Hope from Hebrews #12 - An Anchor for the Soul
Text: Hebrews 6:13-20
Thesis: To elicit encouragement on the basis of the sure and steadfast hope available.
(1) We all need hope in something/someone.
(2) As Christians, we have the greatest hope available.
(3) This hope is great because of 3 things:
I. God’s Promise
A. In verses 13-15, the author refers to the promise made to Abraham.
1. The promise was first recorded in Genesis 12:1-3 as Abraham was asked to leave his homeland to go to a land that God would give him.
a. However, the promise was reiterated several times.
(1) Cf. Gen. 13:14-17 – after Abraham and Lot were separated
(2) Cf. Gen. 15:4-5 – 10 years later, after the battle with the 4 kings
(3) Cf. Gen. 17:1ff. – as Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90, after the birth of Ishmael from Hagar
b. In Genesis 21, Isaac is finally born.
(1) In Genesis 22, Abraham is asked to offer up Isaac as a sacrifice.
(2) Upon seeing Abraham’s faith, God again reiterates the promise and swears by Himself that it will be fulfilled (Gen. 22:16-18).
c. From Galatians 3:29, we learn that the promise has been fulfilled because all Christians are Abraham’s descendants.
2. The emphasis is that the promise was fulfilled although Abraham had to wait patiently for God to do what He promised on His schedule.
B. What about God’s promises today?
1. From verse 17, we learn that we also are heirs of the Abrahamic promise.
2. Obviously, everything that God has promised for us will be fulfilled in God’s ways and in God’s time.
II. God’s Nature
A. How do we know that all of the promises will be fulfilled?
1. First, the author reminds us of two “immutable things” (v. 18).
a. ‘Immutable’ (Gr. ametathetos) means “unalterable, unchangeable” (BDAG).
b. From verse 17, we learn that the two things are: 1) God’s promise and 2) God’s oath.
(1) “The bare word of God is guarantee enough in all conscience, but by confirming it thus he ‘makes assurance double sure’” (Bruce 154).
(2) Why does God take an oath?
(a) “In the ancient world, whenever people wanted to guarantee their promises or give solemn value to the trustworthiness of their words, they would swear by the divine name” (Long 76-77).
(b) Basically, God’s takes an oath for man’s benefit (Note: Westcott points out that it also implied a delay in fulfilling the promise).
2. How do we know that these two things are truly “immutable?”
a. The author reminds us that God cannot lie (cf. Num. 23:19; 1 Sam. 15:29; Titus 1:2).
b. Therefore, His promise and His oath guarantee the fulfillment.
B. Let us remember that the God of Abraham is our God today and that His nature remains unchanged today.
1. Cf. Mal. 3:6 – I change not
2. Therefore, God will fulfill His promises today just as He always has.
III. God’s Son
A. Jesus is our “forerunner.”
1. ‘Forerunner’ (Gr. prodromos) means “one who comes in advance to a place whither the rest are to follow” (Thayer’s).
2. “Our forerunner, Jesus, has entered the holiest for us. This is something more than the Levitical high priest could do. Though he entered the Most Holy Place and made atonement on behalf of the people, at the end he and they were still outside. But to call Jesus our ‘forerunner’ implies that we will follow in due course” (EBC).
B. Thus, we know have access to God and to everything just as Jesus.
(1) Therefore, because of these things we can have hope.
(a) In verse 19, this hope is described as an anchor.
- “Hope is to the believer what a secure anchor is to a ship. Hope sustains and braces the Christian in the midst of all his trials; but when hope fails, he is left to drift aimlessly and falls victim to the merciless ocean” (Lightfoot 131).
(b) This hope is both sure and steadfast.
(2) However, this hope is only for Christians.