Considerable Confidence (Hebrews 3:1-6)

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Perhaps one of the most misunderstood and/most neglected doctrines in the church of our day is that of the perseverance of the saints. Simply put, “continuance in the Christian life is the test of reality. The doctrine of the final perseverance of the saints has as its corollary the salutary teaching that the saints are the people who persevere to the end.”1

This theme is a major one in Hebrews. It is for this reason that Bruce writes, “Nowhere in the New Testament more than [Hebrews] do we find such repeated insistence on the fact that continuance in the Christian life is the test of reality. . . . Hence the writer’s constant emphasis on the necessity of their maintaining fearless confession and joyful hope.”2

As we have seen, the recipients of this letter were being tempted to drift from their hope in Christ. They needed to persevere. The writer therefore continually exhorts them to this end. And in the passage before us we are given the fundamental means by which we persevere; namely, we are to “Consider Jesus the Apostle and High Priest of our confession.” Such consideration of Him will lead to considerable confidence in Him, which one day will be perfect and complete confidence in Him.

So, if you want to avoid the spiritual drift which culminates in spiritual and eternal shipwreck then consider the following in Hebrews 3:1-6.

Overview

Having shown that Jesus is superior to the angels, (who mediated the revealing of the old covenant), the writer now, in 3:1-4:16, shows that Jesus is superior to Moses, the human mediator of the old covenant.

It is hard for a non-Jew, especially in our day, to appreciate the high esteem in which Moses was held by the Jewish people. He was the highly esteemed lawgiver whom God used in a mighty way to deliver His people. Moses was commended, in Scripture and thus by God, as the meekest man who had ever lived (Numbers 12:3). He had a uniquely blessed relationship with the Lord as one privileged to have a revelation of Him. In fact, this ongoing experience caused Moses’ face to glow with something of the glory of God.

So much more could be said about this man, who for many Jews was the greatest man in history. And this was precisely the problem for many Jews in the days of the early church. Some were being tempted to esteem Moses above Jesus Christ, with the result that they were esteeming the old covenant over and above the new covenant. It would not be an exaggeration to say that many were tempted to place their confidence in Moses as a mediator rather than in Jesus as the Mediator.

Fixing the Fixation

Many of these Jewish believers were being tempted to turn back to the old covenant precisely because their focus was misplaced. They had considerable confidence in Moses, but not enough in Jesus. The writer aims to fix this by fixing their attention on Jesus. Such diligent consideration would empower them to persevere in the gospel, by the gospel, in the midst of their trials because of the gospel. This matter of the gospel as the “fix” cannot be overemphasised

We are called to the same perseverance. Though not many in our culture are tempted to return to the religion of the old covenant, nevertheless we face the similar temptation to lose our focus and to subsequently drift from Christ, to drift from the firm anchor of the gospel of God.

In our day, this might manifest itself in the temptation to revert to a works-based self-justification and performance-based living. It might result in unbiblical self-condemnation or a sense of unredeemable failure. It may cause us to lose confidence in the sufficiency of Christ and Scripture. It may tempt us to live by sight rather than by faith. It may cause is to lose sight of the love of God in Christ. But as Tim Keller reminds us, “We . . . are more wicked than we ever dared believe, but we are also more loved and accepted in Christ than we ever dared hope.”3

With these Hebrew believers, the solution for our drift-avoidance is to “consider Jesus.” The result will be considerable confidence in our faithful Apostle and High Priest; such considerable confidence that will increasingly grow into complete confidence.

Consider the Concern

First, let us consider the writer’s concern for his readers: “Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, who was faithful to Him who appointed Him” (vv. 1-2).

Consider the Connection

There are many words, phrases and concepts in these opening verses of chapter 3 that appeared in previous chapters: “holy brothers,” “partakers,” “heavenly calling,” “High Priest,” “spoken,” “a Son” and “if you.” These concepts have been fleshed out earlier, and so something is on the writer’s heart and mind that he cannot shake. A further indication of this is found in the opening word, “Therefore.” What he is about to say is rooted in what he has said. So what is the connection? In a nutshell, it is one of concern.

