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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary
New American Standard Version
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Nave's Topical Bible - Fight of Faith; Persecution; Thompson Chain Reference - Battle of Life; Conflict, Spiritual; Spiritual; Warfare, Spiritual;
Verse 32. But call to remembrance — It appears from this, and indeed from some parts of the Gospel history, that the first believers in Judea were greatly persecuted; our Lord's crucifixion, Stephen's martyrdom, the persecution that arose after the death of Stephen, Acts 8:1, Herod's persecution, Acts 12:1, in which James was killed, and the various persecutions of St. Paul, sufficiently show that this disposition was predominant among that bad people.
A great fight of afflictions — Πολλην αθλησιν παθηματων· A great combat or contention of sufferings. Here we have an allusion to the combats at the Grecian games, or to exhibitions of gladiators at the public spectacles; and an intimation how honourable it was to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints, and to overcome through the blood of the Lamb, and their own testimony.
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Hebrews 10:32". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/hebrews-10.html. 1832.
Warning against turning back (10:26-39)
Those who are tempted to go back to Judaism are reminded that apart from Christ’s work there is no way of salvation. If they reject him, they can expect only judgment (26-27). Even under the old covenant rebellion met with death. How much worse will be the punishment of those who have experienced the grace of God through Christ, yet deliberately reject and disown it (28-31).
The writer encourages his readers not to forsake Christ, by reminding them of what they have suffered for his sake. They have persevered through insults, violence, imprisonments and robberies, because of their confidence of a lasting reward (32-35). Endurance is essential, since there must always be some waiting time before a promise can be fulfilled. For Christians the promised reward will be at Christ’s return, when he judges between those who persevere in faith and those who turn back (36-39).
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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Hebrews 10:32". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/hebrews-10.html. 2005.
But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were enlightened, ye endured a great conflict of suffering.
This verse refers to fidelity and endurance of the Hebrew Christians who passed through the tribulations that arose around the martyrdom of Stephen and the following persecutions. The uncertainty of scholars about the original addressees of this epistle makes the positive identification of the "conflict of sufferings" somewhat precarious; but, if it was not THAT persecution, it was another one of sufficient priority to the date of Hebrews to have allowed the development of a prevailing indifference that arose after it and which is so strongly treated by the author. Certainly, the words, "Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin" (Hebrews 12:4), as used by the author, do not rule out Stephen's martyrdom as being the time of the sufferings mentioned here; because "Ye" could have reference to the generation receiving Hebrews, rather than to a congregation that had no history of persecutions. Hebrews was addressed to the living and not to the dead; and whatever persecution was referred to, it was "a great conflict of suffering."
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Hebrews 10:32". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/hebrews-10.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.
But call to remembrance the former days - It would seem from this, that at the time when the apostle wrote this Epistle they were suffering some severe trials, in which they were in great danger of apostatizing from their religion. It is also manifest that they had on some former occasion endured a similar trial, and had been enabled to bear it with a Christian spirit, and with resignation. The object of the apostle now is to remind them that they were sustained under those trials, and he would encourage them now to similar patience by the recollection of the grace then conferred on them. What was the nature of their former trials, or of what they were then experiencing, is not certainly known. It would seem probable, however, that the reference in both instances is to some form of persecution by their own countrymen. The meaning is, “that when we have been enabled to pass through trials once, we are to make the remembrance of the grace then bestowed on us a means of supporting and encouraging us in future trials.”
After ye were illuminated - After you became Christians, or were enlightened to see the truth. This phrase, referring here undoubtedly to the fact that they were Christians, may serve to explain the disputed phrase in Hebrews 6:4; see notes on that passage.
A great fight of afflictions - The language here seems to be taken from the Grecian games. The word “fight” means properly contention, combat, such as occurred in the public games. Here the idea is, that in the trials referred to, they had a great struggle; that is, a struggle to maintain their faith without wavering, or against those who would have led them to apostatize from their religion. Some of the circumstances attending this conflict are alluded to in the following verses.
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Hebrews 10:32". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/hebrews-10.html. 1870.
32. But call to remembrance, etc. In order to stimulate them, and to rouse their alacrity to go forward, he reminds them of the evidences of piety which they had previously manifested; for it is a shameful thing to begin well, and to faint in the middle of our course, and still more shameful to retrograde after having made great progress. The remembrance then of past warfare, if it had been carried on faithfully and diligently under the banner of Christ, is at length useful to us, not as a pretext for sloth, as though we had already served our time, but to render us more active in finishing the remaining part of our course. For Christ has not enlisted us on this condition, that we should after a few years ask for a discharge like soldiers who have served their time, but that we should pursue our warfare even to the end.
He further strengthens his exhortation by saying, that they had already performed great exploits at a time when they were as yet new recruits: the more shame then would it be to them, if now they fainted after having been long tried; for the word enlightened is to be limited to the time when they first enlisted under Christ, as though he had said, “As soon as ye were initiated into the faith of Christ, ye underwent hard and arduous contests; now practice ought to have rendered you stronger, so as to become more courageous.” He, however, at the same time reminds them, that it was through God’s favor that they believed, and not through their own strength; they were enlightened when immersed in darkness and without eyes to see, except light from above had shone upon them. Whenever then those things which we have done or suffered for Christ come to our minds, let them be to us so many goads to stir us on to higher attainments. (191)
(191) “A great fight of affliction,” is rendered by Doddridge, “a great contest of sufferings;” by Macknight. “a great combat of afflictions;” and by Stuart, “a great contest with sufferings.” The last word may be deemed as the genitive case of the object, “a great contest as to sufferings;” or the word πολλὴν, may be rendered, “long contest as to sufferings.” Doddridge remarks that contest ὑπομέω is used to show the courage displayed. But “endure,” is in the case not the proper word, but “sustain,” If “endure” be retained, then we must give its secondary sense to ἄθλησιν, toil, labor, struggle; and so Schleusner does, “Ye endured the great toil of sufferings,” or, a great struggle with sufferings. — Ed
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Hebrews 10:32". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/hebrews-10.html. 1840-57.
For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very substance of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect ( Hebrews 10:1 ).
