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Wednesday, May 22nd, 2024
the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
Hebrews 6

Hampton's Commentary on Selected BooksHampton's Commentary

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Verses 4-6

Some Impossible To Renew

One might ask why it is important to go on to perfection. The writer answered in a very forceful way. He said it was impossible to bring those who had fallen away back to repentance. This was especially true for those who had seen the light Christ gives the world. They would have already enjoyed the new life in Christ. They would have already been a part of the promise of the Holy Spirit. The joys of God's good news would have been theirs. The power of the truth to set a man free from sin and, therefore, make him a part of the glorious experience of heaven would already have been tasted by such enlightened ones.

When such have fallen away, it is impossible to bring them back to a repentance from the works which lead to death. Such impossibility comes from their turning against Christ after having known Him and all the joys already listed. The attitude they display shows the impossibility. They so reject Christ that they would crucify Him again, if they could. They put their Savior to an open shame by returning to sin. One who does not grow spiritually runs the risk of becoming an apostate from the faith ( Heb_6:4-6 ).

Verses 7-8

A Lesson From the Soil

To give still another reason for growing, the writer made a comparison with types of soil. One type receives the rain and brings forth good fruit for those who care for it, so it is blessed of God. Another receives the rain but only grows thorns and thistles. Such land is to be condemned and burned over. The apostate is thus warned that he is headed for a punishment by burning ( Heb_6:7-8 ; Mat_13:24-30 ; Mat_25:41-46 ; Joh_15:1-6 ).

Verses 9-12

A Better Expectation

However, the writer's warnings of apostasy should not be taken to mean that he had no hope for them. He expected a better end for them than burning, since they still walked in the path of salvation. They had a hope of a promise if they endured until the end of life. He went on to assure them of the justness of God's nature. Their good works, which were done in God's name, would not be forgotten. They had shared in the afflictions and persecutions of others. They had showed compassion for the imprisoned even to the point of suffering personal loss ( Heb_6:9-10 ; Heb_10:33-34 ; Mat_25:31-46 ).

The writer desired, or had a deep longing (compare Luk_22:15 ), that they would continue in those good works until the end of life. This would have given them the assurance of their hope, being eternal life. They faced the ever present danger of giving up before achieving their purpose. He further hoped that they would not become lazy in their work. He wanted them to continue faithfully and patiently until the end where they had hope of a promise. This they were to do as others, such as Abraham, had done before them. Fudge says that the word here rendered "sluggish" is the same one translated "dull" in 5:11 ( Heb_6:11-12 ).

Verses 13-17

The Example of Abraham

Abraham had relied on the promise of God who swore by Himself ( Gen_22:15-18 ). God had promised to greatly bless and multiply Abraham. Lightfoot points out that Abraham was seventy-five years old when the promise was first made ( Gen_12:4 ). He waited twenty-four years, to the age of ninety-nine, before he knew it would be fulfilled by the birth of a son ( Gen_17:1-21 ). One more year passed before the son of promise, Isaac, was born ( Gen_21:1-7 ). Therefore, the author of Hebrews reminds his readers that the promise was received to its fullest after Abraham had patiently endured ( Heb_6:13-15 ).

The writer says on grave and solemn occasions men have always sworn by the highest power in which they believed. An oath such as this was the end to all disagreements. This is mainly referring to a legal guarantee. For this reason, God had sworn by himself in an oath to Abraham. The promise to Abraham extends to all men of faith ( Heb_6:16-17 ).

Verses 18-20

Trust in the Anchor of the Soul

So, the reader could rely upon God's word since he had both the promise and an oath stating that the promise would be kept. In fact, strong consolation is the reward of anyone who flees to Jesus for refuge and lays hold upon the hope of the eternal life He has offered. That hope serves as an anchor of the soul to securely hold us and keep us steady. As the comparison would indicate, "that behind the veil" or what the Most Holy Place is representative of, would be heaven. Our anchor is secure in that unseen realm. Jesus has gone on before believers ( Joh_14:1-6 ), like a scout. Thus, our hope is already "within the veil," or heaven. Having finished his admonition, the writer now returns our thoughts to Christ as a superior High Priest ( Heb_6:18-20 ; Zec_6:9-13 , esp. 12-13).

Bibliographical Information
Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Hebrews 6". "Hampton's Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghc/hebrews-6.html. 2014.
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