Hebrews 3:5-6 Commentary

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The Epistle
to the Hebrews

Hebrews 1-10:18
Hebrews 10:19-13:25
Superior Person
of Christ
Hebrews 1:1-4:13
Superior Priest
in Christ
Hebrews 4:14-10:18
Superior Life
In Christ
Hebrews 10:19-13:25
Hebrews 1:1-4:13
Heb 4:14-7:28
Heb 8:1-13
Heb 9:1-10:18



ca. 64-68AD

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(See also MacArthur's Introduction to Hebrews)

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Hebrews 3:5 Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: kai Mouses men (truly, on the one hand, indeed) pistos en holo to oiko autou os therapon eis marturion ton lalethesomenon (FPPNPG)

Amplified: And Moses certainly was faithful in the administration of all God’s house [but it was only] as a ministering servant. [In his entire ministry he was but] a testimony to the things which were to be spoken [the revelations to be given afterward in Christ]. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

Wuest: And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after

Young's Literal: Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later;

NOW MOSES WAS FAITHFUL IN ALL HIS HOUSE: kai Mouses men pistos en holo to oiko autou:

  • He 3:2; Numbers 12:7; Matthew 24:45; 25:21; Luke 12:42; 16:10, 11, 12; 1Corinthians 4:2; 1Timothy 1:12
  • 5 uses of "faithful" - pistos in Hebrews = Heb 2:17; 3:2, 5; 10:23; 11:11
  • Hebrews 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Now (kai) is also translated "and." Wuest adds that "The word “and” introduces the further development of the thought of Heb 3:2, 3, namely, the fidelity of the Messiah and Moses, and the corresponding honor. The writer says that Moses was faithful as a servant.

Faithful (4103) (pistos from peitho = to persuade) is something or someone who is worthy of faith or keeps promises and is applied to God, humans, His Word, etc. In this context the basic idea is that of trustworthiness.

Vincent gives a nice summary of the meaning of pistos, faithful, writing that it is used "(1), of one who shows Himself faithful in the discharge of a duty or the administration of a trust (Mt 24:45). Hence, trustworthy (2Ti 2:2). Of things that can be relied upon (2Ti 2:11). (2), Confiding; trusting; a believer (Gal 3:9; Acts 16:1; 2Cor 6:15; 1Ti 5:16) (Word Studies in the New Testament)

Webster says that Faithful means firm in adherence to whatever one owes allegiance and implies unswerving adherence to a person or thing or to the oath or promise by which a tie was contracted.

That is why Jesus said on one occasion, “If you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me” (John 5:46).

In His discourse with the disciples on the road to Emmaus, Jesus began at Moses and all the prophets, and "expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself (Luke 24:27).

Pistos is used in two senses in the NT

1) An active meaning = trusting or believing. This is the less frequent usage. This sense speaks of a sinner exercising faith in the Lord Jesus. In the first NT use in this sense, Jesus "said to Thomas,

“Reach here your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing." (Jn 20:27)

Paul instructs Timothy to "let those who have believers (pistos) as their masters not be disrespectful to them because they are brethren, but let them serve them all the more, because those who partake of the benefit are believers (pistos) and beloved. Teach and preach these principles." (1Ti 6:2)

When pistos is used in this active sense to refer to the faith which a lost sinner must place in the Lord Jesus in order to be saved, it includes the following ideas -- the act of considering the Lord Jesus worthy of trust as to His character and motives, the act of placing confidence in His ability to do just what He says He will do, the act of entrusting the salvation of his soul into the hands of the Lord Jesus, the act of committing the work of saving his soul to the care of the Lord. This means a definite taking of one’s self out of one’s own keeping and entrusting one’s self into the keeping of the Lord Jesus. Thus Paul says

"So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer (pistos)." (Gal 3:9)

Using a striking contrast, Paul asks "what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?" (2Cor 6:15)

Luke records that Paul "came also to Derbe and to Lystra. And behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek." (Acts 16:1-note)

Note also that with regard to believers, they are spoken of sometimes in the Active sense (as "believers") and sometimes in the Passive (as "faithful").

The New Testament concept of faith includes three main elements, mutually connected and requisite, though according to circumstances sometimes one and sometimes another may be more prominent "(1) a fully convinced acknowledgement of the revelation of grace; (2) a self-surrendering fellowship (adhesion); and (3) a fully assured and unswerving trust (and with this at the same time hope) in the God of salvation or in Christ." (Modified from Cremer)

2) A passive meaning = trustworthy or faithful. Here the basic idea is that of trustworthiness. In this sense pistos describes God, Christ, servants, His Word as faithful, reliable, worthy of belief or trust, , , dependable.

Marvin Vincent adds that pistos used of God describes Him as "True to his own nature and promises; keeping faith with Himself and with man."

Paul writes that even "if we are faithless, He remains faithful; for He cannot deny Himself." (2Ti 2:13-note)

Pistos in this passive sense is used of one who shows Himself faithful in the discharge of a duty or the administration of a trust "Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time?" Mt 24:45.

Hence, pistos describes the one who is trustworthy "And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also." 2Ti 2:2-note).

Of the Word of God (which is the sense pistos is used in Titus 1:9) that can be relied upon

"It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do." 1Ti 3:1

"It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him." - 2Ti 2:11-note

In this passive sense of trustworthy or faithful, pistos is applied to God as fulfilling His own promises (He 10:23-note; He 10:23-note), as fulfilling the purpose for which He called men (1Th 5:24-note; 1Co 1:9), as responding with guardianship to the trust reposed in Him by men (1Co 10:13-note; 1Pe 4:19-note). Christ is faithful (2Thes 3:3; He 3:2-note; He 2:17-note Re 19:11-note) Christ as the faithful witness (Rev 1:5-note; Re 3:14-note). God’s and Christ's faithfulness in these verses speak not only of His essential being (faithful is Who He is), but also of His faithfulness toward us, as shown for example in the famous verse

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 Jn 1:9-note)

In the papyri, we find the following illustrations of the use of pistos -- "Whom no one would trust even if they were willing to work" = confidence in the person’s character and motives. "I have trusted no one to take it to her" = confidence in the ability of another to perform a certain task.