Now notice the law was only a shadow of the good things to come. The value of the studying of Leviticus and the studying of the law, to the Christian, is that it foreshadows the work of Jesus Christ, the offering of Jesus Christ, and the high priestly nature of Jesus Christ. The shadow, it's not the substance. Paul tells us this in Colossians, chapter 2, where Christ through His death blotted out the handwriting and the ordinances that were against us, nailing them to His cross and triumphing over them in it. Therefore, don't let any man judge you in respect of meat, or drink, or new moons, or holy days or Sabbath days, for these were all a shadow of things to come, but the substance is Christ.
So Christ standing here in this point in history. His shadow was cast over the past history. The shadow of Christ is there in the law and in the sacrifices. You can see that they foreshadow Him, but they were only the shadow. Jesus is the substance that casts the shadow. And so there is a real substance in Jesus. These things were only foreshadowing His coming. Once He came they were no longer necessary, no longer necessary to have the shadows, for we now have the substance in Jesus.
For if they could have been perfect sacrifices that had put away the sins then would they not have ceased to be offered? ( Hebrews 10:2 ).
In other words, they would have done it once in Moses' day and that would have been it. They wouldn't have to offer animals every day. They wouldn't have to offer animals once a year in the Holy of Holies. It would have been sufficient had they been able to perfect man.
"Then would they not have ceased to be offered?"
Because the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins ( Hebrews 10:2 ).
Now this was under the old covenant, and had it been effective, once being cleansed, they should have no more conscience of sins. Showing that it did not bring that to them under the old covenant, however, the glorious thing is that in this new covenant through Jesus Christ, once being purged, we really should not have any more consciousness of sins. There is this purging. It's complete, the cleansing in the blood of Jesus Christ is complete, and the blood of Jesus Christ God's Son cleanses. In the Greek, it is present perfect tense. It is continually cleansing us from all sins. What a glorious thing, that continual cleansing by Jesus Christ.
But in those sacrifices there was a reminder again made for sins every year ( Hebrews 10:3 ).
Every year when the priest would go in, you'd be reminded again of your guilt and of your sin.
For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins ( Hebrews 10:4 ).
It is impossible that they could actually take away your sins. They made what they called the kophar for sins. In the Hebrew, kophar, which is translated atonement. It is probably a bad translation. It should be translated covered. It made a covering for their sins, but it did not put their sins away. It only covered their sins.
Wherefore, when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me ( Hebrews 10:5 ):
Now this is a quotation from Psalm 46 . However, the latter part of the quotation, "a body thou hast prepared me," is not as your King James reads, but this was translated from the Septuagint version.
The Septuagint version of the scriptures was a Hebrew to Greek translation of the Old Testament that was made by seventy scholars two hundred years before the birth of Christ. After the Babylonian captivity, the Hebrew language was almost dead. It was only known by the biblical scholars. They were the only ones that used the Hebrew language. The Jews, themselves, usually spoke the Koine or they spoke Greek, but Hebrew was only for biblical scholars. They felt that the people should have the Bible in a language they could understand, and so they translated the Old Testament scriptures into Greek. It is called the Septuagint. So whenever you read of the Septuagint version, that is what it is, a translation by seventy scholars of the Hebrew Old Testament into Greek two hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ.
This quotation, as do others in the New Testament, come from the Septuagint version, and interestingly enough, "Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not," or you don't care for, "but you have prepared a body for me."
That is, Jesus, when He came into the world, God prepared a body for Him. In order that in this body, He might become the perfect, complete sacrifice for man.
In burnt offerings [the Lord said in Psalms] and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God ( Hebrews 10:6-7 ).
So, this is declared of Jesus Christ. He declared, "I have come. In the volume of the book it is written of Me." The Old Testament is all about Jesus Christ. He is all the way through, interwoven in all of the types, in all of the shadows, in all of the books. It is one continuous story in the preparing of the hearts of man for the coming of the Messiah. The prophecies, the hopes, all prefigured there in the Old Testament.
He speaks here of the burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin. There were five offerings that were made in the Old Testament. They were necessary to bring man into fellowship with God. It is the purpose of God that man should fellowship with Him. God's purpose is that man should know Him, that he should fellowship with Him and that he might cooperate with God in the accomplishing of God's purposes here on the earth.
Now sin creates a breach between man and God. Sin separates man from God. Sinful man cannot be one with a holy God.
Paul, writing to the Corinthians, who lived in that city that was so debauched, that the word Corinthian became a synonym for a totally debauched person. Every night a thousand priestesses would come into the city of Corinth from the Acropolis above Corinth, the temple there of Aphrodite. These priestesses in the temple of Aphrodite were prostitutes. And a thousand of them, a thousand streetwalkers in the city every night. And so Paul warned the Corinthian believers concerning having a relations with a harlot. He said, "Don't you realize that if you have relationships with a harlot you become one with her? And if you are one with Christ then you are making Christ a partaker and bringing Him as one with a harlot." He said, "You can't do that. What fellowship hath light with darkness? Christ with Belial and all." He is warning against these things. You are to be one with God and if you then go out and sin you are making God a partner in your sin. That can't be. Sinful man cannot have fellowship with a holy God. So before fellowship can be experienced, sin has to be put away.
In the first covenant there were two of the offerings that dealt with sin. The first was the sin offering, which is sins general. The second was the trespass offering where I had deliberately trespassed against the law of God. That took a different type of a sacrifice. But they had to be taken care of before I could have fellowship with God. But once I had made the sin and trespass offerings, then I could bring the burnt offerings.
You notice the burnt offering here, and then the sin offerings. The burnt offerings were offerings of consecration where I would consecrate my life to God. This was the burnt offering, and it was symbolic of just consecrating my life to God. Then there was the meal offering, which was the consecration of my service to God as I brought the grain that I had cultivated and grown. And they baked it into bread and offered it unto God.
Finally, I could offer the peace offering, which was communion. I could now be made one with God. My sins have been put away. My trespasses have been put away. I've consecrated my life and my service to God, and now I come into oneness with God and I offer the peace offering. And I sit down and eat with God the peace offering. I give Him His portion to eat, the best part of it, being a gracious host, and I then partake of the rest and we eat together. And as we are both nourished by the same lamb, then I become a part of God and God becomes a part of me, and I have this fellowship.
So God was tired. He would not accept anymore of these sacrifices.
Offering and burnt offerings and the offering for sin thou wouldst not, neither did you have pleasure therein; those things that were offered by the law. Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he might establish the second ( Hebrews 10:8-9 ).
