For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For,
"Yet a little while,
and the coming one will come and will not delay;
but my righteous one shall live by faith,
and if he shrinks back,
my soul has no pleasure in him.”
But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls. Hebrews 10:36-39, ESV
Hebrews 10:19-39 contains what may be the sternest warning passage in the book. It can strike fear even in the heart of the faithful when they first read, “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries” (10:26-27) or, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (10:31). We know that we still sin. We can remember times when our sin was even deliberate. Does this mean that God’s grace has run out for us? Are we doomed to eternal judgment?
The key to understanding this warning passage in Hebrews is to read the verses around it. The stern warning is followed by this reminder:
But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward (10:32-35).
We are not only being called to remember our sin but our moments of faith and endurance as well. The warning passage, as verse 35 makes clear, is a warning to the faithful to stay the course. Their endurance for the sake of Christ reflects their confidence in Him. That confidence of faith will be rewarded by God.
Verses 36-39 summarize the passage. Those who have endured much in their walk with the Lord are called to bear even more for the sake of the great reward promised to them. They do not endure to earn the reward. They endure because their faith is real faith. Christian endurance builds confidence in the heart of the believer. If they were to shrink back in the face of trials, there would be destruction. But they will not, for they are people of faith.
I pray that you will continue to grow in the confidence that comes from faithful endurance. Stay the course. Do not shrink back. Have faith. The object of your faith is true, and He will be faithful to bring you your reward. May your confidence grow, even today, as you walk by faith in Jesus.