Sympathetic High Priest
Heb 4:14,15 Therefore,
since we have a great high priest who has gone through the
heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith
we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to
sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been
tempted in every way, just as we are— yet was without sin.
"He who descended is the
very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to
fill the whole universe." Eph 4:10
for "after he had
provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand
of the Majesty in heaven." Heb 1:3
"By this gospel you are
saved, if you hold
firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you
have believed in vain." 1Cor 15:2
Not only so, but he says, "the faith we profess"
The faith that saves is the faith that professes. Those who are
saved make public profession of their faith. Water baptism is a
start, followed by a life of professing the faith. Private
Christians - those who keep their faith private - are not
professing Christians. Which are you? Have you believed in vain?
Now the role of high priest is one of a mediator - much like a
lawyer. You want such a person to sympathize with you.
Here we learn that Jesus does sympathize with our weaknesses.
And by "weaknesses" it's not simply talking about physical
weaknesses, poverty or the like, for what does that have to do
with his priestly role? No, it's referring to our being weak to
sin. For we live in a shell of flesh which is prone to sin,
having inherited a sinful nature which is a source of
temptation. And we live a world which tempts us to sin through
its influence. And behind it all is the devil orchestrating our
falling into sin.
Jesus was tempted in all ways as we are. But he didn't give into
it. Jesus Christ came in the flesh, the same kind of flesh we
have. "Many deceivers, who
do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have
gone out into the world." 2John 1:7a
The word "flesh" is the greek word
"sarx" which the scriptures so closely associate with the sinful
nature that the NIV translates "sarx" as "sinful nature" 22
times in the New Testament. If Jesus did not have the same kind
of flesh we have, then it cannot be said that he was tempted in
all ways as we are. The verse here implies that Jesus would not
even have the ability to sympathize with us had he not
experienced temptations as we have. Likewise living in a shell
of "sarx" he was tempted by the world and by the devil in a
similar manner in which we also are tempted.
So the next time you experience temptation realize that Jesus
went through the same kind of thing. And therefore he can
sympathize with you.
Boldly Requisition Grace
Heb 4:16 Let us then approach the throne
of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and
find grace to help us in our time of need.
Much of this letter speaks of confidence. Previously he said, "We have come to share in
Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at
first." Heb 3:14
Confidence is characteristic of saving faith. People often have
a misconception about confidence. There are those who teach a
false dichotomy that confidence is associated with pride and
lack of confidence with humility. Actually a person who is
humble in a Biblical sense puts his confidence in God. A person
who does not have confidence in God does not believe in God.
Heb 13:6 So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"
A person who is confident is God does not fear people. So if you
meet a person who is afraid of what others think of them or what
others may do to them, you've met someone who has some lack of
confidence in God. If your display of courage were a measure of
your faith in God, how would you measure up?
Heb 10:19-23 Therefore, brothers, since we
have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place
by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us
through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a
great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled
to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies
washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope
we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
And what constitutes approaching the throne of Grace but
praying. When needs arise we pray for grace.
Dealing with the Ignorant and Misguided
Heb 5:1-3 Every high priest is selected
from among men and is appointed to represent them in matters
related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is
able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going
astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. This is why
he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for
the sins of the people.
Understanding the role of a priest is relevant to the Christian
life, and not just to clarify Jesus' role as high priest. For as
Christians, "you also, like
living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a
holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to
God through Jesus Christ." 1Peter 2:5
As priests we intercede for others
and sympathize with them with regards to sin because "No temptation has seized you
except what is common to man." 1Cor 10:13a
Here those the priest is interceding for are described as
ignorant and going astray. The lexicon indicates "ignorant" here
to be "to err or sin through mistake, to be wrong, spoken mildly
of those who are not high handed or wilful transgressors".
Realize that he is speaking of priests operating under the Law
of Moses. Under the Law of Moses only unintentional sins could
be forgiven. Unintentional sins are broadly spoken of in the
Law. For example, Lev 4:13 "If the whole Israelite
community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in
any of the LORD’s commands, even though the community is
unaware of the matter, they are guilty."
Another "Anyone who strikes a man and
kills him shall surely be put to death. However, if he does
not do it intentionally, but God lets it happen, he is to flee
to a place I will designate." Ex 21:12,13
Jesus, being the "Par Excellent"
High Priest covers all sin, unintentional or otherwise. "Through him everyone who
believes is justified from everything you could not be
justified from by the law of Moses." Acts 13:39
The deficiency of the Mosaic priesthood is also revealed in the
fact that the priests themselves sinned and consequently he
himself needs a mediator.