The Septuagint (Greek of the Hebrew OT) uses pistos 42 times, the first occurrence describing God's testimony about Moses declaring "Not so, with My servant Moses, He is faithful (Lxx = pistos) in all My household." (Nu 12:7)

Moses was a trustworthy steward in God's household, composed of the people of Israel. A steward does not own the house, but simply manages it for the owner. God owned the "house of Israel" and Moses was God's faithful steward for 40 years, dispensing those truths, commandments, promises, etc that God had committed to his trust. Moses was a trustworthy steward.

AS A SERVANT: os therapon:

  • Exodus 14:31; Deuteronomy 3:24; 34:5; Joshua 1:2,7,15; 8:31,33; Nehemiah 9:14; Ps 105:26
  • Hebrews 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Servant (2324) (therapon related to therapeúo = to voluntarily serve) denotes a faithful friend to a superior, who solicitously regards the superior’s interest or looks after his affairs, not a common or domestic servant (oiketes). Therapon is one who serves willingly regardless of whether he is a free man (eleútheros see in depth analysis of related verb eleutheroo) impelled by love or a slave (see either doulos or doulos) bound by duty. Thus the services of a therapon (Ex 14:31) were voluntary and higher than those of an ordinary doulos or slave. And so therapon denotes the willing service rendered as well as the relationship between the one serving and the one he serves. It also emphasizes an office which was honorable and dignified.

Therapon is the Greek word used to translate the Hebrew word (in the Septuagint) "servant" (`ebed) in Numbers where God says that instead of speaking to Moses in a vision or dream ""Not so, with My servant [therapon] Moses, he is faithful in all My household; with him I speak mouth to mouth, even openly, and not in dark sayings, and he beholds the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against My servant [therapon] , against Moses?" (Nu 12:7-8)

Use of this Greek word therapon rather than "doulos" implies that Moses occupied a more confidential position, offered a freer service, and possessed a higher dignity than a doulos. Moses service more closely resembled that of an oikonomos (overseer) in God's house. It would have been helpful if the translation picked up on this nuance of an exceptional & honorable title given to Moses.

Therapon is kin to the verb therapeuô = serve, heal, and therapeia = service Lu9:11 = a friend faithful to a superior; one who solicitously regards the superior’s interest or looks after his affairs, not a common or domestic servant. Therapon is is a term of dignity and freedom, not of servility.

Wuest - Therapon lays the emphasis upon the fact that the person serving is a performer of present services, with no respect to the fact whether as a freeman or a slave he renders them, whether bound by duty or impelled by love. There goes habitually with the word the sense of one whose services are tenderer, nobler, freer than those of a doulos. (Hebrews - Wuest's word studies from the Greek New Testament)

Trench has a lengthy note writing that =“The therapon… is the performer of present services, with no respect to the fact whether as a freeman or slave he renders them; as bound by duty, or impelled by love; and thus, as will necessarily follow, there goes habitually with the word the sense of one whose services are tenderer, nobler, freer than those of the doulos. Thus Achilles styles Patroclus his therapon … , one whose service was not constrained, but the officious ministration of love; very much like that of the squire or page of the Middle Ages. In the verb therapeuo (to serve, do service, to heal, cure, restore to health),… as distinguished from douleuo… , the nobler and tenderer character of the service comes still more strongly out. It may be used of the physician’s watchful tendance of the sick, man’s service to God, and is beautifully applied by Xenophon … to the care which the gods have of men. “It will follow that the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, calling Moses a therapon in the house of God (Heb 3:5), implies that he occupied a more confidential position, that a freer service, a higher dignity was his, than that merely of a doulos, approaching more closely to that of an oikonomos (the manager of a household, a steward, a superintendent) in God’s house; and, referring to Nu 12:6, 8, we find, confirming this view, that an exceptional dignity is there ascribed to Moses, lifting him above other doulos of God … It would have been well if our Translators had seen some way to indicate the exceptional and more honorable title given to him who ‘was faithful in all God’s house’.” (Trench, R. C. Synonyms of the New Testament. Hendrickson Publishers. 2000)

Kistemaker adds that the therapon describes "a person is in service to someone who is superior. Also, it connotes one who wishes to serve, in contrast to a slave who must serve." (New Testament Commentary Set: Baker Book House)


  • He 8:5; 9:8-13,24; Deut 18:15, 16, 17, 18, 19; Luke 24:27,44; John 5:39,46,47; Acts 3:22,23; 7:37; 28:23; Ro 3:21; 1Pe 1:10, 11, 12
  • Hebrews 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

This could refer to those who quoted Moses later to point to Messiah

Wuest - The meaning is that the fact that God bore testimony to the fidelity of Moses, was a guarantee of the trustworthiness of the report which Moses gave of the things God spoke to him. This interpretation seems to be the correct one in view of the context in Numbers 12:7, 8, where God says, “My servant Moses … is faithful in all my house. I will speak to him mouth to mouth, apparently, and not in dark speeches.” (Hebrews - Wuest's word studies from the Greek New Testament)

Hebrews 3:6 but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house --whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: Christos de hos huios epi ton oikon autou ou oikos esmen (1PPAI) emeis eanper ten parrhesian kai to kauchema tes elpidos kataschomen (1PAAS - note "plural") ("bebaios" & "telos" NOT in N-Aland)

Amplified: But Christ (the Messiah) was faithful over His [own Father’s] house as a Son [and Master of it]. And it is we who are [now members] of this house, if we hold fast and firm to the end our joyful and exultant confidence and sense of triumph in our hope [in Christ]. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

Wuest: But Messiah as Son over His house; whose house are we if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.

Young's Literal: but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.

BUT CHRIST WAS FAITHFUL AS A SON OVER HIS HOUSE WHOSE HOUSE WE ARE: Christos de hos huios epi ton oikon autou hou oikos esmen (1PPAI) hêmeis :

  • Heb 4:14; Ps 2:6,7,12; Isaiah 9:6,7; John 3:35,36; Revelation 2:18
  • He 3:2,3; Matthew 16:18; 1Cor 3:16; 6:19; 2Cor 6:16; Eph 2:21,22; 1Ti 3:15
  • Hebrews 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Remember that in the NASB, words in italics have been added by the translators (e.g., "was faithful" is not found in the original Greek text) usually to help the grammatical flow of the sentence.

