“But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.” (Hebrews 3:13-14)
Like the Prophet Amos, the writer of Hebrews presented a warning to his audience, composed primarily of Christians who had converted from Judaism. They held Moses and their ancestors whom he had led out of Egypt in high esteem. The writer reminded them that, despite the fact that the Lord had blessed His Chosen People with great blessings, spectacular miracles and mighty acts of deliverance from their enemies they still chose to rebel against him. They lacked faith in Him even though they had witnessed such blessings and so perished in the wilderness, never having entered the land the Lord had promised.
The reason the writer brought this up is that many in the audience were being tempted to go back to following the Mosaic Law. They thought this might make life easier since they were enduring persecution from both the Romans and the Jews. The problem was that following the Law meant they were rejecting the sacrifice of Christ. They were trusting in the Law and good works for salvation. There was great danger here. Those who trusted in the Mosaic Law would be guilty of hardening their hearts against God as did the ancient Israelites. They would suffer the same loss of the promise.
Only those who persevere in the faith of Christ show themselves to be true believers. This does not mean that they earn their salvation by their perseverance, suffering, or good works. Rather their salvation is demonstrated by such perseverance and righteousness for such are possible only by the power of the Lord. He works through the Holy Spirit and through the church. This is why we need the body of Christ, our fellow believers. The Holy Spirit will use us to encourage one another in our struggles and to hold each other accountable for our actions. Together we choose daily to walk in obedience to the Lord and to believe that He is able to do all He has promised. This does not mean we are perfect nor that we never fall, but we press on by the power of Christ in the midst of chaotic times.