:35), and assures them that their faithfulness will be rewarded. They need to persevere in their faith and obedience to the will of God (v. 36). God will reward such steady faith. The author combines the Septuagint version of Habakkuk 2:3 with Isaiah 26:21, substituting ″the revelation″ with ″he who is coming″ (Hebrews 10:37). Christ is coming ″in just a little while″ (v. 37)-which to any believer in the midst of persecution and suffering would provide much faith and encouragement.
This book addresses two types of people who profess to be Christians: those who ″[shrink] back″ and those who persevere in faith (Hebrews 10:38-39). The first group are headed for serious trouble (God will not be pleased with them; they will be destroyed). The second group will be saved. Jesus did teach about the broad and narrow way. The broad way may appear easy and more comfortable to travel on but it ″leads to destruction″ (Matthew 7:13). The narrow road is a more difficult path to travel, and few travel on it but it ″leads to life″ (Matthew 7:14). We have to make the right choice.
Reflect on the persecution that the original readers of Hebrews had experienced. How are they encouraged by the writer? What forms of loss and suffering have you experienced? Read John 16:33. How does Christ's promise help you?
How might Christians shrink back when it becomes difficult to remain faithful to Christ? What can they do when tempted in this way?