A Priestly Appointment
No one takes this honor
upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron was. So
Christ also did not take upon himself the glory of becoming a
high priest. But God said to him, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father." (Ps 2:7) And he says in another
place, "You are a priest
forever, in the order of Melchizedek." (Ps 110:4)
Aaron, Moses' brother was assigned the position of high priest
by God. And only Aaron's descendants were allowed to be priests
under the Mosaic Law. God says, "Appoint Aaron and his sons to serve as priests; anyone
else who approaches the sanctuary must be put to death."
can assign the priesthood. For a priest is a mediator, and a
mediator can only be a mediator if both parties agree for such a
person to be their mediator. God assigned Jesus to the position
of "Par Excellent" High Priest.
First God says that Jesus is his Son. At his baptism, a voice
from heaven said, "This is
my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." Mt 3:17
Likewise at the
transfiguration, "This is
my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to
him!" Mt 17:5
The transfiguration was particularly significant in this sense.
For Moses and Elijah also appeared. But it was Jesus that God
affirmed and "When they
looked up, they saw no one except Jesus." Mt 17:8
Likewise the author
is going to show that Jesus' priesthood is not n extension of
the Levitical priesthood, but rather is of a different order, an
order which overshadows that of the Levitical priesthood.
from which the
author is quoting is a Messianic psalm. The first verse says, The LORD says to my Lord: "Sit
at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for
which itself was quoted in Heb 1:13
applying it to
Jesus as Peter also quoted in his first sermon in Acts 2:34
, and goes on to
say, "Therefore let all
Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you
crucified, both Lord and Christ." Acts 2:35
Hebrews chapter 7 will have a great deal to say about
Melchizadek, so I won't elaborate here.
Jesus' Training for the Priesthood
Heb 5:7 During the days of Jesus’ life
on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries
and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was
heard because of his reverent submission.
While Jesus prayed throughout his ministry, and indeed was saved
from death on many an occasion, the only time in which we see
him praying with cries and tears are in gethsamane and perhaps
on the cross, which is a case in which he wasn't saved from
death - or was he? Indeed could the phrase "save him from death"
refer to the
resurrection? For in Acts 2, Peter's first Sermon, he quotes
from Ps 16, a Messianic psalm - which implies it's something
Jesus prayed saying, "my
heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live
in hope, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor
will you let your Holy One see decay." Ps 16:9,10
which Peter says
refers to Jesus' resurrection. Acts
Notice also that in Gethsemane Jesus requested not to be
crucified. But significantly he added, "Not My will, but Yours, be done"
. Lk 22:42
Jesus was heard,
but his specific request denied. Nonetheless he was open to this
and God did send an angel to strengthen him to prepare him for
what was to come.
Much can be drawn from these facts, but in particular concerning
his role as our advocate, Jesus has experience in personally
approaching the Father with daring requests, but who nonetheless
defers to the Father. In a sense you want a lawyer who stays
inside the law, but who empathizes with you and is willing to
take all steps possible to petition those in charge on your
behalf. Jesus doesn't simply care. His love is intense.
Jesus Learn Obedience
Heb 5:8 Although he was a son, he
learned obedience from what he suffered
When you're commanded to do something that you already intended
to do, obedience is not involved. Such was the case for Jesus
prior to his incarnation. But as we can see from his prayer in
Gethsemane, "Not My will,
but Yours, be done"
, Jesus became experienced in
obedience. John 6:38 "For I have come down from
heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent
As a human Jesus' desires were not always in line
with the Father's desires. And that's the case with all of us.
It's a part of human nature. Now poor teachers are those with
natural abilities. For they cannot empathize with the struggling
student. Some view Jesus this way. But in fact part of the point
of his incarnation was to experience human weakness so to become
the perfect mediator.
"Christ Jesus who, being in
very nature God, did not consider equality with God something
to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very
nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And
being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and
became obedient to death— even death on a cross!"
A Perfect Savior for the Obedient
Heb 5:9,10 and, once made perfect, he
became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him,
and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of
Jesus didn't start off perfect. He had to be made perfect. "For it was fitting for Him,
for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in
bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their
salvation perfect through sufferings." Heb 2:10
And if Jesus had
to be trained to be the perfect mediator, what about us? "Endure hardship as discipline;
God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined
by his father?" Heb
Now it doesn't say that Jesus causes those who are saved to
obey, but rather Jesus causes to be saved those who obey him.
