Summary: Don’t give up on your profession—the righteous shall live by his faith!
January 13, 2013
In our last study we were encouraged to hang on to our profession of Christ because we know God will consume the wicked and will have mercy on the righteous:
32But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;
He encourages them to remember back when they were first saved—they had to go through great fight of suffering:
33Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock
The word for gazingstock is θεατρίζω (theatrizō)—they’re suffering was a public thing:
both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.
They and all their friends were publicly criticized, abused, and put under great pressure for their belief in Christ,
34For ye had compassion of me in my bonds,
The Greek word for compassion is συμπαθέω (sympatheō). He’s telling them to remember when they were personally grieved because of what was happening to their friend.
and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.
When they had their property stolen they didn’t raise a fuss about it because they knew that they have property in heaven that endures and can’t be taken. It reminds me of Matthew 6:19-21: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” They knew they had something better in heaven, and that’s where their hearts were.
35Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.
If you’ve made it this far, don’t give up now! Think of the Israelites who made it all the way to the border of Canaan but turned back when things were tough.
“Recompense of reward” is only one word in Greek, and it’s only used in Hebrews: 2:2—those who disobeyed got a just recompense of reward and 11:26—Moses considered suffering for Christ was better than the riches of Egypt because he was thinking about the recompense of reward.
Don’t turn back now because you know this isn’t all for nothing. There’s a much better reward coming to those who wait:
36For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
And this is the hard part—for who hopes for what he already has? He’s setting us up for the next chapter where he describes all the saints who waited until death without receiving the Promised Land, but they weren’t looking for dirt. They were looking for a city far superior to anything ever built in Jerusalem!
Is life falling apart? Ok; this isn’t the reward anyway. Is America going crazy? Ok; this isn’t the Promised Land. We’re aliens and strangers just passing through; we need patience to finish whatever God has in store for us here and then we’ll receive the promise. Think about Abraham. He was to marry Sarah and they would have a child named Isaac, and Abraham would offer Isaac by faith, and then he would get a wife for his son. These things were all written before the first day started, and he would have to endure them all before he could get the promise. But when his time was up he went on to be with the Lord!
The same is true for these Hebrews and for us. However difficult life is we know that it’s according to the will of the Lord, and it’s a necessary journey leading us to the Promised Land!
37For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. 38Now the just shall live by faith:
Habakkuk complained because of so much lawlessness and strife in his day. Men were too proud to fear God, and Habakkuk had so many doubts because of it. That sounds a lot like Hebrews doesn’t it? Will the Lord come back as promised? How can things be this bad? Why are things so tough for us?
But hang on to your faith!
Look at God’s reassurance to Habakkuk 2:2—Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.
The idea is that he’s to write this vision down in such a way that it’s plain and easy to read:
3For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie:
In other words, this prophecy won’t be fulfilled soon, but even though it takes a long time, it will be proven true in the end.