Bible Reading for DEC20: Hebrews 11-13

No chapter in the Bible has disturbed people more
than chapter 6. It is unfortunate that even sincere
believers have “fallen out” over the doctrine of
“falling away.” There are several interpretations of
this passage: (1) That it describes an awful sin of
apostasy, which means a Christian can lose his
salvation. (2) That it deals with people who were
“almost saved” (see Scofield notes). (3) That this was a
sin possible only to Jews living while the Temple still
remained. (4) That it presents a “hypothetical case” or
illustration that could not really happen. While we
respect the views of others, we must reject those just
listed. We feel that chapter 6, like the rest of the
book, was written to believers, but it does not deal
with sin that results in a believer losing his
salvation. If we keep in mind the total concept of this
book and pay close attention to the words used, we will
discover that the main lesson of the chapter is
repentance and assurance.

Note, that from the beginning, the issue is
repentance, not salvation, “For it is impossible to
renew them unto repentance” (chapter 6:4,6). If this is
speaking of salvation, then it is teaching that a
believer, if he “loses his salvation,” cannot regain it!
Yet the churches that teach “losing salvation” are
always inviting backsliders to come back to the Lord!
No, the issue here is repentance–the believer’s
attitude toward the Word of God. Verses 4 and 5 describe
real Christians and verse 9 indicates that the writer
believed they were truly saved. We do not have “almost”
saved people here, but real believers.

The two key words are “fall away” and “crucify”
in verse 6. “Fall away” is not the Greek word
“apostasia,” from which we get apostasy; it is
“parapipto,” which means “to fall beside, to turn aside,
to wander.” It is similar to the word “trespass,” as in
Galatians 6:1, “…if a man be overtaken in a fault
(trespass).” The preposition “if” would not have to be
used if this were speaking to the lost because “all have
sinned,” and no “if” is involved. So, verse 6 describes
a believer who has experienced the spiritual blessings
of God, but has fallen by the side or trespassed. Now,
having done this, he is in danger of divine chastening
(see Hebrews 12:5-13) and becoming a spiritual castaway
(I Corinthians 9:24-27). This means loss of reward and
divine disapproval, but not loss of salvation. The
phrase “seeing they crucify” should be translated “while
they are crucifying.” In other words, Hebrews 6:46 does
not teach that a sinning saint cannot be brought to
repentance at all, but that he cannot be brought to
repentance while he is continuing to sin and putting
Christ to shame! The believer who continues in sin
proves that he has not repented! Samson and Saul are
good examples of this. I sincerely believe that, rather
than frighten a saint into thinking he is lost, this
wonderful chapter warns against an unrepentant heart and
assures us that we are anchored for eternity.

Chapter 7 introduces us to what is commonly
called the second section of this book. The author’s
purpose is to prove to his readers that the priesthood
of Christ is better than that of Aaron. The key figure
in this chapter is Melchizedek.

Paul presents three arguments to prove the
superiority of Melchizedek over Aaron. He first
identifies Melchizedek as a type of Christ (verses 3 and
15). He was a king-priest and so is Jesus. Furthermore,
Melchizedek was king of Salem, which means “peace,” and
Jesus is our King of Peace, or Prince of Peace. The name
“Melchizedek” means “King of Righteousness” which
certainly applies to Christ. So, in his name and his
offices, Melchizedek is a beautiful picture of Christ.

Having proven that Christ’s heavenly priesthood
is of a better order, the writer now shows that it is
ministered through a better covenant. All that the
Levitical priests did was according to the Old Covenant
that God had made with the nation at Sinai. The very
fact that God calls it an “Old Covenant” by introducing
a “New Covenant” proves the old Levitical priesthood was
done away with in the cross. Chapter 8 shows us that the
New Covenant is ministered by a better priest (verse 1);
it is ministered from a better place (verses 2-5); it is
established upon better promises (verses 6-13).

The promise of grace is given in verses 6-9. The
Old Covenant was a yoke of bondage, but the New Covenant
emphasizes what God will do for His people, not what
they must do for Him. Note that God does not find fault
with the Old Covenant, but with the people themselves.
The Law is spiritual, but men are carnal, “sold under
sin” (Romans 7:14), and Romans 8:3 makes it very clear
that the Law was “weak through the flesh.” In other
words, the failure of Israel was not because of any
weakness in the Old Covenant, but because of the
weakness of human nature. It is here, then, that grace
steps in, for what the Law could not do because of man’s
weakness, God did through the cross.

It is through the grace of God that men are
saved today (Ephesians 2:8,9). No man is able to keep
the entire Law. With the shedding of Christ’s blood on
the cross He established a New Covenant, and He is today
the Mediator of the New Covenant for all who come to Him
in faith believing.

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