To Their Own Harm

Hebrews 6:1-3 ESV

“Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits.”

So, why is it that the apostles kept repeating these same elementary doctrines of Christ throughout the New Testament? It wasn’t so much for the unsaved, for their writings were written to the church congregations.

So, why did the church need to have these elementary truths reinforced over again?

It was partly because some of them kept wandering off from the truth, and they were returning to some or all their former ways. And or it was because they were being led astray by wolves in sheep’s clothing who had secretly slipped in among the sheep to deceive them into following a false god and a false gospel message. And, so there were many false believers in Jesus, too.

And, the same is true today. For, these false shepherds of the people are leading the sheep (or prospective sheep) to follow a false god of the flesh which grants permission for the ‘believer’ to continue living in sin while claiming heaven as his eternal destiny. For, this false god (antichrist) appeals to the appetites of the flesh and gives the people what they want.

And, this false faith of this false god reduces Jesus Christ to something he is not, as though he is weak and powerless to save us from slavery to sin, and as though all he can do is forgive us our sins so that we won’t be punished for our sin. For, they make him out like he is powerless to empower us to live in victory over sin, so he must allow us to continue in sin, which is a lie!

So, we aren’t going to be able to move away from these elementary truths of the gospel of our salvation because there are far too many wolves in sheep’s clothing within the gatherings of the church who are convincing congregants that they can live in their sins and still be saved from sin. And, so we must keep reinforcing these truths in opposition to the lies to rescue people from the darkness and to bring them into the light.

For, salvation from sin means we die with Christ to sin that we might live to Christ and to his righteousness (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).

Hebrews 6:4-8 ESV

“For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.

“For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.”

“See More”

Have you ever read a blog post or an article on the internet which only revealed a small portion of the post or article, followed by something like “see more” as a link to the remainder of the article or post? The larger portion of the article is hidden until you click on “see more,” is it not?

Well, that is what these false shepherds of the people do. They hide the larger portion of the gospel message so that you only see a very condensed part of the overall message, but then they have removed the “see more” link, because they don’t want you to see the entire message. And, this part of Hebrews 6 is definitely one of those passages they like to keep hidden.

For, the promises of God they want you to know about are the ones that would appear to indicate that if you merely professed faith in Jesus Christ that you would be forgiven your sin and have eternal life with God guaranteed, regardless of how you live your life from that moment on. And, then all the blessings of God promised in Scripture to the repentant and obedient would be yours without any repentance or obedience required.

Sowing and Reaping

So, the picture we have here is of someone who has been taught the Scriptures, perhaps from birth on up to adulthood. He (or she) has had full access to the truths of God’s Holy Word. He knows all about the Holy Spirit. He knows, too, about God’s requirements of repentance and obedience as part of believing faith in Jesus Christ. He is not lacking at all in biblical knowledge. And, he has probably professed full abiding faith in Jesus Christ.

Yet, no matter how long he has known the Scriptures, and known the judgments of God, and known God’s requirements for salvation from sin and for eternal life with God, he has continued on his sinful course, holding his hand up to God as if to say “NO!” to his commands, and thus, by the act of his free will, he has shut the door to his eternal salvation.

For, he seeks after the pride of life and the lusts of the eyes and the lusts of the flesh, instead. His god is his stomach, i.e. his sensual and fleshly appetites, and he does what was evil in God’s sight, as a matter of practice. And he has continued to do so no matter how many times God has spoken to his heart and convicted him of his sin and has lovingly called him out of his sinful lifestyle into obedience to himself.

Rather than turning to the Lord to supply his needs, he seeks after self-gratification and self-indulgence to meet what he feels are his needs. So, rather than forsaking his idol, he embraces his idol regularly. He is a lazy glutton, seeking only after what brings him satisfaction without regard for God, and no matter who gets hurt in the process. For, his idol takes first place in his heart. So, the path he is on is a slippery slope, not the way of righteousness and eternal life with God, so it will end in disaster.

For, we are all going to reap what we sow. If we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction (decay, death). But if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life (Gal. 6:7-8; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:16-21; Rom. 2:6-8; Eph. 5:3-6; 1 Jn. 2:3-6).

Hebrews 6:9-12 ESV

“Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation. For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

So, what things belong to salvation? Jesus said that if we want to come after him, we must deny self and take up our cross daily and follow (obey) him. He said if we hold on to our lives (of sin and self), we will lose them for eternity. But if we lose our lives (die to sin and self), we will gain eternal life with God (Lu. 9:23-26; cf. Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).

And, the apostles taught us that faith in Jesus Christ means dying with Christ to our old lives of sin and being resurrected to newness of life in Christ Jesus. They taught us the truth that is in Christ Jesus that we are to forsake our former lives which are corrupt according to our deceitful desires, that we are to be renewed in the spirit of our minds, and that we are to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15; Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24; Tit. 2:11-14).

We are to no longer walk according to our flesh, but we are to walk according to the Spirit of God if we want to have eternal life with God. Daily we must die to sin and live to God (Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Lu. 9:23-26).

So, as followers of Jesus, we are not to be loafers, idolaters and those who refuse God’s warnings and his gentle whispers to our hearts convicting us of sin and calling us to true repentance and to obedience to Christ. But we are to continue in Christ and in putting to death the deeds of the flesh daily, and in walking in obedience to our Lord.

And, we are to keep speaking the truth in love, too, no matter if people listen or they fail to listen, and no matter if we are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, too. For, many are lost for lack of true shepherds, and they need to be told the truth which can save their souls from hell, and which can give them true freedom from sin.

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

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