The first covenant that God established with man is over. You cannot come to God by the first covenant.
There are always those who want to come to God on their terms. Hey, you're not calling the shots! You're in no position to call the shots. "God, I'll do this for You if You'll do this, this and this." You're trying to bargain with God or come to God on your terms, and it can't be done. The only way you can come to God is as a guilty sinner and cast yourself upon His mercy and grace and just ask for mercy and grace. You've got to come on His terms, and His terms are that you come through Jesus Christ.
The Old Covenant is disannulled; it's passed away. It is no longer effective. In establishing of the new covenant, He has put away the first. So, taketh away the first that He might establish the second
By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all ( Hebrews 10:10 ).
So, we have been sanctified through the body of Jesus Christ. I am made righteous through Jesus Christ. I am accepted in Jesus Christ. All that I have in my relationship with God today must and does come through Jesus Christ. He is my peace. He is my righteousness. He is my sin offering. He is my sin offerer. He is everything. He is my mediator. Jesus is everything to me. Without Him I have nothing. I have no access to God. I am alienated from God. I am hopelessly and helplessly lost apart from Jesus Christ.
Every priest stands daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins ( Hebrews 10:11 ):
So they're busy. They are kept busy all day long offering one sin offering after another; one meal offering after another as the various people came in. But it is . . . he's pointing out these offerings cannot take away sins.
But this man [Jesus Christ], after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God ( Hebrews 10:12 );
It's complete. He doesn't have to do it every day. He doesn't have to be crucified over and over. The death of Christ is sufficient once and for all.
From henceforth [or from now on] just waiting until his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he has perfected for ever them that are sanctified ( Hebrews 10:13-14 ).
Isn't that glorious? By His one offering we have been perfected forever. Thank God!
Whereof the Holy Ghost also is witness to us: for after he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their hearts, and their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more ( Hebrews 10:15-17 ).
David cried out, "Oh how happy is the man whose transgressions are forgiven. Oh how happy is the man whose sins are covered. Oh how happy is the man to whom God does not impute iniquity." All I can say to that is, "Amen!" How happy is the man whose sins and iniquities, God said, I will remember no more.
Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin ( Hebrews 10:18 ).
Where you've already had the remission once and for all, perfected in Christ, there is no need for any further offering for sin.
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the Holy of Holies by the blood of Jesus ( Hebrews 10:19 ),
I can enter in where He entered in, right in to the presence of the Father. Coming to the Father through the blood of Jesus Christ, I can enter into the Holy of Holies. I can come into the presence of God through Him. The door is open. Jesus Christ has made the way whereby we can come into the presence of God and fellowship with Him.
And so, "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,"
By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having a high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart full of assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised ( Hebrews 10:20-23 );
Notice now this new covenant: hold fast, hang on, don't worry, because God is faithful who made the promises. This new covenant is predicated upon the promises of God, and God is faithful who has made these promises to you. So hold fast this profession of faith. We have a great high priest.
The danger was these Jews who had received Jesus, returning back to Judaism, taking a lamb, dragging a lamb to the priest again to make a sin offering for them. That was their danger.
Don't underestimate how deeply rooted traditions are, especially among the Jewish people, and even to the present day. Even non-believing Jews keep Sabbath; eat kosher. It is so deeply a part of their tradition that they guard it fiercely. And I know many, many Jews that would become Christians, but they are afraid they would no longer be a Jew. They don't understand that to become a Christian is to become a completed Jew. For Jesus was the Messiah that God had promised in their scriptures. And they need not fear to cease being a Jew by becoming a Christian. In fact, they'd probably become a better Jew than they ever were. And yet, their rabbis have determined that to be a Jew and a Christian are mutually exclusive; you cannot be both. But they are trying to protect their national identity and they fight fiercely. For it is deeply, deeply ingrained.
So the time of the writing of the Hebrews, those who had made a profession of Christ, some of them sort going back. So the encouragement is to hold fast the profession; don't waiver. And again, pointing not to our faithfulness, but the faithfulness of God. He who has promised is faithful.
And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works ( Hebrews 10:24 ):
And so that's as we're together exhorting each other for a greater love and good works.
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching ( Hebrews 10:25 ).
Consider each other to provoke each other to love, to good works, and then not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, in order that we might receive exhortation. Actually, he is saying we should gather together all the more as we see the day of the Lord approaching. So I don't know how we can do any more than we are every night of the week around here and during the day, but anyhow . . . That's the purpose of gathering and assembling ourselves together is for mutual encouragement, the strengthening of each other, the exhorting of each other.
For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins ( Hebrews 10:26 ),
This is talking to the Jew who is wavering in his faith in Jesus Christ and who is seeking to go back to the priest with a sin offering. There is no further sacrifice. The lamb will do nothing. For the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is complete. It is once and for all. And there is no further sacrifice that can be offered, of a goat or a lamb or a calf or anything else. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ is complete. There remains no other sacrifice for your sins. You can't go back to the old system.
[All that remains is] the certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries ( Hebrews 10:27 ).
Now, this judgment and fiery indignation is going to take place, much of it, during the Great Tribulation. Notice it is going to devour God's adversaries.
He that despised Moses' law [that is, the first covenant that has been set aside] died without mercy under two or three witnesses ( Hebrews 10:28 ):
Very severe punishment, capital punishment for those who despised the first covenant that God established through Moses.
Of how much worse punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant [this new covenant], wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and has done despite to the Spirit of grace? ( Hebrews 10:29 )
So the three things: he's trodden under foot the Son of God, counted the blood of Christ as nothing, and has done despite to the Spirit of grace.
For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will repay, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall in the hands of the living God ( Hebrews 10:30-31 ).
Now two things can be done concerning your sins. One, by your coming to Jesus Christ, they can be totally and completely washed away. Totally forgiven through Him, accepting this new covenant that God has established, your sins are completely put away. If that does not take place, then the second thing that will happen concerning your sins is that you will stand before God and be judged, and your sins will condemn you.
