Lord, I will endure to the end.
Read HEBREWS 6:4–12
4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen[a] away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. 7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.
9 Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case—the things that have to do with salvation. 10 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. 11 We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. 12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.
- Hebrews 6:6 Or age, 6 if they fall
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.’ (John 17:15) Jesus is still praying for us (Heb 7:25).
Few sections of the Bible have occasioned more controversy than this one. The early church debated the possibility of restoration for apostates; in more recent centuries, discussion has been around the possibility of losing salvation. We shall not be able to review, let alone resolve, all the issues, but we must take the writer seriously. Even allowing for his pastoral heart and his use of persuasive rhetoric to encourage his readers to remain true, he seems to envisage a real danger rather than a hypothetical one. We cannot avoid reading the text in the light of our theological convictions, but we can be open to alternative readings. Those described here seem to have shown every sign of being true Christians. Both divine sovereignty and human responsibility are emphasized in the Bible. We find it hard to hold the two in tension as Scripture seems to, so we tend to veer in the direction of one or the other.
Individual salvation is ultimately the result of God’s gracious initiative in Christ, but it is appropriated by faith. Together, they bring about a right relationship with God. Faith, as set forth in the New Testament, is not a one-off response in the past, but an ongoing trust in Christ. The New Testament is as much concerned with the end of our Christian journey as its start (Matt 10:22; Rom 13:11). So while we continue to have different understandings of the theology, we cannot ignore the practical need for an ongoing relationship maintained, at least from our perspective, by a continuing faith. Without that, we are in peril. Thankfully the writer, having issued the warning, expresses his confidence in his audience. Pastorally he is concerned and so challenges and encourages. As a body of Christians we have the same responsibility to one another.
Thank God for your life: for all the signs of growth, for the changes you have seen and for His commitment to go on working in your life.
Lord, we thank You for warnings such as this. We understand that salvation consists of how You define it, not us.