The writer is concerned that all of the blessings he has recounted will slip away from them. These who have professed Christ may in the end not experience Jesus Christ as their elder brother; they might not experience the heavenly calling of being sons of glory; they might under-appreciate and underestimate the gospel. And all of these combined may lead to their failure to persevere to the end. He is concerned that their confession of faith may in the end be a facade. So he is concerned to challenge them to consider the Christ of their confession. He wants them to have full and saving confidence in Him. And it is this concern that moves him to write and exhort them to “consider Jesus,” the one whom they have openly confessed.

Again, he is concerned to make the connection that, just as Jesus is superior to angels, He is equally superior to Moses. And therefore they must continue to confide in Christ.

As we will see, Moses, like the angels, was a servant of Christ. But like these early Jewish believers, we too can become so obsessed with God’s servants that we end up missing out on the one whom the servants serve: God! We may miss out on the God-Man, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Related to this, we can even become fixated on a very good religious tradition, founded by a very good and godly man, and miss Christ in the midst of it. For example, Calvinism for far too many has been a hindrance rather than a help, because a system has become more important than the Saviour. The same can often be said of denominations and even of such things as missions and expository preaching. We need to be careful that the means do not become the end. Christ is the end of the law (Romans 8:1-4), but unfortunately many Jews in the early days of the church missed this; and many still do today. So what can we do? We need to hear the Word of God as the means to give considerable attention to Jesus. When we do so then we will find ourselves enjoying considerable confidence in our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Son. And such confidence will breed joyful hope as we face the various trials of our faith.

Consider the Confession

The writer addresses his readers as those who have made a “confession” concerning Christ Jesus (some translations only have the word “Jesus”). This word is sometimes translated as “profession.” These readers have professed that Jesus is worthy of their trust; he is one in whom they have confided. And since they have publicly confessed their confidence in Christ, they are now being exhorted (as in other passages) to continue to confess Christ (4:14; 10:23).

The word “confess” means “to say the same thing.” When we confess Christ we are saying the same thing that the Father has said about His Son in His Word. But we are also saying the same thing that multitudes of others have said and are saying about the Son. There is a body of doctrine that all true Christians “confess.” It was once delivered to the saints and is unchangeable (Jude 3), because God is unchanging.

Such a confession was no doubt of a public nature; and this was why some of them were being tempted to turn back. Their public declaration of trust in Christ alone for salvation was costing them dearly. This, in varying degrees, is the cost to every true convert to Christ.

Baptism, for example, is a public confession of confidence in Christ. For many, their baptism is a bittersweet moment, for while they rejoice at openly identifying with Christ, they soon find that family and friends alienate them. Similar public confessions might include vows or public declarations of loyalty.

Jesus said that if we will not confess Him before men then He will not confess us before the Father. And on Judgement Day, we will therefore be on the wrong side (see Matthew 10:32-33).

But just who is this “Jesus” whom they have confessed? The writer identifies Him as “the Apostle and High Priest.” The one sent from God to be our Mediator is the content of our confession.

Apostle

This is the only time that Jesus is called an “Apostle” in Scripture, but the apostolic idea of being “a sent one” characterised Jesus ever since that first Christmas Day.

John records, on several occasions in his Gospel, where Jesus employed this terminology in speaking of Himself and of His mission in this world (e.g. 4:34; 5:23, 24, 30, 37; 6:38-40, 44). Perhaps most noteworthy is John 20:21, “As the Father sent me, so send I you.”

But why does he use this term to describe Jesus? Because of the comparison that he will make with Moses. Moses was also sent by God as a deliverer (Exodus 3:10, etc.) but Jesus was a far greater Apostle, for He accomplished a far greater deliverance.

High Priest

Next, Jesus is called our “High Priest.” This is a major theme in Hebrews, and one that will be particularly developed from 4:16 through chapter 10.

