Tag Archives: persecution

The context of Hebrews 11

Whoa. I missed the last eight verses in Hebrews 10! Because these set the context for what follows in chapter 11, I hope you will bear with me by my going back to these passages. He wrote there

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.  So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. Heb 10:32-35, NIV.

Here is yet another strong argument not to throw away their confidence. These believers had suffered, side by side, endured persecution, wept and cared for others who were suffering. They were insulted publicly, even been imprisoned and lost possessions for their faith—and joyfully! Plus pressure from angry, anti-Jesus legalistic Jews who insisted they renounce faith in Messiah Jesus and thus to fall away.

What will we do when persecution comes our way? Will we give up on Jesus? Countless brothers and sisters in many nations face similar trials daily. Right now, e.g., in Syria, rebel militants are targeting Christians who they see as having preferred the existing regime. Women in these places are especially vulnerable. Pakistan is a dangerous place to call yourself a Christian. Millions of Christians around the world are persecuted, some being killed and their property confiscated or burned. This is happening today.

Like our letter’s readers, we Christians must not throw away our confidence, our trust, our active, living hope in the grace and love of God in Jesus for the future, because we know that we ourselves have better and lasting possessions which will endure.

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.  For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.” (Isaiah 26:20)   And, “But my righteous one will live by faith (Hab. 2:3). And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved. Heb 10:36-39, NIV.

Perseverance is required and determination to continue to do the will of God and not our own—to live by faith and receive that righteousness that can only come by faith in this new and living Way. There is nothing that can take the place of perseverance. Genius? Talent? Education? No. Perseverance reigns supreme.

Where do we belong in this discussion? Will we be among those who shrink back when things get tough, threatening? Surely testing times lie ahead for us.

We are reassured that our glorious hope is in Jesus’ coming, everywhere spelled out in the New Testament writings. Our hope is not in earthly prosperity or gratification or false security.  Our Lord Jesus Christ told his disciples that following him would lead to suffering, even death. Again, this is confirmed by the entire New Testament corpus.  It’s what the Book of Revelation is all about with its strong emphasis on HOPE.

Now we can go on to the next section of the letter: faith and hope that pleases God our Father. Next time.