What Does Hebrews 10:38 Mean?

But My righteous one will live by faith; and if he draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.

Hebrews 10:38(HCSB)

Verse of the Day

The burden of Hebrews is to keep on living our life by faith, and its target audience is not the unsaved, but believers who are encouraged to persevere despite the temptations and trials we inevitably face. Because we were justified by faith, we are to keep on walking by faith. We are to persevere and not to shrink back in fear or fall into the same attitude of unbelief we see in the times of Israel.

The first part of the chapter is a warning against regressing into spiritual immaturity or apostasy. It is a summons to persevere under trial and press on from the elementary stages of faith to a deeper spiritual knowledge, and richer understanding of the high calling of God that is our present possession in Christ Jesus.

Our Christian life is not to oscillate between spiritual progress and spiritual decline. We are to live a life of faith; we are to run the race of faith and not be weary; we are to walk by faith and not to faint. And the way to achieve this is by faith, not by works of the Law. It is by walking in spirit and truth through the power of the indwelling Spirit of Christ, and not relying on our own limited human resources.

Christ is our great High Priest and wonderful Lord, and because of our position in Him we have been given all we need for life and godly living. At salvation, we were declared righteous by God and covered in Christ's righteousness, and in HIM we have all we need to keep on living a victorious life that honours the Lord. And it can only be achieved by faith, an ongoing, continuing, progressive faith.

We are justified by faith, and now we are to live a sanctified life by faith, as this verse tells us: "My righteous one will live by faith, and if he draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him." 

Without saving faith we do not please God, because we are dead in sin and at enmity with Him. Similarly, He takes no pleasure in his born-again children when we do not live a life by faith, because He has clothed us in the righteousness of Christ, sent the Holy Spirit to live in us, and given us the Word of God. We have no 'excuse' for drawing back into unbelief or fearfulness.

Three times, New Testament writers use quotes from Habakkuk; expressing the importance of God's righteous saints living by faith, emphasising the importance God places on the justified man or woman living their life by faith, and continuing, day-by-day, to live a life of faith and not to draw back into a fleshly carnality or unbelief and fear. 

The main thrust of Hebrews is for Christians to persevere in the Christian life and to 'keep on keeping on' to the very end, while it gives a severe warning against following the same path as Israel who fell into unbelief and fear. May we read, mark, learn, and apply the truth that threads its way through the amazing book of Hebrews and live our life by faith.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, I know that without faith it is impossible to please You. Help me to live each day of my life in the light of Your love and not to draw back through unbelief or fear. Help me to know, reckon, appropriate, and live the victorious life which is already mine in Christ. May my faith be pleasing to You, and may I glorify You in all I say and do. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.

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