“Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” (Hebrews 10:35–36, AV)
Jim Eliot was one of five Christian missionaries who set out on a mission to evangelize the Huaorani people of Ecuador in the 1950’s. They arrived in Ecuador on February 21, 1952. He and the rest of the team made initial contact with the Huaorani people after several months. Things seemed to be going well, when they were attacked and killed by a group of Huaorani warriors on January 8, 1956. However, this tragic episode was not the end of the story. These men did open the door to bring the gospel to these people.
A few years before Jim Eliot left for his missionary endeavor to Ecuador, he coined this thought in his journal. It is one that would characterize his life. “he is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” Jim Eliot gave up his life for a people with the understanding that he would gain something that he could never lose.
The writer of Hebrews here is trying to communicate this thought to the Jewish community that would read his letter. In previous verses he spoke of former times when they endured suffering so they could sympathize with others who suffered (v32-33). He reminds them that they joyfully endured since they knew they had a better possession, which would abide (v34).
Following this he gives his readers this exhortation to stand firm. He tells them to keep their eyes fixed on the promise. God has promised to those of genuine faith in Christ a glorious future. The promise is for the forgiveness of sin and release from its guilt, eternal life and the blessings of heaven, and an eternal inheritance that will never be taken away.
There are some in his audience that have truly believed in Jesus and are guaranteed all of this. However, as in every evangelical community, there are some who have grasped the message intellectually but have not experienced true saving faith. They know but have not truly believed. The latter group runs the risk of falling away, never having come to true saving faith. So, he encourages them to hang in there. He challenges them to not fall back in the hope that they will remain and be saved.
In our churches there are many who have come out of the world. However, the world has its deceptive lures. We must be diligent to encourage everyone to keep their eyes on the promise and hang in there in the hope that all will come to true saving faith.