[This article was originally featured in our hometown newspaper, The Seymour Tribune].
What does God promise his children? Help for today? Eternal life for the future? Healing from disease? A boat for the lake?
How we answer these questions will determine how we approach life and God. Our prayers, our plans, and our personal finances will reflect our answer, or non-answer, to this question: What does God promise those who believe in him?
Hebrews 6:19 gives one answer. In a sermonic letter given to first century Jews, the author of Hebrews states, “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain.” Using imagery from the Old Testament, this statement conveys an idea of security and access that God gives to those who continue to trust in Christ.
Notice a couple things. First, the anchor is sure and steadfast. Unlike the insurance plans or storm shelters we buy for our protection, this anchor comes without any riders or restrictions. Indeed, it is not a thing which might break; it is a divine person whose pierced hands hold those who believe on him (John 10:29-30).
Second, the anchor is connected behind the curtain. This curtain refers to the temple veil that hid the presence of God from the Jewish priests in first century Jerusalem. Thus, while Jesus was fully human, the fact that he could freely pass behind the veil speaks of his eternal deity.
Indeed, Jesus was not merely a spiritual person who had a special access to God. He was God in the flesh, which means that as the anchor of the Christian’s soul, his grip on humanity was secure as he was human, and his hold on heaven was as strong as he was divine. In short, Jesus will stop being human or cease being God before his anchor fails.
Third, the anchor tethers the soul—not the body—to an eternal hope. This is critical because it seems that sometimes God lets, even brings, storms into our calm waters. In these moments, we are tempted to re-read the fine print to find out what we have done wrong. We forget that God is forging an eternal soul with temporary means.
In fact, nowhere in God’s agreement does he promise placid seas. Just the opposite: “Through many tribulations will you enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). He tells his followers that it will be hard (John 16:33), but he also promises that he will anchor our souls.
This is the promise that he makes to those who believe in him. He promises his presence today and resurrection tomorrow. Even when the ships in your fleet are sinking, he promises to be the anchor of your soul. This is the kind of promise he makes to believers, and he never breaks his word.