Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture. Reading the following passages will be of help: Dt.17:2–7; Matthew 27:45–51; 1 Peter 4:7–11; 2 Peter 3:8–13.
1. To set the scene, the Jewish-Christians living in Rome were subject to persecution by Rome, and this during the reign of Domitian, 81-96 CE. Plus, those family members and friends who were not accepting Jesus as Messiah would have applied pressure to desert the fledgling Christian churches. It was a difficult period to be a follower of Jesus and not unlike today for many Christians around the world.
2. The author of Hebrews states that these Hebrew believers can have every confidence to enter into the inner holy place because of the shed blood of Jesus. Their salvation is assured, and they must hold fast their hope without wavering.
3. These Christians are not to neglect meeting together, as some were, and they are to encourage one another especially in light of the fact that the “Day” may come at any time, and this is the Day of Judgment.
4. Verse 26 seems to suggest that it is possible to lose one’s salvation and over the centuries there have been many resolutions to the seeming problem.
5. One view is that within the congregations being written to were those who had actually not been truly converted but were present due to any number of other reasons. We may use the term “christianized” to describe this. Anyone who has been a pastor of a church for any length of time will attest to this circumstance.
6. The Hebrews author reminds his/her readers that after their conversion they had to endure many sufferings, and such had been, as we know, also true of the Neronian persecutions several decades earlier. History tells us many were murdered, tortured, and cast into prisons.
7. Though some would “shrink back” our author declares that “we are not of those who shrink back.”