Summary: Sermon 15 in a study in HEBREWS
“For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, 14 saying, “I WILL SURELY BLESS YOU AND I WILL SURELY MULTIPLY YOU.” 15 And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise. 16 For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute. 17 In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. 19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, 20 where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” NASB
“When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, 14 saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.” 15 And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised. 16 Men swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. 17 Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. 18 God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. 19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” NIV
Let’s look once more at the two verses preceding our text:
“And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”
The preacher has just been expressing his concern for their slowness in spiritual development and understanding of spiritual truths beyond the fundamental doctrines of the faith. He has exhorted them to press on to maturity, not continuing to lay the basic foundation but to build upon it.
In verse 3 of chapter 6 he writes, ‘And this we shall do, if God permits’.
Then at the beginning of verse four he says “For in the case of those...” and he goes on to teach about people rejected by God because they began, but fell away, again crucifying to themselves the Son of God.
So there are two groups here, ‘we’, and ‘those’. The preacher is talking to ‘we’, about ‘those’, but here is what we must get from verse 3 before we move into today’s text verses.
We, like those, are all counted among the ‘all’ who have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God – we are all among the ones of whom the Bible says that no one seeks for God, all have gone astray – we are all among the ones of whom Jesus said that no one can come unless the Father draws him.
Therefore this preacher says that ‘we’ will press on to maturity, if God permits, because fellow Christ-followers, it is by His grace alone that we come and by His grace alone that we continue. Yes, the author is holding us accountable to press on, but let us not ever forget that all our striving is nothing unless God gives grace to spiritually thrive.
The writer wants them to remember that it is by His grace alone that they are among the ‘we’ and not among the ‘those’, and that is why in verse 11 and 12, which I read to you earlier, he encourages them to continue to show diligence in pressing forward, in their lives bearing the fruit of the Spirit, so they can fully appreciate and enjoy the grace that has been lavished upon them that promises them a future, glorious hope.
So look down at that last line of verse 12 and then let’s go into our text.
“…but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”
If any character of the Bible is an example of patience, it would be Abraham. I know that people equate patience with Job; even folks who know little or nothing about the Bible can sometimes be heard saying something like, ‘that guy has the patience of Job’.