Faith that Endures

The Hebrews author reaches this point of saying “What more can I say?” (Heb 11:32) as he/she ponders the faith of Old Testament believers who “did not receive what was promised” (v.39) yet endured. The Hebrews author has foresight to see persecution is coming and will require a commitment from the Jewish believers to endure, not always ending in glorious victories on this side of our lives on earth.

Great cloud of witnesses

The ending passage in Hebrews 11 reaches a culmination of quoting the Old Testament heroes of faith, as people who took bold actions because of their faith. Even though these bold actions may not always end in a favorable or a successful result in this life. The list reminisces believers that both conquered and lost battles, but showed faithfulness in both. When suffering they recognized “the world was not worthy of them” and they were willing to “gain a better resurrection”, as they suffered. It is impossible to know or predict the path that lies before us, but the faith remains the same no matter what the outcome is on this earth.

Enduring Race and an Endearing Father

Hebrews 12 passage in many ways compared Romans 12 call for discipleship only with an even more grandeur invitation to endure. Running this race of Christian life requires laying aside both sin and “every weight” (even though not sin) that ensnares us from the race that is ahead. The picture is vivid, as it explores the “the author of our salvation” enduring the cross to sit at the right hand of God.

The picture quickly turns to the proverbs picture of God as a disciplining father who for the love of his child corrects him/her for his/her benefit. In the case of God’s discipline, it is intent on the idea that “we can share His holiness.” This is a grand picture as God intently is involved in training us his children to become his special convoy, carrying forward his holiness and his mission through our simple lives.

Dangers of Rejecting the One

The book of Hebrews is full of these very stark warning well-understood and accepted by Judaism. The new testament believer many times has little idea of this Fear of God as we have been called upon to freely embrace the Grace of God. However this is no contradiction for a Hebrew believer coming from a Near-East philosophy of God to embrace God as Holy and as forever pure, but also has accepted the blood of Christ which speaks greater things than a martyr’s blood (like Abel’s untimely martyrdom). The blood of Christ for a Hebrew believer means even more of awe and fear as it was shed to make restitution possible with such a Holy God, that we can accept him and his salvation with “reverence and fear”