In our study of Hebrews chapter six, we will look at the assurance that we are saved and it cannot be lost. How do you respond to someone who says that you can lose your salvation? We will find out through the words that Paul shared with the Jewish believers.
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 judgment. And God permitting, we will do so.
"Therefore" lets us know that this chapter is connected to what Paul was saying in the previous chapter. He ended chapter 5 by telling us the purpose of growing and maturing in the faith which was so that we can tell good from evil. Now, he gives us a list of some of the basic teachings of the faith and calls them the foundation. The purpose of any foundation is to support what is built upon it and it implies that something will be built.
It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.
Paul jumps right into building on that foundation by looking at the question of losing your salvation. This passage has been misused and abused to beat down Christians and to stop them from living in the victory that is Jesus Christ. There are many people who use this passage to say that you can lose your salvation if you don't do these things or if you do other things but it is not even talking about salvation. He is talking to people that have accepted the grace of God through Jesus Christ and so are saved as he speaks of tasting "the heavenly gift". He mentions the fact that they "have shared in the Holy Spirit" which reminds us that one of the purposes of the Holy Spirit is to give us the comfort and assurance that we are saved. So, what does he mean by "if they fall away"? We have to remember that Paul was writing this to Jews that had accepted Christ but were struggling with the grace that they had experienced and the laws and rituals of their past. He is reminding them that grace is a gift and, if you pay for a gift, then it can no longer be considered a gift.
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.
Now, Paul compares the Christian life to farming and they are closely related. Throughout the Bible, water is associated with the Spirit of God and, here, we see that a Christian that has received that Spirit (rain) should produce a crop. If farmland does not produce a crop over an extended period of time, then, it is no longer consider farm land.
Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your case - things that accompany salvation. God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love that you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.
Paul encourages his readers that they are saved and bases his confidence on the fact that their actions back up their words. He reminds them that God sees their work for Him and will remember it. We see from this, that the falling away that he mentioned before was not losing salvation but basically being what is known as a pew sitter. So why do we not want to be a "pew sitter"? There are two reasons and the first is our love for God. Paul equates our love for God with our helping His people. If we love God, then we will serve people because He loves them. The second reason is that the loss that Paul is talking about is a loss of rewards. When we get to see Jesus, we will give an account of our lives after we accepted His grace. This is not a judgment with punishment but a sort of paying of wages. We will receive rewards from Jesus based on our service to Him on this earth.
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 promised.
The hope that Paul speaks of is our rewards and he urges us to continue in the work of the Lord. People get lazy and want to kick back and wait for Jesus to return. Although we can do that, we will be missing out on some of the rewards that God has set for us.
When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, saying, 'I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.' And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.
We all are familiar with the practice of swearing by something greater than oneself to prove its truth. What do you do if you are the Creator of all things and there is nothing greater? That is how it was and is with God and His promises. There is no one greater for Him to swear by so the promise is simply based on His character and the fact that He keeps His promises. God is the same today as He has always been and so we can have that same patient assurance that what He has promised us will be received.
Men swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope that is offered to us may be greatly encouraged.
God made this oath to give the children of Abraham the assurance of truth. Abraham held onto the truth of God by faith and it is easier for us to hold on as we see that God kept this oath to him.
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.
Our hope is in Christ as our High Priest and it is sure as we see that "He has become a high priest forever". We do not have to worry about doing something that will cause us to lose our salvation. If our soul holds onto that like an anchor for a ship, we will not be tossed about by all the latest teachings and religious theories. We truly will have a blessed assurance!