Christ as a Son over His house is a truth that would have been revolutionary to most first century Jews. The writer of Hebrews seeks to lift his readers to views of themselves which they had heretofore only dimly grasped, if they had even grasped at all. And so this is the first time he uses "Christ", the Greek term for the Hebrew Messiah.

But (term of contrast) contrasts Jesus with Moses' faithfulness as a servant. Jesus always perfectly carried out His Father’s will. He was the epitome of faithfulness. Furthermore, the contrast is between Moses a servant IN God’s house, with Christ a Son OVER God’s house, which echoes the writer's opening description of Jesus, in which he says that God "in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world." (Heb 1:2- note)

In psalm 2 God explained "But as for Me, I have installed My King (the Messiah) upon Zion, My holy mountain… and I will surely give the nations as Thine inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Thy possession." (Ps 2:6,8)

John the Baptist explained that "The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand." (John 3:35)

Spurgeon - You see, then, that the apostle had first made a distinction between Christ and Moses on the ground of the Builder being greater than the house he builds; now, in the second place, he shows Christ’s superiority to Moses on the ground that a son in his own house is greater than a servant in the house of his master. How sweetly he introduces the truth that we are the house of Christ! Do we realize that the Lord Jesus Christ dwells in the midst of us? How clean we ought to be, how holy, how heavenly! How we should seek to rise above earth, and keep ourselves reserved for the Crucified! In this house, no rival should be permitted ever to dwell; but the great Lord should have every chamber of it entirely to himself. Oh, that he may take his rest within our hearts as his holy habitation; and may there be nothing in our church life that shall grieve the Son of God, and cause him even for a moment to be withdrawn from us. We are the house in which He dwells with delight—in which He finds comfort and rest. We are the household over which He rules, and in which He is the delight and the joy of us all. May our church ever be such a house, so well ordered, that when the Lord comes into it—no, when He ever dwells in it—He may not be grieved in His own house. Whatever trouble a man has, he hopes to find solace at home. And so let the house of God be the house of Jesus—the place where there is peace, obedience, love, holiness.

House is a metaphor frequently used in the NT to describe the redeemed of the Lord. For example, Peter describes believers "as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." (1Pe 2:5-note)

Wuest - Whereas Moses was a servant (en) in God’s house, Messiah was Son (epi) over that house. Both were faithful in their respective positions and capacities. But Messiah’s exalted position and more important work enhanced the quality of His fidelity over that of Moses, since both His position as Son and work as High Priest involved peculiar difficulties and temptations to which Moses never was subject. Thus, Messiah is better than Moses, and the Testament which He inaugurated is better and takes the place of the one Moses was instrumental in founding. The word “house” in Heb 3:5, 6 must be defined by the context in which it is found. The general application in all instances of its use in these verses is to the house of God. In the case of Moses, it was the house of God as related to Israel. In the case of Messiah, it was the house of God as related to the family of God in all ages. In the case of the “we” of verse 6, it is the house of God as related to the saints of this dispensation. Now, the writer, keeping in mind the fact that only part of his readers were really saved, and the other part were merely making a profession of salvation, and the latter under stress of persecution were in danger of relapsing back to apostate Judaism, proposes to these readers a test whereby they can tell whether they really belong to the house of God or not, that is, whether they are really saved or not. The “if” in the Greek text is the particle ean, introducing a future, unfulfilled, hypothetical condition. The writer is proposing a condition as yet unfulfilled. If these Jews, to whom he is writing, hold fast their confidence and the rejoicing of their professed hope in Messiah firm to the end of their lives, that fact shows that they belong to the house of God, in other words, are saved. If they do not do so, but instead, renounce that profession and return to the abrogated system of Levitical sacrifices, that shows that they never were saved. It is not the retention of salvation that is in question here, but the possession of salvation. The text does not say, “whose house will we continue to be,” but “whose house are we.” Frequently the verb of being is left out by the Greek writer, it being understood in the light of the context. But it is in the Greek text here, and in the present tense. Therefore, the subject of the security of the believer is not in view here. This verse must be understood in the light of its historical background and context The purpose of the writing of the Epistle to the Hebrews was to meet a certain condition in the first century. It was to reach Jews who had outwardly left the temple sacrifices, had identified themselves with the visible Christian Church, had made a profession of Messiah as High Priest, and who were at the time suffering persecution from apostate Judaism in an effort to force them to renounce their professed faith in Messiah and return to the First Testament sacrifices. Now—if under the pressure of this persecution they should hold fast their confidence and rejoicing of their hope in Messiah to the end of their lives, that would show that they were saved, and if not, that would indicate that they had never been saved. This verse therefore cannot be made to refer in a secondary application to the present day, since the conditions in the first century which the verse was written to meet, do not obtain today. (Hebrews - Wuest's word studies from the Greek New Testament)

IF WE HOLD FAST OUR CONFIDENCE: ean kataschômen (1PAAS) ten parrhesian:


See discussions of Hebrews 3:14-note (some of the material below is repeated in Hebrews 3:6) and Matthew 24:13-note

If is a third class conditional: possibility (see short discussion of Conditional Clauses): Those who persevere in their Christian life know that they have come to share in the life Christ gives (See later in Hebrews this "sharing" refers to sharing His reproach!). Believers who are once in Christ continue to be in Christ. Faith does not come and go. It stays firmly fixed on Christ. These faltering believers (some even apostates) began with loud confidence and profession of loyalty. And now?

Spurgeon - It is not true that one act of faith is all that is required, except you consider that one act to be continuous throughout life. If a man were a believer once, and if it were possible to cease to be so, then, of course, he is ruined. But the doctrine of the final perseverance of the saints does not speak in that manner. It says that he who is a believer shall continue so—that he who is right with God shall abide so even to the end, and unless it be so we are not partakers of Christ at all.

This note of contingency and doubt runs all through the Epistle.

Spurgeon - None are truly Christ’s but those who persevere in grace. Men may be nominally Christ’s, but they are not Christ’s house unless they hold fast to the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. Temporary Christians are not really Christians. Perseverance—final perseverance—is the test of election. He whom God has chosen holds on and holds out even to the end, while temporary professors make only a fair show in the flesh, but, by-and-by, their faith vanishes away.

Hold fast (2722) (katecho from katá = intensifies meaning + écho = have, hold) means to retain whether by avoiding the relinquishing of something.

