“But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end” (Hebrews 3:6 KJV).
Hebrews 3:6 is a passage that requires careful consideration lest we draw a mistaken conclusion. For instance, this verse might seem to imply that salvation depends upon our need to “hold fast” in some respect. But if that is the case, then salvation would be tied to our ability to endure the circumstances and events of life rather than faith in the atoning work of Christ.
Perhaps the best way to interpret and apply this passage is to start with a look at what it does not say…
“This is not speaking of how to be saved or remain saved (cf. 1Co 15:2). It means rather that perseverance in faithfulness is proof of real faith. The person who returns to the rituals of the Levitical system to contribute to his own salvation proves he was never truly part of God’s household (see note on 1Jn 2:19), whereas the one who abides in Christ gives evidence of his genuine membership in that household (cf. Mt 10:22; Lk 8:15; Jn 8:31; 15:4–6).” (1)
We can also eliminate one potential audience for this verse…
“The writer is not speaking of one who deliberately tries to pass himself off as a Christian, knowing in himself he is not. There are those who join a church because they think it is good for business, or it helps their status or prestige in the community, but they know they are not Christians. They do not believe what they hear, they do not have any interest in what is said. Such people stick out like sore thumbs among the saints. They deceive no one but themselves.” (2)
That leaves us with the target audience for this passage…
“This warning is directed to those who have confessed themselves Christians. It is intended to show that true Christianity is proved by endurance, by continued confidence in and loyalty to Christ who is our hope (cf. Col. 1: 27). He does not belong to God’s house who merely professes to do so. He belongs who continues believing ‘to the end'” (3)
Finally, one author concludes by observing…
“The proof that you are a child of God is that you hold to the faith. That doesn’t make you a child of God, but it does prove that you are a child of God. If you are a believer, you will hold on, not because you are able but because He is able to make you stand.” (4)
(1) MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Heb 3:6). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
(2) Excerpted with permission from Living out of Rest © 1965 by Ray Stedman Ministries. All rights reserved. Visit www.RayStedman.org for the complete library of Ray Stedman material. Please direct any questions to webmaster@RayStedman.org | https://www.raystedman.org/new-testament/hebrews/living-out-of-rest
(3) New International Bible Commentary general editor G. C. D. Howley, consulting editors F. F. Bruce, H. L. Ellison. Copyright© 1979 by Pickering & Inglis Ltd [pg. 1511]
(4) J. Vernon McGee, Thru The Bible with J. Vernon McGee, “Hebrews 3:2-6” Copyright 1981 by J. Vernon McGee