For we are made partakers of Christ - Having believed in Christ as the promised Messiah, and embraced the whole Christian system, they were consequently made partakers of all its benefits in this life, and entitled to the fulfillment of all its exceeding great and precious promises relative to the glories of the eternal world. The former they actually possessed, the latter they could have only in case of their perseverance; therefore the apostle says, If we hold fast the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end, i.e. of our life. For our participation of glory depends on our continuing steadfast in the faith, to the end of our Christian race.
The word ὑποστασις, which we here translate confidence, from ὑπο, under, and ἱστημι, to place or stand, signifies properly a basis or foundation; that on which something else is builded, and by which it is supported. Their faith in Christ Jesus was this hypostasis or foundation; on that all their peace, comfort, and salvation were builded. If this were not held fast to the end, Christ, in his saving influences, could not be held fast; and no Christ, no heaven. He who has Christ in him, has the well-founded hope of glory; and he who is found in the great day with Christ in his heart, will have an abundant entrance into eternal glory.
For we are made partakers of Christ - We are spiritually united to the Saviour. We become one with him. We partake of his spirit and his allotments. The sacred writers are accustomed to describe the Christian as being closely united to the Saviour, and as being one with him see the John 15:1-7; John 17:21, John 17:23 notes; Ephesians 5:30 note; 1 Corinthians 12:27 note. The idea is, that we participate in all that pertains to him. It is a union of feeling and affection; a union of principle and of congeniality; a union of dependence as well as love; a union where nothing is to be imparted by us, but everything gained; and a union, therefore, on the part of the Redeemer of great condescension. It is the union of the branch to the vine, where the branch is supported and nourished by the vine, and not the union of the ivy and the oak, where the ivy has its own roots, and merely clings around the oak and climbs up upon it. What else can be said so honorable of man as that he is a “partaker of Christ;” that he shares his feelings here, and that he is to share his honors in a brighter world? Compared with this, what is it to participate with the rich and the frivolous in their pleasures; what would it be to share in the honors of conquerors and kings?
μετοχοι του Χριστου metochoi tou Christoucannot signify, as some explain, participation merely in the blessings of Christ‘s death, but must be referred, as our author here affirms, to the spiritual union which subsists between Christ and his people. That union doubtless involves, as necessary consequents, “a union of feeling and affection, a union of principle and congeniality, a union of dependence and love.” Yet, we think, it is something more. It is a “real” and vital union, formed by the one Spirit of Christ, pervading the head and the members of the mystical body. And this is the “foundation” of all union of affection, etc. For a condensed view of the subject, see the supplementary note on Romans 8:10.)
If we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast - see the note at Hebrews 3:6. If we continue to maintain the same confidence which we had in the beginning, or which we showed at the commencement of our Christian life. At first, they had been firm in the Christian hope. They evinced true and strong attachment to the Redeemer. They were ardent and devoted to his cause. If they continued to maintain that to the end, that is, the end of life; if in the midst of all temptations and trials they adhered inflexibly to the cause of the Saviour, they would show that they were true Christians, and would partake of the blessedness of the heavenly world with the Redeemer. The idea is, that it is only perseverance in the ways of religion that constitutes certain evidence of piety. Where piety is manifested through life, or where there is an untiring devotion to the cause of God, there the evidence is clear and undoubted.
But where there is at first great ardor, zeal, and confidence, which soon dies away, then it is clear that they never had any real attachment to him and his cause. It may be remarked here, that the “beginning of the confidence” of those who are deceived, and who know nothing about religion at heart, is often as bold as where there is true piety. The hypocrite makes up in ardor what he lacks in sincerity; and he who is really deceived, is usually deceived under the influence of some strong and vivid emotion, which he mistakes for true religion. Often the sincere convert is calm, though decided, and sometimes is even timorous and doubting; while the self-deceiver is noisy in profession, and clamorous in his zeal, and much disposed to blame the lukewarmness of others. Evidence of piety, therefore, should not be built on that early zeal; nor should it be concluded that because there is ardor, there is of necessity genuine religion. Ardor is valuable, and true religion is ardent; but there is other ardor than what the gospel inspires. The evidence of genuine piety is to be found in what will bear us up under trials, and endure amidst persecution and opposition. The doctrine here is, that it is necessary to persevere if we would have the evidence of true piety. This doctrine is taught everywhere in the Scriptures. Persevere in what? I answer, not:
(1)merely in a profession of religion. A man may do that and have no piety.
