“But we are not those who draw back and are destroyed, but those who have faith and are saved” (Hebrews 10:39 CSB)
Under the sacrificial system, Levitical priests would declare a person’s sins forgiven as the result of an appropriate sacrifice. The writer of Hebrews presents the truth that Jesus’ sacrifice perfectly fulfilled that law and that believers now have access to God through Him. In the life of a Christian, that gift should produce a desire to live faithfully to our Savior. While we are not promised a life of ease, we are called to a life of faith, confidence, and endurance through a relationship with Jesus.
Hebrews 10 is written to a group of believers who had returned to their previous way of life or were considering doing so due to trials, hardship, or persecution. The author opens the chapter by teaching that Jesus fulfilled the law as the perfect sacrifice. The reader is then encouraged to draw near to God and fellow believers through Jesus’ sacrifice. Finally, the author reminds us that we are called to live a life of confidence and resolve as we face trials and endure hardships.
As youngsters, my siblings and I were allowed to walk to our grandparents’ house which was a few miles from where we lived. The trip always began with excitement as we anticipated what sorts of treats Mamaw had for us; however, at about the halfway point we were met by a long, steep hill that challenged our resolve. Why we had forgotten about the hill since the last time we walked that way I’ll never know. But I will never forget the endurance required to conquer it! It would’ve been easier to turn around and go home. Our strategy for climbing the hill was pretty simple: take one step at a time, rest every once in a while, and remember Mamaw’s treats.
Like the hill on the way to my grandparents’ house, we are guaranteed to encounter obstacles in our spiritual journey (John 16:33, Romans 12:12, James 1, 1 Peter 5:10). Sometimes these obstacles are small and easily conquered. Other times, though, the trials we experience are extremely difficult and require a great deal of endurance. In these moments, it may be tempting to throw our hands up, give up, and return to a way of life that seems easier. The writer of Hebrews understood the difficulties Christians faced long ago and still face today. He reminds us that Jesus is greater than our trials and that believers are, in fact, called to move forward. The strategy for overcoming those obstacles is pretty simple: hold fast to your faith in Christ and the salvation found through Him.
Hebrews 10:39 seems to be a kind of call to arms. The writer implores his readers that Christians are not people who shrink back in the face of adversity but, like a young David in the valley of Elah, step out to face the obstacle or adversary. In a day when culture seems to be pushing Christianity to the margins, it is important that Christians today take up this call, hold fast to our faith in Christ, and stand firm with great resolve to the commands God has given us, the teachings of Jesus in the Bible, and the truths illuminated to us by the Holy Spirit. I believe that when we do these things, the world takes notice, and some will wonder where that strength comes from. In turn, we may then have the opportunity to share how Jesus has changed our lives and how He can bring change to their lives, as well.
In whatever trial you find yourself today, be reminded that Jesus is with you and your faith in Him can provide endurance to keep moving forward. Your example and testimony may be used by God to impact someone around you. Stand firm, don’t retreat, and hold fast to your faith in Jesus Christ. He is the Son of God, our Savior, and our salvation.
Brandon Lewis has served as student pastor in churches in Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi. He and Lacey have three children: Karen, Gabriel, and Ryan. Brandon is currently serving as the youth ministry strategist for the Louisiana Baptist Convention. In this role, he has the privilege of planning and hosting state-wide events for teenagers (YEC, Clear Camps, etc.), coordinating training events for youth ministers and youth ministry leaders, and serving as a youth ministry consultant for churches across the state.