“So that…we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil” – Hebrews 6:18-19
Without a doubt we live in tough times, times that can be distressing for us if we don’t cling by faith to God and the promises that He has given us in His word. In all honesty I find it hard to comprehend how the lost world is able to continue to function day-to-day apart from God’s presence in their lives. Life can often be difficult for us who have the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us (because we allow sin to interfere with His work in us, but that is a conversation for another day). Without firm belief in the word of God believers would be tossed to and fro by ever changing, tumultuous seas of daily life. By God’s grace there is hope for His children.
The writer of Hebrews offers his audience words of comfort in their time of distress. The first century Jewish believers to whom he was writing were on the verge of succumbing to the pressures being brought to bear upon them most likely from their fellow Jews. The result would have been to turn from their new-found faith in Messiah and return to the Levitical sacrifices. To do so would have been to assert that Christ’s sacrifice was not sufficient. However, the point that I want to focus on is the writer’s exhortation and encouragement in this chapter.
He began in verse 9 by expressing his belief that they would not fall away from the faith and that belief is based upon God’s character – “God is not unjust so as to forget your work and love which you have shown toward His name” (v.10). He continues by sharing his desire that each of them demonstrate “the same diligence” resulting in the realization of “the full assurance of hope until the end” and to be “imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (vv.11-12). He reminds them of God’s promises to Abraham, that God swore an oath based on His own name/character, and Abraham obtained the promise (Isaac) by patience, i.e., enduring faith in God and His promises (v.15).
It is at this point that the writer brings his message home. God’s great desire was “to show the heirs of the promise (Israel) the unchangeableness of His purpose,” so He “interposed (guaranteed) with an oath.” Verses 18-19 express the end that God had in mind; “that…we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us” (v.18). The Greek word (“take hold”) means to seize. God desired that they seize the hope “laid near” (another translation of “set before”) them.
He then explains to them the nature of that hope:
1.) This hope is an anchor for the soul – as an anchor serves to secure a vessel in the waves and storms of the sea, this hope keeps the believer from being tossed by the waves of life.
2.) It is a hope that is sure – it is firm, certain. It is safe to place our hope and trust in.
3.) It is a hope that is steadfast – it is reliable, abiding, it is an anchor that will not vanish or give way when the storms of life are raging.
4.) It is a hope that enters within the veil – it abides within the holy of holies where Jesus Christ currently ministers on our behalf in the presence of the Father.
Based on that final characteristic it can be said that the hope is securely fastened in Jesus Christ Himself. This hope that they were to seize was to be seized by faith the same way that Abraham obtained the promise. This hope is founded upon the character of God and the promises that He has made, the promises that are found in His word, promises fulfilled in Christ.
This message is as true for us today as it was for the original audience. Believers are faced with trials and tribulations, even persecution at times. The Lord’s desire for us is that we press on to maturity by faith in Him, faith that is demonstrated by trusting in the promises found in His word. The hope that His promises produce in us is to be seized. It is sure, it is reliable, it is an anchor that secures us and is itself firmly attached within the veil where Jesus is. It is hope anchored in Jesus Christ Himself.
The bottom line is that His word is sure, it can be trusted, it feeds our souls, it produces hope. As we trust and obey His word we grow to maturity. The result is that “we are no longer … children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming” (Eph. 4:14). We will not “be overcome by evil, but (will) overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21). As we mix His word with faith we find “the way of escape” that enables us to endure the temptation that is common to all men (1 Cor. 10:13). It brings hope that acts as a sure, steadfast anchor within the veil – “Christ Jesus who is our hope” (1 Tim. 1:1).
I pray this helps.