Summary: Sermon 21 in a study in HEBREWS
“FOR YET IN A VERY LITTLE WHILE, HE WHO IS COMING WILL COME, AND WILL NOT DELAY. 38 BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH; AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM. 39 But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.” NASB
“For in just a very little while, “He who is coming will come and will not delay. 38 But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.” 39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.” NIV
There is a repeated exhortation running through this letter to the HEBREWS, which we may take as an underlying theme in the epistle.
It is the exhortation to endure; to hold fast our confidence in what we have believed; to ‘hold fast’, as he puts it in verse 23, ‘the confession of our hope without wavering’.
Here are the places we have seen it so far:
3:6 and 14 “but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house—whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.”
“For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end,”
4:14 “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.”
6:11 “And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end,”
And in verse 19 of chapter 6 is a familiar exhortation that is worded differently but carries the same message:
“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil,”
Then, in verse 23 of our text chapter once again,
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;”
So as we come to this final portion of chapter 10 we are being led to examine ourselves against several backdrops. • The writer speaks here of those who will face certain judgment, • he talks about those who will finally be vindicated for their patience in suffering due to their association with Jesus, • and he talks about the One who is coming and what His coming will mean to these categories of people. Let’s look closer.
HE COMES TO JUDGE
We are reminded here that Christ’s return will bring judgment upon the unbeliever – but that is an understatement. The wording in this passage should make the wise man tremble with the thought of the terrible punishment that will come upon those who have heard the good news, on some level understood having received that initial enlightening from the Holy Spirit that gets their attention, then have turned away and rejected Christ choosing the passing pleasures of this life instead.
Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is the only provision for anyone.
When people reject that there is no other payment for sin; no other sacrifice. So all that will be left for them is ‘a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries’.
Let that sink in for a minute. My friends and family, this is a horrible thought! Throughout the Bible fire is symbolic of the wrath of God and it is mentioned in reference to the purging of the saints and the destruction of the wicked.
But the wording of verse 27 is exceptionally graphic. Let each word ring in your ears as you hear it. ‘A certain terrifying expectation of judgment’. That’s all the apostate has to look forward to!
‘THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES.’ Now I want you to understand that all God’s adversaries are not outside the church. They are not only the bold, professing atheists, or the worldly liberal-thinking pagans that scoff at the church, mock God and His people and even fight against the forward movement of Christianity’s influence in society.
There are apostates within the church – tares among the wheat – goats among the sheep – and in the future for them there is only the certain terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume them.
Peter said, “For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” 1 Peter 4:17
And the writer here assures his hearers and readers that what God declared through Moses to His people so long ago remains true still; ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay’, and ‘The Lord will judge His people’.