No doubt, this was a major stumblingblock for Jewish believers. Those who were embracing the old covenant while rejecting the new covenant could not see how they could be right with God apart from the temple and its sacrificial rites–rites that required a High Priest. And so the writer will prove how Jesus was the fulfilment of the old covenant typological High Priest.

The reason for this being mentioned here is twofold.

First, the writer has already alluded to the High Priesthood of Jesus in 2:17. He now keeps this idea before his readers, for the High Priest was essential if they would find hope in the gospel. After all, if we do not have a perfect Mediator between us and God then we are living dangerously.

Second, Moses, though never officially a high priest (this was reserved for Aaron and his sons) nevertheless fulfilled this role in the sense that He was the mediator between Israel and God. In legal terms, Moses was high priest de facto, though not high priest de jure. See, for example, passages like Exodus 17 and 32, where Moses clearly intercedes between God and Israel.

And again, since he is about to make a comparison between Jesus and Moses this was an important concept to raise.

Faithful

An essential word in this passage is found in the opening words of v. 2: “faithful.” We are clearly told that Jesus was “faithful to Him who appointed Him.” Jesus was a faithful Apostle and High Priest. He fulfilled these roles perfectly. He did everything that the Father commanded Him. And it is for this reason that we can place our confidence in Him as our Saviour. Don’t allow this simple truth to pass you by. Because He was faithful we can, quite literally, be “full of faith” in Him.

Due Consideration

The readers, those who have confessed Christ as their Lord and Saviour, are being called upon to diligently “consider” the one whom they have confessed. In fact, they are being called upon to consider Him so that they will continue to confess Him.

The word translated “consider” means “to fully observe.” It carries the idea of “apply[ing] one’s mind diligently to something.”4 “It expresses attention and continuous observation.”5 Hughes defines it as expressing “attention and continuous observation and regard. It means to apply one’s mind diligently—to fix one’s attention in such a way that the significance of the thing is learned.”6 And Phillips says that the author is emphasising that they are to “make him the conscious object of your faith.”7 This is a constant theme in Hebrews, though the word is only used once more in the epistle (10:24).

Meditate to Motivate

As the above definitions indicate, the word carries the idea of much more than merely glancing, but rather of a steady gaze or, better, a steady contemplation. Jesus used this word in Luke 12:24, 27 when He told the disciples to “consider the ravens and the lilies of the field.” You will recall that He was exhorting them to trust the Father to care for them, and so He pointed them to how He cares for His creation. Jesus told the disciples to consider deeply God’s involvement in caring for birds and fields. As they gave contemplative thought to this, they would be encouraged to trust Him to meet their needs. This is precisely what the author of this epistle is doing. He wants his readers to give serious thought concerning who Jesus is and what He has done. To the degree that they give Him due consideration, to such a degree they will be guarded from drifting from Him. In much the same way as Peter, having thought through the implications of the character of Jesus when challenged by Jesus (“Do you also want to go away?”), responded, ““Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68-69). These Jewish believers were facing this very question: Would they go away from Christ? But upon due consideration of the character of Christ, their response would be one of a commitment to perseverance.

We are in the same situation, and the solution is the same. We must give due contemplation to the person and work of Christ. We must not let this slip. When we are tempted to be erroneously introspective, we must consider the gospel. When we are tempted to self-condemnation, we must consider the gospel. When we are tempted to give in to sinful actions and attitudes, we must consider the gospel of Christ. When we are tempted to doubt the validity of the Christian faith, especially in a pervasively sceptical and secular society, we need to give serious and due consideration to the gospel.

But How?

R. Kent Hughes suggests the following three things as essential if we will give due consideration to the Person and work of Christ.

First, there is the matter of desire. We must really want to know the Lord (Psalm 27:4; Philippians 3:10).

Second, there is the element of concentration and discipline. We must keep Christ before us (Colossians 3:1-2). This requires discipline; we must exercise ourselves towards godliness (see Hebrews 12:1-2).

