Confidence Through Compassion
Good morning everyone. Our text today is found in Hebrews 10:32-36. This is a passage that will show that compassion really does make a difference. The setting of the book of Hebrews is apostasy. That is, a number of the Jews, who had become Christians, were leaving the faith because of the persecution that came to Christians, even by fellow Jews. God authors this book to persuade these Christians that the new law and Christianity were the only means of salvation. Also, the new law was far better than anything they had under the Mosaic law. Chapter ten is the chapter in which we learn of this motivation for writing. Of course, the most obvious way to identify Christians was by their attendance at worship. Thus, quite a number of them were forsaking the assembly in order to avoid persecution (10:23-36). The writer commands and persuades them to stop doing so. As a side note, if God commands them to attend, even at the risk of persecution, think of the sin involved if we miss simply because of visitors to the house, or a sporting event, or homework or just because we don’t want to go.
Our specific text asks the Hebrew Christians to remember when they were first converted. They were so zealous that they were willing to suffer for Christ. They were so compassionate toward other Christians who were suffering that they willingly allied themselves to the persecuted, even in the case of the writer. In so doing, they themselves became targets of persecution. They had this compassion and this courage because they looked to receive heaven forever.
In verse 35 of our text, they are exhorted to not lose their confidence of eternal reward. How were they losing it? They lost their compassion and were no longer willing to stand with the persecuted because they were unwilling to be persecuted. Self-preservation became their goal, not heaven. Compassion is looking outward and acting to help. Self-preservation is inward and uninvolved in the problems of others. Jesus said, “He that would save his life shall lose it…. (Matt. 16:25). Our compassion moves us to care (1 Cor. 12:23-26).
Brothers and sisters, our confidence of salvation is dependent on following the right doctrine (John 8:32). But it is no less dependent on our compassion and care of others (Matt. 10:40-42; Matt. 25:31-46). Once again, compassion makes a difference – – in salvation.