35 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.
The Holy Spirit now moves from the readers’ past persecutions and trials to their present duress.
The “therefore” here gives the inference or implication of how the readers endured past trials and how they should relate to their present sufferings. The Holy Spirit here draws a conclusion from verses 32–34. Given how they handled all their past sufferings, they should not throw away their confidence.
do not cast away your confidence [courage],
“Cast away” or throw away is the very opposite of holding fast (He 3:6). The argument here is that this is no time to abandon the readers’ confidence since they previously carried a high level of confidence under persecution (He 3:6; 4:16; 10:19). The implication is that, since they already had “confidence,” they should not abandon it (He 3:14).
These believers were not to go back to where they had been as unbelievers—that is, to not fully understanding the finished work of Christ. These Hebrew Christians were not to throw off the confidence they had in Christ. Rather, they were to boldly proclaim their faith in the finished work of Christ. They were to continue where they had arrived in the past.
which has great reward.
This exhortation to have “confidence” will result in “great reward.” There is a great and rich reward in eternity for persevering in one’s faith during trials. God Himself is also our “great reward.” This reward is not because we maintain our confidence; rather, it is the retaining of the confidence that allows us to receive God’s promises.
Persistent faith in God is the condition for receiving eternal reward.
The Holy Spirit does not exhort these people to believe, but to persevere in their faith. Their issue was maintaining endurance, not resisting apostasy. Their problem was not salvation but “confidence” and “reward.” Their issue was one of losing assurance, especially the assurance of their receiving reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ (1 Co 3:12–15).
Our confidence in God is the condition for receiving a great reward. God’s will may include reversals, setbacks, and pain. The believer who copes with these issues with confidence is a Christian that is rewardable.