A Call to Steadfastness
A Call to Steadfastness
Following several crusades throughout the union, inclusive of two mega campaigns, hundreds of persons were baptized, and many renewed their relationship to the Lord. Commendations are extended to all field leaders. Also, special commendation to Evangelists Peter Joseph, Claudius Morgan and Osias Joseph! In light of the hundreds of new believers, I thought to repeat an article I did some years ago. I hope that the article will be useful in assisting to nurture our new brothers and sisters.
In the Book of Hebrews, chapter 10, is found a three-fold appeal to believers. The writer, who I believe was the Apostle Paul, implores his readers to “draw near” (vs.22), “hold fast” (vs. 23), and “to provoke unto love and good works” (vs. 24). Of course, there is a basis for such admonitions, which is noted in the verses preceding verse 22. There the Apostle Paul explains the accomplishment of Christ of having broken down the barriers that prevented mankind from entering into the presence of God. Employing the language and illustration of the Old Testament sanctuary, he writes: “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh,” let us move closer to God, cling to the faith and spur one another to love and good deeds. Therefore, consider the following points:
The words of Hebrews 10:22 represent an invitation to believers, in view of what Christ has accomplished, as already noted, calling His followers to “draw near.” Owing to the effects of sin, human beings (like Eve and Adam) tend to shun God’s presence; and even when men and women are inclined to come near to Him, they are timid. However, Paul entreats believers to come close to God with “boldness,” which denotes confidence. Isn’t that wonderful? It shows God’s concern for mankind- wanting relationship and closeness or simply intimacy. To spurn God’s offer through the Apostle Paul would be tantamount to showing a disregard for His offer. Coming close or closer to Him involves a study of God’s Word, prayer, witnessing, church attendance and other factors.
Hold On to the Faith
There would seem to be progression here; whereas before, believers were entreated to come closer, now they are admonished to “hold fast the profession of [their] faith.” What does that mean? Hope is implied by Paul calling believers to be steadfast, as later explained in verse 35: “Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.” And the reason for that is predicated on the fact that Christ is “faithful.” So essentially we can accept His word or promises, as God does not lie, He is reliable. Additionally, Paul describes Him as “a great High Priest” (Heb. 4:14, NKJV). He is unlike any other high priest. Other priests offered sacrifices daily and annually, but Christ offered not a lamb but Himself, and He did so just once and for all (Heb. 10:11-12, NKJV). Is it any wonder the Hymn Writer Elisha A. Hoffman, penned, “Christ has for sin atonement made, what a wonderful Savior” (SDAH 335)? For these reasons, all believers need to remain faithful to Him. This is not the time to part company with Christ or exit His church. Instead, this is the time to hold tenaciously to Christ, as life itself depends on accepting the merits of His sacrifice.
Spur One Another to Good Works
In verse 24, The Apostle Paul advocates, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works” (NKJV). According to the original language, “to stir up” conveys the idea of “to provoke” as noted in the King James Version. Also, “In a good sense, a sharpening; used figuratively meaning an encouragement to some action or feeling” (Zodhiates, S. . The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament, electronic ed., Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers). Normally this term of “provoking” is associated with inciting or spurring one to do wrong. However, Paul employs it in a positive way. In doing so, he says that one is to consider ways to “provoke” another to “love and good works.” This comes through “holding fast,” or as stated by Paul in verse 25, “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see ‘the Day approaching” (NKJV).
The basis for all of this is made urgent by the fulfillment of our hope in the second coming of Christ. Says the writer to the Hebrews, “For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise. For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry” (10:36, 37, NKJV).