Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope. (Hebrews 3:5-6 ESV)
The New Testament is full of conditional statements. I struggle with the concept of “once saved, always saved” because of these statements. I have no desire to rehash a centuries long debate. Instead, I want to focus on the practical implications of what the writer is saying.
I had a nightmare the other night regarding the ocean and a big wave. We are staying at the coast and at some point, will take a walk on the beach. On one of those walks in the past we were overcome by a wave and almost drowned. So, the nightmare is reasonable. The difference is that in this nightmare I saw the wave coming and was able to run. I ran to the car and grabbed hold of the roof rack. I knew from my previous experience that the water would sweep over me and then recede. I was hoping that the car would not move and that I would have enough strength to hang on to the car.
The writer of Hebrews tells us that there will be waves that will come and attempt to sweep us away from our commitment to walking with God. The waves are sin. It is a given that I will sin today. What I must not do is let that sin cause me to loosen my grip on my hope of eternal life in Christ. There is a time for rest that is coming when I will no longer need to hold fast. Now is the time to hold fast.
But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. (Hebrew2 3:13-14 ESV)
What can we do to help each other hold fast? Most translations use the word exhort and some encourage. The New Living Translation uses the word warn. I think that this is appropriate. From the day we decide to follow Jesus until the day we die we will be threatened by sin and discouragement. We will have thoughts of giving in to sin and giving up our hope. We all need someone to warn us of this threat and encourage us to not give in and keep going.
During my recovery I watched several documentaries on the Olympics. Marathoners amaze me because they seem to be able to keep running even when no one else is around. Most of us aren’t built that way. Life is hard, and we need to be encouraged. Who can you encourage today?