Third, there is time. “It is only as we sit still and gaze that the landscape fills our souls.”

Hughes adds this pastoral observation: “Lack of this is why so many Christians are sick and useless and are falling by the way. They need to cultivate the desire, concentration, discipline and time to fix their eyes upon Jesus.”8

Consider the Comparison

Having introduced the theme the writer now goes on and fleshes out why Jesus is worthy of such consideration and he does so by making the necessary and powerful comparison with Moses.

Moses also was faithful in all His house. For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house has more honour than the house. For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God. And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward, but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are.

(Hebrews 3:2-6)

Again, one needs to keep in mind that Moses loomed very large in the hearts and minds of the Jewish people. And it was for this reason that they now needed to grasp that, as great as he was, he was not worthy of the glory that is due to Christ Jesus alone.

Our House

A key word here is “house,” which is found seven times in these five verses. “The writer seizes upon the term ‘house’ and makes it the vehicle for demonstrating that Jesus is superior to Moses.”9

The idea of a “house” is not primarily that of the tabernacle but rather it refers to the household of God; it refers to those who belong to Him, those who are in covenant with Him. It refers to the dwelling place of God. It is “the organised society in which He dwells.”10 In other words, the writer is highlighting the truth that the new covenant people of God are the household of God, not the Jewish nation. He is reminding them that they “became the house of God through Christian faith and hope. Now they must maintain their stance of commitment.”11

The house had two great mediators: One was a servant, but the other a Son.

The writer is not speaking in this passage of two different houses or households; that is, one that was connected to Moses and one that is connected to Christ. Rather he has one house in mind; one people of God, though they existed under two different economies or dispensations: the dispensation of the old covenant and the dispensation of the new covenant. Moses was the servant of this house under the old covenant, while Jesus is the Son over the house–of both covenants! Phillips captures this well when he writes, “This passage exposes the error of dispensationalism, which sees Israel and the church as fundamentally different peoples in God’s economy. The house in which Moses served is the house over which Jesus is Lord. . . . Old covenant Israel is the bud of which the new covenant church is the flower.”12

The Son is greater than the servant and therefore worth of more glory and honour. He is the one to whom we owe due consideration. He is the One in whom we need to place our considered confidence. And we need to do so continually. Let’s flesh out these principles before making some essential exhortations and applications.

More Glorious

Jesus, a man sent by God to mediate between God and His House, was faithful to Him in this task just as Moses was faithful to God as a man sent to mediate between Him and His House under the old covenant (v. 2).

It should be noted that Moses, of course, was not always faithful to God (see Numbers 20). But the writer does not build up Jesus by tearing down Moses. Rather, he shows the “glory” of Moses and then shows how much more glorious Jesus is.

This is categorically stated in v. 3. As Lane comments, “Having stressed the continuity between Jesus and Moses on the point of faithfulness, the writer asserts discontinuity and the superiority of Jesus to Moses. The basis of the comparison is glory.”13

The writer highlights something very interesting in v. 3: “For this One [Jesus] has more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house [implying Jesus] has more honour than the house.”

In v. 2 it is said that Moses was faithful “in all His house,” and yet in v. 3 the clear implication is that Moses was also a part of this house. In other words, we are being informed that Moses was no different than those whom he led and for whom he mediated, whereas Jesus is very distinct from the house. In fact, He is the Creator of the house. Jesus is the one who actually forms and completely furnishes (the meaning of “built”) the household God. Though, as we learned in chapter 2, Jesus shared in humanity’s “weakness of sinful flesh” (Romans 8:3), nevertheless He was (and is) very distinctly different from us. In fact, as v. 4 clearly affirms, Jesus is God.

Some would interpret v. 4 as a reference to the Triune God as the Creator of all, or as a reference to God the Father. But I am persuaded by the context that this is a huge statement concerning the Deity of Christ. And it is for this very reason that He is “worthy of more glory than Moses.” As wonderful a servant as was Moses, and no doubt the best of men, nevertheless he was still only a man at best. This is clearly the idea in the mind of the writer, as proven by v. 5.

