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  • Print publication year: 2014
  • Online publication date: October 2014

7 - Human faith in Hebrews

from Part IV - Participating in the new story



This chapter is the culmination of everything we have covered thus far, and so will benefit from a quick review. In the opening chapter I laid the theoretical groundwork for a narrative approach to reading Scripture and understanding human identity. I argued that human identity is narrativally oriented, such that we can understand ourselves as part of a story. In Part 2 of the study (Chapters 2–3), I investigated the “default human story” according to Hebrews. We found that God intended human beings to receive glory and honor, but these good purposes for humanity have not been realized. Instead, the default human story is a pessimistic one, characterized by unfaithfulness and leading to the assured conclusion of eschatological death. We found that this story held true even for the heroes of faith in Israel’s tradition: they all died without receiving what was promised (11:39). Part 3 (Chapters 4–6) then addressed the story rewritten in Christ. There we found that Jesus, who participated fully in the human story, wrote a new story by faithfully enduring to the point of death and by enjoying the eschatological hope that was previously unrealized by humanity. As illustrated most clearly in 12:1–2, Jesus pioneered faith by faithfully enduring the cross and he perfected faith by realizing life beyond death. The story rewritten in Christ is characterized by faithfulness and concludes assuredly in eschatological life. This new conclusion is not assured for all people, but only those who are participating in the rewritten story. What “participating in the rewritten story” looks like is our concern in this chapter.

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