Forward in Faith #8
A Fickle Faith?
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As we continue to Study Christ and what he has done for us we continue in looking at the work of Christ as our High Priest.
The greatest job of the High Priest was to represent the people before God and secure their forgiveness.
But in Christ, because of his work as our sacrifice and our High Priest, we can approach not just the Mercy Seat, but the throne of Grace and receive mercy and find grace. His work is greater his work is full.
And so we are told in 4:14 to “hold firmly to the faith we profess”.
Do we have something we can hold on to?
Or is it something that we can’t hold on to. Is it something that can slip through our fingers?
This passage has been called “the most difficult passage in scripture”
While I don’t want to trivialize a difficult passage, I want us to read it in the context of what we have already read, and find a great truth as a foundation for a life of Faith.
Let’s read a rather lengthy passage
READ Hebrews 5:11-6:20
“let us leave the Elementary teaching”
Now of course he doesn’t mean that as followers of Christ we abandon the Elementary Truths of Scripture. But we have to grow into greater truths.
What are the Basics of our faith?
1. Elementary Teachings
We are going to look very quickly at this list, but as we look at the list, remember this is milk, this is elementary school. Are you stuck on milk? Are you stuck in elemntary school? We have to start somewhere, but we have to move on.
6 things are listed here … let’s look at them.
A. Repentance and Faith
It all begins with a vertical relationship between God and Man.
Sin is our problem, God hates sin. We can’t simply be sad about sin, we can’t simply wish we were different
Repentance is turning from it. Repentance is doing a 180 degree turn.
Repentance comes FROM God and it is TO God. We don’t have to understand it or over think it or over analyze it we do it.
Acts 5:31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might GIVE repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel
Acts 11:18 … So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life
Repentance if toward Salvation because God provided for it and empowers us to do it.
And BECAUSE of this Repentance we can then act on our faith
Acts 20:21 I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus Christ
There is nothing more elementary than Repentance and Faith.
If Repentance and Faith is Toward God, then These next two are part of how we relate to one another in the body of Christ. Why are we baptized? We are baptized as a picture of our salvation and as a way of identifying with one another
Acts 2:41 –those who accepted his message were baptized, and about 3000 were added to their number that day
Baptism is how we become part of one another as we have already become part of Christ. It is where we stand up and are counted among the faithful
Water cannot cleanse us but it is a symbol of the spiritual cleansing that took place when we repented and placed our faith in Christ. And though it we identify with Christ
And then it mentions the “laying on of hands” and I’ve used the word …
Part of the basics of the faith we hold is that having coming to faith in Christ, having been baptized into a local body, the most basic natural byproduct would be that we are commissioned to service in the body.
When Pastors are ordained, other Pastors “lay hands” it is a Spiritual Blessing and setting apart. When Deacons are commissioned we lay hands on them. But for every believer baptized into the body you should be serving in a place of ministry to the body, it is an elementary thing. It is part of relating to one another in the body.
These last two have to do then with the most basic certainties of the future.
There is a resurrection coming of the Dead. The Old Testament taught it in general terms and the New Testament more Specifically and in the Resurrection there will be purpose of life or death of union with Christ or Separation from him.
We can be certain of this and it should be an elementary understanding that this world is NOT the end … and if it is not, then there is also a judgment to come
It is appointed man, once to die and then the judgment.
John 5:24-29 I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life … a time is coming when all who are in the their graves will hear his voice and come out – those who have done good will rise to lvie, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned
What is the distinguishing factor? What is the good we can do? Deeds? NO, it is repentance and faith, belief in him …
Rev 20:4-6; 12-15 and I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done … If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
These are ABC’s of our faith.
How do we grow up?
Do we grow up by concentrating on growing up? Do we grow up by meditating on growing?
Do we grow up by wanting to grow up?
Does a baby grow by thinking, concentrating, hoping to grow?
No, a baby grows by eating and exercising through the disciplines of growth. Then the process of growth carries the baby into growth.
Salvation is an amazing thing.
