Today’s Readings: Hebrews 6:10-20. Psalm 111. Mark 2: 23-28.
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23). We have a compelling hope as we follow Jesus Christ.
I suspect that most of us are probably not overly joyful, full of beans and carefree at the moment. There is a lot of uncertainty, sadness and anxiety around, in spite of many acts of Christian kindness. In all of this, if we belong to Jesus we can rely upon God’s love and promises. In the opening 10 verses of Hebrews 6 we are told that God wants Christians to grow in their faith and to become more mature. The writer also points out the dangers of believers falling away from that faith and thereby disgracing Jesus. Today’s reading, however, also provides huge reassurance that in difficult times we can look forward to “better things” (v9) as we persevere in our faith because:
* “God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them” (v10).
* just like Abraham, we might have to “wait patiently” but God keeps all His promises to us (v13-15). Remember, “it is impossible for God to lie” (v18).
* “God wanted to make the unchanging nature of His purpose very clear” (v17) to those who are trusting in Jesus. There are no ‘U-turns’ with God’s plans, ever!
* we can “take hold of the hope offered to us” and ”be greatly encouraged” v18).
Underlying the above verses is the writer’s concern that Christians continue to be lovingly committed to each other up to the very end of their lives so that their hope in God is sure (v11). There is a clear exhortation in verse 12 – “We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” At a time when we are unable to enjoy our usual freedoms and feel continually bombarded with sad news about the Covid pandemic, this is a highly relevant call for us to persevere and to place our trust and sure hope in God for our eternal safety. As David Peterson writes so well in the New Bible Commentary, “Their faithfulness in Christ and practical concern for one another in testing times are inspired by a compelling hope. Now when their greatest enemy seems to be sluggishness, they need to show the same diligence (zeal) to keep hope fully alive to the very end….The basis of Christian hope is not wishful thinking about the future but the solemn promise of God!” Hebrews 11 speaks of Old Testament heroes who lived and persevered “by faith” – firstly though the writer states that “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
How sure and certain are we? As we walk with Jesus, relying on what He has done for us, we can persevere throughout our lives sustained by the rock-solid hope of our eternal future with Him. Jesus has gone before us and, mission accomplished, He is again with His Father in heaven interceding for us. So let’s persevere, however tough our lives are at present, and remember that Jesus went through far more than us. Let’s “take hold of the the hope offered to us and be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” (6:18-19). What a promise this is!
A Prayer for Today: Thank you Lord God that you keep all your promises. Help us to rely on the sure hope we have through your Son Jesus. Help us Father to love and to serve you as you deserve. May we also be diligent in serving each other and those we know. Make us patient as we wait for the blessings you have promised. Encourage us now and always as we take hold of the firm and secure hope we have in Jesus. Amen