As we come to Hebrews 6:6, a vital warning is given. Let me set it in context. Verses 1-3 admonish the reader to move on to maturity. It is assumed that these being admonished are truly born again, since any who are Spiritually dead can't grow. Then, in Verses 4-5, the writer warns of those who "almost" come to Christ for salvation, even to the point of somewhat sampling the possible blessings they could enjoy if they would "enter in." Now, in Verse 6, he warns of the dangers of "coming short" of being saved. If these people continue to remain at the edge of conversion but not receive the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, they can't be renewed "again unto repentance." That is, there comes a time by continued procrastination when another opportunity for repentance will no longer be given. Since no one knows exactly when that will happen, an unsaved person would be well advised to heed Paul's inspired statement in II Corinthians 6:2b: "behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation!" Tomorrow might be too late! The serious nature of neglecting to make a decision now is forcefully driven home to our hearts and minds in the closing words of our verse: "they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame." It is as if, as far as they are concerned, Jesus remains on the cross. Instead of embracing what He has done for them, accepting His completed work in their behalf, they, in a manner of speaking, leave Him hanging there, continuing to bear the shame of their sin(s) but they do not receive forgiveness. While He is no longer on the cross, for them He might as well still be there! Selah! Unsaved people risk eternal suffering by their procrastination. May God use us, who know Him, to help them see their danger. Ron ( More tomorrow, Lord wiling. Hope you stop by).
Moving, in Chapter 6 of Hebrews, to Verse 5, we discover some additional description of these folk referred to in Verse 4. They "have tasted the good Word of God, and the powers of the world to come." The Word of God is for far more than just tasting. (Unsaved people can usually come up with some Scripture. Many unsaved folk can quote John 3:16). The Word is to be internalized, applied, and obeyed. A person who truly receives the gift of God's grace has experienced the desire to learn and understand the Bible. An appetite for Truth has been implanted by the Holy Spirit! Thus begins a lifelong feeding on the milk and meat of God's Holy Word. If one has little or no interest in the Bible, they have very likely stopped short of "entering in." They have come up to the border and sampled the truth but most likely have not really crossed over into salvation. They have tasted the powers of the world (or age) to come, that is they have surmised a little of what Heaven will be like. How many times when a loved one dies do people say "at least, they are in a better place." (Too often, they are not in a better place). Using the expression "a better place," hints that they have a slight taste of what Heaven might offer. Nevertheless, to be saved, one needs to go beyond the small taste. When we are born again, the Bible becomes indispensable to us. A new child of God is nourished by the milk of the Word, a maturing saint is learning to digest the meat of God's word and longs for more. Selah! A true disciple will discipline himself to eat healthy Spiritual food and develop a balanced diet. Ron (More tomorrow, Lord willing. I hope you will join us).
Hebrews 6:4-6 is another admittedly difficult portion to work with, but I believe there is vital truth here. In Verse 4, three things are mentioned to describe "those" of whom the human author is speaking: 1). they "were once enlightened." 2). they "have tasted of the heavenly gift." 3). they "were made partakers of the Holy Ghost." These certainly seem to be "saved" people. The key word here is "seem." Before we study the three items, consider this: if these people were truly saved, verse 6 would teach that, after falling away once and thereby losing their salvation, they could not repent again (once lost, always lost)! Verse 9 indicates that the writer is persuaded of better things of them and of things which pertain to salvation. Let's look, now, at the first item. They were enlightened. They understood their condition as unsaved and their need. Nothing, at this point, suggests that they underwent any redemptive change. The next item seems to hold out the possibility that they had a taste of salvation. However, every sinner who sits under the message of salvation, with a glimmer of understanding, has indeed had a taste of what the Gospel could do for them (i.e; the heavenly gift). What about the third item? They "were made partakers of the Holy Ghost." Shouldn't that prove they were born again? Partakers, in this instance, only indicates that they went along with the Holy Spirit. How many today agree with the Spirit's promptings but refuse to receive the Gift of Grace? Just like the spies at Kadesh-Barnea that went right up to the border of the promised land, following God's plan and even gathering from the overhanging fruit, yet not entering in, these in Hebrews go up to the threshold of salvation, even experience an idea of what it would be like to enter in. but fail to do so. Selah! I wonder if anyone reading this might have come close to being saved but stopped short of actually receiving the Gift. It would be horribly tragic to be that close and miss God's offer. One would have eternity to regret that failure! Ron (More tomorrow, God willing)!
