“…But Christ was faithful as a Son over His house, whose house we are, if-indeed we hold-on-to our confidence and our boast of the hope…For we have become partakers of Christ if-indeed we hold-on-to the beginning of our assurance firm until the end…And this we will do if-indeed God permits” (Hebrews 3:6, 14; 6:3—Disciples’ Literal Translation).
The compound Greek word eanper is used these three times in the New Testament. It is a compound word ean (“if”) and per (“indeed”). Because the verb it is connected to in each sentence is in the subjunctive mood, it is classified as a third-class conditional statement by Greek linguists.
A first-class conditional statement indicates a condition which is certain. Matthew 4:3 is an example. When Satan said, “If you are the Son of God”, he was not expressing any doubt about the factuality of Jesus’ identity (such had just occurred at the Jordan River—Matthew 3:17). His temptation was predicated upon this fact. Since you are the Son of God, You should use Your inherent power and authority to command these stones to become bread and end the intense hunger You are experiencing (Matthew 4:1-3).
A third-class conditional statement indicates a hopeful but not certain condition. Because of the reality of apostasy, holding fast to their confidence to the end of their lives (Hebrews 3:6, 14) is what the inspired penman hopes they do. Because God may not permit them many more days of life (Hebrews 6:3), the possibility of leaving their present state of immaturity and growing to spiritual maturity (Hebrews 5:12-6:2) is not certain. The writer is hopeful such time will be given them and they will choose to do so (Hebrews 6:9), but it is not a certainty. No one is guaranteed tomorrow (James 4:14-15).
Death is certain. If you die steadfastly holding your confidence in Christ—which God definitely wants you to do—your eternal inheritance is certain.