When the words of our mouth agree with the Word of God, we enlist the ministry of Jesus as the High Priest of our confession. But then we are encouraged to hold fast our confession without wavering. Why would we need to “hold fast”? Because He who promised is faithful.
It’s good to be with you again as we advance together step by step through our timely and practical theme for this week, “Twelve Steps to a Good Year.” These twelve steps are all taken from the epistle to the Hebrews. Twelve times in this epistle the writer says, “Let us.” I’ve pointed out that these words indicate a resolution or a decision; not one that we can take merely as individuals, rather one that we need to make together with our fellow believers. That’s why it’s always “Let us.” Taken together, these twelve “let us” passages in Hebrews constitute twelve scriptural new year resolutions. Let me renew the suggestion I made in my talk yesterday, hat as we go through these twelve steps, you make it a point to memorize them in their correct order. Then, at the end of this series of talks you’ll have more than just a general impression, you’ll have something positive and permanent to take with you into the new year.
Today we’re going to look at the seventh step. It too is found in Hebrews 10, like the previous step. This is in Hebrews 10:23:
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”
We need to go back over this theme of confession as it’s presented in Hebrews and see how we’ve arrived at this statement in Hebrews 10. I pointed out last week that confession means saying the same as God. Confessing then, our faith, is saying the same with our mouth as God says in His word. It’s making the words of our mouth agree with the written word of God in every point. As we advance in the spiritual life, our confession comes closer and closer to complete agreement with the Word of God in every area of our life.
I pointed out also that it’s through our confession that we are linked to Jesus as our high priest. One of the main themes of Hebrews is that Jesus is our high priest in heaven. He’s there on our behalf in the presence of God the Father to represent us, to present our petitions, to intercede on our behalf, and to make good every right confession that we make.
This is brought out in Hebrews 3:1:
“Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession.”
Note that phrase, “Jesus (is) the high priest of our confession.” In other words, it’s our confession that enlists His ministry on our behalf as our high priest. If we make the right confession, Jesus is obligated in His eternal faithfulness to see that that confession is made good. But if we fail to make the right confession, if we make no confession at all, we silence the lips of our high priest. We give Him no opportunity to minister as high priest on our behalf. So you see the tremendous importance of confession. Now, that’s brought out in Hebrews 3:1.
Then in the next chapter, in Hebrews 4:14, we have one of the steps or one of the good resolutions that we’ve already looked at. But we’ll look at it again because there’s a lot to learn from the way this theme of confession is built up in the epistle to the Hebrews.
Hebrews 4:14 says:
“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.”
You see again, when it speaks about Jesus as our High Priest, it immediately goes on to our confession, our confession that enlists his ministry on our behalf as our high priest. So in Hebrews 3:1, we’re admonished that we have to make the right confession. But in Hebrews 4:14, we’re admonished that we’re to “hold fast” our confession. We mustn’t change what we’ve said. We’ve got to keep saying the right thing, we’ve got to keep making the words of our mouth agree with the Word of God.
And then in Hebrews 10:23, the step that we’ve looked at today, it says:
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering.”
Notice what’s being added: without wavering. So you see, if we look through these passages of Hebrews in correct order, we find that in respect to our confession there are three successive stages. First, we make the confession; secondly, having made it, we hold fast, we don’t change; and thirdly, we hold it fast without wavering. Why do you think that “without wavering” is included? What does it imply? Well, I don’t know what it implies to you, but I know what it implies to me, and it implies this to me not merely on logic but on the basis of personal experience, it implies that when we make the right confession, we’re going to encounter negative forces and pressures that will come against us. And even though we’re making the right confession and we’re holding it fast, there may come a time when the pressures increase, and it seems all the forces of Satan and all the powers of darkness are turned loose against us. And then what’s the temptation? To let go of our confession. But the writer says, “Don’t let go, hold fast, without wavering.” The darker the situation, the greater the problem, the more the pressure, the more important it is to hold fast without wavering. Because, He who promised is faithful. You may feel you’ve lost sight of God. You may feel He’s behind the clouds, you don’t know where He is, you don’t know what He’s doing. But the scripture says He’s faithful whether you see Him, whether you don’t see Him, whether you understand or whether you don’t understand. He is faithful, He is committed to His word, He is our high priest. If we will only hold fast our confession without wavering, He’ll do His job as our high priest.
Compare this simple statement in 2 Corinthians 5:7:
“For we walk by faith, not by sight.”
You see, there’s an opposition between faith and sight. The natural man walks by sight. He trusts his senses, he believes only in what his senses tell him. But in the Christian life, in the spiritual life, we don’t trust our senses. We don’t walk by our senses. We walk by faith. Faith relates us to an unseen, eternal realm where things don’t change. The world of the senses is always changing, it’s temporary, it’s unstable, it’s impermanent, it’s unreliable. But through faith we relate to a different world, a world of eternal things, eternal realities, eternal truths. And as we relate to that world by faith, we hold fast our confession without wavering.
You see, the pressures that God permits to come in our lives determine whether we are trusting our senses or our faith. If we change our confession because of the darkness, then we’re going by our senses and not by faith. For faith, there’s no darkness. Faith doesn’t rely on the senses. Faith sees with an inner spiritual eye into a realm that doesn’t change and to a high priest who is unchangeable.
In connection with this principle of making and holding the right confession, and holding it fast without wavering, I want to look for a moment at the example of Abraham as he is portrayed in Romans 4:19-22. I believe Abraham is one of the best examples of holding fast without wavering. This is what Paul says about Abraham:
“Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead, since he was about a hundred years old, and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.”
You know, real faith faces facts. Any kind of attitude that’s not willing to look at the real facts is not real faith. So Abraham didn’t try to deceive himself; he didn’t picture something different from what it was. With his senses he saw that his body was as good as dead, Sarah’s womb was as good as dead. But then he didn’t trust only in his senses. So the next verse says:
“Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why it was accredited to him as righteousness.”
And Abraham is called the father of all those who believe, and we are exhorted to follow in the steps of Abraham’s faith. So you see, we’re required to walk that same path of faith. We’re required to lay hold of the promise of God, to make our confession, to hold our confession fast without wavering, not to be deterred by what our senses reveal; but to look up beyond the senses and beyond the seen things into the unseen realm, and see by faith our faithful high priest, there at God’s right hand.
Just listen to what James says in this connection because this is so important. So many Christians fail at this point. They make a confession, they hold it fast, but when the pressures build up they don’t hold it fast without wavering. This is what James says in chapter 1 of his epistle, verses 6-8:
“But when a believer asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord. He is a double minded man, unstable in all he does.”
There’s the man who wavers. He’s started to ask, he’s started to pray, he’s started to believe but he doesn’t hold fast without wavering. He’s tossed to and fro, he’s blown about by the wind and the waves, and the scripture says, this is a very solemn warning, ”that man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord.” So, there’s one way to forfeit our blessing, to lose the benefit of Christ’s ministry on our behalf as our high priest, and that is to waver. The remedy: hold fast your confession without wavering.
Our time is up for today. I’ll be back again tomorrow at this time. Tomorrow I’ll be explaining the eighth step to a good year.