Who among us hasn’t fallen away at one time or another in our journey? I know I have, more than once. While this is a very common occurrence in the Christian experience of this broken world, there is a very real danger that lies within falling away. We’re going to look at that as we open our Bibles to Hebrews chapter 6.
Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God. (verse 1)
So we ended Hebrews 5 being called out of “childhood” and into a deeper “adult” experience. Here we are being exhorted to not remain in the principles of doctrine. In simpler terms, or at least by my way of understanding, this is a call to move beyond head knowledge and into a heart experience.
When you build a house you must first lay a foundation. Spiritually speaking, that foundation is gathering principles of doctrine. But just as in the laying of the foundation for a house, where you then move onto the building of the full structure, so it is with our Christian walk. We must take what we know, and with the help of the Spirit, let it guide us where He calls us to go. The process of sanctification is an active one…we must be moving forward or we will fall away.
Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit, once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and we made partakers of the Holy Ghost. And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh , and put him to an open shame. (verses 2-6)
We’re given a glimpse at 6 foundational doctrines that must be built upon. Not dwelt upon nor fixated upon nor even obsessed upon. Built upon. Because humans tend to make an idol of sorts out of various aspects of doctrine and end up sitting on their foundation rather than growing upon it. The six mentioned here, which are found in verses 1 through 6, are:
Repentance from dead works AND Faith toward God-These two are two sides of the same coin. You cannot have true and lasting repentance without faith in God. You also cannot claim to have faith in God without true repentance.
Baptism-This is an open profession of faith at the same time as it is an internal cleansing. It’s a washing away of the old to make ready for the Spirit. But it is only a beginning and not the end.
Laying on of hands-Where fellow believers, strong in the faith and full of the Holy Spirit, pray over an individual (often one newly baptised) to invite the Spirit into their life, their very being.
Resurrection of the dead-The belief that the grave does not have ultimate victory in death, and it will not hold true Christ followers there. On the glorious day He returns for His people, the graves will open and the resting deceased will be reunited with the Spirit which has left them (the breath, imparted by God) to join Christ for eternity.
Eternal judgment-This is the recognition that while Christ is just and full of lovingkindness and mercy, He has also promised to eradicate sin, once and for always. When His final judgment has been passed, it is eternal…a permanent decree that destroys evil and evil doers in what is truly an act of mercy. The right to eternal evil would be a gift to no one at all.
For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit promises. (verses 7-12)
We see the dreaded end of those who have professed Christ, received His blessing and then turned from Him. But we aren’t left to stagnate in that reminder because encouragement follows right on its heels. We are given a gentle, but urgent, prodding to be diligent in our pursuit of God. To not be distracted or lazy or indifferent but to cling to the full assurance of hope unto the end. Because that faithfulness is rewarded with eternal promise.
For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For me verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath; That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us; Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and entereth into that within the veil; Wither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. (verses 13-20)
His promises are sure, He has been tried and proven Himself to be true. We can rest fully, and with the greatest of assurance, that what He says will come will indeed come. That hope is the anchor of the soul in a world embattled in turmoil. And it is the foundation of that hope which makes it possible for the Christian to go forth and drink from deeper streams.
Disclaimer: I feel like it’s important to point out, I am a Bible student and not a Bible scholar. These studies are a reflection of my own personal journey each morning through one chapter of Scripture. I open the Word only after praying for discernment but I also fully understand the Lord brings increasing light over time, as it is sought. Therefore, I fully recognize there is much I have not yet come to understand. I welcome Christlike discussion on any of my posts.