Biblical Hope- Hebrews 6:9-20

Having defined hope for us, the writer of Hebrews then provides an example of hope in order that we may better understand exactly what it is. The example he provides comes from the life of Abraham and begins in verse 13. He tells us first here that God made a promise to Abraham, with the promise here being the source of Abraham’s hope, and the reference here being to the covenant promise God made to Abraham in Genesis 12:2-3. This promise is stated here in verse 14 as: “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants”. We are then told that, after “waiting patiently”, Abraham received what was promised. The Greek word translated “waiting patiently” here is makrothumia- “long-suffering”, and describes one who steadfastly continues on in the face of hardship until the goal is reached. The idea here is not of someone waiting around for something to happen, but of someone who has been promised something and continues on toward the promised goal, continuing acting in accord with the promise, enduring hardship and opposition but not shrinking back from their hope because of them. Abraham here steadfastly continued on in trying to produce children with a wife who was barren (Sarah), never stopping in his efforts even in the midst of an approximately 25 year gap between the making of the promise and its fulfillment. This idea of hope was also particularly relevant to the original recipients of the letter to the Hebrews, who were Jewish Christians being mistreated by Jewish friends and relatives who did not accept Jesus as the Messiah. and are exhorted in the letter to persevere in their new-found faith, to keep living out their faith in Jesus in spite of opposition, to continue on in “hope”. They are then told why they are to do so, in verses 16-18. Remember that hope is an action based on an expectation, it is confident action based upon a guarantee made by another. The reason the Hebrews are told here to continue to live by their faith in spite of opposition and mistreatment is because of what their hope was in, it was grounded in promises made by God himself. God not only makes promises, but “confirms” them with an “oath”. This oath is literally a guarantee, a guarantee made by God, who does not change and cannot lie. Their hope, therefore, was grounded in something absolutely certain. Because the promise is guaranteed by God, we “flee to the take hold of the hope” (verse 18) the promise brings, greatly encouraged to keep on in spite of opposition and mistreatment, acting based upon the promise until we see the promise fulfilled, and certain of its fulfillment because it was made by God. We are then told, in verse 19, that this hope serves as an “anchor for the soul”. Our hope is secure because it is “anchored” in the promises of God, so it is not a mere wish, but an expectation, it is acting upon a promise in spite of opposition, fear and doubt. This is what Abraham did, for the hope he showed brought diligence and perseverance in his life, and he is used here as an example to the Hebrews (and to us), in order to show us that a wish won’t bring endurance and perseverance, but that true biblical hope will. Having provided us an example of biblical hope, the writer then tells us the effect which this hope will have in our lives, serving as an “anchor for the soul”. Our next post will examine, in some detail, just what this means, and how having an “anchor for the soul” can transform our lives, how living in hope makes all the difference.

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