Shawn Bumpers / General
Gessius Florus, was the last Roman procurator of Judea from 64 to 66 AD.
He was notorious for his cruelty and generally hated by the Jews.
Vespasian took down opposition in Galilee, and elsewhere and then moved in to circle Jerusalem.
But at this same time, Nero died and Vespasian assumed the throne.
1 John 2:2 NKJV
And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
Last week we wrapped up chapter 5 and so today we move into chapter 6 of Hebrews.
Now, since chapter 1 … in fact, immediately in chapter 1 without any introduction, the author started putting forth his argument that Jesus is better.
Hebrews 5:11 LEB
Concerning this we have much to say and it is difficult to explain, since you have become sluggish in hearing.
At the root of the issue is their lack of response to theological instruction.
Hebrews 5:12 NKJV
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
Colossians 2:17 NKJV
which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.
Colossians 2:20 NKJV
Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations—
Hebrews 6:1 NKJV
Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
ἀφίημι aphiēmi: leave; abandon
This doesn’t mean the basics are dispensable … that they aren’t important.
The ABC’s are necessary to move beyond kindergarten.
If we are going to make progress, we have to leave the childhood things behind and go forward in spiritual growth.
As I pointed out earlier, the Hebrew word aphiemi means both leave and abandon in the sense of once and for all.
Starting in the second part of verse 1, the author lists 6 foundational truths of the Christian life.
Each of these things were also foundational to the Jewish faith.
John 4:22 NKJV
You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.
Perhaps no other verses in the Bible have caused greater worry and concern for believers than these.
And complimented with what we find later in chapter 10:
Hebrews 10:26 NKJV
For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
No doubt this is a difficult passage.
And many scholars offer many different approaches to it.
For one thing, the Greek word in verse 6 for “fall away”here is παραπίπτω parapiptō which means, “to fall alongside.”
John 5:24 NKJV
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.
John 10:26–30 NKJV
But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.”
Romans 8:38 NKJV
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,
Let’s take a few minutes to think about the description of these people and see if they possessed true salvation.
It’s the Greek word φωτίζω phōtizō meaning “give light to.”
2 Corinthians 4:4–6 NKJV
whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 2:9 NKJV
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.
The word μέτοχος metochos in this sense means “to become sharers.”
Hebrews 3:1 LEB
Therefore, holy brothers, sharers in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession,
Hebrews 3:14 LEB
For we have become partners of Christ, if indeed we hold fast the beginning of our commitment steadfast until the end,
So that’s 3 arguments that are often used in regards to these verses.
But the writers purpose was to assure them … and these explanations certainly don’t lead to any positive assurance.
Hebrews 6:9 ESV
Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation.
Romans 6:9 NKJV
knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him.
So then, we should receive the warning as very real.
The good gifts of the Lord from verses 4 and 5 are now pictured as rain which are intended to make a crop grow.
However, if an evil crop springs up instead, it is eventually burned.
Now, back to our text, note that the “thorns and briars” are burned.
But the field is not.
Galatians 3:13 NKJV
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”),
Galatians 5:22–26 NKJV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
1 Thessalonians 1:3 NKJV
remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father,
Revelation 2:2 NKJV
“I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars;
While it is true that God “brings us along” to maturity, it is also true that the believer has a part.
We must not be sluggish.
This is the word νωθρός nothros which also means lazy.
More proof that the author has not been suggesting that a Christian can lose his salvation is found in these verses.
Perhaps the author was concerned that some would misinterpret what he wrote earlier about spiritual maturity.
God’s greatest promise to Abraham is recorded in Genesis 22:16–17.
Over the course of Genesis we find the LORD making a covenant with Abraham and then the text expanding on that promise.
Philippians 1:6 NKJV
being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
It’s the word μακροθυμέω makrothymeō meaning perseverance.
Enduring persecution from their fellow Jews who wanted them to drop this Christianity stuff and return to Judaism.
Hebrews 12:1–2 NKJV
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV
For we walk by faith, not by sight.
God gave Abraham a promise, and He confirmed that promise with an oath.
I don’t know if it’s still the case, but it used to be that when a witness took an oath in court, he used the words “so help me God.”
But God did not do this only for Abraham.
Galatians 3:29 NKJV
And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
The author is thinking of the Old Testament “cities of refuge.”
We actually talked about the cities of refuge back in chapter 3 … their names and how God meets our needs.
Our hope in Christ is like an anchor for the soul.
The symbol of an anchor was popular in the early church.