Our Anchor of Assurance

“For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the Word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding Him up to contempt” (Hebrews 6:4-6)

If we are going to talk about the book of Hebrews, we have to address this passage. And let me start out with the fundamental truth of the Gospel message.

Christ finished the work of our salvation.

Jesus fulfilled all the Law, every jot and every tittle of it, just as He said that He would in Matthew 5:18. Elementary doctrine:  this is what this is according to the writer of Hebrews. We have to get this straight in our minds before anything else can make sense.

The place of Jesus’ priesthood was secured through His obedience on earth. This Lamb of God lived a spotless humanity in His body, soul, and spirit. As the true High Priest, He rendered in His very Body the final offering for the sins of the world and the results of that offering are eternal. The conclusion is this:  His obedience becomes our obedience when we believe on Him and give our lives to Him.

End of the matter. Stop. Consider. Count on this. Count it all joy for it is the Truth about the Love God has shown to the world. Settle this reality in your minds and hearts was the message the writer longed to communicate to readers of this letter.

Hard Sayings

Confusion came to the first readers of Hebrews as they endured the turmoil that mounted in the Roman world.  Doubts and fears were driving some to seek a return to the “dead works” of their old religious ways as we see in Hebrews 6:1.

These are provocative statements here in Hebrews 6. They are things that have been much misunderstood. The passage above seems to indicate an impossibility of restoration “again to repentance” for those who’ve dropped off.

On the surface, this is a hard saying. The writer intended it to be hard; he crafted a strong exhortation to those who were trying to make themselves born again all over again. That’s the impossibility he’s is driving at. Once born in Him it is impossible for us to be unborn out of Him; once we are His we can never, never, never be left or forsaken (see that triple declaration in Hebrews 13:5).

Mature Christians know where they stand. They embrace the reality of their “eternal salvation” accomplished through the death of Jesus and the shedding of His Blood.

Mature Christians know where they stand. They embrace the reality of their “eternal salvation” accomplished through the death of Jesus and the shedding of His Blood. Click To Tweet

The instruction here is that regardless of our feelings we must refuse to give into the temptation to seek a kind of re-repentance unto salvation. Once we’ve called upon the Name of the Lord and received His free and gracious gift of eternal life in Him, we cannot fall back into an un-eternal position.

Stop looking to the deadness of the past is the message from the writer. Those old works never served to make anyone holy before and they cannot do it now, later, or ever.

Only the Cross of Christ did that. We were crucified with Him; this occurred once and this will never happen again. Furthermore, in this backward ways of thinking, we virtually crucify Jesus all over. And this brings contempt upon Him and the Gospel because through our feelings we may come to view His work as unfinished and in need of our human efforts to complete.

This passage, I believe, is really about our witness in this world. The message of the Bible is that Jesus did it all. If we live as if He didn’t complete the work of redemption, that there is something leftover for us to do, then we are communicating a falsity. And, what’s worse, we promote hopelessness and that’s the last thing this world needs.

We have been called and equipped to take this Word of Grace and Mercy to our streets, to our communities, to our nations, to the uttermost parts of the earth.

Does God have any other way to get this Word out there? For now, He doesn’t.

We may read in Revelation about angels soaring across the sky with warnings and calls. But in this timeframe, we are the ones commissioned to live out His Truth for everyone to see.

Fruitful Fields

It is impossible to fall back into your old standing under condemnation. Stay true to the salvation you received. Enter afresh into the reality of your rest in God the Son.

The imagery presented in Hebrews 6 is that our lives are as fields ready to receive rain. Moses wrote that the doctrine would settle like dew and fall as rain upon God’s people (see Deuteronomy 32:2).

Purpose to be a fruitful field the letter encourages readers. Let the Lord cultivate your faith and make you a blessing to all.

A return to the past way of works in religion will just parch you, dry you out. Such a heart field becomes seeded with things that cannot produce fruit. What emerges from this hard, brittle ground, the writer tells us, are thorns and thistles–the very things God told Adam would plague the dust used to form him, the dust he would toil over with sweat and frustration and pain.

Sweat and toil have no place in the new and living way into which we have been saved. The Lord knows us; He recognizes and counts that we have done the one “work” that we can do, the work Jesus defined in John 6:  “… they said to [Jesus], ‘What must we do, to be doing the works of God?’ Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent’” (verses 28-29).

What are we to do with our earnestness to work for Him? Enter in His rest, the rest He gave in the Son. Spend your energy in that way.

Embrace the full assurance of salvation. Hold fast to the hope of His promise, the promise He perfected in Himself, the promise that is ours because we are in Him.

Full assurance is the fuel of true faith action. Thinking on His love for you is that thing that will move you into imitation of hero-believers such as Abraham. This father of faith, this friend of God, believed in Him and took the Lord at His Word.

This man received an oath that God swore upon His own character and nature. The Lord did not and could not leave it up to Abraham to craft his own personal righteousness. Abraham did the only work he could do–he believed and so God counted him as righteous.

The Rope of Hope

Abraham’s example is one of grace in operation. God established His covenant to bless and multiply this friend and so God did and continues to do. We, too, are descendants of Abraham as friends of God, sons of the Most High by grace through faith.

The Lord cannot lie. Our promise of life is just as sure as the promise given to Abraham.

Feeling lost and adrift? Run to Him who is the Refuge. Anchor yourself to the truth of His Promise. The rope of our hope reaches beyond the curtain, through the veil to the Holy of Holies, the sacred space of His Presence and Glory. Jesus fastened that anchor Himself.

As the Forerunner, He raced through time and eternity to open the way, to make us welcome and accepted before the Throne of Grace.

Believe this. Receive this. Rest in Christ and so live for Him.

 

 

 

Steve Andrulonis
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