So come on, let's leave the preschool fingerpainting exercises on Christ and get on with the grand work of art. Grow up in Christ. The basic foundational truths are in place: turning your back on "salvation by self-help" and turning in trust toward God;
baptismal instructions; laying on of hands; resurrection of the dead; eternal judgment.
God helping us, we'll stay true to all that. But there's so much more. Let's get on with it!
Once people have seen the light, gotten a taste of heaven and been part of the work of the Holy Spirit,
once they've personally experienced the sheer goodness of God's Word and the powers breaking in on us -
if then they turn their backs on it, washing their hands of the whole thing, well, they can't start over as if nothing happened. That's impossible. Why, they've re-crucified Jesus! They've repudiated him in public!
Parched ground that soaks up the rain and then produces an abundance of carrots and corn for its gardener gets God's "Well done!"
But if it produces weeds and thistles, it's more likely to get cussed out. Fields like that are burned, not harvested.
I'm sure that won't happen to you, friends. I have better things in mind for you - salvation things!
God doesn't miss anything. He knows perfectly well all the love you've shown him by helping needy Christians, and that you keep at it.
And now I want each of you to extend that same intensity toward a full-bodied hope, and keep at it till the finish.
Don't drag your feet. Be like those who stay the course with committed faith and then get everything promised to them.
When God made his promise to Abraham, he backed it to the hilt, putting his own reputation on the line.
He said, "I promise that I'll bless you with everything I have - bless and bless and bless!"
Abraham stuck it out and got everything that had been promised to him.
When people make promises, they guarantee them by appeal to some authority above them so that if there is any question that they'll make good on the promise, the authority will back them up.
When God wanted to guarantee his promises, he gave his word, a rock-solid guarantee -
God can't break his word. And because his word cannot change, the promise is likewise unchangeable.
It's an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God
where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us, in the order of Melchizedek.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)