In Crowley SDA Church’s current sermon series, A Call to Preserve, we are looking at Hebrews 10:19-25. Verses of Scripture that are packed with powerful insights and instructions. While there are many elements from each of those verses that we can find courage in, I want to focus on just one for the next few moments. It’s a phrase found in verse 22, “…in full assurance of faith…” (NASB)
What does that mean? What does it mean to have full assurance? And how is that connected back to faith?
In the very next verse, verse 23, the author of Hebrews tells us not to waver. So in part it would seem that having full assurance means that we are not half in while still being half out. We are fully committed. Fully trusting.
However this is hard to do. So many things in life have let us down in the past that it becomes hard to fully grasp concepts like this. We read into them the brokeness that life has taught us to look through. So when God calls us to have full assurance, especially when it is dealing with matters of faith, it becomes difficult to put into practice.
When it comes to faith, we can’t always see how it all fits together. We can’t always step back and see the big picture. We know this because just a few chapters earlier in Hebrews (11:1) we are told, “now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (NASB)
We are told to have full assurance in things that are unseen. That’s a tough assignment to follow, but we are still instructed to have full assurance.
There are two passages of scripture which paint a picture of what full assurance of faith looks like.*
The first is early in Jesus’ ministry, when Jesus asked to get into a boat to better teach the large crowd that had gathered. This story is found in Luke 5:1-11.
As Jesus finishes teaching He turns to the fishermen in the boat and tells them to cast their net. This is the response given in verse 5, “Simon answered and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets”
While Peter did what Jesus had asked, it wasn’t done right away. There was some apprehension. There was some hesitancy because he answered saying, “We worked hard all night and caught nothing.” Did Jesus not know that? Was Jesus really trying to give them instructions on proper fishing techniques and timing? No. He wanted to teach them something.
While it could be argued that he was still willing to follow what Jesus asked them to do, it wasn’t without remark.
Why is this significant? Look at the second example found at the end of Jesus’ ministry on earth. It’s found in John 21:3-6;
“Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will also come with you.” They went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing.
4 But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 So Jesus said to them, “Children, you do not have any fish, do you?” They answered Him, “No.” 6 And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.” So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish. (NASB)
Did you catch the difference between these two stories?
In both cases a group of fishermen were concluding a long night of fishing having caught nothing. Both times Jesus encourages them to cast their net into the water. In both cases they caught a bunch of fish.
The biggest difference is that they did so without questioning. They acted with the increased measure of faith. Immediately, without waiting and without questioning they cast their net.
Again the very definition of faith that the author of Hebrews gives “is the assurance of things hoped for and the condition of things not seen.”
The fish were right under the boat, however they weren’t seen. They had to trust that the one telling them to put the nets in again knew what would happen.
In Hebrews 10:22 we are told to have "full assurance of faith," and we can have that full assurance, not knowing exactly what things will look like, but rather because just one verse later it tells us that “He who promised is faithful”
May we, like those early disciples, learn to trust Him more and more because we have seen His faithfulness throughout our daily experiences with Him.
*In part taken from a devotional talk by Evangelist David Machado