Please allow me a digression today, although it is related to our journey through Hebrews. I want to extract a phrase from II Peter 3:5. "For this they willingly are ignorant of…" In the context of this phrase, creation is in view. I would like to introduce a wider context for our consideration today. If the worst sin is rejecting Christ (and it is), a strong case can be made that the second worst sin is being willfully ignorant. This is an act of our will to ignore what we don't want to believe or consider and to ignore the claims that God has on us. Let's use some examples. We ignore the evidence for God, because to acknowledge God means that we are accountable to Him. We ignore His Word (with many excuses) in favor of what our reading preferences are. We ignore Church (assuming that it is boring, and sometimes it is). More often than not, it is exciting! This excitement starts when we open our hearts and lives to Jesus. We ignore the message because it lays responsibility on us and because we are interested in what we have in mind to do when it's "over." We ignore the opportunities to serve because we want to give our time to our pleasures and entertainment. To give thorough attention to God, and invest quality time listening to Him would interfere with our lifestyle. To ignore God is to insult Him! Some do not believe there is a God. (Very foolish)! What if they are wrong? Why not willfully give time and attention to seeking Truth? That is God's will! "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine (Jesus' teaching), whether it be of God..." Selah! We can ignore God and the things of God during our time on earth but do we want Him to ignore us for eternity? Ron
Yesterday, we pointed out that Christians need to get off the bottle and begin to mature. What a pathetic thing for those who have been saved for some time to still linger in the basics, as important as these are, and not grow, not mature. How the Church of Jesus Christ needs mature and staunch believers to spread and defend the faith. We learned that we need to repent from dead works and sinful views, behavior, and desires. We need to pursue holiness and become skillful in the handling of God's Word. In Hebrews 6:2, we are also to move beyond the doctrine of baptisms. There appear to be three baptisms: 1). John the Baptist's (this is no longer practised today since John is long dead, but the readers of Hebrews needed a reminder that this baptism was no longer required or necessary). 2). Holy Spirit baptism (this is the central baptism of Ephesians 4:5). This is essential for anyone in order to be placed in the church. Still, we need to move beyond it to live in the power of His filling. We need to be led by the Holy Spirit. Where? Into the Word (John 16:13 a; John 17:17)! 3). Water baptism (this baptism is a wonderful identification with Jesus' in His death, burial, and resurrection and also a wonderful illustration of Spiritual baptism). Nevertheless, we are not to remain in the baptismal waters. We are to live in the reality of being immersed in and filled by the Holy Spirit. Next, we are told to move beyond even the resurrection of the dead. We are to live in the reality of Jesus' Resurrection life energizing us from within. We are not even to major on eternal judgment. Certainly, we need to preach it and understand the serious nature of it. However, Jesus has delivered all true believers from this judgment! No condemnation! We, on the other hand, should be motivated by the realization that others need this deliverance. Lastly, in Verse 3, only God can allow us to mature. if we are truly His and are ready to grow Spiritually, no doubt He will permit. Selah! He'll not likely permit someone to mature who is not interested in serious Christianity. Ron
Hebrews 6:1-2 are difficult, but not impossible, to understand. Verse 1 reaches back to connect with verses 11-14 of chapter 5. Those who are on milk, can't handle solid food, are dull of hearing, are unskillful in the Word of God, and lack the maturity to discern between good and evil are admonished to move beyond the basics and start to enjoy healthy Spiritual growth. How many Christians today have spent so little time in the Word that they have missed the joy of robust Spiritual living? "Therefore, leaving the principles (apparently, the basic principles) of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection (completion, maturity)." The remainder of verse 1 and Verse 2 give the basics that a serious Christian is to move beyond. "Repentance from dead works" (trying to be saved or win favor with God by doing dead "religious" works) is one thing in view here. Another thing in view is repenting from sinful works (i.e; behavior, worldly ways, and views). Leave the old way. Repent (turn from it to the pursuit of Godliness). Regarding "Faith toward God," there is, too often, confusion regarding the nature of faith. Fundamentally, faith is a decision to believe in God and believe God as He reveals Himself and His will in His Word. This is essentially a one time decision. We choose to trust God unconditionally for salvation and for the rest of our lives. Unfortunately, new Christians can easily be led astray by equating faith, or the lack of it, with certain negative or positive feelings (i.e; emotions). A true Christian must "come to grips" with the reality that faith is believing God, no matter what, and it is an unchangeable decision. We will have doubts and questions, but we have chosen and will continue to choose to trust, regardless of anything. We might falter for a bit but, if we are His, we will return to our decision to trust and maintain our confidence to the very end. Selah! We have to believe something. It makes eternal sense to trust God rather than the changing opinions of unredeemed minds. Ron Note: We'll plan to continue tomorrow at Verse 2. (Lord willing).
