Together to the Kingdom
We must encourage one another, support one another, and hold one another accountable.
In Acts 1:6, the disciples ask the risen Christ, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”1 This a perfectly normal question given all the wonderful things they had witnessed the past three years. But it was not to be, as Christ had other plans for his followers: the spreading of the good news to the Roman world and beyond.
We, too, as we look out into a world of chaos, immorality, and violence, can ask the same question. “Lord, is it not time to set up your Kingdom?”
Perhaps we are struggling with a health issue, family strife, loneliness, and sadness over a lost loved one. We long for a time when “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rev 21:4). Even the Apostle Paul wrote passionately about this in Philippians 1:23-24 (NKJV)
This brings us to Hebrews.
Hebrews 11 is often called the “Faith Hall of Fame.” It is a powerful reminder of the faithfulness of God and the power of faith to transform lives. Take, for example, verse 40. The author here concludes with a profound statement that encapsulates the central message of the entire chapter:
This statement is the culmination of the author’s argument about the nature and power of faith. It speaks to the idea that God’s plan for humanity is not just about individuals but the collective whole.
To understand the significance of this statement, we need first to examine the context in which it is made. Hebrews 11 is a powerful meditation on the role of faith in the lives of God’s people. It begins with a definition of faith: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Heb 11:1). From there, the author goes on to illustrate the power of faith through a series of examples from the lives of Old Testament heroes.
Hebrews tells us about Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, and others and how they all demonstrated faith in God through their actions. The writer is trying to show that faith is not just a mental exercise or an emotional feeling; it is something that is lived out in concrete ways. By faith, these heroes were able to accomplish incredible things and overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Joseph recognizes this when he reveals himself to his brothers in Genesis 50:20
However, the writer of Hebrews is not just interested in telling stories of faith for their own sake. He has a deeper purpose in mind. He encourages his readers to persevere in their faith journey, even when the going gets tough. He is showing them that faith is not a guarantee of an easy life but a guarantee of God’s faithfulness.
This is why the writer of Hebrews ends the faith chapter with verse 40. God had planned something better for us. He is saying God’s plan is not just about the individual heroes of faith he has just mentioned, but it is about all of us. God’s plan is to make us all perfect (mature) together.
What does this mean? It means God’s plan is not just about saving individuals from sin and death and giving them the Kingdom. It means God’s plan is to create a community of people fully devoted to Him and one another. It means God’s plan is to create a people who reflect His love, His grace, His mercy, and His justice to the world. Take the prophet, Micah. He asked the question:
Those heroes of faith Hebrews mentioned were not perfect. They were flawed, just like the rest of us. But they were able to accomplish great things through their faith in God. God’s plan is to use all of us, flawed as we are, to accomplish even greater things through our collective faith.
This message is incredibly empowering. It means that we are not alone in our faith journey. It means we are part of a larger community of believers striving toward the same goal. It means we can learn from the examples of those before us and draw strength from their faith.
But it also means that we have a responsibility to one another. We cannot just focus on our own faith journey; we must also be concerned with the faith journeys of those around us. We must encourage one another, support one another, and hold one another accountable. We must work together to build up our ecclesias, redeeming the time that God, in his grace and mercy, has provided all of us before His Kingdom comes.
Boston Ecclesia, MA
- 1 All Scriptural citations are taken from the New International Version, unless specifically noted.