"Obey" is again "hupakouo" which means to listen with the intent
to obey. The faith that saves is the faith that obeys. Paul
writes, "Through him and
for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call
people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes
from faith." Rom 1:5
There's an obedience that comes from faith.
This could not be said of those who claim to be willing to obey
but don't seek to listen, who don't study the Bible with the
intention of doing what it says. For there are those who avoid
hearing God's word, lest they run into commands of which they
are not prepared to obey. And there are those who claim to
"study" the Bible but only study bits and pieces involving
non-application oriented issues so as to avoid spending time
considering the divine imperatives. Bible study for mere
curiosity, Bible study which is not application oriented is not
2Cor 5:15 he died for all, that those who
live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died
for them and was raised again.
But of Melchizedek the author will elaborate upon later.
Slow to Learn?
Heb 5:11 We have much to say about this, but it is
hard to explain because you are slow to learn.
"slow to learn" is more literally "slow to hear". Jas 1:19
a My dear brothers, take note of
this: Everyone should be quick to listen"
Ever try to
teach someone and they're just not hearing what you're saying.
They're just not listening. They're not paying attention. It's
largely because they're not taking it seriously. They don't
necessarily intend to apply it to their lives. This is the
attitude of those to whom the author of Hebrews is writing. So
no surprised that Hebrews is filled with warnings. Remember the
parable of the sower, "The
seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as
they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches
and pleasures, and they do not mature." Luke 8:14
And those who
stay immature, being unfruitful will be cut off. "Every tree that does not
bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by
their fruits you will know them. Not everyone who says to Me,
‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who
does the will of My Father in heaven." Mt
Likewise he says, "The
knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been
given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will
have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has
will be taken from him. This is why I speak to them in parables: "Though
seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or
In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: "’You will be
ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing
but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly
hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their
ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal
them." Mt 13:11-15
If we don't apply what we already know, then not only will God
not give us further understanding, He will also take away what
little understanding we have.
see this in Jesus' ministry where periodically, such as in John
6, he will purge marginal disciples from his ranks by saying
Have you Graduated Yet?
Heb 5:12 In fact, though by this time
you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the
elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk,
not solid food!
Much as James warns Christians not to take positions of teaching
lightly as he says, "Not
many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers,
because you know that we who teach will be judged more
strictly." Jam 3:1
yet it is expected that as Christians mature they take on a
teaching role. After all when people grow up and become parents
they are expected to teach their children. Likewise in the
When he says "by this time" one wonders what kind of time frame
he was referring to. It may be instructive to consider Jesus'
expectation which he expresses in Luke 13 "‘For three years now I’ve
been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t
found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ ...
If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it
After all, Jesus' trained his
disciples for 3 years. Though granted they had years of prior
experience with the Bible. In any case I think that if an adult
becomes a Christian and devotes himself to it, he should be
ready to be a Bible teacher in three to four years.
Notice here they had to be taught all over again, just as I
mentioned previously concerning what Mt 13:12
says concerning those who don't apply
what they know, "even what
he has will be taken from him."
Use it or lose it!
Training for Maturity
Heb 5:13,14 Anyone who lives on milk, being
still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about
righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by
constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from
By "righteousness" the context would indicate that he is
speaking of a righteous lifestyle. That as opposed to merely
positional righteousness - namely the forgiveness of sins.
Babies bask in the grace shown to them by their parents but give
little thought to living a responsible life. Likewise many
Christians or alleged Christians will bask in the grace of
Christ, but give little thought to living the Christian life -
submitting to the Lordship of Christ, doing what is right,
taking on the responsibilities indicated in the Word of God
regarding the Christian lifestyle. Like infants they will speak
of going to church "to get fed" or looking for a church "that
will feed them", while giving little thought to feeding others,
remaining in a diaper stage sometimes for decades.
A person's maturity is revealed by their applying the Bible to
life. Indeed the mature don't need someone to train them. They
have graduated from that and now train themselves. They train
themselves to apply the Bible constantly.
And like infants, the immature Christian is gullible to false
doctrines, lacking proper discernment. For "it was he who gave some to be apostles,
some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be
pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works
of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up
until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of
the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole
measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be
infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here
and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and
craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming." Eph 4:11-14
fail to discern between good and evil. But such discernment is
attained not simply by study, but by constant practice. Some
education simply cannot be learned by reading books.
