Knowing in Yourselves
By Sara Stoner
The Apostle is writing to Hebrew believers who have recently “endured a great fight of afflictions”. They had been made a gazing stock by reproaches and afflictions, and suffered also as companions of them that were so used. He reminds them, as a way of encouragement, “For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and enduring substance” (Heb. 10:34). NASB “you… accepted joyfully the seizure of your property”. New King James “you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property”. NLT “When all you owned was taken away from you, you accepted it with joy”. How could these believers do this? In news reports almost every day, we see people in great sorrow because everything has been taken from them, either by the circumstances of war or an act of God. Those Paul was writing to “joyfully accepted the plundering of their property” (ESV) because they knew in themselves that they possessed a better and enduring substance which could not be taken from them. The Holy Spirit of life within teaches us that there is more there than here. By faith we lay hold of imperishable realities that are ready and waiting for us who live and walk by faith. They are kept in store, laid up, reserved with your name on it, in heaven.
Like Abraham who received the promises from God and entered into covenant with Him, we count ourselves strangers and pilgrims on this earth. And if strangers and pilgrims on the earth, meaning we do not truly belong here, then the better and enduring substance is not here either. The substance is there, with Christ and God and all the holy, heavenly creatures, and the remnant of every tongue and nation. You see, there God has built for those who are strangers and pilgrims here a city, of which He has laid the foundation which will never be shaken.
The substance is this eternal life, which God has promised us. God has not promised pie in the sky by and by. He’s promised substance, substance that has weight, real worth and eternal value. We have the first fruits of it now, and there is much more to come.
Consider our Lord, who while He was here, actually lived there, always conscience of the Father’s will and presence. In His prayer in John 17, before going to the cross, He asked the Father this: “Glorify Thou Me with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was”. His prayer was heard. We see Jesus, crowned with glory and honor. At His name every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. He has inherited all things. He has a name more excellent name than the angels. All power in heaven and in earth is His. He has a holy kingship and a royal priesthood. All of these are a few of the things that awaited Him in glory. Jesus knew in Himself the substance that awaited Him there, and for the joy set before Him, endured the cross.
There is joy and peace in “knowing in yourself”, in being able to see and in a first fruit sense, experience the realities of heavenly things. We live in the shadows, it is substance that awaits us. In other scriptures this is spoken of as ‘the full assurance of hope’ (Heb. 6:11), the full assurance of faith (Heb. 10:22), and confidence by faith in Him (Eph. 3:12). Faith is only as valid as its object, and the object is Christ and the promise of the Father. Therefore, we have confidence because the object is sure.
As the fathers did, we also have received the promise and are persuaded of it and have embraced it. Even as Sara judged Him faithful that promised, we judge our Lord faithful who promised eternal life.
In heaven is the better and enduring substance. There we have a better life, a better habitation, a better body, a better city. We have a better high priest who has a better kingship, and a better throne. We will have better work to do in a better environment with better companions. We will have better access to God.
What shall we say to these things? Cast not away your confidence. It has great recompense of reward.