It is a past event, a present reality, and a future hope.
So it brings us to an important question about our faith: is our Faith inferior? Is our faith unable to grow us up? Is our faith unable to keep us? Is our faith unable to present us to Christ.
Remember at what our writer has taught us about Jesus so far.
Everything we’ve seen about Jesus has been presented as Superior. He is a Superior Savior, a Superior Word, a Superior Messenger, A Superior Man, a Superior Leader, and a Superior High Priest … But does this Superior Savior, Word, Messenger, Man, Leader, and High Priest present to us an INFERIOR FAITH?
2. Inferior Faith? Possible?
Then it is these next verses that have caused many to be concerned and worried. Can I lose my salvation? Is the Faith given to me by a superior Savior itself, inferior?
The question is NOT are there people who claim to be IN Christ that are in fact not. Jesus himself said many on that day will have called him Lord but he will say “I never knew you”. No the question is, is the Faith of Christ, sincerely entered in, inferior to carry me to the fullness of the Salvation that God has for us? Can it save me in the past? Can it be my salvation in the present, but not take me into the Future fullness of eternity?
Who is our Writer talking to in this passage? Is he talking to us or to people close to the faith, but not true believers or followers?
Well look at the description of them …
A. Enlightened v4
“those who have once been enlightened”
Once – hapax = once for all, already, formerly
We came to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, not because of what we had done but because God revealed himself to us because he “made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Cor 4:6)
We’re talking about people who have had God revealed to them and
B. Tasted the Heavenly Gift
Does this mean they got a little taste of it but didn’t get all of it?
Well in Heb 2:9 Jesus “tasted death” … was that a little bit of what death would be like or did he die?
No Jesus died
And so these have tasted the Heavenly gift … that is salvation in Christ and the result is that we
C. Share the Holy Spirit
Does this mean to really share the Holy Spirit or is it mean we are close to it, or around it or observed the Holy Spirit
Two words in the Greek here
Ginomai – gin-o-my = be born or become
Metochos – met-o-kos = partner, companion
Simply it means to become companions of the Holy Spirit.
D. Tasted the Goodness of the Word and the Power
"Faith comes by hearing and hearing by THE WORD OF GOD”
You may not consider yourself a Biblical Scholar, but I dare say that when you gave your heart to Christ and received Salvation and the Holy Spirit you experienced the Goodness of the Word of God coming alive in your life and have begun to experience the Power of God as his divine power has given you what you need for Life and Godliness.
Boy is that Salvation? Sure sounds like it to me
And so can we who have truly known salvation … then be …
E. Fallen? Really?
Can we then be fallen? Can we fall from this great salvation once we have come to understand it, tasted it, shared in it, received its power, then we can just fall from it and lose it?
5:9 says about Jesus, once made perfect, he became the source of ETERNAL SALVATION
So when does eternal end? When do we lose what he gave us graciously but at great personal cost …
Is the gift of salvation, Fickle or Forever?
3. Fickle or Forever?
Something very interesting that I find in those who say that this passage teaches we can lose our salvation. There are some denominations or expressions of salvation they are still stuck in elementary teachings. They believe we can lose our salvation. But they also believe that we can get it back.
I have known people that believe they have gained and lost their salvation multiple times. And they find themselves in a revolving door of salvation as they understand it. They are spinning in and out of Christ, they think, always afraid they might not have salvation when they need it the most. But if this passage is teaching you CAN lose your salvation, it is ALSO teaching that you can NEVER get it back because Jesus won’t be dying again.
I believe, as do such other commentators, that our author took this argument and made a hypothetical argument, showing the ridiculous, that it is impossible for
A Superior Savior
A Superior Man
A Superior Messenger
A Superior Word
A Superior Leader
A Superior Eternal High Priest
to deliver a Fickle Faith that is salvation today and not tomorrow
Is it possible for us to enter into true Salvation where we are set free from the condemnation we were under and then enter that condemnation again?
If the truth makes us free, then are we free if there is a potential of captivity hanging over our head with one wrong move? No Way, Not Possible!