Katecho gives a beautiful picture from its secular usage where as a nautical term katecho means to steer toward or land at. Luke uses katecho with this meaning in Acts writing that "casting off the anchors, they left them in the sea while at the same time they were loosening the ropes of the rudders, and hoisting the foresail to the wind, they were heading for (katecho) the beach." (Acts 27:40) They were “holding theirs course toward beach" Wuest explains that "If these Hebrews would hold their course in life steadfastly along the lines of their present profession, that would show that they were saved. If they veered away from that course, that would show that they never had been saved, but that their profession of Messiah had been, not one of the heart but of the head." (Ibid)

By the grace of God we need to each keep our rudders firmly in hand and our faces fixed like flint toward Jerusalem so that our vessels are "headed for the beach" of God's Eternal Kingdom. Remember we are not home yet! Lord give us this seeking, holding fast heart please.

We "prove" we are God's house if we do not desert His way, His truth, His life. We can neither save ourselves nor keep ourselves saved. The meaning is simply that continuance is the proof of reality. We can tell if we are really the house of God because we stay there. The one who falls away never belonged in the first place. This is John's point in his first epistle where he writes that "They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us." (1 John 2:19-note).

As noted earlier this theme on perseverance of the true saint is woven throughout the New Testament.

Jesus warned His disciples "you will be hated by all on account of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved." (Matthew 10:22)

There are some who teach Jesus was not associating genuine belief with perseverance. For example, one evangelical author, Thomas Constable, commenting on Jesus' warning in Matthew 10:22 writes that "this verse does not say that all genuine believers will inevitably persevere in their faith and good works. Rather it says that those who do during the Tribulation can expect God to deliver them at its end. Jesus was not speaking about eternal salvation but temporal deliverance. Temporal deliverance depended on faithful perseverance." (Ref) (Bolding added) (Ed note: In a similar manner Constable does not interpret Hebrews 3:6 as a reference to the perseverance of the saints.)

Others such as John MacArthur commenting on this same verse explains that "Endurance does not produce or protect salvation, which is totally the work of God’s grace. But endurance is evidence of salvation, proof that a person is truly redeemed and a child of God." (MacArthur, J. Matthew 8-15, Matthew 16-23, Matthew 24-28) (Bolding added)

Jesus spoke a similar truth explaining to those Jews who professed to believe in Him (John 8:30), that their perseverance (continuing in His Word) would be the objective, demonstrable evidence that they were truly disciples, that is, that they were genuinely saved. 

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:31,32)

Comment - Compare Jesus' promise that "it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved." (Mt 10:22) The point is the one who perseveres is proven genuine because they have the divine power supplied that enables them to endure to the end. There is no hint that one merits salvation by their endurance. 

Paul echoes this truth about perseverance proving one's profession is authentic...

And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, 22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach– 23 if indeed you continue (epimeno in the present tense) in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.. (Colossians 1:21-23+)

Comment - The "if" marks this as a condition of the first class, i.e., determined as fulfilled.

John Piper comments on Colossians -  The completion of our holiness and blamelessness is contingent. We will be presented complete if we continue in the faith. But it is also certain because God is faithful and he will do it (1 Thess. 5:24+). The “if” is real. Will you “continue in the faith”? Will you endure to the end? “The one who endures to the end will be saved” (Matt. 24:13). “In due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Gal. 6:9+). “We are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence” (Heb. 3:6+). (from Reading the Bible Supernaturally)

ESV Study Bible adds "The form of this phrase in Greek (using the Gk. particle ei and the indicative mood of the verb epimenō) indicates that Paul fully expects that the Colossian believers will continue in the faith; no doubt is expressed. Mt 10:22

C H Spurgeon in his sermon Enduring to the End on (Matthew 10:22) writes that "Perseverance Is The Badge Of True Saints. It is their Scriptural mark. How am I to know a Christian? By his words? Well, to some degree, words betray the man; but a man’s speech is not always the copy of his heart, for with smooth language many are able to deceive. What doth our Lord say? “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” But how am I to know a man’s fruits? By watching him one day? I may, perhaps, form a guess of his character by being with him for a single hour, but I could not confidently pronounce upon a man’s true state even by being with him for a week. George Whitfield was asked what he thought of a certain person’s character. “I have never lived with him,” was his very proper answer. If we take the run of a man’s life, say for ten, twenty, or thirty years, and, if by carefully watching, we see that he brings forth the fruits of grace through the Holy Spirit, our conclusion may be drawn very safely. As the truly magnetized needle in the compass, with many deflections, yet does really and naturally point to the pole; so, if I can see that despite infirmities, my friend sincerely and constantly aims at holiness, then I may conclude with something like certainty, that he is a child of God. Although works do not justify a man before God, they do justify a luau’s profession before his fellows. I cannot tell whether you are justified in calling yourself a Christian except by your works; by your works, therefore, as James saith, shall ye be justified. You cannot by your words convince me that you are a Christian, much less by your experience, which I cannot see but must take on trust from you; but your actions will, unless you be an unmitigated hypocrite, speak the truth, and speak the truth loudly too. If your course is as the shining light which shineth more unto the perfect day, I know that yours is the path of the just. All other conclusions are only the judgment of charity such as we are bound to exercise; but this is as far as man can get it, the judgment of certainty when a man’s life has been consistent through out… A simple faith brings the soul to Christ, Christ keeps the faith alive; that faith enables the believer to persevere, and so he enters heaven. May that be you." (Click for entire sermon) (Bolding added)

Steadfast faith marks the elect. Jonathan Edwards once said that the sure proof of election is that one holds out to the end.

Persistence and hope characterize members of God's family.

