Paul is convinced the window of repentance is still open for his friends. He thinks his readers are capable of maturity and faithfulness. He has already seen them show love to God by ministering to other Christians. Paul wants them to realize God will reward them, and that they should be diligent in growing mature. Faith and patience are key to inheriting God’s blessings.
Paul is convinced of better things concerning the Hebrew believers, rather than having their works burned up and ending up being close to being cursed. He believes the window of repentance will remain open because of their work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. It is sobering to note that these believers are still ministering to saints as they are falling away.
Paul desires the Hebrew believers to become mature. He wants them to return to the path toward maturity, and show the same diligence they have had previously. Being diligent until the end yields a result to inherit the promises. The first generation of the children of Israel did not inherit the promise because they disobeyed and were not diligent to the end of their journey (Hebrews 3:12-19). Paul wants them to not only have hope, but to realize the full assurance of hope by actually receiving the promise. That only comes through patience, by continuing to live faithfully. Not becoming sluggish through disobedient living.
Paul desires that they imitate good examples. In Hebrews 11, Paul will provide many illustrations of faithful living for them to copy. He wants them to be imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Losing those promises might not seem like much in the moment. Esau did not regard his future inheritance when he sold his birthright inheritance for a bowl of stew, regarding only his appetite in that moment (Hebrews 12:15-17). But later he was extremely mournful of the loss. Paul urges them to copy the good examples of faithful living, and diligence in being obedient until the end.
Even though he has written harshly about their most recent, unprofitable behavior, he believes his audience will choose the better path. Paul reassures them that God is not unjust, He’s not unfair, so He won’t forget the acts of service they’ve already done. Accordingly, God will allow them ample time to repent and return to the path of blessing. God judges sin, but He rewards obedience.
Here Paul acknowledges the Hebrews’ efforts: they have displayed a love for God, citing the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. They have worked to minister to other believers and still do. In light of that, Paul appeals to them to press on with this same diligence he knows they are capable of exercising.
This hearkens back to Jesus’s purpose for believers in salvation, to lead them to great blessing and glory. Jesus desires to bless us greatly, but gaining the full blessing requires that we follow Him to the end, until the work is completed. This is stated in Hebrews 2:10, For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings. In this verse, the word “perfect” is a translation of the Greek word with the root “teleioo” and could also be translated “complete” or “finish.”
This is the true good news of prosperity from God. But it is important to note that genuine prosperity comes from listening to God and following Him, regardless of circumstances. It does not come from getting God to listen to us, and “give us stuff we want.”
Salvation is not only about being saved from something (Hell, separation from God, the power of sin in our daily lives); Jesus saved us to something (eternal life, Sonship, inheritance). Before Christ, we were sinners, unable to please God. Now, after faith in Christ, our relationship with God is restored, and through the resurrection power of Jesus, we can live a new life pleasing to God. The Holy Spirit gives us power to overcome sin, and be saved daily from its negative effects. In doing so, we can inherit immense blessings, which is what He wants for us.
Here in this passage, Paul is describing a pilgrimage, or a journey, or a race, something that takes a long time to attain, and requires consistent faith in God, and patience for the end. But along the way we can wander from Christ, as Paul expressed in 2:1, For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.
9 But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way. 10 For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. 11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
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