Heb 6:1,2 Therefore let us leave the
elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not
laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead
to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the
laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal
It's called "Elementary School" for a reason. When we're young
we are to learn to the elementary teachings, and only later more
Elementary Teaching 1
In Christian doctrine repentance from sin is an elementary
teaching. Repentance from sin
involves the intention to change one's behavior
, and is indicative of the kind of
faith that qualifies one to be saved. Paul describes his
ministry saying, "First to
those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all
Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should
repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their
deeds." Acts 26:20
visited Zacchaeus, the tax collector, he repented and said, "Look,
Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the
poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will
pay back four times the amount." Jesus said to
him, "Today salvation has
come to this house" Luke 19:8,9 Notice that Zacchaeus simply expressed his INTENTION to change and that was sufficient for salvation.
In contrast there are those who view the grace of God as a license to sin, as Jude said, "certain
men whose condemnation was written about long ago have
secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who
change the grace of our God into a license for immorality" Jude 1:4a
prophecied saying, "there
will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce
will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of
truth into disrepute." 2Peter 2:2
"they mouth empty, boastful
words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human
nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those
who live in error." 2Peter
So when preaching the gospel, be clear that the intent to change ones sinful behavior is a condition for salvation inherent in saving faith.
Elementary Teaching 2
FAITH IN GOD
Salvation is contingent upon faith in Christ, but many haven't
actually studied the fundamental doctrine as to what constitutes
saving faith. Why is that? There are many different kinds of
"faith" and there are many aspects of faith, and not all faith
saves. Saving faith is application oriented. Saving
faith is also persevering, obedient and fruitful. Jesus said, "Every tree
that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the
fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the
kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in
Saving faith involves pledging allegiance to Jesus as Lord with
the intention of doing what he said. "he died for all, that those who live should no
longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and
was raised again."
Yet there are false teaches who "deny Jesus Christ our only
Sovereign and Lord." Jude
They teach that saving faith does not involve
submission to Christ's Lordship.
Elementary Teaching 3
1. Water Baptism
If a person comes to faith in Christ, then they are to be
water baptized. Jesus said, "Go
and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name
of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and
teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you."
Having been saved by faith, the believer then gets baptized as a public pledge to have a good
conscience before God, and a sign of submission to the Lordship
of Christ that he may be welcomed into the Christian community having identified himself as a Christian through baptism. Consider the Ethiopian who after
hearing the gospel said,
"See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?"
Then Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you
may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ
is the Son of God." Acts
However throughout history there have been whole denominations which have tinkered with the gospel and made water baptism out to be something it's not. For example there are denominations which believe in infant baptism. There are Protestant sects which hold that infants of believing parents are automatically covered by the New Covenant, apart from their own personal faith, which is contrary to the gospel. Catholicism views infant baptism as a removal of the guilt of original sin (as if God unjustly reckoned babies guilty of crimes the didn't actually commit, on the basis of Guilt by Association - which is a form of prejudice and contrary to God's very nature being just) And there are those among Protestant sects that don't believe in infant baptism, but believe that the ceremony of water baptism is necessary for salvation.
These are among what I refer to as the Neo-Circumcision. In the first Century there was a sect of Christians, originating from the church at Jerusalem who taught, "Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved." Acts 15:1
The Apostle Paul characterized them as false brothers. "This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves." Gal 2:4
Yet these type of sects have existed among the Christian community since the beginning, Catholicism being one of them. Those sects that view salvation as contingent upon a religious ceremony are among today's Neo-Circumcision.
But there are those who allege to believe in Christ but
refuse or neglect to get baptized. If you've come to faith in Christ, then get water baptized. I myself, raised as a Catholic, got baptized as infant. But that's not believer's baptism. Thus when I came to faith in college I found a church that would baptized me as a believer. 2. Baptism in the Spirit
After a person comes to faith, God gives him the Holy Spirit. "And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ." Rom 8:9 This is distinct from water baptism
as can clearly be seen in the case in Acts 10 with Cornelius. Peter describes the event. "As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’" Acts 11:15,16
After they had been baptized with the Holy Spirit it is written. "Then Peter said, 'Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.'" Acts 10:47
The Holy Spirit causes the believe to be born-again, becoming a new creature (2Cor 5:17), such that it becomes natural to understand (1Cor 2:14-16) and to do God's will. (1John 3:9,10)
Elementary Teaching 4
THE LAYING ON OF HANDS
This is not spoken of much in the New Testament. But we see it's
application in Acts 6:5,6
and its implication in 1Tim
as a commissioning of ministers, and for the
purpose of such ministry the Holy Spirit may impart gifts (as he
wills) for the purpose of effective service (1Tim 5:22
Elementary Teaching 5
Whenever the gospel is preached in Acts and the New Testament
letters, the resurrection of Christ included as an essential
element, the forensic evidence validating his claims. But the
"Resurrection" also is about the fact, as Paul said, "that there will be a
resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked." Acts 24:15
Of the righteous
Paul elaborates upon in 1Corinthians
. The resurrection from the dead is fundamental to
the Christian faith. For "If
there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has
been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our
preaching is useless and so is your faith." 1Cor 15:13,14
If you want
an epitaph written on your tombstone, try this, "I'LL BE BACK!"
