18 that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.
we might have strong consolation,
The idea here is great encouragement. The “we” here is not Abraham or the patriarchs but church-age believers.
“Strong” refers to indwelling strength. God’s inherent strength is a force to be reckoned with. God’s promise and oath are a force.
who have fled for refuge
“Refuge” here is a fortified enclosure. The fleeing stands metaphorically for flight from unbelief. The idea here is the intensity whereby believers are to seek safety. Christians are to seriously take hold of their hope.
“Refuge” here may allude to the cities of refuge in the Old Testament (Num 35). This may be a symbol of Christ as the sinner’s refuge.
to lay hold of the hope
Our “hope” provides strength to go on. Everything about Jesus and what He brings gives hope to the believer. He Himself is our hope (1 Ti 1:1). His gospel is also our hope (Co 1:5). That hope can be found in the Melchizedekian ministry of Jesus. Christ Himself is then our refuge.
Hope in Scripture is settled confidence that rests on God by faith in His promises. It is not a wish. Hope is not a subjective attitude. It always conveys the objective content of what is anticipated.
set before us.
We find “hope” in the trustworthiness of God’s Word. We can trust what God has to say, and this should allay any doubt or uncertainty that we might have. Believers have the assurance that they will possess heaven ahead because of what Christ did and what we have appropriated by faith.
Faith awakens hope.
“Strong consolation” or encouragement motivates people to strive faithfully (He 6:11). “Hope” is objective, not a subjective attitude. The idea is that we have objective content to our hope. Hope is a word of certainty combined with expectation that rests on the promises of God. If God keeps His promises, then His followers can reliably claim His promises.
Cities of refuge in the Old Testament were places where the guilty could flee. A person who accidently killed someone could go there for refuge. If he made it to one of these cities, he would be saved from death by a pursuing relative of the dead person. Jesus saved us from eternal death. We can take refuge in Him by accepting His work on the cross to pay for our sins. He is our refuge. He took our death; He stood in our place.
Belief stimulates hope that will not fail, even under testing. Abraham held to hope against hope; that is, despite all appearance to the contrary, he never lost his confidence in God’s unshakeable Word (Ro 4:18, 20f). He was fully convinced that God would do what He said He would do.