- If the Cross of Christ is not sufficient to keep us it is not sufficient to save us in the first place …
A. Died Once for All
1. there is no other cross for Christ
1 Peter 3:18 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit
2. There is no other cross needed
3. When Jesus died he said, “it is finished” not “I did my part don’t mess it up”
4. it was the FINAL Sacrifice
5. His sacrifice for you can only be appropriated to you once and only need be once
B. Once is Enough
V18 says … we don’t have to keep at it and keep at it … we have FLED to take HOLD of the HOPE offered … and may be greatly encouraged
Oh Take heart traveler, when Jesus said “It is FINISHED” on the cross, it is impossible for him to lie! "It IS FINISHED" … the Work is Complete!
C. When Does Forever End?
God made a promise to Abraham to bless him and his descendants and his promise was not a conditional promise based on the actions of Abraham. Did God say, “I swear, if you then I will …”? No in Genesis 22:16-17 "I swear by myself declares the Lord … I will surely bless you …”
And so our salvation is secure because God has promised us a FOREVER faith
If there are sins that could cause us to lose our salvation, then our Author would be derelict in his writing not to tell us what they are. He would give us a complete warning.
No, he was encouraging us that we cannot lose what our Superior Savior has given us. He has given us a Superior Salvation.
In the Old Testament they had to constantly come back again and again for forgiveness
But in Christ we have HOPE!
D. We Have Hope
Go back to that phrase “we who have fled”
We’ve gone a long way for an understanding on a difficult passage.
Some say this passage teaches that you can commit apostasy or walk away willfully from your faith and lose it. But this word “fall away” is not the word apostasia … but the word parapipto meaning to fall alongside
Also an important principle of interpretation is that harder passages are explained by simpler passages.
John 5:24 says that in Christ we HAVE Eternal Life and we CROSS OVER from Death into LIFE
In John 10:26-30 Jesus himself ensures us that no one who comes to him can be taken out of his hand or that of the Father.
Romans 8 says that we can’t be separated from his love.
And these verses in Hebrews 6 give us security. He has saved us once and for all
And with Christ once is enough. Because Forever doesn’t end or it is not forever
Our High Priest is a High Priest forever, so his Work is a forever work. And we Have a Secure Hope.
- How do I know?
Well in the Old Testament if you were guilty of manslaughter, you could FLEE to a City of Refuge. And you were untouchable there until the High Priest Died. Then you could return home. Well folks. Jesus, is a High Priest Forever, He gives us an Eternal Salvation.
So v19 says we have this HOPE as an Anchor for our soul, firm and secure.
If you come to Christ, if you have had your sins covered by Christ, Your Soul is ANCHORED to Christ.
And so nothing can separate us from the Love of God which is IN Christ Jesus Romans 8:38-39
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The early American Indians had a unique practice of training young braves. On the night of a boy’s thirteenth birthday, after learning hunting, scouting, and fishing skills, he was put to one final test. He was placed in a dense forest to spend the entire night alone. Until then, he had never been away from the security of the family and tribe. But on this night, he was blindfolded and taken several miles away. When he took off the blindfold, he was in the middle of a thick woods, and he was terrified. Every time a twig snapped, he visualized a wild animal ready to pounce. After what seemed like an eternity, dawn broke and the first rays of sunlight entered the interior of the forest. Looking around, the boy saw flowers, trees, and the outline of a path. Then to his utter astonishment, he beheld the figure of a man standing just a few feet away, armed with bow and arrow. It was his father. He had been there all night long.
You need not fear losing your salvation, you need only fear never ENTERING Salvation for once you are a child of God, the Father himself stands guard over your salvation and will see to it that you come safely home
Jude closed his little letter with this Praise …
Jude 24-25 to him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy. To the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! AMEN.
Oh Hallelujah if we can lose it there is no reason to praise him, but HE will keep us so to HIM be the Glory, majesty, power, and authority ... forevermore!! Amen, Hallelujah, God IS GOOD!