Would make quite an impression upon anyone wandering around the
Now there are some alleged Christians who I have heard believe
in reincarnation. Reincarnation is incompatible with the
Biblical teaching of the Resurrection. "Everyone must die once, and after that comes
judgment" Heb 9:27
If you believe in reincarnation, then don't claim that you're a
There's a first and second resurrection. The first resurrection
is that of the righteous and includes the Rapture. (1Th 4:16,17; 1Cor 15:51,52; Mt
and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection.
The second death has no power over them, but they will be
priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a
thousand years." Rev
The resurrection of the wicked occurs after the
Millenial Kingdom. (The
rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years
were ended.) Rev 20:5
Elementary Teaching 6
Jesus taught a lot about this. There will be a Judgment day in
which God will pronounce one's destiny - whether eternal life or
eternal death. Jesus spoke much on hell. He describes a place of
torment in Luke 16 of his story of Lazarus and the Rich Man. In
his parable of the ungracious servant of Matt 18 he ends saying, "In anger his master turned
him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay
back all he owed. This is how my heavenly Father will treat
each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."
the unrighteous he says,
"They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will
be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Mt 13:42
Of the man who
showed up to the wedding feast, but not wearing wedding clothes
he says, "Tie him hand and
foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there
will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Mt 22:13
He teaches that
many will be caught by surprise. He also teaches in his parable
of the ten virgins that the clock is ticking and there are no
second chances. (Again contrary to the heresy of reincarnation)
On the upside, there are rewards promised for those who serve
Christ. And of the righteous, "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be
no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order
of things has passed away." Rev 21:4
Even in the Old Testament it teaches
resurrection saying, "Multitudes
who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to
everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.
Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the
heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the
stars for ever and ever." Dan 12:2,3
As for dealing with sins of believers, the New Covenant promise is, "I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." Heb 8:12
The memory of one's sins are somewhat literally "burned up" and forgotten. What is left over, God rewards. We see this described in 1Cor 3:11-15
If it be the will of God
Heb 6:3 And God permitting, we will do
The author is saying that he's not going to revisit these
issues, the fundamentals of the faith, having already taught
them, but with the contingency that God may call him to do so at
some point in the future. Paul wrote of a mature perspective
concerning the Christian life in Philippians following with, "Let us, as many as are mature,
have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God
will reveal even this to you." Php 3:15
don't have to wait for the immature to catch up to go on to more
advance issues. But the teacher must be open to that
How exactly the author would know whether God gives his
permission? The fact he says literally in the greek "If God permits",
indicating some uncertainty in the matter. This is interesting
because what follows teaches us about what to do if we don't
know God's specific will in a circumstance. And that's a very
common experience in the Christian life. The word that follows
the verse is "For"
Despite being uncertain about God's specific will here, he
nonetheless takes action, and the verses that follow give his
explanation as to why he's taking action. Those verses will show
that he's applying a principle. When we don't know God's
specific will, then we should defer to the principles of
Heb 6:4-6 For it is impossible for those
who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift,
and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted
the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if
they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for
themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.
Try as you might you can never bring this kind of person to
repentance. That's why the author of Hebrews is leaving such
people behind. (1John 5:16
Such people are unteachable. He's not saying that this is the
case for all of the audience to whom he is writing. For if that
were the case why would he bother writing at all? But no doubt
he suspects among them are these kind of people. What kind of
They were people who had been enlightened to the gospel at some
point. They had a taste of the Christian life. But were like
those Jesus described is his parable of the sower. "The one who received the seed
that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at
once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts
only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because
of the word, he quickly falls away." Mt 13:20,21
Their faith was
They had a partnership with the Holy Spirit. This is not to say
that they had been possessors of the Holy Spirit. The greek word
for "shared in" (metochos) is literally "became partners with".
It is first used in the New Testament in Luke 5:7 "And they beckoned unto their partners, which
were in the other ship, that they should come and help them.
And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began
This is the type of relationship that the
Holy Spirit has with those He is helping to come to Christ. See
also Kenneth Wuest's comment on this point.
