Hebrews 6:9-12

Hebrews 6:9‑12  •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 8
So it is now in Christendom. What is it generally but land1 that has drunk the rain that comes oft upon it, but, instead of bringing forth meet herbs, bears thorns and thistles? By God's word it is therefore rejected and nigh unto a curse (Luke 17:28-3728Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 29But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. 30Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. 31In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. 32Remember Lot's wife. 33Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. 34I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. 35Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 36Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 37And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together. (Luke 17:28‑37); Rom. 11:21-2221For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. 22Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. (Romans 11:21‑22); 1 Cor. 10:1-15; 21Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. 5But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. 6Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. 7Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. 8Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. 9Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. 10Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. 11Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. 12Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. 13There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 14Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. 15I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say. (1 Corinthians 10:1‑15) Thess. 2; 2 Tim. 3, 4; Rev. 17). Is not its end to be burned? See 2 Thess. 1:7-107And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. (2 Thessalonians 1:7‑10). The power displayed has long vanished to zero; but the awful fact is that the classes and the masses are alike departing from the truth of the gospel into a superstitious aping of effete and condemned Judaism, or into a still more audacious return to heathenism in the form of its unbelieving philosophy. And the retrogression both ways in our day is amazingly rapid and unblushing.
But the apostle did not so think of those who stand, be it ever so feebly, while others go away. Continuance in good is of God, Who had not left His own without other tokens of life. For the trees are not dead which bear a little fruit. And to this we are directed in the encouraging words that follow.
“But, beloved, we are persuaded of you things better and akin to salvation, if even we thus speak. For God [is] not unrighteous to forget your work and the love2 which ye showed to His name, in that ye ministered to the saints and do minister. And we earnestly desire that each of you may show the same diligence in regard to the full, assurance of hope till the end; that ye become not sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and long-suffering inherit the promises” (Heb. 6:9-129But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. 10For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which ye have showed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. 11And we desire that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: 12That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (Hebrews 6:9‑12)).
That we renounce all other dependence save Christ as our Lord and Savior is the faith that saves the soul, the one unchanging resting-place for every one conscious of his sins and of the evil of the nature that bore them, as ready as ever to break out unless we be kept by God's grace in the secret that we died to sin in the Christ, and hence are free to live unto righteousness. Others cannot see this, but they may and ought to see in the Christian the fruits of the Spirit; as here the apostle after so solemnly admonishing, could cheer the saints by the “better things” he was persuaded concerning them.
“Next” is a frequent sense of the term employed. Here it is modified by the context, as often in ordinary Greek and means not “following” but “pertaining to” or “connected with” salvation. God is love, and “love” is of God, Who has pleasure in reality of “work” rather than in the ideas which begin and end with man; and what is he to be accounted of? Cease ye from man, whose breath is in His nostrils. He Who alone avails is near to all that call upon Him. But if faith is the inlet of all that is divine, it works by love, and thus affords testimony to others. Nor is it only these that believe and love who hail every good fruit, but God is not unjust to forget what His grace produces in “our work and the love which ye showed toward His name, in that ye ministered and do minister to His saints.” So will our Lord when He sits on His throne as Son of Man say to the Gentiles that are on His right hand, “Inasmuch as ye did it to the least of these, My brethren, ye did it to Me.”
But it is foolish to say that love can be without faith. The acceptable work, the love, is what is shown toward His name, and very especially in service to His saints. One may have all faith as a gift, so as to remove mountains, but without love one is nothing. Yea, if I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and if in courage and zeal I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Christ is the true touchstone. “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that confesseth the Son hath the Father also.” Then “whosoever loveth Him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of Him"; as on the other hand “hereby we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and do His commandments.” This may not be Aristotelian logic; nor is it science; but it is the sole true and divine charity. And as it had been known in these Hebrew saints, so the apostle sees it going on. For this love which is of God is not blind but discerns clearly, as the eye is single.
Yet was there a lack which he longs to see filled up. “And we earnestly desire that each of you may show the same diligence as regards the full assurance of hope till the end.” He was far from slighting hope any more than faith, because love is the greatest, abiding in fullest exercise when faith and hope vanish in the brightness of heavenly and everlasting fruition. For we are yet here below, though free of the sanctuary by faith, and entitled to regard heaven as our proper Fatherland; as Christ is there our life, and the Holy Spirit is here to give us present enjoyment, the earnest of the inheritance. Therefore do we need to be kept from the present things that are seen, by our eyes fixing on the glory that is eternal and unseen (2 Cor. 4). And we reckon wrong if we do not reckon with the apostle, that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us-ward. Hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopeth for that which he seeth; But if we hope for that which we see not, with patience we wait.
It was here also that a failure was discerned, though pointed out with the delicacy of love, that they might show the same diligence as in what he delighted to own. So he here longs for the like “as to the full assurance of hope till the end.” So only does hope exercise its power. Earthly hopes indulged are as destructive to the divine hope God gives, as other objects trusted are wholly inconsistent with living faith. Nothing less than the full assurance of hope could satisfy the apostle's heart for the saints; as he adds, “that ye become not sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and long suffering inherit the promises.” We need all whereby the Holy Spirit acts on our souls; and in this, as He employs the written word of God, so He is ever glorifying Christ and endearing Him to our hearts. We cannot afford to let our souls turn aside from what is revealed, nor even to make such a favorite in a part of what is revealed as to slight the rest. And assuredly the glory Christ gives is bright enough to call for full assurance of hope and to keep the blessed end in full view. Otherwise we become sluggish or dull where we ought to be earnest and keenly awake, “imitators” of the saints of old, “of those who through faith and longsuffering inherit the promises.” The present here, as often elsewhere, is not the mere historical force, but the ethical or abstract. The inheritors of the promises have their faith put to the proof and their long-suffering in habitual exercise. “Blessed is he that endureth temptation; for, when he hath been proved, he shall receive the crown of life, which He hath promised to them that love Him.”