As a pastor sensitive to the needs to his people, the author changes his remarks from admonition to praise, from reproof to commendation. He enthusiastically approves of the works of love and mercy they showed to those who were persecuted and those who lost their possessions. The writer draws a parallel to his warning against falling away (6:4-6) and to his tribute to the readers for their demonstration of love and their willingness to help (6:9-11).
The author of Hebrews seems to develop a sequence of the events that had occurred in the lives of his readers. First, they had endured a period of suffering when they “had received the light” (v. 32). Then they were exposed to public insult and persecution (v. 33). Also, they supported fellow believers who suffered similar abuse. And last, they had lost their property, perhaps in a time of political or religious turmoil (v. 34).
If the readers suffered for their Christian faith in earlier days, will they at present throw away the confidence they showed in the face of persecution? Apparently time has elapsed, and the believers are living in a period of peace and safety. Their boldness in confessing their faith in Christ has fallen into disuse. And because they have not exercised their gift of confidence, they are ready to discard it.
The pastor-writer encourages his people. He gives them words of comfort and assurance. He says, “We belong to those people who believe and are saved.” He knows the readers of his epistle and is confident that they will continue to believe. And the people realize that the person who shrinks back faces eternal condemnation, whereas he who believes obtains salvation. The contrast is clearly delineated. No one can plead ignorance, for the one road leads to destruction; the other, to life.
In the concluding verses of chapter 10, the author introduces the concept faith. He sets the tone for a lengthy discussion about the heroes of faith by tracing sacred history from Abel to the prophets.
The writer delights in recounting the history of the heroes of faith recorded in Scripture. Before he cites examples, however, he writes a brief definition of faith.
He begins his illustrations of demonstrating faith with a comment about creation. No one was present at creation to observe the formation of the world. “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?” God asks Job (38:4). By using the plural we understand, the author includes himself and all his readers in the confession that God created the world.