Here we have the testimony that “Moses indeed was faithful in all His [God’s] house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward [later].” These words echo the content of Numbers 12:6-8.

In this passage, you may recall that Moses had been criticised by his family for having a cross-cultural marriage. (Racism is not a modern-day phenomenon!) God defends His servant and confirms Moses’ character when He says,

Hear now my words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream. Not so with my servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house. I speak with him face to face, even plainly and not in dark sayings; and he sees the form of the LORD.

(Numbers 12:6-8)

Note that the Lord commends Moses as a faithful servant in “My” house. And because God deemed Moses to be faithful with His people, He also reserved to Moses the privilege to see and to hear things from God that others could not.

God revealed Himself to Moses. Moses saw the form of God (Exodus 34) while no one else had such a privilege. But this glory was fading. In fact, it was because of the fading glory that Moses veiled his face. But in 2 Corinthians 3 we are told that his glory was in fact the new covenant. This is precisely what v. 5b here is saying. Moses had a glimpse of this glory of the new covenant that would be “spoken afterward.”

In Hebrews 1:1-2, we were informed that God spoke in the past and that in these last days He is speaking to us by a Son. This is precisely what Moses foresaw. Moses was given the privilege of testifying that a day was coming later when God would speak again, and even more clearly. And He of course would do so by “a Son.” All that Moses oversaw in the house of God, all that he spoke to the people on behalf of God under the old covenant was preparatory for the day when God would speak unambiguously through His Son. This is why Jesus said “If you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me” (John 5:46).

Well, the things that were to be spoken later were being spoken now. These Hebrew believers needed to listen.

Yes, Moses was great; he was a faithful servant in the house of God. He faithfully received and revealed God’s Word to the house of God. But what God spoke through His servant Moses, as glorious as that was, was merely a veiled form of the Word of God for the house of God. That Word came in the form of the Son of God. And the Son is the sovereign over the house. He built it (Matthew 16:18). He formed it and furnished it (Ephesians 4:1-16). This is why it is called the church of Christ.

In summary, Jesus is the final and all glorious Word who forms the new covenant people of God. And He does so because He completely fulfils the new covenant of God. The God that Moses so faithfully served in God’s old covenant household was none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. Clearly Jesus is greater than Moses; infinitely so!

Consider the Condition

In this closing phrase the writer now applies what he has written and the application is in the form of an exhortation. In fact, the exhortation commences here and extends and is expanded upon all the way through chapter 4.

The writer of course is very concerned for the spiritual welfare of his readers. His pastoral desire is that they gain full confidence in the Lord Jesus as their Saviour. He wants them, having considered His person and work, to confidently place their hope in Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant. This is the gist of these final words. But underlying this is another vital reality: the conditional nature of their perseverance. We are the house of God “if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end” (v. 6).

If they persevere, then they will have confidence in Jesus. And coupled with this is the corollary that if they have confidence in Jesus then they will persevere. What was true for them is true for us.

Damnable Doctrine?

What has been traditionally known as the doctrine of eternal security has often been caricatured as teaching that one can be saved and yet live like the devil all the while being assured that upon death you will go to heaven. Such a perverse teaching has been rightly condemned as a “damnable doctrine.” I don’t believe that there are many in the church teaching such a thing. However, I fear that there are many—perhaps more than we would care to admit—who practically hold to such a teaching.

Once and Again

There are those who seem to think that if a person makes a profession of faith (“confession” as in v. 1) then they are safe and secure in the arms of Jesus forever. But the Bible is not so simplistic. The gospel indeed is simple, but being saved is not simply a matter of mouthing the right words and then turning over the proverbial new leaf and all will be well. On the contrary, those who have been born again by the Spirit of God will indeed confess Jesus Christ as their Saviour and Lord (1 John 5:1). But this is not a matter of doing so once-off and then all is well. No, rather those who have been born again confess the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour once and again. This, of course, is not merely a matter of doing so verbally; rather it includes a lifestyle of trusting, of confiding in Christ. When we consider Jesus and then confide in Him then this will continue.

