Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. (Hebrews 13:7)
Follow Their Faith
The Hebrew writer is exhorting the early Christian to remain faithful to the covenant of Christ not giving up their faith and hope in the great High Priest and author of eternal salvation. As he closes his message he reminds the disciples to consider those who guided them through the study of God’s word establishing them in the fervent truth of righteousness and hope of eternal life. It is clear there were those who had a tremendous influence on the lives of the saints by the example, teaching, guidance, rule, and conduct of life. Serving the Lord by keeping the commandments and precepts of the law are important and necessary. There is a need for men to teach other men to be faithful to the word emphasizing the truths of fidelity to the will of the Father. One of the most important parts of a disciple’s life is to look to those individuals who have spoken the word of God to them seeking to follow their faith as they emulate the character of Jesus Christ. This puts the responsibility on two parties: the first on the ones doing the teaching and secondly on those who are the students. James would write that few need to be teachers of the word because there is greater accountability for the words taught. Every teacher of God’s word must be eternally warned of the consequence of not handling aright the word of truth. One reason is that others will follow in their footsteps. If their lives are not guided by the word of God others will follow the same course. Honor should be given to those who have taught the word of God and to remember their lives as they seek to follow the will of the Lord.
Following the faith of others is a daunting responsibility. Leadership in the church must be found in men who are able to exemplify by their lives holy conduct worthy of imitation. This character comes from emulating the life of Christ. Their speech, manner of life, conduct in business, concepts of morality, knowledge of the word and benevolence are just a few of the patterns worthy to follow. Examining the faith of another man is the model the Hebrew writer exhorts his readers to consider. This does not suggest perfection as found in Jesus but men who strive to mold their hearts under the grace of God. Following the faith of another is trusting in the manner they walk in life and to have a willingness to follow in their steps. Humility is the cloak of grace that bestows the heart of leaders that know others look to them for guidance and help. These are people of the Book thoroughly versed in the word implanting the spirit of God in their lives. Their families are models of the righteousness of God as leaders in the home. In the business world, their example is one of truth, fairness, and justice. All that know these leaders are impressed with their love for God and desire to help others seek eternal life.
There is a lesson found in which the example of those who rule over them will be considered for the outcome of their conduct. Whether these leaders were living at the time the Hebrew writer uses them to admonish the Hebrews is not known but the result is the desire to look at their lives and see how the word of God molded, changed and created a place of spiritual leadership that others could follow. The younger generation must look to the older generation and see what life is like when lived within the principles of righteousness and truth. In large part, because the evidence of a life lived under the holy guidance of scripture will be manifested by those whose faith can be followed. Considering the outcome of a person’s conduct is the real litmus test of a life lived for God. Knowing the word of God and putting the word to the test of life are two separate things. Remembering those who rule over them teaching them the word is best served by the outcome of their lives under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The way of the Lord is right and when followed will bring the spiritual rewards of faithfulness. Following this type of faith will also bring reward to the student. May the cloud of witnesses be filled with the evidence of lives lived for God for all to emulate and follow.