Hebrews 6

 

It is necessary to add one further thing here. Some Christians act for a time as if they had fallen away. They fall into sin. Their faith withers. But they do not completely fall away. Their inner minds and consciences are burdened; they desire to repent. For such people there is hope. They have not totally rejected Christ. However, their situation is very dangerous; because if they refuse for long to repent, they may lose forever the chance to return to Christ.

Therefore, let us not say: “I can never fall away; I will never fall.” Let us remember Paul’s words: So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall (1 Corinthians 10:12). It is possible for us to reject God’s grace and to deny Christ. Only God knows who will stand firm to the end.12

7-8 We can distinguish between true and false Christians by their fruit (see Matthew 7:17-20). These fruits are principally the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Christ chose us to bear fruit—fruit that will last (John 15:16). He did not choose us to bear thorns and thistles, which in the end will be burned (verse 8).

Some people suppose that bearing fruit means to preach, to prophesy, and to do miracles, and that when we do these things it proves we are true Christians. But that is not so. Satan and his evil spirits can also do these things (Mark 13:22). There is only one kind oftrue fruit, and that is the fruit that is produced by the Holy Spirit dwelling within us (see Matthew 7:22-23 and comment).

9 The writer has just finished giving these Hebrews a terrible warning. But he now becomes gentler. Here he expresses his confidence that they will not fall away.

10 God will not fail to reward us for the “fruit” we offer to Him—in particular, the fruit of our love and faithfulness.

How did these Hebrews show love to God? They showed their love to Him by helping his people—that is, believers. When we do an act of love for any of God’s people, we do it also for God (see Matthew 25:34-40).

11-12 The writer wants these Hebrews to continue to show this same diligence to the very end—that is, their diligence in showing love to God, which the writer mentioned in verse 10. Why does he urge the Hebrews to show their diligence to the very end? So that they might make [their] hope sure. Their hope is that they will inherit what has been promised (verse 12). If they continue loving God and being faithful to Him to the very end, their hope of receiving their inheritance in heaven will be sure; it will be guaranteed (see Mark 13:13; Galatians 6:9; 2 Peter 1:10-11). Only through faith and patience will we inherit what has been promised—namely, eternal life in heaven. To put it in Paul’s words, we must continue to work out [our] salvation with fear andtrembling (Philippians 2:12).

13-15 God promised Abraham: “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you” (Genesis 12:2). But at that time Abraham was seventy-five years old, and had no children. Without a son, how could Abraham be the father of a great nation?

Abraham had to wait another twenty-five years before he got a son. When he was one hundred years old, Abraham’s wife gave birth to a son, Isaac. Thus, through Isaac, the promise God had given to Abraham could now be fulfilled (Genesis 17:1517; 21:1-3). In this way, after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised (verse 15).

Then God again tested Abraham’s faith. He told Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice. That is, God told Abraham to kill this son, for whom he had patiently waited for so long! So Abraham, obeying, made preparations for the sacrifice. Then, when God had seen Abraham’s faith and obedience, He at the last moment stopped Abraham from killing his son (see Genesis 22:114). And at that time God repeated the promise He had given to Abraham earlier (Genesis 22:15-18). But this time when God made the promise, he swore by himself, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants” (verse 14). The writer here quotes from Genesis 22:16-17.

16-17 God’s word is certain. But here God has confirmed His word or promise with an oath (verse 17). Therefore, God has made His promise to Abraham even more certain! Why did God confirm His promise with an oath? The reason is this: He wanted to make … his purpose clear to the heirs of what was promised. And who are the heirs of what was promised? It is we, who believe in Christ. We are the true spiritual heirs of Abraham through faith (Galatians 3:7,9). The promise that God gave to Abraham is now given to us. We who believe in Christ have been made God’s people, God’s family. And we shall obtain our full inheritance in heaven.

18 We who have fled—fled from evil, from Satan—can take hold of the hope offered to us. That hope is the hope we have of receiving an inheritance in heaven as Abraham’s spiritual heirs. We can take hold of that hope with complete faith. That hope is firm and secure (verse 19), because it has been confirmed by two unchangeable things—namely, God’s word and God’s oath. Therefore, we can be greatly encouraged.

19 In the midst of trials and troubles—even when death is near—we can take hold of this hope. Our hope is firm and secure in God; it is like an anchor.

The writer says here that our hope enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain—that is, the place where God is. This inner sanctuary was an inner room in the Jewish tabernacle or temple13 (Hebrews 9:1-3), where the Jews believed God dwelled. Once each year the high priest would enter this room to make atonement for the sins ofthe people in the presence of God (Hebrews 9:7). Thus, when the writer of Hebrews says that our hope enters the inner sanctuary, he means that our hope is fixed on God Himself.

20 Jesus, on our behalf, has gone before us and entered this inner sanctuary—that is, heaven. He has ascended into heaven into the presence of God to make atonement for our sins. Jesus has become our true and permanent high priest in the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 5:6,10). Jesus is the high priest on whom our hope is fixed. Jesus is the King, the Son of God, through whom the promise of God to Abraham has been fulfilled. Jesus is our forerunner, our leader, who has gone into heaven before us. He has opened the way for us to enter into the very presence of God (see Hebrews 10:19-22).

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