Contributor: Peter Folikwe
The verses we are studying today will be better understood by reviewing the first eight verses of Chapter 6; besides it is a continuation.
Summary of Heb. 6:1-8:
We learnt from our erudite teacher last week that the writer of Hebrews warns the readers against dwelling on:
Elementary doctrines - the milk and not the meat of the gospel.
They were charged to grow beyond taking the milk of faith, repentance, baptism, laying on of hands & resurrection of the dead and move on to maturity.
The writer then gave us the readers a taste of the hard meat in Heb. 6:4 AMP saying “For [it is impossible to restore to repentance] those who have once been enlightened [spiritually] and who have tasted and consciously experienced the heavenly gift and have shared in the Holy Spirit,”
It was noted that the letter of Hebrews was written to Jewish Hebrew Christians/believers of persecution & pressures who were at the verge of abandoning the Christian faith for fear Christians at the time; mixing and matching their Christian faith with the Mosaic -from non laws (Judaism).
In these first eight verses, the writer warns against compromising our faith in the gospel, by focusing on the cross as the only means of salvation.
Today’s bible passage review transited from warning to encouragement of the readers to diligently take care of their spirit man; avoiding spiritual slumber/sleep.
If care is not taken of the spirit man in us, the devil could explore our vulnerability to cause havoc.
“But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner.” (NKJV)
The Writer here gives Comforting Assurance:
The writer here gives comforting assurance to the readers, referring to them as “beloved”, believers in Christ, confirming the confidence he had in the Hebrew believers that they are sure beneficiaries of salvation through Jesus Christ.
The earlier warnings were given was not to scare but to exude confidence in believers in order to navigate through the journey of life and experience Jesus and things that accompany salvation.
These warnings also help us to avoid those things that will drift us away from the benefits of salvation. As parents we keep warning our children against misbehaviour because we love them. Same is the case with God.
He gave us His only begotten Son as an assurance of His love for us.
Matt 7: 9-11 says “Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”
These warnings help us stabilize and sustain our faith in Jesus Christ.
It behooves on us to be assured confidently that despite our faults, we will experience what God has provided for us in Jesus Christ as our high Priest. Therefore, salvation as we know it is not about being born in a Christian home, not about baptism, not professing that you are a Christian. Salvation comes to you when you confess Jesus as Lord and personal savior and that He died for your sins, yet He was without sin. Our trust in the price He paid for our sins and confessing Him as Lord and Saviour gives us the confidence that God will accept us as His children.
Galatians 3:29 assures us "And if you belong to Christ [if you are in Him], then you are “ ndants, and [spiritual] heirs according to [God’s] promise.”Abraham’s descendants, and [spiritual] heirs according to [God’s] promise.”
“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” (NIV)
God is indeed not an Unjust God.
This verse reassures is that God is not unjust to neglect our service in the faith, the works we do to propagate His kingdom here on earth; irrespective of our calling. It may be that all you do is to clean His sanctuary or feed the poor for instance. He will reward our labor of love.
Though we struggle in the faith God does not despise our struggle in the faith. Rather, God puts all our shortfalls on Jesus’ shoulder, and recognizes those good deeds we do for the edification of the body of Christ.
Even when we struggle in the faith, as is common to every believer, God does not despise our efforts in the faith.
Some of us may probably feel that our current struggles in faith disqualify us from the benefits that accompany salvation. However, God is not unjust in recognizing your efforts of faith. We are encouraged to keep striving in faith as God continues to lead us, never giving up. The writer encourages us to support the people of God. It could be in area of mission support, evangelism, giving towards church growth.
“But we very much want each of you to continue to trust God to the end. Show that you really want to serve him. Be sure that, in the end, you will receive all the good things that you hope for.” (Easy to Read Version)
Key words here are:
Trust God to the end. Unwavering despite struggles with our faith.
Sow service in His vineyard. Don’t be an onlooker/church-goer. Be involved in His service irrespective of your assigned role. Humbly accept it and be diligent, consistent and improve on it over time.
Have the assurance that you will receive what you had hoped for. Our service should not be targeted at the benefits; however, we should be confident that we would be rewarded for our service.
“We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” NIV
In the final verse for our review today, the writer urges readers not to lax in faith, but zealous for God. Key words are faith and patience.
Imitate/copy characters of those who persevered in the faith, patiently endured challenges therein. Then will we have an assurance that we will reap the benefits that accompany salvation. A good example of those who persevered through faith and patience were the younger generation of Israelites who persevered in the desert for 40yrs and made it to the promise land. They were not embittered by the errors of the generation before them, yet they partook in their sufferings, but saw the wilderness as opportunity to grow their faith and skills before entering into the promise land. The question is how long are we willing to wait by faith, patiently on God to inherit the benefits of salvation. I bet you it is worth waiting a lifetime for it, irrespective of circumstances that challenges our faith from time to time.
1Cor 2:9 “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
In conclusion, the writer of Hebrews tells us that God is not interested in our failures/weaknesses, rather as a father He warns us against such things that will deprive us of the benefits of salvation, thereby encouraging us to have a taste of the goodness of God.