5:1-10:39-Our Great High Priest, cont’d.
A Warning Against Failing to Practice What Has Been Learned (5:11-6:20), cont’d.
Hebrews 6:1-3-The author says that it is time for these people to grow up spiritually and not keep going over the same basic matters over and over, again. They need to put what they have learned into practice.
The Consequences of Failing to Practice What They Have Learned (Hebrews 6:4-8)
Verses 4-5 clearly speak of someone who has truly accepted Jesus Christ as Savior. But these verses are much debated…primarily because of the words "fallen away" in verse 6. If we pull these verses out of their context and read them alone they are rather confusing. But if we read the in the context of the entire chapter, we see that this is a warning not that believers have fallen away from (lost) their salvation…but to believers to not fall away (stop, cease) from believing and practicing the basic tenants of the faith. They have not followed through with their conversion experience by continuing to live a faithful life that honors the Lord. They then become an embarrassment to Him…they "crucify to themselves the Son of God, and put Him to open shame" (:6). It is also helpful to understand that verse 8 says that they are "close to being cursed"...not that they are actually cursed. And, that they are "burned"...meaning that they are being disciplined by the Lord.
The Certainty They Will Practice What They Have Learned (Hebrews 6:9-11)
This chapter is a warning. Paul says that while he is concerned about them, he is convinced that they will not actually behave this way (:9). But will in fact begin to practice the things that they have learned.
The Example of Abraham Who Practiced What He Learned (Hebrews 6:12-15)
Paul reminds these Jewish believers of the father of their faith, Abraham. Though it took many years for God’s promise to Abraham (cf. Genesis 22) to come true…ultimately it did so. The reason that Abraham was faithful to practice what he had learned from God was because God had sworn by His own name that it would happen. Abraham believed this…that God was faithful (cf. Romans 4:20-22). And, because he “patiently waited, he obtained the promise.”
The Source of Confidence to Practice What They Have Learned (Hebrews 6:16-20)
Now, they have a promise…the promise of eternal life. The author tells them that they should find strength to persevere ("have strong encouragement", :18) in the fact that God, Himself has given them this promise (:17) based on His own character and integrity, that clearly identifies the "unchangeableness of His purpose" (:17). In other words, if God has said it, it cannot be changed or fail. This promise, this hope...is the "anchor of the soul".
Prayer: Father, sometimes my life becomes difficult. There are heartaches, and challenges, and fears, and sorrows. Many things that would discourage my faith. But You have told me that it is You…Your Word, Your promise, Your oath...that is unchangeable, no matter what happens. I trust in You. It is the anchor for my soul that will hold strong and never give way, not matter how hard the winds blow, or how high the waves rise. You are greater and Your promise cannot be altered.