Upon further study of Hebrews 10, it seems its readers are left with no other choice but to continue on in valiant faith or risk displeasing God. To the logical mind it seems almost unfair that the standard of being truly pleasing to God is borne upon ones conduct in the worst moments of their life. Nevertheless, our crisis management trainer in Hebrews has determined that this was a necessary principle for the troubled souls in the Hebrew church to master. Based upon the principles in this 10th chapter, the validating factor of faith in God is giving Him our best in the worst of times. Could it be that the crisis of the hour has been designed to refine our standing in the world and with God as the corporate body of the church and as individual believers?
The verses that conclude chapter 10 are fascinating. Note the demanding and almost militaristic tone of the following verses: “but my righteous one will live by faith, and my whole being won’t be pleased with anyone who shrinks back. But we aren’t the sort of people who timidly draw back and end up being destroyed. We’re the sort of people who have faith so that our whole beings are preserved” (Heb. 10:38–39 CEB). The practice of faith in crises is not a choice. Based on the words of this text, it seems that is expected of all whom God has declared righteous by the blood of the Lamb. That is, they literally live, breathe, and walk in the reality of what they have hoped for and accept God’s declared Word alone as proof of what they do not see. Shrinking back or drawing back from that hope and unseen proof are unthinkable to them, rooted in their understanding that doing so would bring inevitable destruction to themselves and the loss of the promises of God. Faith is the only option for their survival. May God help all believers today living in a world riveted by a crisis that foments panic, doubt, death, and fear, to jettison all thoughts that would strip them of their confidence in God. Instead may they unreservedly practice the instruction of the writer of Proverbs who invokes each of us to “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Prov. 3:5 AV). We don’t know enough to not believe God!
Yours in His Service,
Bishop Lambert W. Gates, Sr.