This article was first published on our church website.
“But you are to hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have until now.” (John 23:8)
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.” (Hebrews 4:14)
In this final-but-one chapter of Joshua, we get these amazing words from the aged and soon to be gone leader of the people (Joshua): “But you are to hold fast to the Lord your God…” What a beautiful picture of what faithfulness looks like. Joshua had endured setbacks, faced opposition, been challenged, and even been overwhelmed, yet he uses this image of fixing your grip, in faithfulness, to (or onto) the Lord. In the New Testament, we have similar language used again and again. In Hebrews, we’re told to “hold firmly to the faith we profess”. Yet, in this verse we’re also given the key to understanding how to hold fast – to look to Jesus. We’re told to hold firmly because of Jesus, the great high priest whom we have and who has gone before us on our behalf!
Our holding firmly in faith is not some Christianised version of ‘pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps’. In fact, it could not be further from that! Christian ‘holding firm’ recognises that it is only because Jesus has gone before us, died in our place, called us out of our spiritual death, giving us new hope and a new name, that we are able to hold firmly at all! So our looking to Jesus is not just observing him as incidental to the current need of holding firm. No, looking to Jesus is recognising that all that I am and all that I will be is because of his saving and sustaining work in me! In light of this, I’ll hold firm to the profession of my faith, because, quoting the Apostle Peter, “to whom [else] shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68)
Today as I consider afresh the work of Jesus on my behalf, I want to stand firmly in the faith that you have given me. Would you send me the Spirit that I might live for and speak about you! Amen