Years ago, I was told the story of a wonderful prince, the heir to the kingdom, who had married a wife who proved to be undeserving of him and of his love. During a time of rebellion, she went out and lived in open adultery with the leader of the rebellion. When the rebellion was subdued, the princess was brought to justice and the court decreed that she should die in the tiger's pit. Outside of the city, in a clearing in the forest, a pit had been dug. In the pit was a post, and those victims, who were so executed, were tied to the post. And during the night the tigers, drawn by the scent of human flesh, would come and devour the victims. The day of execution came and she was led into the woods and tied securely to the post there in the bottom of the pit and was left to her fate.
As it grew darker, she heard the crunching of gravel above her head. Looking up, she saw silhouetted in the evening sky not the form of a tiger, but of a man, who vaulted down into the pit. She recognized him to be the prince, her husband that she had betrayed. She turned on him in anger saying, "What have you done? Have you come to mock me because of the fate that I have?" He said, "No, I have come to prove to you how much I've always loved you. You've never understood that." With that, he waited silently in the pit until again there was crunching at the top of the pit. And now a tiger, drawn by the scent of human flesh, circling the pit, and then the fast footsteps as it approached and leaped into the pit. But instead of leaping upon the princess, it met the unsheathed sword of the prince. There in the darkness a fierce battle ensued, until finally the princess could hear the death throes as the last bit of life was leaving, and then just the dripping of blood.
As it became daylight, the men from the city came to take the remains of the princess and bury them. To their astonishment, they found that the princess was in good shape, still tied in the center of the pit. But over in the corner, and almost drowned in his own blood, was their beloved prince, and next to him a tiger that had been killed.
They lifted him out of the pit and carried him back to town and called the best physicians in the kingdom. For three days he hovered between life and death. Every hour a bulletin went out throughout the kingdom telling of the condition of the prince as he fought the battle for life. Finally, on the third day the news went out that the prince has passed the crisis and would live. All within the kingdom rejoiced.
In the meantime, the princess had again been incarcerated because the court's judgment had not been executed. Again, she was brought to trial and now the verdict was to be given. All the people of the kingdom gathered in the great arena to hear the verdict against the princess. As the crier stepped forth, he said, "Hear ye, hear ye, the decision of the supreme council." Then turning to the princess he said, "Over on your right there is a door, and behind that door there stands your husband, the prince, the one that you betrayed. Over on your left is another door, behind which are several tigers. If by five o'clock this evening you do not go to the door on your right and enter that door declaring to all within the kingdom that from now on you will be a faithful and devoted wife, then the door on your left will be opened and the death which he almost died to save you from will come upon you, and this time without any hope of escape. And the story ended, which door?
But as you see the story, you realize that we are the guilty princess, and that we rebelled against the Lord, who loved us so much that He came to prove His love by dying in our place. Now there are two doors, two things that can be done for your sins. Totally forgiven by your commitment of your life to Jesus Christ, or if you fail, then the death from which He died to save you will come and there will be no hope of any escape. "For how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?" So really, you have to put the ending on the story yourself. Which door? You are the one that puts the ending on the story.
"It's a fearful thing to fall in the hands of a living God."
But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions ( Hebrews 10:32 );
Remember what you went through in the beginning of your faith.
Partly, while you were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, while you became companions of them that were so used ( Hebrews 10:33 ).
"Your identification with Christianity really cost you a lot," and it did. It cost many of them their families. They were completely ostracized. Actually, the families would hold funerals for them. They were dead. They would not even recognize them on the street as existing. "Remember the things that you endured because of your faith in Jesus Christ."
For you had compassion of me and in my bonds, and you took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that you have in heaven a better and an enduring substance ( Hebrews 10:34 ).
A lot of them had their possessions taken away, but they didn't care. They knew they had possessions that no man could take away, the enduring substance in heaven.
Cast not away therefore your confidence, which has great recompence of reward. For you have need of patience, and after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry ( Hebrews 10:35-37 ).
So again, as so often in the New Testament, the exhortation of patience as we wait for the coming of Jesus Christ. James has said, "Have patience brethren; establish your souls for the Lord is waiting for the complete fruit of harvest" ( James 5:7 ). Have patience; He has a few more yet to save. Give them a chance too. Establish yourselves, for the Lord is waiting for the full fruit of harvest. Peter said, "God is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness. He is faithful to us-ward, he is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" ( 2 Peter 3:9 ).
So the reason why God is waiting and delaying the coming of Jesus Christ is to give opportunity for others to come on into the kingdom. But He that shall come will come and will not tarry. The day of the Lord will come. The Lord has waited, but the days of waiting are almost over. But have patience brethren, that after you've done the will of God you might receive the promise. The Lord is going to come again.
Now the just shall live by faith: and if any man draw back, [God said] my soul shall have no pleasure in them. But we are not of those who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul ( Hebrews 10:38-39 ).
The writer here declares his confidence in them. We are not those that draw back. We are those that believe to the salvation of our souls.
Now the just shall live by faith, and as we go into chapter 11, we're going to get the hallmark of faith, the hall of fame for those who believe. And that is the hall of fame that I want to appear in. You can have Cooper's Town and everything else. I want to be listed in that hall of fame, those who believe in the promises God. And we'll get an interesting listing of these men of faith as we move on into chapter 11, the glorious chapter on faith.
And now may the Lord be with you, watch over and keep you in His love as you walk in faith in Him. May you be blessed of the Lord and strengthened in every good work for the glory of Jesus Christ. God bless you. In Jesus' name. "
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Hebrews 10:32". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/csc/hebrews-10.html. 2014.
D. The Danger of Willful Sinning (The Fourth Warning) 10:19-39
From this point on in the epistle the writer made application from the great truths concerning Jesus Christ that he had now finished explaining. He followed his exposition of Jesus Christ’s superior high priestly ministry (Hebrews 6:13 to Hebrews 10:18) with exhortation, another stern warning against apostatizing, and an encouragement to remain faithful to the Lord (Hebrews 10:19-39). (Even though chapter 11 is primarily exposition, it is full of application.) The Greek word parresia, which appears in Hebrews 10:19 ("confidence") and in Hebrews 10:35 ("confidence"), frames the section and forms an inclusio tying the thought together.
"With Hebrews 10:19-39 the great central division of the sermon (Hebrews 5:11 to Hebrews 10:39) is drawn to a conclusion. Viewed from the perspective of the homiletical and literary structure of Hebrews, this concluding exhortation is symmetrical with the preliminary exhortation found in Hebrews 5:11 to Hebrews 6:20 . . . . The great exposition of Christ as priest and sacrifice is thus framed by parallel parenetic units . . ." [Note: Lane, Hebrews 9-13, p. 279.]