The word for “hold fast” is translated different ways in the New Testament.

In Matthew 21:31 it is translated by the word “seize.” It carries the idea, therefore, of grasping something (or someone) firmly. In Luke 8:15 it is translated by the word “keep.” The context reveals that those who have truly received the gospel will continue to “keep” the Word of the Lord; they will continue to obey the Word of Jesus (see John 8:31-32).

In Corinthians 15:1-2 we read, “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.” Notice that Paul is under the assumption that those who truly did believe the gospel will continue to “hold fast” to the gospel.

Perhaps a helpful illustration of these words is found in Acts 27. There, we have the account of Paul travelling by ship to Rome as a prisoner. They run into a terrible storm called Euroclydon. The ship is being torn apart and so the captain, in a last ditch effort, pulls anchors and lets the ship head for shore at the mercy of the winds and the currents. Verse 40 tells us that “they hoisted the mainsail to the wind and made for shore.” The words “made for” or translate the “hold fast” in our present text. We thus have a word picture displaying that those who persevere in their confidence in Christ make toward shore. They continue to head towards Christ, the shore to which they are sailing. And this does not change in spite of storms along the way. In fact the storms prove where they are heading. As Phillips so hopefully says, “All true Christians will continue in the faith until they are gathered to God. But it is also true that true Christian faith is proved only by steadfastness under trial.”14

In the parable of the soils, the fruitful soil represent “those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience” (Luke 8:15). Jesus told Peter, “I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail” (Luke 22:31-32). Indeed, it is crucial that we persevere for Christ.

This theme of continuing on for Christ is found again in Hebrews 3:14 and 10:23 and it underscores the book in its entirety. Those who have been converted to Jesus consider Him—continually and increasingly confidently. And the more they do so the more confident they become and the more consideration they give to Him.

Joyful Confidence

The writer tells us that if we properly consider Jesus then we will continually hold tight to Jesus as our salvific confidence. And, as we have seen, this is actually the condition for us to be saved by Jesus. But we need to consider these words: “confidence and the rejoicing of the hope,” or, “confidence and our boasting in our hope” (ESV).

The word “confidence” means “freedom in speaking.” It conveys boldness in speaking. In the context, it means a continuation to boldly confess Christ. In fact, we find many such examples in Scripture, most of which are in Acts (4:13, 29, 31; 9:27, 29; 13:46; 14:3; 18:26; 19:8; 26:26; 28:31; cf. Ephesians 3:12; 6:19; 1 Timothy 3:13; 1 John 4:17; 5:14). And in Hebrews it is found in 4:16; 10:19 and 10:35.

The idea is clearly that of being unshakeable when it comes to trusting Christ alone for our salvation. The last phrase speaks of a confidence that joyfully boasts in that in which one’s confidence lies. In this context, clearly the writer is saying that those who own Christ as their Saviour will be joyfully confident in the face of temptations to drift.

Our Boast is in the Lord

But lest the text be misunderstood, those who are saved are not self-confident when it comes to perseverance. Rather, their confident perseverance is completely in and through Christ. It is God who works in us both to desire (to will) and to do of His good pleasure (Philippians 2:12). Jude 24- 25 makes it abundantly clear:

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Saviour, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever.

It is precisely because of this that we are joyfully confident and, in the right sense, proud to belong to Christ. Leon Morris puts it well:

Hope [is] the certainty that God will carry out his promises, especially those in the gospel. . . . To be God’s house, then, means to persevere in quiet confidence, knowing that one has matter for pride in the Christian hope. Our position as God’s “house” is something of which we may be proud. We have a good gift from God. Instead of being ashamed of this gift, we should glory in it.15

And this leads us to our final point.

Consider the Congregation

As we close, we need to consider the question again, how can we consider Him more?

