Hold onto the Hope You Profess


20sca01cHold on tight!” can be a crucially important instruction, particularly if you are struggling in the water and someone throws you a rope. Even more important is the command in Hebrews 10:19-25 to hold on, to hold unswervingly to the hope you profess.

Hold unswervingly to the hope you profess. Do not waver; draw near to God. You have confidence to enter the innermost sanctuary, the Most Holy Place, not of an earthly tablernacle, but rather of the heavenly one. You have entered by the blood of Jesus, the great high priest over God’s house. He is the new, the living way. He has cleansed the consciences of those who trust in him. This is not a mere outward ceremony, but a change from the inside out, affecting your entire person. “Those who make bold to enter the heavenly sanctuary by the blood of Jesus are by that same blood purified and made fit for the divine presence; the cleansing of the conscience removes the barrier which prevented their free access.” (F. F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews, p. 250). You have professed your hope. Christ is the hope, the certainty of your salvation, and you have professed him as your Lord and Savior. Trust in him involves a public profession, Romans 10:9. Beware of turning away from Christ, of being indecisive in your relationship with him, of starting to wander from him.

Don’t waver, because the one who promised is faithful. Your salvation rests on the faithfulness of God. This is a salvation the basis of which is not your decision, but the character of God. God has promised Christ–with full access to God though him. He has promised to complete your salvation. His promise is sure.

Spur one another on. Encourage love and good deeds. You have a mutual responsibility. You are part of a body, and must show concern for one another. That concern must include spurring (the word often has a negative connotation, though not so here) one another on to good works. Encourage one another to show love, and to do good works. This love is not an amorphous emotion, but is a love that is structured by the law of God. It is obedient action.

Do not give up meeting together. You face the danger of drifting away. Drifting involves neglecting the fellowship of the saints, absenting yourself from the meeting to worship. Don’t deny the unity of the body of Christ. Instead, encourage one another. Experience the blessings of placing the Lord’s Day above your own desires, Isaiah 58:13,14. Calvin notes that the unity of the body of Christ, its continued fellowship, flows out of looking for his return. As Hebrews 12 reminds you, when you assemble, you come not to an earthly mountain, but to the heavenly Jerusalem. “[T]he nearer His coming is the more we must bend our efforts that the scattered may be brought together and united and that there may be one fold and one Shepherd.” (Commentary on Hebrews).

Where do you focus? See the Day approaching! “The Day” is the New Testament equivalent of “the Day of the Lord. God is returning in judgment. Don’t imagine that you will somehow be overlooked. The church needs to be looking constantly to the returning Lord, even though the time of his coming may seem to be delayed. Notice the reciprocal movement. Because Christ has entered the Most Holy Place, you can, and are, drawing there. But even as you do so, the Day of his coming draws near. “Each successive Christian generation is called upon to live as the generation of the end time, if it is to live as a Christian generation.” (F. F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews, p. 258).

Hold on!” is a command addressed to you. But Hebrews is not pushing you to look at yourself as much as he is calling you to focus on the faithfulness of the One who promised. The Day of your Lord’s return is approaching. Keep looking to him.

About jwm

I serve as pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church, Newberg, Oregon.
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