“So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” (Hebrews 13:1-17)
In this final chapter of Hebrews, the author presents several guidelines for godly living designed to help believers in their daily walk. The author instructs us to be one with Jesus and to walk in obedience to the Father’s will, just as He did. He bore the reproach of the Law and the humiliation of the cross on our behalf. We must also bear reproach if we are to truly be one with Him, if we truly are to be His representatives here on earth. As we represent him and His Kingdom, as we stand up for the truth of salvation in Him alone we should not then be surprised when we are persecuted. Rather, we should expect it and rejoice for it means we are fulfilling our calling.
When persecuted we are not to respond in kind or with anger and vengeance. We are to respond with words and deeds of godliness and compassion. The underlying motive for such godly behavior is love in imitation of Jesus for He did the same for us. We perform acts of kindness in obedient thankfulness for what Jesus has done for us. We do them for the good of others.
In addition we are responsible for the mutual encouragement and growth of our brethren in Christ so that we all may persevere to the end. We are not to be driven by the love of money, lust for fame or pleasure, desire for the easy life, or even to be free from persecution or opposition. This is a hard task we are called to, one that none of us is really capable of carrying out. The good news is that we can do all these things through faith. We know with a certainty that Jesus is with us giving us all the resources we need to obey His commands.