This warning passage is in a sense central to all the hortatory passages in Hebrews. Lane entitled this warning passage "The Peril of Disloyalty to Christ." [Note: Ibid., p. 271.] It echoes former warnings (cf. Hebrews 2:1-4 and Hebrews 10:28-31; and Hebrews 6:4-8 and Hebrews 10:26-31) and repeats characteristic expressions (cf. Hebrews 3:6 b and Hebrews 10:23; and Hebrews 3:17 and Hebrews 10:26). Yet it also anticipates what is to come by introducing the triad of Christian virtues, which the writer developed in chapters 11-13 (cf. Hebrews 6:10-12). He spoke of faith in Hebrews 10:22 and developed it in chapter 11, hope in Hebrews 10:23 and developed it in Hebrews 12:1-13, and love in Hebrews 10:24 and developed it in Hebrews 12:14 to Hebrews 13:21.
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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Hebrews 10:32". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/hebrews-10.html. 2012.
In the past the original readers had proved faithful in severe trials of their faith. They had stood their ground when others had encouraged them to abandon it. They had withstood public shame and persecution for their faith. They had also unashamedly supported other believers who had undergone persecution in the same way.
"In the world of the first century the lot of prisoners was difficult. Prisoners were to be punished, not pampered. Little provision was made for them, and they were dependent on friends for their supplies [including food [Note: Moffatt, p. 154. Cf. Guthrie, p. 222.] ]. For Christians visiting prisoners was a meritorious act (Matthew 25:36). But there was some risk, for the visitors became identified with the visited. The readers of the epistle had not shrunk from this. It is not pleasant to endure ignominy, and it is not pleasant to be lumped with the ignominious. They had endured both." [Note: Morris, p. 110.]
They had also been willing to suffer material loss because they looked forward to a better inheritance in the future (cf. Luke 21:19). Moreover they had done this joyfully, not grudgingly.
"The eternal inheritance laid up for them was so real in their eyes that they could lightheartedly bid farewell to material possessions which were short-lived in any case. This attitude of mind is precisely that ’faith’ of which our author goes on to speak." [Note: Bruce, The Epistle . . ., p. 270.]
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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Hebrews 10:32". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/hebrews-10.html. 2012.
3. The encouragement to persevere 10:32-39
The writer concluded his warning by reminding his readers of their former faithfulness when tempted to encourage them to endure their present and future tests (cf. Hebrews 4:12-16; Hebrews 6:9-20).
"The juxtaposition of Hebrews 10:26-35 suggests that it may have been the experience of suffering, abuse, and loss in the world that motivated the desertion of the community acknowledged in Hebrews 10:25 and a general tendency to avoid contact with outsiders observed elsewhere in Hebrews (see . . . Hebrews 5:11-14)." [Note: Lane, Hebrews 9-13, p. 297.]
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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Hebrews 10:32". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/hebrews-10.html. 2012.
But call to remembrance the former days,.... The words may be considered either as a declaration of what they had done, and be read, "but ye do call to remembrance", c. or as an exhortation to remember the days of their espousals, the times of their first conversion: and the apostle's design in this is, to mitigate the terror the preceding words might strike them with and to aggravate the disgrace of turning back, when they had behaved so bravely in former times; and to encourage their faith and trust in God:
in which after ye were illuminated, by the Spirit of God, to see their impurity, impotence, and unrighteousness, and their lost and miserable state by nature; and to behold Christ and salvation by him; and to have some light into the doctrines of the Gospel; and some glimmering of the glories of another world. The Syriac and Ethiopic versions render it "baptized"; now such as are converted, and are brought to make a public profession of their faith, and submit to the ordinances of Christ, are, in common, immediately called to suffer reproach and persecution of one kind or another; so Christ, after his baptism, was led into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil: Satan is spiteful and malicious, and God suffers afflictions to befall his people to try their graces, and to inure them to troubles early, as follows;
ye endured a great fight of afflictions; meaning some violent persecution from their own countrymen, either at the death of Stephen, in which the apostle, being then unconverted; was concerned himself; or rather some other time of trouble, after the apostle was converted, to which he seems to have respect in 1 Thessalonians 2:14, these Hebrews, being enlisted as soldiers under Christ, the Captain of their salvation, were quickly engaged in a warfare, and were called forth to fight a fight of afflictions, and a very great one; and which they endured with patience, courage, and intrepidity.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Gill, John. "Commentary on Hebrews 10:32". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/hebrews-10.html. 1999.
|The Consecrated Way; Cautions against Apostasy; Perseverance Inculcated.||A. D. 62.|
19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21 And having a high priest over the house of God; 22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) 24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. 26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. 32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; 33 Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used. 34 For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. 35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. 36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. 37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. 38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. 39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.
I. Here the apostle sets forth the dignities of the gospel state. It is fit that believers should know the honours and privileges that Christ has procured for them, that, while they take the comfort, they may give him the glory of all. The privileges are, 1. Boldness to enter into the holiest. They have access to God, light to direct them, liberty of spirit and of speech to conform to the direction; they have a right to the privilege and a readiness for it, assistance to use and improve it and assurance of acceptance and advantage. They may enter into the gracious presence of God in his holy oracles, ordinances, providences, and covenant, and so into communion with God, where they receive communications from him, till they are prepared to enter into his glorious presence in heaven. 2. A high priest over the house of God, even this blessed Jesus, who presides over the church militant, and every member thereof on earth, and over the church triumphant in heaven. God is willing to dwell with men on earth, and to have them dwell with him in heaven; but fallen man cannot dwell with God without a high priest, who is the Mediator of reconciliation here and of fruition hereafter.
