Parents who have to reprimand a child or give a stern warning about some danger know they do this out of love and a desire for something better for their child. The author of Hebrews held that same attitude toward his congregation: “Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case” (v. 9).
The harsh and sober warnings of the previous passage were given out of a desire for better things: “the things that have to do with salvation” (v. 9). To that end, the author encourages perseverance in the faith—to show diligence rather than laziness—and to “imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised” (v. 12). They have begun the journey of following Jesus well with good works and love, but they must continue to the end.
Notably, the way to persevere is not through exerting self-effort but by holding to the hope of God’s promises. Our confidence is in His Word to us in Christ, His Son. Scripture calls that hope “an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” (v. 19). How can we be sure about God’s Word? Look at the example of Abraham. God not only made a promise to him but also reinforced that promise by an oath. And then, “after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised” (v. 15).
The same is true for us who “have fled to take hold of the hope set before us” (v. 18). We have the promises to share in God’s glory (2:10) and to enter His eternal rest (4:10). Christ, the Son, is God’s promise and oath of that future hope, for He is our “forerunner [who] has entered on our behalf” (v. 20). Our confidence lies in Him.
Where does your confidence lie? If we look to ourselves, we will fall either into presumption, thinking our own efforts are good enough, or despair, seeing our failings as insurmountable. Scripture reminds us that our only confidence must be in God and in the anchor of hope found in His Son, our high priest, Jesus Christ.