They had heard the word and witnessed the validating evidence of
miracles. Yet Jesus even said of those who performed miracles, "Many will say to Me in that
day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast
out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your
name?’ "And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew
you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Mt 7:22,23
If such people fall away they are like those Peter spoke of
saying, "If they have
escaped the corruption of the world by knowing (about) our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and
overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the
beginning. It would have been better for them not to have
known (about) the way of righteousness, than to have known (about) it and then
to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on
to them. Of them the proverbs are true: 'A dog returns to its
vomit,' and, 'A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing
in the mud.'" 2Peter 2:20-22
I say "knowing about" because the work is not "gnosis", which is relational knowledge, but "epi-gnosis" - surface knowledge, knowing facts about the person but not necessarily knowing him personally. Notice that regeneration hadn't taken place as they are characterized as the same kind of creature they were prior to knowing. As such these are merely posers.
And concerning their recrucifying Christ, likewise the author
will later say, "If we
deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the
knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but
only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that
will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law
of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three
witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves
to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who
has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that
sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?" Heb 10:26-29
These are the Judas's of the Christian community. The apostates
of the faith. Who having identified with the believers, having
alleged to have put their faith in Christ, reject him like the
crowds who once followed Jesus as a celebrity only later to
shout "Crucify him!".
Heb 6:7,8 Land that drinks in the rain
often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those
for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. But land
that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in
danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.
The author may have had in mind the parable of the wheat and the tares. and the principle that "by their fruit you will recognize them." Mt 7:20
Takes time and maturity till what was planted produces fruit. This is not talking about immature Christians. When one matures in their convictions, such will be evident by their ideas and actions. The apostate is one who has evaluated the faith and intentionally deviates from it by word and actions and teaches such.
Jesus said, "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is
cut down and thrown into the fire." Mt 7:19
And likewise here, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the
gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit"
But he also says, "the seed on good soil stands
for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word,
retain it, and by
persevering produce a crop." Luke 8:15
Things that Accompany
Heb 6:9 Even though we speak like
this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your
case— things that accompany salvation.
The Bible speaks in a number of place of things that accompany
salvation - indeed things which are indicative of salvation,.
Among these are love for other Christian and doing what is
right. "This is how we
know who the children of God are and who the children of the
devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child
of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother." 1John3:10
There are also
doctrinal issues, "We are
from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is
not from God does not listen to us." 1John 4:6a
And Jesus said, "He who abides in Me, and I in
him, bears much fruit" John 15:5b
Why was John confident of their salvation status? Because these
kinds of things were indicative of their lives. Assurance of
salvation is to be proportional to the degree to which we behave
as a child of God should.
To the Thessalonians Paul writers, "We know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia— your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead— Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath." 1Thess 1:4-10
Works of Faith
Heb 6:10 God is not unjust; he will not
forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have
helped his people and continue to help them.
Likewise Paul notes of the Thessalonians, "We continually remember before our God and
Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by
love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus
Christ. For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen
you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but
also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep
And he goes on to note particular evidences of
things that accompany salvation, things are also noted in a
number of verses in this chapter of Hebrews.
"You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite
of severe suffering" 1Th 1:6a
"you became a model to
all the believers" 1Th
"you turned to God from
idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his
Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead— Jesus, who
rescues us from the coming wrath" 1Th 1:9b-10
But in particular we note in John and 1John that love for other
Christians is the primary mark of the elect. John 13:35 "By this all men will know that
you are my disciples, if you love one another."
Assurance based on
Heb 6:11,12 We want each of you to show
this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your
hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate
those who through faith and patience inherit what has been
Diligence and perseverance accompany salvation. "the seed on good soil stands
for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word,
retain it, and by persevering produce a crop." Luke 8:15
In contrast laziness may be an indication that such a person is not
saved. Of the man who hid his talent and did nothing with his
faith, Jesus said, "You
wicked, lazy servant!" Mt 25:26a
Lazy faith is a non-application
oriented faith. It is not indicative of saving faith. It is a
disobedient faith. Jesus said,
"Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and
thrown into the fire."
Followed by, "Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the
kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in
heaven." Mt 7:19-21
Obedience, diligence, fruitfulness, these all accompany
Of imitation Paul notes that of the Thessalonians as I noted
previously. And likewise Hebrews later says, "Remember your leaders, who
spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their
way of life and imitate their faith." Heb 13:7
"Therefore, my brothers, be
all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For
if you do these things, you will never fall" 2Peter 1:10