William MacDonald commenting on this verse in Hebrews writes that "At first this might seem to imply that our salvation is dependent on our holding fast. In that case, salvation would be by our endurance rather than by Christ’s finished work on the cross. The true meaning is that we prove we are God’s house if we hold fast. Endurance is a proof of reality. Those who lose confidence in Christ and in His promises and return to rituals and ceremonies show that they were never born again. It is against such apostasy that the following warning is directed." (Ref)

J Vernon McGee - Paul had a way of using “ifs,” not as a condition but as a method of argument and of logic. We would understand him better if he had said, “Since we hold fast the confidence.” In other words, if we are sons of God and if we are partakers of the heavenly calling, we will be faithful and we will hold fast. This is the proof that we are of God’s house." (McGee, J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson) (Bolding added)

Believer's Study Bible writes that "perseverance in the Christian life is the test of whether one’s Christian commitment is genuine." (Ibid)

S Lewis Johnson has some interesting comments writing that "Now the Christian, who has believed in the security of the believer, has always been troubled by the "If's of the Bible". I have heard, from very noble men, attempts to eliminate the "Ifs" of the Bible, but we can't do it. Whose house are we IF we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end. You ARE in God's house IF YOU HOLD FAST. You ARE NOT in God's house IF you don't hold fast. What he is saying is simply this: continuance in the house of God, that is continuance in the faith, is the proof of the reality of our faith. If we continue, we have surely believed. If we do not continue, then we have not truly believed… I want to tell you that I have been a Christian for over 25 years and I have had the privilege of preaching to a lot of people. I have preached the word for over 20 years in North Dallas. Through the years I have seen some fall away for the pleasure of this world which choke the seed, and they fall by the wayside. And I have seen the seed fall on "good ground" and the fruit coming as 30 fold, 60 fold and 100 fold. Our Lord explains that some seed falls on rocky ground and, springing up, they wither and fall away, apostatize. They seem to be the reality. They seem to have responded, but there was no perseverance to the end. Our author says, "whose house we are IF we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end. "I am grateful for that "if" because I have been buffeted a good bit in my Christian life, and will surely be buffeted in the future, but I know that in the final analysis that if I have eternal life within me, I have assurance that He will preserve me. He will hold me because I belong to Him." (Bolding added)

Donald Barnhouse once illustrated this principle of perseverance by asking "remember the child’s toy that’s a big vinyl doll with a heavy round weight of sand in the bottom? You punch it, it bounces right up again. Punch it again and it comes back to the upright position. Similarly those Christians in the early church kept bouncing back."

He is not saying you "become the house of God by holding fast" but if you are the house of God you will hold fast. If you do not hold fast you are not the house of God! He is telling us the end result of our salvation… perseverance to the end.

FF Bruce - “Nowhere in the New Testament more than here do we find such repeated insistence on the fact that continuance in the Christian life is the test of reality”. (Bolding added)

The life of a saint is the evidence of a new life in the saint. Someone has quipped that they have always believed that God has permitted the cults to come along to draw out of the churches those who are not really believers. The cults serve as God’s strainer. The proof that you are a child of God is that you hold to the faith.

If these Hebrews would hold their course in life steadfastly along the lines of their present profession, that would show that they were saved. If they veered away from that course, that would show that they never had been saved, but that their profession of Messiah had been, not one of the heart but of the head. Their perseverance did not save them but showed them to be truly saved. You can have truth and even speak truth and still be lost as Jesus taught about scribes and Pharisees declaring "therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things, and do not do them." (Matthew 23:3)

CARM Dictionary on perseverance  To endure to the end. Theologically, the term €œperseverance of the saints†is the teaching that salvation cannot be lost, that the saints will preserver to the end.

Holman Bible Dictionary on perseverance - Maintaining Christian faith through the trying times of life. 

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary has a well written summary on perseverance - God requires of Christians not only that they believe the gospel, but also that they persevere in living according to the gospel, regardless of the difficulties they meet. Perseverance is proof of the genuineness of faith and leads to spiritual maturity (John 8:31; Acts 14:22; Romans 5:3-4; Colossians 1:21-23;Hebrews 3:12-14; Hebrews 4:1-11; Hebrews 6:11-12).  When Jesus called people to believe in him, he made it clear that he was calling them into a continuous relationship with himself. Belief involved more than just a momentary decision; it involved a life of following him as a true disciple to the end (Mark 8:34-38; Mark 13:13; Luke 9:57-62; John 15:4-6; cf. John 6:60; cf. John 6:66-68). In one of his parables Jesus showed that some people profess to be believers, but later, by their lack of perseverance, prove not to be (Mark 4:15-20). Christians are able to persevere because of the power of God working within them (Philippians 1:6; Colossians 1:11; 1 Peter 1:5; Judges 1:24; Revelation 3:10). In addition to giving his people the promise of his power, God demands that they exercise self-discipline and effort. Christians must be on their guard and persistent in prayer if they are to endure firmly to the end (Luke 21:36; Colossians 4:2). If people have true faith in God, they will prove it by their steadfast trust in his power and promises. Their perseverance is not something God rewards by giving them salvation, but something that gives proof of their salvation. It shows that their faith is genuine (Mark 13:13; Mark 13:22-23; Luke 21:36; Philippians 3:13-14; 2 Timothy 4:7-8). At times people may be tempted to give up their Christian commitment. The source of their troubles may be the trials of life, persecution, desire for personal prosperity, worry, laziness or false teaching (Mark 4:17-18; Mark 13:13; 1 Timothy 4:1; 1 Timothy 6:10; Hebrews 2:1; Hebrews 10:32-39). Christians can fight against these temptations by training themselves in godliness, resisting the pressures of the world, continuing steadfastly in the truth they have believed, learning more of God through the Scriptures, and giving themselves wholeheartedly to whatever work God has entrusted to them (2 Thessalonians 2:14-15;1 Timothy 4:7; 1 Timothy 4:15; 1 Timothy 6:11-12; 2 Timothy 2:10; 2 Timothy 3:14-17; Hebrews 4:14;Hebrews 6:1-3; Hebrews 10:23; Judges 1:20-21). The outcome of Christian endurance will be the experience of salvation in its fullest expression at the return of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:24-25; 2 Timothy 4:7-8; 1 Peter 1:6-9; Revelation 2:26-28). The expectation of Christ'€™s return is therefore a constant incentive to perseverance (Matthew 24:45-51; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 2 Timothy 2:11-12; James 5:8; 2 Peter 3:14; 2 Peter 3:17; 1 John 2:28).

Related Resources:

Confidence (3954) (parrhesia from pas = all + rhesis = speech) literally means "all speech" and thus refers to freedom of speech or an attitude of openness that stems from freedom and lack of fear. The result is a state of boldness and confidence. The Greeks used parrhesia to describe those with the right to speak openly in the assembly.

