“. . . by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.” (Hebrews 6:18, ESV)
The year 2020 has been a doozy. In my lifetime, I cannot remember a year like this. We began with a national shut-down due to the Covid virus. Then we had riots and anarchy in our larger cities. Approaching this election, we seem to be a house divided against itself. A large portion of people want to turn away from our free market economy to socialism. Many desire to turn their backs on the sanctity of life, the sanctity of marriage and freedom of religion. Moreover, it seems that people who hold to traditional biblical moral values are now shunned and denigrated as being out of touch with the changing times and religious radicals. We, as believers in Jesus Christ, need a firm hope.
When the author of Hebrews wrote this letter to his Jewish audience, it seems that there would also have been much unrest. Granted it would have been different than what we are experiencing today. Their unrest would have revolved around the transition from Judaism to faith in Christ. The prevailing attitude of the Jews was that righteousness and justification before God came through legalistic obedience to the Law. Now, many Jews were departing from this former concept to understanding that righteousness and justification came by grace through faith alone in Christ alone.
This transition was upsetting the applecart, so to speak in the Jewish community. Those that left traditional Judaism to Christianity were experiencing various forms of persecution. For those that were caught up in the excitement of this new religious view but had not yet fully trusted in Jesus, there was much pressure for them to move back to turn away from Christ and back to Judaism. All those of the Jewish community who were following this new movement of Christianity, both those who had truly trusted Christ and those who have merely tasted of its wonder, needed steadfast hope.
Here, the author of this letter gives his audience two unchangeable reasons that they might have “strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before” them. I touched on these in yesterday’s blog. They are the assured promise of God and His sworn oath to fulfill this promise. You see, in the Christian life, our hope is not like the world’s. Ours is not an “I hope so.” Our hope is the confident expectation of that which God has promised. Because God has promised eternal life to every true believer, we confidently hold on to that hope. In fact, it is not that we are holding on to it, but that our hope is the knowledge that He is holding on to us and that He will never let go.
In these trying times, we who truly have believed in Jesus for our salvation, have this confident assurance that God will never let go of us. Regardless of how bad things may get, or how bad they look. Regardless of what changes in our socio-economic society come upon us, He will keep us. Regardless of what religious persecutions may come, He will not let go of us. Thus, because His unchangeable promise and His unchangeable sworn oath, we have great encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.