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Recapturing our confidence

So why was Hebrews written? What was the purpose of the letter? Like most letters in the New Testament, the author doesn’t identify his purpose in writing so we’re left to work it out according to what we’re given in the letter. Fortunately, there is much to mine in this regard.

A good place to begin is in 10:32-34:

           Remember those earlier days after you had            received the light, when you endured in a                great conflict full of suffering. Sometimes                you were publicly exposed to insult and                  persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated.                You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your              property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting                                  possessions.

The writer takes them back to the time when they became followers of Christ and reminds them of the conflict they willingly endured as a result of their new-found faith in Jesus. What he says next is especially important:

           So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to                         persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has               promised. (10:35-36)

We learn a lot from all of this. When they became disciples they experienced the overwhelming joy that every Christian knows (Acts 2:42-47, 8:39, 16:31-34). Like the Thessalonians, they also experienced a great deal of conflict and trauma from the unbelievers around them (1 Thessalonians 1:6).

But things changed.

The newness of their faith wore off--but the pressure on them didn't! Slowly but surely, their focus started shifting from their Savior to their circumstances. They weren't listening as they had before (2:1ff), and their life showed it. Their stamina was suffering (10:36, 12:1) and so was their spiritual development (5:11-14). They were no longer holding firmly to the faith they professed (4:14). Some were shrinking back and no longer meeting with their fellow disciples (10:39, 25), while others appear to have let go entirely or were at least contemplating it (6:4ff, 10:26ff).

This what happens when you lose confidence in Christ.

He uses the word (confidence) half a dozen times in speaking to them about Christ and what they have through Him. He keeps telling them to listen to Him (2:1-4), look to Him (3:1) and consider Him (12:1). He speaks of the incredible things they have through Jesus (4:14-16, 6:16-20, 7:23-28, 10:19-23, 12:22-24). He's greater than any of the angels or humans (Moses, Aaron, Joshua). He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him (7:25).

Jesus isn't about it--He's it! He isn't Someone who rounds off our life--He is our life! This is the confidence they needed to recapture. This would provide them with the power they needed to persevere.

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