II. The apostle tells us the way and means by which Christians enjoy such privileges, and, in general, declares it to be by the blood of Jesus, by the merit of that blood which he offered up to God as an atoning sacrifice: he has purchased for all who believe in him free access to God in the ordinances of his grace here and in the kingdom of his glory. This blood, being sprinkled on the conscience, chases away slavish fear, and gives the believer assurance both of his safety and his welcome into the divine presence. Now the apostle, having given this general account of the way by which we have access to God, enters further into the particulars of it, Hebrews 10:20; Hebrews 10:20. As, 1. It is the only way; there is no way left but this. The first way to the tree of life is, and has been, long shut up. 2. It is a new way, both in opposition to the covenant of works and to the antiquated dispensation of the Old Testament; it is via novissima--the last way that will ever be opened to men. Those who will not enter in this way exclude themselves for ever. It is a way that will always be effectual. 3. It is a living way. It would be death to attempt to come to God in the way of the covenant of works; but this way we may come to God, and live. It is by a living Saviour, who, though he was dead, is alive; and it is a way that gives life and lively hope to those who enter into it. 4. It is a way that Christ has consecrated for us through the veil, that is, his flesh. The veil in the tabernacle and temple signified the body of Christ; when he died, the veil of the temple was rent in sunder, and this was at the time of the evening sacrifice, and gave the people a surprising view into the holy of holies, which they never had before. Our way to heaven is by a crucified Saviour; his death is to us the way of life. To those who believe this he will be precious.
III. He proceeds to show the Hebrews the duties binding upon them on account of these privileges, which were conferred in such an extraordinary way, Hebrews 10:22; Hebrews 10:23, c.
1. They must draw near to God, and that in a right manner. They must draw near to God. Since such a way of access and return to God is opened, it would be the greatest ingratitude and contempt of God and Christ still to keep at a distance from him. They must draw near by conversion, and by taking hold of his covenant. They must draw near in all holy conversation, like Enoch walking with God. They must draw near in humble adorations, worshipping at his footstool. They must draw near in holy dependence, and in a strict observance of the divine conduct towards them. They must draw near in conformity to God, and communion with him, living under his blessed influence, still endeavouring to get nearer and nearer, till they come to dwell in his presence but they must see to it that they make their approach to God after a right manner. (1.) With a true heart, without any allowed guile or hypocrisy. God is the searcher of hearts, and he requires truth in the inward parts. Sincerity is our gospel perfection, though not our justifying righteousness. (2.) In full assurance of faith, with a faith grown up to a full persuasion that when we come to God by Christ we shall have audience and acceptance. We should lay aside all sinful distrust. Without faith it is impossible to please God; and the stronger our faith is the more glory we give to God. And, (3.) Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, by a believing application of the blood of Christ to our souls. They may be cleansed from guilt, from filth, from sinful fear and torment, from all aversion to God and duty, from ignorance, and error, and superstition, and whatever evils the consciences of men are subject to by reason of sin. (4.) Our bodies washed with pure water, that is, with the water of baptism (by which we are recorded among the disciples of Christ, members of his mystical body), or with the sanctifying virtue of the Holy Spirit, reforming and regulating our outward conversation as well as our inward frame, cleansing from the filthiness of the flesh as well as of the spirit. The priests under the law were to wash, before they went into the presence of the Lord to offer before him. There must be a due preparation for making our approaches to God.
2. The apostle exhorts believers to hold fast the profession of their faith, Hebrews 10:23; Hebrews 10:23. Here observe, (1.) The duty itself--to hold fast the profession of our faith, to embrace all the truths and ways of the gospel, to get fast hold of them, and to keep that hold against all temptation and opposition. Our spiritual enemies will do what they can to wrest our faith, and hope, and holiness, and comfort, out of our hands, but we must hold fast our religion as our best treasure. (2.) The manner in which we must do this--without wavering, without doubting, without disputing, without dallying with temptation to apostasy. Having once settled these great things between God and our souls, we must be stedfast and immovable. Those who begin to waver in matters of Christian faith and practice are in danger of falling away. (3.) The motive or reason enforcing this duty: He is faithful that hath promised. God has made great and precious promises to believers, and he is a faithful God, true to his word; there is no falseness nor fickleness with him, and there should be none with us. His faithfulness should excite and encourage us to be faithful, and we must depend more upon his promises to us than upon our promises to him, and we must plead with him the promise of grace sufficient.
IV. We have the means prescribed for preventing our apostasy, and promoting our fidelity and perseverance, Hebrews 10:24; Hebrews 10:25, c. He mentions several as, 1. That we should consider one another, to provoke to love and to good works. Christians ought to have a tender consideration and concern for one another; they should affectionately consider what their several wants, weaknesses, and temptations are; and they should do this, not to reproach one another, to provoke one another not to anger, but to love and good works, calling upon themselves and one another to love God and Christ more, to love duty and holiness more, to love their brethren in Christ more, and to do all the good offices of Christian affection both to the bodies and the souls of each other. A good example given to others is the best and most effectual provocation to love and good works. 2. Not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together,Hebrews 10:25; Hebrews 10:25. It is the will of Christ that his disciples should assemble together, sometimes more privately for conference and prayer, and in public for hearing and joining in all the ordinances of gospel worship. There were in the apostles' times, and should be in every age, Christian assemblies for the worship of God, and for mutual edification. And it seems even in those times there were some who forsook these assemblies, and so began to apostatize from religion itself. The communion of saints is a great help and privilege, and a good means of steadiness and perseverance; hereby their hearts and hands are mutually strengthened. 3. To exhort one another, to exhort ourselves and each other, to warn ourselves and one another of the sin and danger of backsliding, to put ourselves and our fellow-christians in mind of our duty, of our failures and corruptions, to watch over one another, and be jealous of ourselves and one another with a godly jealousy. This, managed with a true gospel spirit, would be the best and most cordial friendship. 4. That we should observe the approaching of times of trial, and be thereby quickened to greater diligence: So much the more, as you see the day approaching. Christians ought to observe the signs of the times, such as God has foretold. There was a day approaching, a terrible day to the Jewish nation, when their city should be destroyed, and the body of the people rejected of God for rejecting Christ. This would be a day of dispersion and temptation to the chosen remnant. Now the apostle puts them upon observing what signs there were of the approach of such a terrible day, and upon being the more constant in meeting together and exhorting one another, that they might be the better prepared for such a day. There is a trying day coming on us all, the day of our death, and we should observe all the signs of its approaching, and improve them to greater watchfulness and diligence in duty.
V. Having mentioned these means of establishment, the apostle proceeds, in the close of the chapter, to enforce his exhortations to perseverance, and against apostasy, by many very weighty considerations, Hebrews 10:26; Hebrews 10:27, c.