Hebrews, Chapter 5, Verse 11 states that the human author of this letter (I'm convinced it was Paul) had many things to say about Jesus, our Great High Priest, but they were "hard to be uttered, seeing" (they [ are we?]) " were dull of hearing." What a tragic reality! They were not and we may not be carefully listening and applying God's Truth. Verses 12-13 describe those who came to know Jesus, acting like babies on milk and as unable to digest Spiritual meat. They should have reached Spiritual maturity and been able to teach others. Let's move beyond basics to the great doctrinal truths of God's Word. In Verse 13, we are made aware of a pitiful possibility. Being like a baby on milk, Spiritually, is the inevitable result of being unskillful in the Word of Righteousness. What an indictment! We are instructed to, "Study to show thyself, approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth." (II Timothy 2:15). Moving to Verse 14, we are reminded that "Spiritual steak" is for those who have matured (and are maturing) to being "of age." They (we, hopefully) have studied and used the Word of God to the point that they (we?) can discern (distinguish) between good and evil. Are we out of diapers and off of the bottle, Spiritually? Selah! If we have been "nursing the bottle" Spiritually, let's not waste another day before extending our diets to be able to chew on some real meat! Ron
Returning to Hebrews, Chapter 5, we get a marvelous glimpse into the heart and life of Jesus. In Verse 7, we learn that Jesus, as a human being, offered up prayers and appeals. These were done from the heart and "with strong crying and tears" and directed to God the Father, Who "was able to save Him from death" He "was heard" because "He feared" (revered) God the Father. He was heard but God did not save Him from death on the cross. (God did resurrect Him out from among the dead on the third day). Why didn't God spare Him from the cross? He let Him experience that excruciating death to enable Him to make atonement for our sins. Without Jesus paying our penalty at Calvary, God couldn't justly forgive us for our sins and rebellion. Verse 8 continues our gaze into Jesus' Heart. "Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered." Jesus, as man, suffered (experienced and endured suffering) and was obedient to the Father through it all! Verse 9 gives the result of His perfect obedience. "Being made perfect" (i.e; He was perfect but had to be perfected [or experience complete compliance with God's will] as one of us). By His Going through this, He became the Author (i.e; originator of, the One Who accomplished) eternal salvation. This was given "unto all that obey Him." Works are not in view here, as a means of salvation. Obeying His directions on how to be saved is in view. Verse 9 is the "clincher!" He is our High priest!" He is after the order of Melchizedek! Selah! Just really think on this glorious truth! He has won eternal salvation for us who truly receive Him as Savior and Lord! Ron
Coming into Hebrews, Chapter 5, we find in the opening 4 verses the ministry of a Priest. In Verse 1, we are informed that High Priests are taken from among men, and ordained for men in things pertaining to God. This priest is to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins in behalf of men (including doing this for his own sins). Moving to Verse 2, this priest can have compassion for those who are ignorant of their Spiritual needs and for those who are not walking in the way (i.e; not walking in the Light). He can identify with these, because he, himself, shares their plight. Verse 3 speaks of his obligation to make atonement for his own sins. He is as guilty as those to whom he is to show compassion. Let's look at Verse 4. A man cannot decide to be a priest. He must be called of God in the same way Aaron was called! This is an honor bestowed by God. Next, we have the making of a priest. In this instance, no ordinary human priest is in view but an infinitely Superior Priest Who is none other than Jesus, the Son of God! Verses 5-6 add insights. Verse 5 tells us that Jesus did not glorify Himself to be High Priest. In fact, God said to Him, "Thou art My Son, today have I begotten Thee." Jesus is God the Son! "Begotten" refers to priority of rank and/or of order and very likely to His Virgin Birth. Verse 6 carries us further in our understanding. We are told that God, "in another place," said that Jesus is a (the High) Priest forever. It adds still another fact. Jesus is, "after the order of Melchizedek." This Priesthood is one of a kind and very unique. as we will discover later, God willing. Selah! For all who are truly saved, Jesus is our "one of a kind" Priest Who has made a perfect atonement for our sins forever! Glory to His Name! Ron (More tomorrow).
Hebrews, Chapter 4, Verses 12-16 presents important "Truths." that we need to know and apply. Verse 12 gives us wonderful insights into the marvels of the Bible. It's alive, it's powerful, it cuts, penetrates and exposes and leaves the heart and mind bare under the intense gaze of a Holy God. What we try to hide, even often from ourselves, lies wide open in our sight and in God's sight. Verse 13 confirms that God sees it all. Every creature is seen, inside and out, under the inescapable searchlight of His Word. He and we see ourselves as we really are, instead of the image of ourselves that we try to protect and impress upon others. The sin and corruption of the human heart is revealed gradually by exposure to His Word. Verses 14 -16 explain God's gracious answer to our sin problem. Verse 14 tells us that Jesus is our High Priest. He is in Heaven in our behalf, having provided atonement for all our sin and sins. Therefore, be firm in your profession (experience of salvation) and trust. Verse 15 informs us that our Great High Priest feels our infirmities and has been tested just like we are. He never gave in to sin, He never failed the tests. He is there to keep us from failing. Moving to Verse 16, we are instructed to come boldly to the Throne. There, "we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Selah! What comprehensive provision that God has ready for us who are His. Avail yourself of the wonders of His love and grace. Ron