In a context where the saints were being taught to help one another to prevent the saints from departing from the living God (Hebrews 3:12-13), we find the content of our current study. “For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end” (Hebrews 3:14). This chapter started off addressing: “partakers of the heavenly calling” (Hebrews 3:1). A partaker is: “participant, i.e. (as noun) a sharer; by implication, an associate: — fellow, partaker, partner. Sharing in, partaking; a partner (in a work, office, dignity)” (Strong’s # 3353). In the book of Luke, this same Greek word is translated “partners” (Luke 5:7).
Since the people addressed in this epistle were already Christians, we are not talking about becoming saints. They were therefore already in fellowship with Christ (I John 1:3). The partaking of Christ here is something still to come. Peter wrote something that will help us in our studies here. Consider this: “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed” (I Peter 5:1). That glory that is to come is further addressed in Paul’s letter to the church in Rome. Notice: “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:17-18). Once you put that all together, we are reading about saints being partakers with Christ in Heaven.
To join Jesus in eternity saints have to hold the confidence that goes back to the beginning. There are a lot of beginnings revealed in the Scriptures. Since this is relative to their continued obedience, we are left to conclude that this takes them back to their own personal conversions (i.e. I John 2:7 and I John 2:24). The instruction is for them to hold on to the firmness of their foundation. This point is a revisit of an earlier statement in this chapter. Notice: “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).
Spending eternity in Heaven requires continued faithfulness on the part of saints. This principle is taught in various ways, similarly as to what we are looking at in this passage. Notice some of the wording of this principle outside of this letter: “As he spake these words, many believed on him. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free… As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love… Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God… And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister” (John 8:30-32, John 15:9-10, Acts 14:22, Colossians 1:21-23).
In addition to continuing faithfully in the confidence they had since the beginning, the word “stedfast” was used. The point is, you have to be sure, firm. The congregation in Corinth, in a context about the resurrection unto eternal life, was taught this: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (I Corinthians 15:58). There is no plainer way, that I know of, in which we can think about being stedfast. If these saints were there in the beginning, the first conversions after the death of Christ, they would know exactly what being stedfast is all about (Acts 2:42).
If we look back, as the overall context of Hebrews chapter three does, to the Old Testament; you see Israel was not stedfast. One Psalm says this about Israel of old: “And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God… For their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant” (Psalms 78:8; 78:37). These Jewish saints needed to be different than their carnal forefathers.
The verse we are looking at concludes with, “unto the end.” From the beginning of one’s faith to the end, steadfastness is required. If Heaven will be their/our home, faithfulness to God has to be unto the end of one’s life. That was the message from the beginning of the Gospel through the near end of revelation (Matthew 10:22 and Revelation 2:10). The Parable of the Sower establishes how some begin aright, but for various reasons end up departing from the faith (Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20, and Luke 8:1-15). Later in this letter, the saints will be taught to look to Jesus for an example of a faithful finisher (Hebrews 12:1-3).
Brethren, do not reach a point in time wherein you spiritually retire. The work is not done as long as you are alive in this world. Jesus came to this world not only to do His/our Father’s will, but to finish it (John 4:31-34 and John 5:36). Like Jesus, we need to have a finisher’s mentality. As Jesus finished His course and ascended to the Father (Hebrews 1:3), so shall it be for us if we are steadfast unto the end (I Peter 1:3-9). Stay faithful!
© 1999-2021 Words of Truth is edited and published by Brian A. Yeager. No one has the right to sell or edit this material!