Summary: All our hope and doctrine hangs on the fact that Jesus doesn’t change!
We’ll continue our study through Hebrews picking up at 13:8:
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
This verse seems a little bit out of place and it almost appears to stand alone. Maybe it’s sort of like one of the many Proverbs that have no connection with each other besides the fact that they appear on the same page. But that’s not the case, and in fact, the exact opposite is true. This verse is a summary of the book and the pinion for its doctrine.
The context shows how Christ has been faithful to all the men and women in Old Testament history and, more immediately, to our leaders: “Whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.” We talked about that last time—“doctrine for life and death.” Well, the Jesus that they trusted and preached is the same yesterday, today, and forever! If He was faithful to them, then we can be absolutely certain that He’ll be faithful to us. This is why we follow their faith. It’s not because they were great, but because Christ is!
And I want you to notice this: He’s not only faithful yesterday and today. He’s faithful forever. We get our English word “eon” from the Greek word used here. If you go forward in time 1 million years He’ll still be faithful. Go ahead another 10 trillion years and He’s still just as faithful. He never gets tired of us or of keeping His word. He never changes in mind, purpose, or nature.
This is where we get the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints or eternal security. Some people say, “You mean you can do whatever you want and you’ll still get to go to heaven?” And that just shows a misunderstanding of the nature of Christ. You see, it was never about my righteousness in the first place. God made a promise to Adam and Eve to send a Redeemer. He confirmed the promise to Abraham and his Seed and then He delivered Christ. Christ has promised not to lose a single one of the children given unto Him, and He’s promised to take us to be with Him in eternity. I don’t deserve any of it, and I never can. But I’m not trusting in myself; I’m trusting in His faithfulness. If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself” (II Timothy 2:13).
When God was speaking to His people through Malachi He promised to purge the Levites and to judge the wicked. Then He says, “I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed” (Mal. 3:3-6). That word “therefore” may be the most important word in the sentence. The sons of Jacob are not consumed with the rest of the wicked simply because the Lord does not change. If He did change then they would have been in some serious trouble.
Another thing: we worry about the future and we really worry about our children, but doesn’t this verse teach us that God will be as faithful to them as He has been to us? He’s a better Father than we could ever be. The church is in no danger and human history is in no more danger than it’s ever been. There’s a day coming when everything will be judged and burned and the righteous will be delivered, and you can bet the Judge of all the earth knows how to keep and reserve everything in its place until that final day.
And so, if Christ is unchanging then,
9Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines.
First let’s talk about what it means to be carried about. In some ancient Greek texts it refers to the sweeping of a river. Plutarch describes a battle in which some soldiers wore heavy armor, and when it started to rain the armor became caked with mud and even filled with water. Well, at some point it became too heavy and the soldiers fell down and couldn’t get back up. It rained long enough and hard enough that a nearby river flooded and some of the soldiers were swept away by the current —this is the word and the idea we see here.
He’s saying don’t get swept away and carried off by diverse and strange doctrines. The Greek word for divers means something spotted or complex or unstable. Strange doctrine means doctrine that’s foreign or unusual. The idea is that they’re at risk of being deceived by these complex and philosophical arguments that aren’t taught by Christ or His disciples.
This is why we need to be careful about who we listen to. Listen, most of the big name preachers on TV and radio don’t really believe in God’s unchanging faithfulness. They’ll say they do, but then they turn around and tell you that if you’re not spiritual enough or you don’t pray enough or read enough or give enough or whatever that God won’t be pleased with you. And I’m not just talking about Joel Osteen; we like to knock on him, but there’s a whole lot more, and it’s not just the faith-healer preachers, who want us to work for something. Listen, Christ is it. The Father is pleased in Him, and we’re in Christ. He sees us now as a bridegroom sees his bride. We are altogether lovely (Song of Sol. 4:7). Any blemish or stain in us has been removed, and our hope for the flesh is not in reformation but in glorification!