Part two of five in the series, “The Disciple’s Race.” Here’s where you can catch up with part one.
In part one we looked at what the original readers of Hebrews faith were like.
They had once been disciples bearing lots of fruit. But along the way, they’d grown tired.
We’ll pick up where we left off with verse 35:
Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.
Hebrews 10:35 ESV
Remember, the word “therefore” should perk up your ears because the writer is linking two things together. You need to look at both to understand the meaning.
The author of the letter was reminding them not only of their former fruitfulness, but also of God’s faithfulness.
In verse 34, he said they endured hardships for the gospel because they had “a better possession and an abiding one.”
They looked forward to the reward of eternal life in Jesus.
Their worldviews were entirely rooted in faith—and this is what drove and motivated them.
(Later in the series we’ll see how this was exactly the mindset of Jesus himself.)
So, this brings them to a critical juncture. They need to lift their eyes from their surroundings and focus on the promises of God.
And what will this produce…? Endurance.
For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.
Hebrews 10:36 ESV
This is a pivotal call to action, and where the genuine difficulty of discipleship shows itself.
Just like us today, they were saved and secured by Jesus’ sacrifice alone. However, neither them nor we live in cultures conducive to faithful discipleship.
The language here is a sports analogy. Just like a marathon runner at mile 23 needs endurance to finish well, so do disciples need endurance.
- Endurance to be faithful in serving one another.
- Endurance to be faithful to Jesus under persecution.
- Endurance to hold onto the promise of resurrection and eternal life.
- Endurance to resist sin.
‘Yet a little while,
and the coming one will come and will not delay;
but my righteous one shall live by faith,
and if he shrinks back,
my soul has no pleasure in him.’
Hebrews 10:37–38 ESV
We need this endurance because, as he reminds them, Jesus is coming back. Do we live in light of this today?
Finally, he closes the passage in chapter 10 we’re studying together, saying:
But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.
Hebrews 10:39 ESV
Jesus is returning for his bride in the Father’s perfect time (Matthew 24:36). And those of us who are righteous in Christ aren’t people who “shrink back!”
This is a challenging passage for those of us who have lacked endurance as disciples. But it doesn’t finish on a discouraging note!
Instead, the author identifies himself with them as his brothers and sisters in faith. Notice how he declares “we” aren’t people who shrink back… “but of those who have faith and preserves their souls.”
They are cut of the disciples’ cloth because they have been saved through faith in Jesus.
This faith leads us to ultimately hope in nothing other than the promise of God that is eternal life.
And this hope fosters endurance to resist sin, compromise, and fear in the face of hardship.
Today, turn the spotlight on yourself and your church body:
Are you living with endurance? Or do you give into despair, cynicism, or fear?
Most importantly, do you remember who you are as a disciple? You are not one who shrinks back!
If you lack endurance, start by examining those areas in your life and asking: “Where am I/are we not holding to the ultimate promise of God, here?”