1. From the description he gives of the sin of apostasy. It is sinning wilfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, sinning wilfully against that truth of which we have had convincing evidence. This text has been the occasion of great distress to some gracious souls they have been ready to conclude that every wilful sin, after conviction and against knowledge, is the unpardonable sin: but this has been their infirmity and error. The sin here mentioned is a total and final apostasy, when men with a full and fixed will and resolution despise and reject Christ, the only Saviour,--despise and resist the Spirit, the only sanctifier,--and despise and renounce the gospel, the only way of salvation, and the words of eternal life; and all this after they have known, owned, and professed, the Christian religion, and continue to do so obstinately and maliciously. This is the great transgression: the apostle seems to refer to the law concerning presumptuous sinners, Numbers 15:30; Numbers 15:31. They were to be cut off.
2. From the dreadful doom of such apostates. (1.) There remains no more sacrifice for such sins, no other Christ to come to save such sinners; they sin against the last resort and remedy. There were some sins under the law for which no sacrifices were provided; but yet if those who committed them did truly repent, though they might not escape temporal death, they might escape eternal destruction; for Christ would come, and make atonement. But now those under the gospel who will not accept of Christ, that they may be saved by him, have no other refuge left them. (2.) There remains for them only a certain fearful looking for of judgment, Hebrews 10:27; Hebrews 10:27. Some think this refers to the dreadful destruction of the Jewish church and state; but certainly it refers also to the utter destruction that awaits all obstinate apostates at death and judgment, when the Judge will discover a fiery indignation against them, which will devour the adversaries; they will be consigned to the devouring fire and to everlasting burnings. Of this destruction God gives some notorious sinners, while on earth, a fearful foreboding in their own consciences, a dreadful looking for it, with a despair of ever being able either to endure or escape it.
3. From the methods of divine justice with those who despised Moses's law, that is, sinned presumptuously, despising his authority, his threatenings and his power. These, when convicted by two or three witnesses, were put to death; they died without mercy, a temporal death. Observe, Wise governors should be careful to keep up the credit of their government and the authority of the laws, by punishing presumptuous offenders; but then in such cases there should be good evidence of the fact. Thus God ordained in Moses's law; and hence the apostle infers the heavy doom that will fall upon those that apostatize from Christ. Here he refers to their own consciences, to judge how much sorer punishment the despisers of Christ (after they have professed to know him) are likely to undergo; and they may judge of the greatness of the punishment by the greatness of the sin. (1.) They have trodden under foot the Son of God. To trample upon an ordinary person shows intolerable insolence; to treat a person of honour in that vile manner is insufferable; but to deal thus with the Son of God, who himself is God, must be the highest provocation--to trample upon his person, denying him to be the Messiah--to trample upon his authority, and undermine his kingdom--to trample upon his members as the offscouring of all things, and not fit to live in the world; what punishment can be too great for such men? (2.) They have counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing; that is, the blood of Christ, with which the covenant was purchased and sealed, and wherewith Christ himself was consecrated, or wherewith the apostate was sanctified, that is, baptized, visibly initiated into the new covenant by baptism, and admitted to the Lord's supper. Observe, There is a kind of sanctification which persons may partake of and yet fall away: they may be distinguished by common gifts and graces, by an outward profession, by a form of godliness, a course of duties, and a set of privileges, and yet fall away finally. Men who have seemed before to have the blood of Christ in high esteem may come to account it an unholy thing, no better than the blood of a malefactor, though it was the world's ransom, and every drop of it of infinite value. (3.) Those have done despite unto the Spirit of grace, the Spirit that is graciously given to men, and that works grace wherever it is,--the Spirit of grace, that should be regarded and attended to with the greatest care,--this Spirit they have grieved, resisted, quenched, yea, done despite to him, which is the highest act of wickedness, and makes the case of the sinner desperate, refusing to have the gospel salvation applied to him. Now he leaves it to the consciences of all, appeals to universal reason and equity, whether such aggravated crimes ought not to receive a suitable punishment, a sorer punishment than those who had died without mercy? But what punishment can be sorer than to die without mercy? I answer, To die by mercy, by the mercy and grace which they have despised. How dreadful is the case when not only the justice of God, but his abused grace and mercy call for vengeance!
4. From the description we have in the scripture of the nature of God's vindictive justice, Hebrews 10:30; Hebrews 10:30. We know that he has said, Vengeance is mine. This is taken out of Psalms 94:1, Vengeance belongs unto me. The terrors of the Lord are known both by revelation and reason. Vindictive justice is a glorious, though terrible attribute of God; it belongs to him, and he will use and execute it upon the heads of such sinners as despise his grace; he will avenge himself, and his Son, and Spirit, and covenant, upon apostates. And how dreadful then will their case be! The other quotation is from Deuteronomy 32:36, The Lord will judge his people; he will search and try his visible church, and will discover and detect those who say they are Jews, and are not, but are of the synagogue of Satan; and he will separate the precious from the vile, and will punish the sinners in Zion with the greatest severity. Now those who know him who hath said, Vengeance belongeth to me, I will recompense, must needs conclude, as the apostle does (Hebrews 10:31; Hebrews 10:31): It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Those who know the joy that results from the favour of God can thereby judge of the power and dread of his vindictive wrath. Observe here, What will be the eternal misery of impenitent sinners and apostates: they shall fall into the hands of the living God; their punishment shall come from God's own hand. He takes them into the hand of his justice; he will deal with them himself; their greatest misery will be the immediate impressions of divine wrath on the soul. When he punishes them by creatures, the instrument abates something of the force of the blow; but, when he does it by his own hand, it is infinite misery. This they shall have at God's hand, they shall lie down in sorrow; their destruction shall come from his glorious powerful presence; when they make their woeful bed in hell, they will find that God is there, and his presence will be their greatest terror and torment. And he is a living God; he lives for ever, and will punish for ever.
5. He presses them to perseverance by putting them in mind of their former sufferings for Christ: But call to mind the former days, in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great fight of afflictions,Hebrews 10:32; Hebrews 10:32. In the early days of the gospel there was a very hot persecution raised up against the professors of the Christian religion, and the believing Hebrews had their share of it: he would have them to remember,
(1.) When they had suffered: In former days, after they were illuminated; that is, as soon as God had breathed life into their souls, and caused divine light to spring up in their minds, and taken them into his favour and covenant; then earth and hell combined all their force against them. Here observe, A natural state is a dark state, and those who continue in that state meet with no disturbance from Satan and the world; but a state of grace is a state of light, and therefore the powers of darkness will violently oppose it. Those who will live godly in Christ Jesus must suffer persecution.
