What does the ‘if’ indicate in Hebrews 3:6?

Hebrews 3:6 tells that we are the house of God IF….

6but 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.

When the text  says, “whose house we are if we hold fast…,” what is the point of the word “if?”

The word ‘if’ indicates that not everyone in the community met the requirements for entry into the house of God. That is to say, while they may have been members of the community, they were not necessarily saved. Some in the community are saved, but others are not.

There are two broad categories of mankind: those in the world, and those in the community of Messiah. Within the community of Messiah, there are still two more broad categories: justified and unjustified. One can be in the community of the Messiah and not be justified – like spouses or children of believers who do not believe for themselves. Of the unbelievers in the community of Messiah, there are two more broad categories: those who will never be justified, and those who are not yet justified.

World Community of Messiah
Unjustified Justified
Never will be Not Yet but will be Completed

Those who are not yet justified, but will be, will eventually move into the justified category, but we do not know when or what specific event will cause it. Although one may be fairly certain of their opinion of whether someone is justified or not, in reality, one can not tell by looking at someone whether they are justified or not. There have been plenty of people, even preachers, who have been sincere professing Christians for decades who have later said they were saved a long time after the experience they had thought was the one that brought them to the Lord.

While people may be in the house of God, if they do not believe, then they are not members of that house.  To believe is to be a member. To not believe is to be a visitor.  Another analogy would be conception and birth. The beginning of life, conception, passes without someone knowing it until there is evidence of pregnancy. One does not know the place or time when one was conceived. If there is no evidence of birth, how would one know one was born? In the book of Hebrews, the evidence that one is born again is the enduring, persevering faith in Christ, up till the end.  Therefore, if and only if we have a continuing, enduring, heartfelt belief in Christ are we justified. We will be saved when we can enter into God’s rest, at the future return. One’s faith must be maintained until the end. It does not matter what one said or did years ago, what matters is whether one trusts Christ now.

To see more about the need to persevere, read here.

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