Those Troubling “If” Clauses

But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end (Hebrews 3:6).

We need to understand this in the light of the total context, which is Moses leading Israel out of Egypt and to the Promised Land (Heb. 3:7-19); many did not continue, proving they were not saved!

The writer is not suggesting that Christians must keep ourselves saved. This would contradict the major theme of the book, which is the finished work of Christ and His heavenly ministry guaranteeing our eternal salvation (Heb. 7:14).

The writer is affirming that those who hold fast their confidence and hope are proving [no maintaining] that they are truly born again, not “whose house we are, not become” [see Heb. 10:38].

Some believe these mere professors were in danger of losing salvation. The opposite was the case. If these turned out to be mere professors then departed, they did not lose salvation; but by not continuing, they proved they never were saved.

Three other times in this epistle, the writer exhorted the readers to hold fast to this confession (Heb. 3:14; 4:14; 6:9; 10:23). It was this same confession that characterized men and women of faith in the ages past (Heb. 11:13).

Note other passages in the NT that speak of continuing or holding fast (Acts 13:43; 14:22; Col. 1:23; 1 Cor. 15:2; 1 John 2:18-19).

We should not have confidence in ourselves, because we are too prone to fail; but we should have confidence in Jesus Christ who never fails.

In other words, those who have trusted Christ prove this confession by their steadfastness, confidence, and joyful hope. They are not burdened by the past or threatened by the present, but are “living in the future tense” as they await the “blessed hope” of their Lord’s return.

It is this “heavenly calling” that motivates the believers to keep on living for the Savior even when the going is gets tough.

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