(2.) What they suffered: they endured a great fight of afflictions, many and various afflictions united together against them, and they had a great conflict with them. Many are the troubles of the righteous. [1.] They were afflicted in themselves. In their own persons; they were made gazing-stocks, spectacles to the world, angels, and men, 1 Corinthians 4:9. In their names and reputations (Hebrews 10:33; Hebrews 10:33), by many reproaches. Christians ought to value their reputation; and they do so especially because the reputation of religion is concerned: this makes reproach a great affliction. They were afflicted in their estates, by the spoiling of their goods, by fines and forfeitures. [2.] They were afflicted in the afflictions of their brethren: Partly while you became companions of those that were so used. The Christian spirit is a sympathizing spirit, not a selfish spirit, but a compassionate spirit; it makes every Christian's suffering our own, puts us upon pitying others, visiting them, helping them, and pleading for them. Christians are one body, are animated by one spirit, have embarked in one common cause and interest, and are the children of that God who is afflicted in all the afflictions of his people. If one member of the body suffers, all the rest suffer with it. The apostle takes particular notice how they had sympathized with him (Hebrews 10:34; Hebrews 10:34): You had compassion on me in my bonds. We must thankfully acknowledge the compassions our Christian friends have shown for us under our afflictions.
(3.) How they had suffered. They had been mightily supported under their former sufferings; they took their sufferings patiently, and not only so, but joyfully received it from God as a favour and honour conferred upon them that they should be thought worthy to suffer reproach for the name of Christ. God can strengthen his suffering people with all might in the inner man, to all patience and long-suffering, and that with joyfulness, Colossians 1:11.
(4.) What it was that enabled them thus to bear up under their sufferings. They knew in themselves that they had in heaven a better and a more enduring substance. Observe, [1.] The happiness of the saints in heaven is substance, something of real weight and worth. All things here are but shadows. [2.] It is a better substance than any thing they can have or lose here. [3.] It is an enduring substance, it will out-live time and run parallel with eternity; they can never spend it; their enemies can never take it from them, as they did their earthly goods. [4.] This will make a rich amends for all they can lose and suffer here. In heaven they shall have a better life, a better estate, better liberty, better society, better hearts, better work, every thing better. [5.] Christians should know this in themselves, they should get the assurance of it in themselves (the Spirit of God witnessing with their spirits), for the assured knowledge of this will help them to endure any fight of afflictions they may be encountered with in this world.
6. He presses them to persevere, from that recompense of reward that waited for all faithful Christians (Hebrews 10:35; Hebrews 10:35): Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. Here, (1.) He exhorts them not to cast away their confidence, that is, their holy courage and boldness, but to hold fast that profession for which they had suffered so much before, and borne those sufferings so well. (2.) He encourages them to this by assuring them that the reward of their holy confidence would be very great. It carries a present reward in it, in holy peace and joy, and much of God's presence and his power resting upon them; and it shall have a great recompense of reward hereafter. (3.) He shows them how necessary a grace the grace of patience is in our present state (Hebrews 10:36; Hebrews 10:36): You have need of patience, that after you have done the will of God you might receive the promise; that is, this promised reward. Observe, The greatest part of the saints' happiness is in promise. They must first do the will of God before they receive the promise; and, after they have done the will of God, they have need of patience to wait for the time when the promise shall be fulfilled; they have need of patience to live till God calls them away. It is a trial of the patience of Christians, to be content to live after their work is done, and to stay for the reward till God's time to give it them is come. We must be God's waiting servants when we can be no longer his working servants. Those who have had and exercised much patience already must have and exercise more till they die. (4.) To help their patience, he assures them of the near approach of Christ's coming to deliver and to reward them (Hebrews 10:37; Hebrews 10:37): For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. He will soon come to them at death, and put an end to all their sufferings, and give them a crown of life. He will soon come to judgment, and put an end to the sufferings of the whole church (all his mystical body), and give them an ample and glorious reward in the most public manner. There is an appointed time for both, and beyond that time he will not tarry, Habakkuk 2:3. The Christian's present conflict may be sharp, but it will be soon over.
7. He presses them to perseverance, by telling them that this is their distinguishing character and will be their happiness; whereas apostasy is the reproach, and will be the ruin, of all who are guilty of it (Hebrews 10:38; Hebrews 10:39): Now the just shall live by faith, c. (1.) It is the honourable character of just men that in times of the greatest affliction they can live by faith they can live upon the assured persuasion they have of the truth of God's promises. Faith puts life and vigour into them. They can trust God, and live upon him, and wait his time: and, as their faith maintains their spiritual life now, it shall be crowned with eternal life hereafter. (2.) Apostasy is the mark and the brand of those in whom God takes no pleasure; and it is a cause of God's severe displeasure and anger. God never was pleased with the formal profession and external duties and services of such as do not persevere. He saw the hypocrisy of their hearts then; and he is greatly provoked when their formality in religion ends in an open apostasy from religion. He beholds them with great displeasure; they are an offence to him. (3.) The apostle concludes with declaring his good hope concerning himself and these Hebrews, that they should not forfeit the character and happiness of the just, and fall under the brand and misery of the wicked (Hebrews 10:39; Hebrews 10:39): But we are not, c. as if he had said, "I hope we are not of those who draw back. I hope that you and I, who have met with great trials already, and have been supported under them by the grace of God strengthening our faith, shall not be at any time left to ourselves to draw back to perdition; but that God will still keep us by his mighty power through faith unto salvation." Observe, [1.] Professors may go a great way, and after all draw back; and this drawing back from God is drawing on to perdition: the further we depart from God the nearer we approach to ruin. [2.] Those who have been kept faithful in great trials for the time past have reason to hope that the same grace will be sufficient to help them still to live by faith, till they receive the end of their faith and patience, even the salvation of their souls. If we live by faith, and die in faith, our souls will be safe for ever.
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Hebrews 10:32". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/hebrews-10.html. 1706.
the Week of Proper 12 / Ordinary 17