There are, of course, many practical things that we could look at, such as guarding our daily quiet time, memorising Scripture and taking intermittent Scripture-reading breaks during the day. These are all good and helpful, but I want to suggest another means to help us to consider Jesus, one suggested by the context: We need to stay close to God’s house.

As we have seen, the word “house” is mentioned six times in this short passage. It is a major theme, and it speaks of a dwelling place. Whether old covenant or new covenant, God has always been intent on living with His people. Under the old covenant it was the tabernacle and then the temple—in a specific city. But under the new covenant, God dwells in His people in every city where any of His people live (see John 4:22-25).

Now, unfortunately, all too often this biblical truth is morphed into a postmodern individualism. It is true that Christ indwells the individual believer by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 12:13; Romans 8:9; Colossians 1:27). But it is also true that Christ indwells His people corporately. In fact, I would argue from the testimony of Scripture that this is the primary emphasis of God’s Word. God is concerned about living with His people corporately. And it is this corporate aspect that says so much to us concerning our perseverance in our consideration of Jesus.

Phillips says what I feel in my bones:

People today tend not to take the church very seriously. We are rugged individualists and think we can go it alone. But the corporate community of saints is the household of God. If this does not transform our view of the church, then nothing will. . . . In the end it is what Christ is doing through the church that will matter most, will most shine in glory, and will have been most worth the offering of our lives.16

It is the church corporately, the household of God, through which we are continue to follow after Jesus with courage and hope. To bypass this means of grace is to bypass your opportunity for spiritual maturity as you learn to persevere together.

What I am simply trying to say is that if we will give due consideration to Jesus, if we will have considerable confidence in Jesus and thus joyful hope in Him, then we need each other. We need the church. We need the local church.

Note that in the opening verse the writer addresses “holy brothers,” who “share in the heavenly calling.” He is not addressing individuals as individuals but individuals as members of a corporate body. He is addressing a congregation of individuals.

Perhaps there is something to be noted in the term “perseverance of the saints.” It is not perseverance of the saint (singular), but rather of the saints (plural). We should emphasise this. All true saints, of course, will persevere, but they will persevere together. I believe that Hebrews 2:11 emphasises this same congregational pursuit.

This is a major emphasis of BBC simply because it is a major emphasis of Scripture. God’s house is to persevere corporately and we do so by giving considered and considerable attention to Jesus—together. The result? Together we grow in confidence in our Saviour manifested by corporate courage and hope—to the glory of God.

And so, as we consider Jesus together, “Come Christians, Join to Sing,” because by the grace of God we have all we need. Hallelujah, we have considerable confidence that Jesus is our life.

Show 16 footnotes

  1. F. F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews: The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964), ??.
  2. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews, 59.
  3. Timothy J. Keller, Paul’s Letter to the Galatians: Living in Line with the Truth of the Gospel (New York: Redeemer Presbyterian Church, 2003), 2.
  4. Raymond Brown, The Message of Hebrews: The Bible Speaks Today (Nottingham: Inter-Varsity Press, 2000), 77.
  5. B. F. Westcott, The Epistle to the Hebrews: The Greek Text with Notes and Essays (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1977), 77.
  6. R. Kent Hughes, Hebrews: An Anchor for the Soul, 2 vols. (Wheaton: Crossway, 1993), 92.
  7. Richard Phillips, Hebrews: Reformed Expository Commentary (Phillipsburg: Presbyterian and Reformed, 2006), 83.
  8. Hughes, Hebrews, 93.
  9. William L. Lane, Hebrews: Word Biblical Commentary, 2 vols. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1991), 1:72.
  10. Westcott, The Epistle to the Hebrews, 76.
  11. Lane, Hebrews, 1:79.
  12. Phillips, Hebrews, 86.
  13. Lane, Hebrews, 1:77.
  14. Phillips, Hebrews, 89.
  15. Leon Morris, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 12 vols. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1981), 12:33.
  16. Phillips, Hebrews, 87-88.