“For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.”
As someone once said, “The faith that fizzles before the finish was faulty from the first.”
That’s basically the message being communicated in today’s Manna by the anonymous author of the Epistle to the Hebrews. His recipients were evidently undergoing severe persecution and were being tempted to recant their faith in order to survive; however, he warns here (3:7-19) and in 2:1-4 and 6:1-8 of the dangers of doing so.
Now, it’s true that we’re “saved by Grace through faith, not of works lest any of us should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). Likewise, it’s Jesus’ Death on the Cross that “saves us from God from God’s wrath and the curse of the Law and His indwelling Presence that saves us from the power of sin” (Rom. 5:6-11; Gal. 3:13).
Thus, we are not saved by perseverance.
However, if we are truly saved, we will persevere—for our turning away from the only One Who can save basically declares that He was incapable of sustaining us and will “crucify Him afresh, putting Him to an open shame” (Heb. 6:6). It’ll also move us from being a fruitful, fertile field to one that’s filled “with thorns and briers—i.e., stumbling-blocks instead of stepping-stones—causing us to be rejected and nigh unto cursing, whose end is to be burned” (Heb. 6:7-8).
That’s why the writer reminds us that “we are made partners (Grk. ‘metochos’—‘participant, sharer, associate, partner, one who possesses, etc.’) of/with Christ” when we’re truly born again. And, just as He did not shrink back from the Cross, but “steadfastly set His Face toward Jerusalem” (Lk. 9:51). . .knowing what awaited Him there. . .so should we be like the three Hebrew children facing the fiery furnace declare, “It doesn’t matter what happens to me, I will still stay the course and trust the Lord” (Dan. 3:13-18).
This doesn’t mean it’ll be easy; in fact, the Christian Race is always a marathon that’s uphill and seemingly against the tide.
But, by “remembering all those faith warriors who’ve preceded us and learning from their examples, we lay aside every encumbrance and the sin that so easily trips us up and run patiently the Race that is set before us—remembering to keep our eyes upon Jesus, the Author and Finisher/Perfecter of our faith” (Heb. 12:1-2).
Oh, dear Pilgrim, if you’re going through a particularly difficult time right now and wondering if serving the Lord is worth it, remember the words to that beautiful song: “O soul are you weary and troubled, No light in the darkness you see? There’s Light for a look at the Savior, A Life more abundant and free. Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful Face. And, the things of this world will grow strangely dim, In the Light of His Glory and Grace.” Amen and amen.
By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated January 17, 2011