November 2nd Hebrews 6
1: Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 2: Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3: And this will we do, if God permit. 4: For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5: And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6: If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. 7: For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: 8: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. 9: But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. 10: For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. 11: And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: 12: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
God cannot lie
13: For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, 14: Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. 15: And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. 16: For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. 17: Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: 18: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: 19: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; 20: Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
The writer to these Hebrew speaking Jews, encourages them to go on from the basis principles of acknowledging Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah, not laying the foundation again of a turning back to their covenant God, of ceremonial cleansing, of the laying on of hands, the message of the resurrection from the dead and of eternal judgment. It is possible to turn from the light of the Gospel of the Kingdom back to the darkness of rejection of their Messiah. It is possible to rejoice in the light of Christ, to have a taste of the heavenly gift, to partake of the ministry of the Holy Spirit (in a superficial way). To taste the good message of the coming Kingdom and to have a taste to authority of the world to come. (Which the apostles exhibited with great power) However after being enlightened with ‘the glad tidings of the coming king’ to turn from it and to fall away. If they do fall away, they are unable to turn again unto repentance. Why is that? Because having heard and rejoiced in their Messiah they now reject him. God refusing to allow them another opportunity to think again. This is not salvation. This is referring to the repentance of Israel at the preaching of the kingdom. The Children of Israel rejoiced at the preaching of John and Christ and the Apostles, yet later they turned from it and rejected the message of the coming kingdom - finally. A good example of this was the crowds who welcomed Christ on the Palm Sunday but cried out for his crucifixion on the Friday. By turning from Christ they made a final choice. God would hold them to their rejection. The writer says, l have high hopes for you that you will not reject the Message of the Kingdom which was preached to you. He says, God is not unrighteous to forget your works and labour of love under the law. You have shown kindness to the saints, God will remember that. We long that you all will show the same conscientiousness in doing good to the full assurance of hope in the kingdom right on to the end. (Entrance into the kingdom is based on doing good works under law for Israel) Don’t give up or fall asleep, but be followers of those who through faith and longsuffering will inherit the promises made to the fathers and to Abraham in particular. When God spoke to Abraham he said swore by himself that he would fulfil his promise, that he would bless Abraham and multiply him. And so after a long time, Abraham obtained the promise. When men swear, they swear by a greater than themselves and an oath is a confirmation of the certainly of the statement and an end to all strife. And so it is with God, when he wanted to show to the heirs, the certainty of the promise and the unchangeable nature of the promise he confirmed it with an oath. By two things which are unable to be changed. First God cannot lie and second he cannot change his promises. Therefore we have a very strong assurance that those of us that have fled to Christ for a refuge, (believing Jews) so that we might lay hold on the hope that is set before us. (The hope set before the Hebrew is the hope of eternal life and resurrection into the blessings of the kingdom, which will be the fulfilment of the promises to Abraham.) This assurance is an anchor to the soul in the storms of life which we Jews face daily. The hope is sure and steadfast it is anchored into the holy place. Our forerunner has gone on ahead – Jesus who has been made a priest after the order of Melchisedec.
- In what way does the writer want these Hebrews to go further in their spiritual understanding?
- What is the falling away that is described here? and why cannot they repent after they fall away?
- What two things in this passage are impossible for God to do?