If it was ever claimed by the builders or the White Star Line that the ship was unsinkable that certainly seems to have been the view in the public perception and so in the popular movies we find passengers portrayed as sceptical when told to don their lifesavers and abandon ship. Well, if ever there was an example of misplaced faith...!
Having encouraged his readers to draw near to God in confidence on the basis of what Jesus has done the author continues in the second of his exhortations, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” Let’s take hope first. When I was learning to take a compass bearing in the BB I was told to select a feature on the landscape that wasn’t going to move, the summit of a hill, the junction of a road or track rather than the tractor sitting in a field and work from that. That seems simple and sensible but so often in life we throw that to the wind and take our bearings from things that are constantly changing like public opinion, or the latest thinking, even from what is fashionable. How people think today has changed for how they thought a century ago, or how they will think in 50 years time.
Our hope, as those who believe in Jesus Christ, is not grounded on opinions or fashion but on the historical facts of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection and on the promises of God. These do not and cannot change so that regardless of how we may feel on a given day or what others may say about the relevance of the church in society these truths are unchanging. Our hope doesn’t depend on whether we’re having a good day or whether as the church we’re affirmed by society or ignored. It is rooted in Jesus, in what the author has already said in verse 19-22 and in the whole of his letter. If Jesus is the same yesterday, and today and forever then hope which takes it’s bearings from him will be sure. God’s faithfulness is proved in this and in so much of the scripture and by our own experience.
In the light of that he says hold unswervingly to this hope. The word translated unswervingly is apparently common enough in Greek of the time but only occurs here in the New Testament so at least we can say that it was a word carefully and deliberately chosen by the author to drive home the point that we should not veer one inch from this hope for in the landscape of our lives he is the one unchanging feature. Think about that for a moment, despite that fact of our feelings and how we think things are going for us, up toady and down tomorrow, on fire for the Lord this week, burnt out next, he is not going to change or move. So, ignore feelings hold unswervingly to the hope you have in Jesus and set your course today in relation to him.
When darkness seems to veil His face, I rest on His unchanging grace. In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil. Edward Mote 1797-1874.