World English Bible translation
11:35Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, not accepting their deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. 11:36 Others were tried by mocking and scourging, yes, moreover by bonds and imprisonment. 11:37 They were stoned. They were sawn apart. They were tempted. They were slain with the sword. They went around in sheepskins, in goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated 11:38 (of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts, mountains, caves, and the holes of the earth. 11:39 These all, having had testimony given to them through their faith, didn't receive the promise, 11:40 God having provided some better thing concerning us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect.
This chapter has been the great Roll Call of Faith. Such great names as Abel, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Moses and David. These men and women of faith were the ones that every Jewish family told their children about at night. Every Hebrew mother and father wanted their children to grow up and be just like Moses or Abraham. These were the champions of the faith, the leaders of the nation.
But theirs is not the only story in the annuals of those who have followed God by faith. For every Abraham there are a thousand unnamed men and women who lived quiet lives that were only glorious in the eyes of God and the angels. For every Moses there were hundreds whose service to God brought isolation, loneliness and pain.
It would be so much easier if we could tell every convert to Christianity that after coming to Christ their problems would be solved and their life hereafter would be easier. But this is not the case. The life of faith can be very complicated. Many times those who follow Christ are persecuted by the world just because we follow Him. We have the normal problems that every human being already has, plus we have the additional problems that come because the fallen world is opposed to the one to whom we have pledged our lives.
But, the very fact that the world stands opposed to us is evidence that Christ accepts us. If the world treated Christ with hatred and disdain, it will treat us in the same way. At least, if we belong to Christ. No servant is greater than his master is and the world will react to us as the servants of Christ in the same way that it reacted to Him.
The Epistle to the Hebrews has emphasized on several occasions that true faith is the faith that will persevere to the end. Here it reminds us that the end might be difficult. Men and women of faith have been "stoned." "They have been slain with the sword." "They have been destitute, afflicted and ill-treated." All of the Christian life is not summed up in these words, but every Christian should be aware that this fate could be their own fate.
So, how are we to respond when our life with Christ becomes difficult? In the same way we came to Christ, we must walk in Him … by faith. Christ is always with us. When the world turns against us, Christ draws closer. When we are persecuted for His name's sake, Christ draws us closer. When we are pressed to the limits of out endurance and beyond, Christ draws us ever closer.
The Spirit of God is with us, if we belong to Christ. We are able to stand until the end, because God will make us stand. We have only to place our faith in the Lord who waits beyond this life to accept us into the next.
Have you been measuring the success of the Christian life by the way that it ends? Are you certain that Christ will be with you until the very end, no matter how difficult the end may be?
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