Psalm 119:105 (NASB) 105
Last week I supplied you with a list of certain passages amongst others, that many use to debunk the doctrine of Eternal Life found in God's Word. These, plus several others not mentioned, appear contradictory to security but when studied out,are easily explained. However, there are a couple that truly are serious arguments. One, in Second Peter which we won't look at; and another in Hebrews, where we shall focus our attention. A study of these passages requires fidelity to the context. In this case both the immediate and the wider contexts must be kept in view. To begin, some background material is essential to an understanding. While there is some argument as to whom this Book of the Bible was written to, the solid majority opinion rests with a community of Jewish believers living in Jerusalem or the outlying areas of Judea.The author calls them "brethren" and "partakers of the heavenly gift." He assumes that his audience has a detailed knowledge of the Old Testament. His many references and allusions to the Temple, the Levitical Priesthood, and the sacrificial system would require a basic understanding at the very least.
Also, the author(assumed to be Paul by most) had three messages to these Jewish believers. The
superior nature of Jesus as the Messiah. Superior in Divine revelation, superior to the angels and Moses, a better sacrifice than animals and consequently a superior Priest. Secondly, the author is trying to exhort this community of believers to stand firm in their faith and not to fall or drift away. Third, he pleads with them to get past the elementary principles of the Gospel and move forward into spiritual maturity.
Hebrews 1:1-2 (NASB) 1 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways,
2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.
Hebrews 2:1 (NASB) 1 For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.
Hebrews 6:1-2 (NASB) 1 Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
2 of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.
With that little bit of background we can now move forward with the central theme of the Book. This entire book is concerned with a community of Jewish Christians that are considering renouncing their faith and returning to the elements of Mosaic Law. That is why the first three chapters deal almost exclusively with Jesus and His "better" sacrifice. This community was hoping to escape the persecution of the Church in Jerusalem by returning to the elements of Mosaic Law,with the understanding that they could once again repent and accept Jesus, after the persecution had died down. The author pleads their basic assumption is flawed and even impossible; adding that if they continue on their course they will face a sure and irrevocable judgment.That prophecy would fulfill itself a few short years later during the Roman siege in 70A.D., with over one million Jews being slaughtered.
Hebrews 3:16-19 (NASB) 16 For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses?
17 And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness?
18 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient?
19 So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.
Before we get to the sixth chapter a very brief look at the third and fourth chapters is needed.
We need a little more familiarity before we look at the passage in question. In the third and fourth chapters the author chooses to compare the Wilderness Generation with this current community. You remember the Wilderness Generation don't you? They were denied entrance into the Promise Land because they believed man's report rather than God. All during the trek toward the Promised Land, the children of Israel provoked God because of a lack of faith. They were ready to go back to Egypt at the drop of a hat, and constantly complained to Moses about any inconvenience that arose. At Kadesh Barnea, God had enough and would have destroyed them had Moses not intervened for mercy. However, this rebellion pushed Israel beyond the point of no return with God. It was the straw that broke the camel's back. Consequently, a Divine judgment was incurred. The substance of the judgment is what is of interest to us.
Numbers 14:20-23 (NASB) 20 So the LORD said, "I have pardoned them according to your word;
21 but indeed, as I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of the LORD.
22 "Surely all the men who have seen My glory and My signs which I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet have put Me to the test these ten times and have not listened to My voice,
23 shall by no means see the land which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who spurned Me see it.
The reason I insert this at this point is to magnify the importance of context. When we look at the subject passage,the above passage(s) will be crucial to deciding whether the judgment the author is talking about is temporal or eternal in nature. This is the exact nature of the judgment that was set in Jerusalem after the Jewish leadership committed the Unpardonable Sin by rejecting Jesus as their Messiah. The nation of Israel was forgiven, the Wilderness Generation was pardoned, but they both suffered a temporal punishment in the loss of their physical lives.
Matthew 23:35-36 (NASB) 35 so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.
36 "Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.
The judgment of 70 A.D., the judgment of Wilderness Generation, and the threatened judgment of this Jewish community are all of the same nature and kind and provide a type of God's judgments when dealing with His children. Both Moses and Aaron died for their sin in the wilderness and were not allowed entrance into the Promised Land. It is unthinkable that either one forfeited their spiritual life and security isn't it? This does not argue well for conditional security. At any rate, we will look at the Queen Mother next week. Consider this. It is not a sin problem that torments people it's a belief problem.
Psalm 119:5 (NASB) 5 Oh that my ways may be established To keep Your statutes!