Wuest the dominant idea of parrhesia "is one of the boldness and confidence which are exhibited in freedom of speech, the unreserved, unfettered flow of language which is opposed to fear, ambiguity, and reserve. This confidence or boldness would characterize the speech and behavior of the Jew who was actually a possessor of salvation and not merely a professor of the same, but would soon disappear in the case of a mere professor should he turn away from Messiah back to the sacrifices. The writer reminds his readers that the word of God is alive and powerful, and able to penetrate beneath any mere profession (Heb 4:12, 13). It is important to note that a spirit of rejoicing must accompany this spirit of confidence, stamping it as genuine, for a simulated confidence does not give rise to any real rejoicing." (Ibid)

Parrhesia is a key word in the epistle to the Hebrews… the writer exhorts his readers…

"Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need." (Heb 4:16-note)

"Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water." (Heb 10:19-22-see notes Hebrews 10:19; 10:20; 10:21; 10:22)

"For you showed sympathy to the prisoners, and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward." (Heb 10:34-36- note)

When you are free to speak, then there is no fear and you have confidence. We should not have confidence in ourselves, because we are too prone to fail, but we should have confidence in Jesus Christ who never fails.

Those who lose confidence in Christ and in His promises and return to rituals and ceremonies show that they were never born again. It is against such apostasy that the following warning is directed.

Steven Cole writes…

Jesus has made us His house (3:6). “House” is used seven times in this paragraph. It is a metaphor for God’s people, in whom He dwells (Eph. 2:19, 22; 1Tim. 3:15; 1Pet. 2:4, 5). The Bible never calls a church building “God’s house.” God’s people are His house. They may gather in a barn or an open field or a house or a building constructed specifically for worship. But the building isn’t sacred; the people are sacred! We are to be built together into a holy temple of the Lord, a dwelling of God in the Spirit (Eph. 2:21, 22). All of this is very comforting, but then the author throws in one of those uncomfortable warnings: “if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope.” (The phrase, “firm until the end” was probably not original and was inserted from He 3:14; Bruce Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament [United Bible Societies], second ed., p. 595). F. F. Bruce explains the “if” clause (Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews [Eerdmans], p. 59):

Nowhere in the New Testament more than [Hebrews] do we find such repeated insistence on the fact that continuance in the Christian life is the test of reality. The doctrine of the final perseverance of the saints has as its corollary the salutary teaching that the saints are the people who persevere to the end.”

He goes on to cite the parable of the sower, where the seed thrown on the rocky ground made a good showing at first, but then faded away in the hot sun, because it had no deep roots. Jesus interpreted this to refer to those who welcome the word with joy at first, but are only temporary, because “when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away” (Mark 4:17). As Bruce explains, this is precisely what the author of Hebrews fears will happen with his readers. Thus he emphasizes repeatedly the need for bold confidence and joyful hope.

Conclusion The Christian life is not a 100-yeard dash; it’s a marathon. That name comes from the decisive Battle of Marathon, where the Greeks fought the Persians. If the Persians had conquered, the glory that was Greece never would have been known. Against fearful odds, the Greeks won the battle. A Greek soldier ran all the way, day and night, to Athens with the news. He ran straight to the magistrates and gasped, “Rejoice, we have conquered!” Then he

dropped dead. He had completed his mission and done his work (William Barclay, The Letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon [Westminster Press], pp. 210-211). It is significant that when Paul wrote his final letter to Timothy, he did not report on how many he had won to Christ, how many churches he had planted, or how many evangelistic campaigns he had conducted. He said simply, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7). He fought and he finished—he endured! If you want to join his ranks, take time often to consider Jesus.

THE BOAST (KJV = "rejoicing") OF OUR HOPE: kai to kauchema tes elpidos:

  • Ro 5:2; 12:12; 15:13; 1Thes 5:16; 2Thes 2:16; 1Pe 1:3, 4, 5, 6,8
  • Hebrews 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Boast (glory, rejoice) (2745) (kauchema akin to aucheo = boast + euchomai = pray to God <> auchen = neck which vain persons are apt to carry in proud manner) strictly speaking describes either a boast (the act) or the ground or the matter of glorying or boasting (the object). The boast can be either proper or improper (sinful, as in 1Co 5:6), and whether it is a good or bad sense is determined by the context.

The related verb is boast (2744) (kauchaomai from a root word auchen = neck which vain persons are apt to carry in proud manner) means to boast over a privilege or possession. This word conveys the idea of triumphant, rejoicing and can include the feeling of joy or great delight. And so kauchaomai combines the ideas of jubilation and confidence into one word that we could sum up as "joyful confidence". Webster has a picturesque definition of boast as "to leap for joy", "be extremely joyful". Clearly boasting can be bad as exemplified by the basic attitude of many of the Jews who wee self-confident and seeking their glory before God's glory. And so we see that many Jews found their source of boasting in the law, Paul recording for example "You who boast (kauchaomai) in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God? (Ro 2:23-note).

Kauchaomai expresses an unusually high degree of confidence in someone or something being exceptionally noteworthy. As used in the positive sense self-confidence is radically excluded and all self-boasting is abandoned. Faith in fact implies the surrender of all self-glorying. Thus Paul in explaining the effect of his having placed his faith in Christ wrote that "we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence (kauchaomai) in the flesh," (Philippians 3:3-note).

Most human boasting issues from pride and is always warned against. But when God is the subject we are allowed to boast. And so Jehovah speaking through Jeremiah says "Let not a wise man boast (Lxx = kauchaomai is used 5 times in these 2 verse) of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things," declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

To boast in this sense is equivalent to rejoicing in the Lord.

In the present context boasting in one's "hope" has eschatological significance, as alluded to in Romans where Paul writes "Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult (kauchaomai) in hope of the glory of God (i.e., the return of Christ Jesus, our "Blessed Hope", our gathering together to Him and our then being made like Him in glory!). And not only this, but we also exult (kauchaomai) in our tribulations (thlipsis = pressing circumstances. Thlipsis originally meant crushing beneath a weight!), knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character (dokime: see related word dokimon); and proven character, hope and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (see notes Romans 5:1; 5:2; 5:3; 5:4; 5:5)


Hope (1680) (elpis) in Scripture is not the world's definition of "I hope so", with a few rare exceptions (e.g., Acts 27:20) but is is an absolute certainty of future good. Hope is defined as a desire for some future good with the expectation of obtaining it. Hope is confident expectancy. Hope is the looking forward to something with some reason for confidence respecting fulfillment. See related study on the Believer's Blessed Hope.

