HEBREWS CHAPTER 3
14 We are partners with Christ, due to share in all He has for us, if we keep the confidence we had in Him at the first—-all the way to the end. 15 That, you see, is the meaning behind the Holy Spirit’s words when He asks you to, “listen to the voice of God as he speaks to you today.”
Notice that we have come back to the “if” of verse 6.
We are partners with Christ, says our writer, if we keep our confidence in Christ all the way to the very end.
Here the writer uses a different Greek word for “confidence,’ one which has the idea of maintaining our complete trust in Christ.
So what he is saying is, we are going to share with Christ—-if we keep our faith in Him.
In Hebrews, the idea of sharing with Christ or partaking with Him are not the same as Paul’s idea of being IN Christ.
To Paul, a partakers is one who has joined to Jesus in the Spirit, something that occurs at the beginning of one’s Christian’s life.
To our writer, partaking with Him is something that occurs at the end of life, that is, sharing with Him in His kingdom.
He is the king of the privileges and blessings believers will enjoy in the future—-if they keep up their confidence in Christ and are faithful to Him.
Therefore, Paul is referring to salvation, when he speaks of partaking OF Christ, and our writer is referring to the REWARDS when he speaks of partaking WITH Christ.
When the Hebrew Christians first received the Gospel, they were thrilled with Jesus.
They acknowledged Him as Messiah and went all our living for Him.
But with the delay of His return and mounting persecutions, their enthusiasm cooled.
They began to look toward Judaism for relief from their afflictions.
They were in danger of throwing away their confidence in Christ.
The writer warns them that they must maintain their confidence in Him—-firm to the end—-if they expect to partake of His blessings in the kingdom.
Our writer again is thinking of the Israelites in the wilderness as he brings forth the real meaning of David’s word in the 95th Psalm.
He was saying it was not enough for the Israelites to escape Egypt through the Red Sea (a picture of salvation).
They must continue in God’s promises and act on them, if they wanted to enjoy the promised land (which pictured the reward of faithfulness).
As we study Hebrew, we must distinguish between SALVATION and REWARDS.
They are separate matters.
One comes t the beginning of the Christian life, and the other at the end.
If we fail to observe this distinction, we will have our writer teaching salvation by works.
Salvation is only the beginning of a new life which must be lived by faith.
There are many things for which we must trust the Lord for as Christians, whether our daily bread, our His blessing on the job.
At the END of their faith-life, a glorious reward awaits those who keep their confidence in God’s Word and act upon His promises.
The Israelites didn’t do this.
They lost confidence in His Word and refused to enter the promised land Numbers 14.
Even though they died in the desert, they did not lose their status as His people.
That’s the big truth here: God’s own people can be unbelievers.
The idea of believing does not always pertain to salvation.
The fact that the Israelites died is not the lesson.
The tragedy is that they lost what they might have had, had they remained faithful.
The promised land was to be the REWARD of their faithfulness, not their salvation.
If the Jewish readers get the message, they will see that they are close to losing the reward they might have with Christ, because they are losing their confidence in His Word and looking to Judaism for relief.
The story of the 40 years in the desert is a gigantic visual aid.
It shows how expensive it can be when God’s people refuse to take Him at His Word and look somewhere else for security and blessing