Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Hebrews 6:1, 2 - 6:4-6
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Hebrews 6:1, 2
Verses 1, 2: It would have been easy for the author to declare that he was going to leave the “elementary teaching about Christ” and then simply moved on to his next subject, but thankfully he chose instead to provide a brief list of those truths he considered foundational. There are six. The first is “repentance from dead works” which, in its most basic sense, means turning away from every attitude which is independent from or rebellious toward God. But especially when applied to those raised in Judaism the word must have emphasized an individual’s need to cease from any attempt to earn salvation by performing religious rituals (Rom 9:30-33). The second is “faith toward God” which in this context means faith that Jesus made purification of sins by this death and resurrection (Heb 1:3), and now invites us to draw near to God through His atonement as our high priest (Heb 4:14-16).

Monday: Hebrews 6:1, 2
Verses 1,2 (continued): The third is “instruction about washings” which must certainly refer to water baptism. I would think that the “instruction” to which he refers would be the explanation of its symbolism as an identification with Jesus’ death and resurrection. The fourth is “laying on of hands” which I take in this context to be a phrase referring to the baptism with the Holy Spirit. The early church often ministered Spirit baptism following water baptism because of the example of Jesus who Himself received this gift after bring baptized by John (Mt 3:13-17; Ac 8:15-17; 19:5,6). The fifth is “the resurrection from the dead” which would begin with the proclamation of Christ’s resurrection and would then move on to explain that He was the “first fruits” of the resurrection of all believers (Ac 2:22-36; 1Co 15:20-28). And the sixth is “eternal judgment” (Ac 17:31) which in particular must have pointed out that the Father has made His Son the judge to whom we will all give an account at the end of this age (Mt 25:31-46; Jn 5:24-29).

Tuesday: Hebrews 6:3
Verse 3: This is a starling statement. The author implies that he must pause at this point to determine God’s will as to whether or not he may continue to write. He personally assumes that his readers are still Christians and wants to continue teaching truths that will mature them (Heb 6:1), but it’s possible they may have become so dull of hearing (Heb 5:11) that to write anything more would be futile. God, who knows the “thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb 4:12) might see that they have crossed a spiritual line (v.6). If that were the case God might forbid him to continue writing because his readers were no longer able to repent (Heb 6:6; 2Pt 2:20; 1Jn 5:16, 17; 2Jn 1:7-11). The good news is he keeps writing.

Wednesday: Hebrews 6:4-6
Verses 4-6: Verse 3 raises a question: under what circumstances would God not have permitted the author to continue writing? After all isn’t maturity His goal for everyone? Thankfully we find the answer to this question in verses 4-6. There we discover that this warning is directed specifically at those who have deliberately abandoned Christ. In verses 4 and 5 the author uses a series of phrases which undoubtedly describe the new birth. They beautifully identify what takes place inside a person who receives Christ and is filled with the Holy Spirit. But in verse 6 he abruptly confronts us with the prospect of someone who had experienced all of that ending up in a spiritual condition where they would choose to “crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.” The stark contrast between these two positions is breathtaking and it’s meant to be. It pictures the spiritual distance traveled by a person who commits willful and complete apostasy.

Thursday: Hebrews 6:4-6
Verses 4-6 (continued): It must be emphasized that this passage is not addressing Christians who are struggling with sinful behaviors or have nagging doubts about God. Learning to overcome in those areas of weaknesses is part of the basic discipleship of every believer. The severe warning we find here is directed to those who have known Christ and all His benefits and yet have allowed themselves to degenerate to the level where they would join the crowds who called for His crucifixion (Lk 23:13-25). Those described here have the same attitude as those who subjected Him to the disgraceful treatment that accompanied His execution. Verses 4-6 (continued): To better appreciate the contrast the author is drawing here we’ll examine the list of terms he uses to describe the new birth. First, he speaks of “those who have once been enlightened.” The figure of light as it is being used here refers to spiritual light. It is the revelation a person receives when God shows them spiritual truth and empowers them to understand it (Heb 10:32). In this case, of course, the truth to which he is referring is the “light of the gospel of the glory of Christ,” to put it in Paul’s words (2Co 4:4,6). People who once lived in the darkness of ignorance and unbelief now walk in the light of God’s revelation of His Son (Jn 1:4-9; 3:19-21).

Friday: Hebrews 6:4-6
Verses 4-6 (continued): Second, he speaks of “those who…have tasted of the heavenly gift…” As we saw in Hebrews 2:9 the word “taste” is used by the author as a poetic way of saying a person received or experienced something. In this case they have received the “heavenly gift” which is Christ Himself and the righteousness which comes when someone puts their faith in Him (Php 3:9; Eph 2:8,9). Third, he speaks of “those who… have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit.” For this author the indwelling of the Holy Spirit was not a vague theological concept, it was a powerful experiential reality. Earlier when he reminded his readers of their first encounter with the gospel (Heb 2:3, 4) he was able to point to “signs and wonders,” “various miracles” and “gifts of the Holy Spirit” as ways by which God confirmed the gospel. Paul made the same point when writing to the church in Galatia, “…did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law or by hearing with faith?” (Gal 3:2,5). For these early Christians the presence of the Holy Spirit was a demonstrable fact to which they could point as proof that God’s salvation had come (Ac 10:44-48; 11:15-18). Each had been given the gift of the Holy Spirit and they knew it.

Saturday: Hebrews 6:4-6
Verses 4-6 (continued): Fourth, again using the word “taste” (Heb 2:9; 6:4) the author applies it this time to “the good word of God” and then to “the powers of the age to come.” Since these two statements follow immediately after the principle of partaking of the Holy Spirit (v 4), I believe the author is describing spiritual capacities that come to those who are full of the Holy Spirit. The “good word (rhema) of God” points to the fact that God speaks to us. Our spiritual ears are opened and there is active communication. He guides, comforts, corrects and teaches us. The “powers of the age to come” is a wonderful way of describing the gifts of the Spirit (1Co 12:8-10). Each one is a foretaste of the future perfection which awaits us in the “age to come”. Wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, tongues and interpretation of tongues each allows us in some way to experience a foretaste of blessings we will someday possess without limit (1Co 13:9-12).

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