With v19 we come to the great turning-point of this epistle. Up until now the writer has been dealing with matters mainly doctrinal. Now he turns to things primarily practical. Verses 19-21 are transitional: bridging the gap between these two sections of the epistle. Then follow three urgent exhortations: ‘let us draw near to God’, v22; ‘let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess’, v23; ‘let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds’, v24.
Then, in vv26-31, comes a solemn warning addressed to those professing Christians who were in danger of forsaking Christ, and turning their backs on the gospel. Finally, there is an impassioned plea for Christian perseverance, vv32-end.
1. We have a hope
Biblical hope is not ‘wishful thinking’, but rather joyful confidence in the future that God has planned for us, Phil 1:20; 1 Pet 1:21.
This hope is for all believers, not just for an elite few.
It rests on the promises of God, and flies in the face of all negative appearances. ‘For he who promised is faithful’. Cf. 1 Cor 2:9f.
2. We should profess this hope
Gratitude to God demands it, Psa 66:16. The good of others demands it, Jn 1:45.
We profess it by word, 1 Pet 3:15, and deed, Mt 5:16; 1 Pet 3:1.
3. We should hold unswervingly to the hope we profess
Hebrews was written against a background of threatened or actual backsliding, Heb 10:25. Many would still be feeling the pull of the Judaism from which thy had been converted. There was a national crisis looming, in which Jerusalem would be destroyed by the Romans and the Jewish people would be dispersed, cf. Heb 10:25.
Our profession, too, can be threatened by the world, the flesh and the devil. But we are ‘more than conquerors’ in Christ, Rom 8:37.
Instruction and encouragement for
- those who lack hope of any kind
- those whose hope is misplaced
- those whose hope is in Christ