Hope as the world typically defines it is a desire for some future occurrence of which one is not assured of attaining. The ancient world did not generally regard hope as a virtue, but merely as a temporary illusion. Historians tell us that a great cloud of hopelessness covered the ancient world. Philosophies were empty; traditions were disappearing; religions were powerless to help men face either life or death. People longed to pierce the veil and get some message of hope from the other side, but there is none outside of Christ.

it. In the OT there are several Hebrew words translated "hope" but each has the idea of inviting us to look ahead eagerly with confident expectation, the same idea conveyed by elpis. Each Hebrew word for "hope" calls for patience, reminding us that the fulfillment of our hope lies in the future ("hold on… the best is yet to come").

Hope is a repeated theme in Hebrews. Study the 5 uses in context…

Hebrews 3:6 (note) - but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house --whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.

Hebrews 6:11 (note) - And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end,

Hebrews 6:18 (note) - so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.

Hebrews 7:19 (note) - (for the Law made nothing perfect ), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.

Hebrews 10:23 (note) - Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;

Gabriel Marcel said, "Hope is for the soul what breathing is for the living organism.

A study of concentration camp survivors found that those prisoners who were able to hold onto their sense of hope (‘things are going to get better’ or ‘we’re going to get out of here one day’ ) were much more likely to survive. Hope then is not optional but for these prisoners proved to be a matter of life and death.

Vincent writes that hope "in classical Greek, has the general signification of expectancy, relating to evil as well as to good. Thus Plato speaks of living in evil hope (“Republic,” i., 330); i.e., in the apprehension of evil; and Thucydides, of the hope of evils to come; i.e., the expectation or apprehension. In the New Testament the word always relates to a future good." (Vincent, M. R. Word Studies in the New Testament Vol. 1)

Seneca, Rome's leading intellectual figure, tutor of the depraved emperor Nero (who forced Seneca to commit suicide!) and contemporary of Paul tragically defined hope as “an uncertain good”, the antithesis of Biblical hope! What a difference the new birth in Christ makes in one's perspective.

The cynical editor H. L. Mencken also inaccurately defined hope as “a pathological belief in the occurrence of the impossible.”

His cynical definition does not even agree with the secular Webster's Collegiate dictionary which defines "Hope" much like the NT declaring that hope means "to cherish a desire with anticipation, desire with expectation of obtainment, expect with confidence."

Biblical hope is not "finger crossing", but is alive and certain because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Life without Christ is a hopeless end whereas life in Christ is an endless hope.

The book of Hebrews defines hope as that which gives "full assurance" (see note Hebrews 6:11). Thus we can have strong confidence that God is going to do good to us in future. The opposite of hope is despair, (hopelessness; a hopeless state; a destitution of hope or expectation) which is all that those without Christ as Savior can know, for Paul defines hope as "Christ Jesus, Who is our Hope" (1Ti 1:1). Thus genuine Biblical hope is not a concept but a Person, Christ Jesus!

Jeremiah pleaded with God on the basis of His Name, "Hope of Israel" (God's Names all reveal some aspect or attribute of His character), declaring "Thou Hope of Israel, its Savior in time of distress. Why art Thou like a stranger in the land Or like a traveler who has pitched his tent for the night?" (Jer14:8)

Again Jeremiah says "O LORD, the hope of Israel, all who forsake Thee will be put to shame. Those who turn away on earth will be written down, because they have forsaken the fountain of living water, even the LORD." (Jer 17:13)

The psalmist declares "Thou art my hope; O Lord GOD, Thou art my confidence from my youth." (Ps 71:5)

Paul uses makes an allusion to this OT name ("Hope of Israel") speaking to the Jews explaining that "I requested to see you and to speak with you, for I am wearing this chain for the sake of the hope of Israel." (Acts 28:20)

Although the Old revealed spoke of the Hope of Israel and predicted His coming to save His people as well as Gentiles, there was no mention that the Messiah of hope would actually live within each member of His redeemed church. Paul explained that in the New Covenant, "God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Col 1:27-note) The unsaved are born into the world but have "no hope and (are) without God in the world" (Eph 2:12-note, 1Th 4:13-note) and if they die without Christ, he will be hopeless forever.

The Italian poet, Dante, in his Divine Comedy, put this inscription over the world of the dead:

“Abandon all hope, you who enter here!”

In other words, life without Christ is a hopeless end whereas life in Christ is an endless hope.

Hope in Scripture is the absolute certainty of future good and believers are to be continually, actively, expectantly

"looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus." (see note Titus 2:13).

A living hope should motivate a "looking" hope, so that we are waiting anxiously for Christ's return at any time, this event providing great incentive to "discipline (one's self) for the purpose of godliness" (1Ti 4:7-note) knowing that godliness "is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come." (1Ti 4:8-note)

G K Chesterton said that

"Hope means hoping when things are hopeless or it is no virtue at all… As long as matters are really hopeful, hope is mere flattery or platitude. It is only when everything is hopeless that hope begins to be a strength."

Hope is an essential and fundamental element of Christian life, so essential indeed, that, like faith and love, Peter refers to it in this verse to designate the essence of Christianity

Hope is one component of the great triad of Christian virtues, along with faith and love.

“But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1Cor 13:13; 1Th 1:3-note; 1Th 5:8-note; Gal 5:5, 6; Ep 1:15, 16, 17, 18-see notes Ep 1:15 16; 17; 18, Ep 4:2, 3, 4, 5- Ep 4:2; 4:3; 4:4; 4:5; Col 1:4, 5-note; He 10:22, 23, 24-note;1Pe 1:21, 22-note).

Faith and hope are inseparably linked. We believe and so we hope.

Paul prayed for believers

"that the eyes of (our) heart may be enlightened, so that (we) may know what is the hope of His calling." (see note Ephesians 1:18)

Hope is a "helmet of salvation" for we know that

"God has not destined us for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1Th 5:8).