(2)not in zeal for party, or sect. The Pharisees had that to the end of their lives.
(3)not in mere honesty, and correctness of external deportment. A man may do that in the church, as well as out of it, and yet have no religion.
But we should persevere:
(1)in the love of God and of Christ - in conscious, ardent, steady attachment to Him to whom our lives are professedly devoted.
(2)in the secret duties of religion. In that watchfulness over the heart; that communion with God; that careful study of the Bible; that guardianship over the temper; and in that habitual contact with God in secret prayer which is appropriate to a Christian, and which marks the Christian character.
(3)in the performance of the public duties of religion; in leading a “Christian” life - as distinguished from a life of worldliness and vanity; a life of mere morality, and honesty; a life such as thousands lead who are out of the church.
There is something which distinguishes a Christian from one who is not a Christian; a religious from an irreligious man. There is “something” in religion; “something” which serves to characterize a Christian, and unless that something is manifested, there can be no evidence of true piety. The Christian is to be distinguished in temper, feeling, deportment, aims, plans, from the people of this world - and unless those characteristics are shown in the life and deportment, there can be no well-founded evidence of religion.
(1)that it is not mere “feeling” that furnishes evidence of religion.
(2)that it is not mere “excitement” that constitutes religion.
(3)that it is not mere ardor.
(4)that it is not mere zeal.
All these may be temporary. Religion is something that lasts throughout life. It goes with a person everywhere. It is with him in trial. It forms his plans; regulates his temper; suggests his words; prompts to his actions. It lives with him in all his external changes, and goes with him through the dark valley of death, and accompanies him up to the bar of God, and is with him forever.
Those things which have been in the past will be in the future. Satan will make music a snare by the way in which it is conducted. God calls upon His people, who have the light before them in the Word and in the Testimonies, to read and consider, and to take heed. Clear and definite instruction has been given in order that all may understand. But the itching desire to originate something new results in strange doctrines, and largely destroys the influence of those who would be a power for good if they held firm the beginning of their confidence in the truth the Lord had given them. 2SM 38.1
“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip [margin: “run out as leaking vessels”]. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him?” (Hebrews 2:1-3). “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end” (Hebrews 3:12-14). 2SM 38.2
Brother and Sister Haskell, we must put on every piece of the armor, and having done all, stand firm. We are set as a defense for the gospel, and we must compose a part of the Lord's grand army for aggressive warfare. By the Lord's faithful ambassadors the truth must be presented in clear-cut lines. Much of that which today is called testing truth is twaddle which leads to a resistance of the Holy Spirit.… 2SM 38.3Read in context »
I saw that we are now in the shaking time. Satan is working with all his power to wrest souls from the hand of Christ and cause them to trample underfoot the Son of God. An angel slowly and emphatically repeated these words: “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden underfoot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” Character is being developed. Angels of God are weighing moral worth. God is testing and proving His people. These words were presented to me by the angel: “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.” God is displeased that any of His people who have known the power of His grace should talk their doubts, and by thus doing make themselves a channel for Satan to transmit his suggestions to other minds. A seed of unbelief and evil sown is not readily rooted up. Satan nourishes it every hour, and it flourishes and becomes strong. A good seed sown needs to be nourished, watered, and tenderly cared for; because every poisonous influence is thrown about it to hinder its growth and cause it to die. 1T 429.1Read in context »
“Therefore as the tongue of fire devoureth the stubble,
And as the dry grass sinketh down in the flame,
So their root shall be as rottenness,
And their blossom shall go up as dust;
Because they have rejected the law of Jehovah of hosts,
And despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.” 8T 115.1
Isaiah 5:7, 11-13, 20, 21, 24, A. R. V. 8T 115Read in context »
Fathers and mothers, in full assurance of faith plead with your sons and daughters. Let them not hear one impatient word from your lips. If necessary, make to your children a heartfelt confession for having allowed them to follow in the path of vanity and to displease the Lord, who withheld not His Son from a lost world, that all might receive pardon and forgiveness of sin.... CG 476.1
Fathers and mothers who have in various ways indulged your children to their hurt, God desires you to redeem the time. Take heed while it is called today.17 CG 476.2
Parents Have the Noblest Missionary Field—Make it your lifework to form the characters of your children according to the divine Pattern. If they ever possess the inward adorning, the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, it will be because you perseveringly trained them to love the teachings of God's Word and to seek the approval of Jesus above the approbation of the world.18 CG 476.3Read in context »