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Hebrews 10:23 - Homilies By D. Young

The Christian's steadfast acknowledgment of his hope.

I. THE EXISTENCE OF ACTUAL ACKNOWLEDGMENT IS ASSUMED . The writer is addressing those who are avowedly Christians. Jesus has already been acknowledged as Apostle and High Priest ( Hebrews 3:1 ), and already an exhortation has been given to hold fast the acknowledgment of him. In the first age of Christianity, the breaking away from Judaism or from Gentile idolatry could not, of course, be concealed. It never was meant to be paraded or obtruded; but, in the very nature of things, light rising in the midst of darkness must manifest itself. Saul's conversion was soon known in Damascus. The Nicodemus-attitude, however excusable at first, cannot long be maintained. It must advance to acknowledgment or subside into spiritual indifference. Many there must have been who, like Timothy, had made a good confession before many witnesses; therein, as Paul hinted, following the example of Jesus before Pilate ( 1 Timothy 6:12 , 1 Timothy 6:13 ).

II. THE SPECIAL FORM OF THE ACKNOWLEDGMENT HERE REFERRED TO . It is the acknowledgment of a hope. These Jewish Christians have made all their expectation of the future to depend on Christ. Hope is the natural and proper feeling of the human breast; men hope for that which it is within the limit of human ability to attain. And when Christ, by his death and resurrection, and by the gift of his Spirit, has enlarged that limit, then the hope is enlarged and elevated also. Christ meant that a spiritual and lofty hope should brighten the arduous lives of his servants; and evidently his first apostles had such a hope as they contemplated the possibilities of their own lives. In referring to the Christian hope here, the writer is but continuing the strain running through the previous part of the Epistle ( Hebrews 3:6 ; Hebrews 6:11 , Hebrews 6:18 ; Hebrews 7:19 ). If we do not get hope into our hearts from our connection with Christ, then that connection is a delusion.

III. THE ACKNOWLEDGMENT WILL BE OF NO USE UNLESS IT IS HELD FAST . We must avow, without the slightest hesitation or vacillation, the confidence and expectation we have from our connection with Christ. And we can only make the avowal if the feeling is real, deep, and based on a proper understanding of what it is that Christ promises. Christ is not bound to justify all our hopes, but only such as the obedient and spiritually minded ought to entertain, Note the strong words which the writer uses in insisting on the need of holding fast this acknowledgment. This shows what temptation there would be to fall away from it.

IV. THE GROUND GIVEN FOR HOLDING FAST . "He is faithful that promised." The word of one who has done such things as Jesus, and manifested such a character, is the very best ground we can have. The faithfulness of Jesus is known in all those points whereby, in the present world, it can be tested. When he speaks of the treasures of a future which we cannot yet test, our wisdom is to hold fast to him, and not listen to the confused utterances of men, or the too often rebellious promptings of our own hearts.—Y.

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