Hope as you can see is a deep well, which is well worth lingering over if you have time. To renew your mind with this great Biblical truth go over the following Scriptures, asking what each teaches about the "source" of hope, the stabilizing effect of the truth, the sanctifying effect, etc. Then study the chart summary at the end of the references --

Job 8:13 27:8, Ps 31:24, Ps 42:5, 6, Ps 71:5, Ps 119:49, 50, Ps 130:7, Ps 146:5, Pr 10:28, 13:12, Jer 14:8, 29:11; Jn 5:45 Acts 2:26, Acts 23:6, Acts 24:15, Acts 26:6, 28:20; Ro 4:18, 5:1, 2; 8:25, 12:12, 15:4, 15:13, 1Co 13:13, 15:19, 21, 22, 23, 2Cor 3:12 Eph 1:15, 16, 17, 18, 2:12, 4:2, 3, 4, 5; Gal 5:5, 6, Col 1:4, 5, 1:27, 1Th 1:3; 1Th 2:19; 1Th 4:13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 1Th 5:8; 2Th 2:16 1Ti 1:1; Titus 2:11, 12, 13; 3:7 Heb 6:11, He 6:18, 19, 20, He 7:19, 10:22, 23, 24; 1Pe 1:3, 1:21, 22; 1Pe 3:15; 1Jn 2:25; 1Jn 3:2, 3 ; Jude 1:21

FIRM UNTIL THE END: mechri telous bebaian

  • Note that this phrase is found only in Greek Textus Receptus… so not in NASB
  • Hebrews 3 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries:

Firm (949)(bebaios) from baino = to go, walk, step) describes that which is fixed, stable, sure, attested to and certified. It is something which is unwavering and persistent and thus can be relied on or depended on. It can be relied not to cause disappointment for it is reliable and unshifting. It pertains to that which is known with certainty. It refers to something that has validity over a period of time (e.g., the promise made to Abraham remained valid to NT believers, see note Romans 4:16). Figuratively bebaios refers to that upon which one may build, rely or trust. In practice, though not originally, bebaios is close to pistos (4103) (trustworthy, dependable, reliable, faithful)

TDNT says that bebaios

means “standing firm on the feet,” “steadfast,” “maintaining firmness or solidity,” “steadfast for …” Hence “firm” in the sense of having inner solidity. In respect of abstract things and persons bebaios thus comes to mean “steady,” “sure,” “reliable” “steadfast,” or “certain. " (Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Eerdmans)

Bebaios has a legal sense, signifying a legal guarantee, obtained by the buyer from the seller, to be gone back upon should a third party claim the thing. Thus in classic Greek bebaios described a warranty deed somewhat like a guarantee one might have today on an automobile or similar product. A holy life is like a "guarantee" demonstrating one's calling and election to others as well as to one's self.

Note that the same phrase is clearly genuine in verse 14.

To show his grave concern the author reminds them, in the second major warning passage of the letter, 3:7,13, of the possibility of that apostasy which left thousands of Israelites dead in the wilderness. And this had even been under the leadership of Moses.

End (,outcome) (5056)(telos) means an end, term, a termination, a completion. Telos refers to a consummation, a goal achieved, a result attained, or a realization. Can refer to that which is final as well as that which is completed. This term does not refer to annihilation (although indeed this present earth and heavens will be burned with intense heat - see discussion 2Pe 3:12-note) but is used in Scripture to refer to the end of the age. Jesus Himself used the term in this way (e.g., Matthew 24:6; Mark 13:7; Luke 21:9). The sense of “end” as a point in time appears also as in the present passage. The kingdom of Messiah has no “end” (Luke 1:33). Telos as the “outcome” of something is the idea in Luke 18:5, and in Luke 22:37 it denotes the “fulfillment” of prophecy about Jesus. In this case telos in essence refers to the "outcome" of our faith!

Richards - The Greek word group (teleō [verb], telos [noun]) has two basic emphases. The primary concept of “end” is that of achievement of an intended goal. Particularly in eschatological passages the NT picks up the thought of process implicit in the OT. But the NT draws our attention to the conclusion of the process. That end is an extremity, but it is an extremity infused by purpose. Nothing is random; nothing is purposeless. When the end comes, it will bring the achievement of all of God’s purposesThe end will be marked by the consummation of God’s plans. The other concept implicit in the Greek words indicating “end” draws our attention to persons or to things that have reached an intended goal. In a limited but real sense, achieving a goal means that a thing or person is completed, or perfect. Thus “perfect” in the NT does not suggest sinlessness or flawlessness; rather, it is a mature stage of development in which one’s potentials are achieved.

Gilbrant on telos in classical Greek - From the stem tel-, “to turn round,” telos “originally meant the turning point, hinge, the culminating point at which one stage ends and another begins; later goal” (Schippers, “Goal,” Colin Brown, 2:59). Delling reduces the major meanings of telos to five: (1) “achievement”; (2) “completion”; (3) “obligation” (such as taxes); (4) “offering” (religious); (5) “detachment, group” (“telos,” Kittel, 8:49-51). These, of course, are oversimplified; the term is extremely diverse in meaning in classical Greek (see Liddell-Scott). Essentially telos indicates “fulfillment, execution of an act, consummation” or a state, such as “complete, perfect, total.” In philosophy telos was particularly linked to “goal,” such as the goal of an ethical life (Schippers, “Goal,” Colin Brown, 2:60). (The Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)

Hughes sums up this section noting that "We will find this condition again and again in Hebrews: continuance in the Christian life—holding on—is the test of real faith. “The doctrine of the final perseverance of the saints has as its corollary the salutary teaching that the saints are the people who persevere to the end.” (quoted from F F Bruce: "The Epistle to the Hebrews", p. 59) The writer fears that some in the storm-tossed church will not persevere. The Holy Spirit thus asks us, Are you persevering? Or, in the jostling tides of life, are you drifting away? Is Christ as dear as the first day you met him—even more dear? Are you holding on to your “courage”? Are you holding on to “the hope of which we boast”? That is, are you proud of the gospel? Was there a time in your life, perhaps with the fresh glow of new faith, when you were proud and courageous for Christ, but now, with the passing of time, your proper pride, your boast, and your courage are gone? If so, God’s Word says you must hold on to it. Focus on—hold on—to Christ, our great, superior apostle and high priest." (Hughes, R. K. Hebrews: An Anchor for the Soul. Volume 1. Crossway Books; Volume 2) (Bolding added)