My Thoughts. . .
John writes, “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). “Be faithful.” You would think those two words would not be difficult to understand nor accomplish, would you? However, what does that really mean? What is involved in “being faithful”? Perhaps the Hebrew writer gives us the key to open that lock.
In chapter eleven the writer begins with Abel and continues by giving us a list of individuals in the Old Testament that lived “by faith.” After identifying those people, he writes, “These were all commended for their faith” (Hebrews 11:39). We usually refer to this chapter as “God’s Hall of Faith.” If you believe “being faithful” means you must be perfect, Hebrews 11 will disappoint you. Not one individual mentioned was. They were faithful, but not sinless. No one is. We are all sinners (Romans 3:10,23). That’s why God sent His Word to become Jesus (Jehovah’s salvation) who was and is the anointed one.
Abraham is mentioned in verses 8 through 19. Was he perfect? He was a good man, but he was far from perfect. Ladies, how would you like to have a husband who denies you are his wife and allows not one, but two different men to take you into his harem? When you cannot give him an heir, he takes your maid and sleeps with her? That’s faithful Abraham.
Then there is “sneaky Pete” (Jacob). He fakes being his brother to get his birth right. He uses his cooking skills to cut his brother out of the will. He isn’t honest with his father-in-law either. Yet, there he is, in God’s Hall of Faith.
Verse 31 is a surprise. Rahab is mentioned among the faithful. Rahab has an unusual profession to be in such a noble Hall. She is a whore or prostitute. Most read over the few words given about her, but what does the Hebrew writer identify as Rahab’s faithful act that adds her to this list? Here it is: She hid the Jewish spies. That’s it. Since Rahab’s house is a house of prostitution one has to wonder why these spies, away from home, decide to spend the night there?
Then we come to none other than Samson. What is his “faithfulness”? His story is found in Judges 13:24 to 16:30. He appears to be a spoiled brat wanting what pleases him. He finds himself in trouble due to his bad choices. So, what faithful act opened the door for him to enter into this Hall of Faith? His faithfulness is in killing over 4,000 pagan Philistines. That’s it.
Last but not least is King David. Scripture seems to give him a pass “except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.” Even in that sin, passages such as 1 Kings 3:6 and 14:8 speak highly of him, lauding him for his faithfulness, “doing only what was right” in the eyes of God.
They are all included in God’s Hall of Faith. He commends each for their faith (v.39). So, how faithful were they? They were faithful enough to be placed by God among the faithful. How obedient were they? They were obedient enough in what they did for God to place them in His Hall. What is interesting is that Hebrews 11:40 ends by saying, “God planned something better for us.” All those mentioned in chapter 11 were under God’s grace. We are not only under God’s grace but have access to Jesus’ cleansing blood! Here is what Paul says about us, which was not a description identifying the Hall of Faith individuals.
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that IN HIM we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Being faithful unto death does not mean we will keep ourselves sinless, but that our sins have been put upon Jesus and He bestows upon us God’s righteousness. God makes me holy through Jesus sacrifice upon the cross. Now THAT’S GOOD NEWS!