Church of Christ
Locks Cross Roads
33) Hebrews - Chapter 10:39 and following
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Hebrews 10:39

But call to remembrance the former days.

They had had days of strife, battle and victory over sin, and these should be remembered.  Early clays of Christian
experience, a reminder of past faithfulness, should encourage all to strive again.

John 8:12 - I am the Light of the world, He that follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the Light of
life.  God's word casts the light for men to follow.  Ye endured a great conflict of sufferings.  Probably the
persecution that broke out after Stephen's death (Acts 8:1, Acts 12:3).

The persecution by brethren of loved ones is the most severe.  Jesus prophesied that brethren would deliver up
brethren (Matthew 10:21-22).

Partly being made a gazing stock.  Exposed to public shame is meant.  The meaning or use of the word "partly"
should be considered.  Some suggest:  "This suffering took place partly while they were being made a gazing stock."
Likely not all had endured the same suffering.  In Greek and Roman theaters, criminals were often publicly abused
and insulted (Acts 19:29, 1st Corinthians 4:9).

"Reproaches" were the unkind words heaped upon Christians.  The unbelievers treated the Christians as they
treated Christ.

"Afflictions" refers to those various sufferings and calamities which they endured.  If they as individuals had not
suffered, they had helped financially those that had been persecuted - this may be alluded to in Hebrews 6:10.

In either case he praises them for their faithfulness.  Paul had endured all that is named, so if they had helped Paul
only, they had shared.  This is the commendable thing about the Hebrews, as seen in Hebrews 6.

The early church was scattered (Acts 8), which no doubt meant possessions were taken from them.  Those whose
treasures are in heaven do not sorrow for earthly losses.  Our possessions cannot be spoiled - Matthew 6:19: "lay
not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust consume".  1st Corinthians 9:25: "They do it to
obtain a corruptible crown."  1st Peter 1:4 - Everything here is temporary, while in heaven everything is abiding.

Cast not away therefore your boldness.

The cowards in battle would throw aside their weapons and flee, and of course this meant defeat.  The Christian is
to gird on, to be strong, and to be confident, with the shield of faith.  The word "boldness" here is not "cockiness"
nor haughtiness, but confidence.  This is gained in Christ.  See Ephesians 3:12.  Only the confident have the
confidence of God.  The faithful know that their labor is not vain in the Lord.  1st Corinthians 15:58: Eternal life will
be ours.  Galatians 6:9: "we shall" expresses certainty.  John 6:27: Some labor for that which perishes.  Ephesians
6:13-18: The Christian does not look to death but to the coming of Christ.

But My righteous One "the righteous one."  If the expression, "My righteous," is allowed, we see the ground on which
God claims us, the principle of faith.  We ought to live so that God will say to us, "My righteous one."

Shall live by faith

This is a quotation from Habakkuk 2:3-4.  It appears three times in the New Testament, and each time in an
interesting light.  Romans 1:17: Connected with the "just" or "righteous."  Galatians 3:3: Connected with the subject
of being perfected.  Hebrews 10:38: Set in the midst of conflict of sufferings.

And if he shrink back

The words "any man" appears in the King James Version, but not in the original.  It is not "any man" that he is
speaking of, but the just man.  We are to live by faith, in spite of all that the devil sends against us.  With God by our
side let us not shrink back like Saul's army.

But like David live by faith, and we are a match for any enemy.  The danger lies in living by appearance rather than
by faith.  See 2nd Corinthians 5:7.  2nd Thessalonians 2:3: the same word is applied to this evil one.  Judas was the
"son of perdition"  (John 17:12).  1st Timothy 6:9 speaks of destruction and perdition together.  2nd Peter 3:7:
Perdition of ungodly men.  "Shrinking back" then must be a condition in danger of being permanent.

It is a joy to be on the salvation side of faith.  The author no doubt expresses this to give them courage.  We are on
the road to eternal life, whereas the shrinkersback are on the road to perdition.  There is a faith that will not save
US.  The wavering faith will not.  Hebrews 10:39: the faith without works.  See James 2:17-26.