James Nisbet Commentary - Hebrews 10:23 - 10:25

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James Nisbet Commentary - Hebrews 10:23 - 10:25


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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

DUTIES IN VIEW OF JUDGMENT

‘Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering … and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.’

Heb_10:23-25

The ‘day’ here spoken of is, according to the constant use of Holy Scripture, a day of judgment. But it is not the judgment of all mankind, the last judgment of the world, that the writer of this letter sees approaching. It is the judgment of Jerusalem, the destruction of the Holy City and the Temple, the awful punishment of the ancient people of God.

What ought our attitude to be towards coming partial judgments of the world and the Church? We are always bound by our Lord’s precept to watch, since any one of them may be a speedy precursor of the last judgment, and all of them prepare the way for it.

The three duties enforced in our text are intended to heal a troubled condition of Church life.

I. Faithfulness to our baptismal confession is, in the mind of the writer of this Epistle, as in that of St. John, faithfulness to that central article which was the real test to a Jew, ‘I believe that Jesus (or Jesus Christ) is the Son of God’ (see Heb_4:14). This is becoming, again, the test for ourselves.

II. The second duty is to provoke to love and to good works by a considerate attitude towards our fellow-Christians. This means especially to look favourably on such good causes as are unpopular or imperfectly popular, and I would instance in particular the causes of temperance and foreign missions. Both need consideration and not merely kind words. Both need, for instance, economy of effort, training of the young, study of new methods as well as perseverance in the old.

III. The third duty is that of assembling yourselves together for worship.—Try to get some work to do for or in the Church in connection with the people among whom you live. It is those who know us whom we can help and who can help us by their criticism and encouragement. It is now well understood that easy gifts and subscriptions are not Gospel charity. But it is also a very old Christian saying, ‘Let your alms grow hot in your hands until you know to whom you are giving them.’ Collections in church are important because they are put into the hands of responsible people, but chance-given alms usually do more harm than good.

Bishop J. Wordsworth.

Illustration

‘There are many things in our day to make us fearful. There is the materialism and indifference of a large portion of modern society; there is the corruption which pervades a great part of civil and commercial life; there is the inordinate and passionate life of pleasure, and the vices which follow in its train—the gambling, the sensuality, the intemperance, the utter selfishness and thoughtlessness which often leads to real suicide (unconnected with insanity)—the crowning sin of a life of sin. Even those who have still a sort of respect for religion are often half-hearted about it. They make the Lord’s Day their own day, and so deprive their religion of what was intended to be its most regular and common element of sacrifice and self-denial.’



RESULTS OF PRAYER

‘Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering … and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.’

Heb_10:23-25

Here we have the results of prayer offered in accordance with the will of God.

I. Loyalty to God and the truth.—This is—

(a) Based upon the clearness and brightness of our sustaining hope. The Revised Version translates the first sentence thus: ‘Let us hold fast the confession of our hope.’ Hope is faith in exercise; hope rests on faith, and at the same time quickens faith, and is the ground of a bold confession (1Pe_3:15).

(b) Strengthened and increased by the knowledge we have of the fidelity of God (Heb_5:2-3; see also Heb_6:17-18; Heb_11:11; Heb_12:26; Heb_12:28.)

II. Emulation in Christian service.—Having enjoined ‘faith’ and ‘hope’ the Apostle must enforce the chief grace. Love is promoted and displayed by service; to provoke love is to promote service.

(a) Each will be animated by a spirit of unselfishness. ‘Considering one another,’ paying due regard to the conditions, circumstances, and characters of others.

(b) A spirit of unselfishness and self-sacrifice will prove the most powerful incentive to Christian love and work. Life begets life; love begets love; activity generates activity. To provoke means to urge, to spur, to excite, to arouse; we should ever be on the watch for opportunities to urge each other on in Christian work, and to spur one another to higher attainments in the Christian life. Communion with God will promote this better than anything else.

III. A delight in Christian fellowship.—This is one of the most practical fruits of a devotional spirit.

(a) A prayerful spirit promotes a holy delight in the service of the sanctuary.

(b) Neglect of the ‘house of God’ is the natural consequence of neglected devotions. Private prayer sharpens the appetite for public worship. The reason St. John the Divine saw such visions on the rocky Isle of Patmos was that he was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day.

(c) Fellowship with Christians in the house of God promotes mutual affection and develops increased zeal. ‘So much the more as ye see the day approaching.’