In some ways our author reminds me of a coach seeking to positively motivate the players who have been entrusted to his care. I say that especially based upon the very last verse of Hebrews chapter eleven. We have been given example after example, illustration after illustration of victorious faith. Yet every case cited by the author took place during the Old Testament era and before the time of Christ.
So, we are reminded in verse 40 that as New Testament era Christians living after Christ’s first advent that God has provided something better for us. We have so many advantages and resources that those living before the time of Christ never experienced. Think of it. We have in our possession the completed Word of God, both Old and New Testaments. We also are blessed today with an innumerable amount of resources that enable us to understand and glean from the Bible like no other time in history. In the Old Testament era the Holy Spirit of God would visit a person and empower him to perform a specific task, but He never permanently indwelt a person until Pentecost and the beginning of the church. We not only have God with us, we have God in us forever. He never leaves us, and we can draw upon His presence anytime we choose to. Through His presence we have been supplied with graces – the fruit of the Spirit, and giftings of the Spirit according to His will. What a phenomenal privilege we have been granted.
We also, as New Testament Christians, have been placed into the body of Christ, His church and as such, we have brothers and sisters in Christ who are placed in our lives as we are theirs for mutual edification, encouragement, and support. Not only did God furnish us individually with more, He also supplied us corporately with more. We are not only given supernatural abilities as gifts; we were given one another as gifts too. Please read Ephesians 4:11-16. In addition to all this, we have the promise of our Lord Jesus Himself who said, “I will build My church, and the gates of Hell will not overpower it” (Matthew 16:18). These “better things” are by far not an exhaustive list of our advantages. It is based on all these better things that Jesus made an incredible declaration to His followers. “I tell you the solemn truth, the person who believes in me will perform the miraculous deeds that I am doing, and will perform greater deeds than these, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12). Greater deeds than Jesus? Yes, because of all the better things He would entrust us with after He ascended to the Father.
This leaves us with no excuses or rationalizations of why we could not endure and persevere through any trial or time of adversity. If the saints of the Old Testament cited here in Hebrews chapter 11 could do it, then we can do it too. They had far less going for them than we have today and yet they were faithful. Jesus did such great things on earth including enduring the cross. He then said we would be capable of greater things through the “better things” He would provide. We are left with no basis for giving up or giving in to whatever life demands. We are more enough then to meet the challenges of life through His constant love and provision for His people.
So, let’s respond to this pep talk from our spiritual coach and author of this wonderful letter in a positive way. Put me in, coach! I am ready!