The Former Days
“Recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings” (Heb. 10:32).
- Hebrews 10:32–33
We know that God preserves all those who have true faith (John 6:39; Rom. 8:29–30). Yet at the same time we see that we contribute to our perseverance. We hold on to our faith; we strive to grow in grace.
This is not to say that we earn salvation. Our efforts do not add to our redemption, nor are they meritorious in any sense. In the end, the only reason we hold on to Christ at all is because of the Holy Spirit’s sovereign work in our hearts. Nevertheless, God has ordained that one way in which He preserves us is by giving us warnings that motivate us to make the real and meaningful decision to persevere.
The warnings in Hebrews 10:26–31 might give us the impression that no one in the original audience of this epistle had true faith. But this is not the case. Today’s passage begins to offer some comfort and assurance to the audience regarding the state of their souls. Verses 32–39 remind us once again that the author had confidence that some, if not all, in his audience were true believers and would persevere to the end. As we have said before, such confidence is possible only because he knew that those with true faith can never lose their salvation.
In verses 32–33 the author calls his audience to remember the day when they were first enlightened. In those days they endured in faith despite all their sufferings. Our author is saying that if they could endure then, they could still endure at this later point in their lives.
We see that while we must never base our assurance solely on a decision that we made years ago, it is still appropriate to remember the days when we were first converted. For when we do this, we remember the joy and assurance that Christ gives to His children, joy and assurance that can be ours again if we continue to persevere in our faith.
Are you struggling because you do not feel any of the joy or assurance that we should have as believers? If so, look back on your conversion or other moments in your life when you have felt particularly close to God. Let these past evidences of God’s work in your life motivate you to trust God’s promises.
Passages for Further Study
- Isa. 46:8–10
- Jer. 2:1–3
- Phil 1:3–11
- Col. 2:1–5
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