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The Epistle to the Hebrews was written particularly to Jewish Christians who were suffering for their faith. They had come under persecution and were tempted to turn back to Jerusalem and the temple.
The closing verses of chapter 10 address this thought of turning back (He 10:32-39). They are reminded of their past afflictions and exhorted, “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward” (He 10:35). They are assured, “Now the just shall live by faith” (He 10:38).
The opening verses of chapter 12 are an exhortation to press forward (He 12:1-3). They are admonished to “lay aside every weight” and “run with patience the race that is set before us” (He 12:1). They are directed to look to Jesus and consider Him as they endure affliction and press on in faith.
Coming between these is the eleventh chapter. In chapter 11, a long line of witnesses are called upon to give forth their evidence for the life of faith. The Hebrew Christians were told, “the just shall live by faith,” and, in chapter 11, faith is given a face, hands, feet, and a name. Faith is demonstrated and illustrated by the faithful people of God living their lives in the world.
The testimony concludes that faith is had in opposition to the world. Faith is had through persecution and suffering. Faith is had in varied circumstances and outcomes but it is the same faith.