The Faithfulness of God: The Call to Live Differently
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful;”
How should we live in light of what Christ did on the cross? Each year we remember the death and resurrection of Christ when we celebrate Good Friday and Easter. This raises two important questions. First, what is the significance of these events that make them worthy of our yearly celebration? Second, what difference do these events, that happened 2000 years ago, make for us today?
In Hebrews 10 the writer answers these two important questions. In verse 1-18, the writer addresses the first question by contrasting the sacrifice of Christ with the sacrifices of the Old Testament. During the Old Testament period, the nation of Israel would conduct sacrifices every year on the day of atonement to obtain forgiveness for the sins of the people. But these sacrifices were only a temporary solution until the arrival of the full and final sacrifice.
This is why Christ came, to provide that final sacrifice. Because of his sacrifice on the cross, the justice of God was completely satisfied, and our sins eternally forgiven. Therefore, no further sacrifice is needed, which was illustrated by Christ sitting down at the right hand of God, thus symbolizing the end of the redemptive work (vs 9-14).
This leads us to the second question. The writer then addresses this question verse 19-25 when he provides three practical implications. In verse 22 we find that we are to confidently come into the presence of God. This points us back to 4:14-16, where we are exhorted to pray with confidence for God to provide mercy and grace in the hours of our desperate need.
The second implication we find in verse 23, that we are to remain steadfast in the confession of our faith. The phrase “without wavering” literally means to not to bend or lean to one side or another and speaks of a firm resolution that is unshakable. We are reminded in these words of a strong tree, that is completely untouched by the winds. No matter how strong the winds of adversity blow against it, it is so strong that it doesn’t even sway. Likewise, no matter what we face in life, no matter how strong the attack upon our faith, we will not sway or doubt in our faith.
Last, we are to maintain our fellowship with believers, recognizing that salvation is not just individual, but a call to live in a community of mutual care and understanding. We do not attend church solely for our personal benefit and edification. Rather we are to come to encourage and strengthen others.
But it is in verse 23 we find the reason these are still relevant today. The writer of Hebrews not only grounds these principles in the redemptive work of Christ, but also in the faithfulness of God. Because God is faithful, we have the assurance that the promises of Christ’s redemption remains continually valid, even for us today. Just as it was true in the 1st century, so also we can come become God with confidence in prayer. Because Christ’s redemptive work still stands true, we are to remain steadfast in our faith. Last, since God is always faithful, we can encourage others in their faith with the same hope his faithfulness gives us. To understand the faithfulness of God is to radically change how we live. It means that both the promise and the way of living established in the scriptures still remain true, for God’s truth has not changed. When we are facing the winds of change and adversity it is easy to waver in our faith. But the faithfulness of God gives us a rock upon which to ground our faith, a faith that brings hope in the promises of God and a new way of living in light of his work.