The Ninth in A Series of Sermons on the Epistle to the Hebrews
The contrast could not be greater. The Psalmist says of the human race–“all people are liars” (Psalm 116:11). Yet the author of Hebrews tells us that “it is impossible for God to lie” (Hebrews 6:18). Our track record is so–so at best when it comes to keeping our promises. But God cannot lie. When he makes a promise, he will keep it. He must keep it because he is truth itself. In fact, the entire Christian faith and the gospel depend upon this very point. God promises to save sinners who trust in Jesus Christ. This is why the gospel is “good news,” because salvation is of the Lord and grounded in his sacred oath. And this is why the author of Hebrews reminds the struggling church to which he is writing that gospel they have believed is grounded in God’s unshakable promise, and is not grounded upon human faithfulness, good works, or in our ability to keep our promises. God made a promise. He will keep that promise and the work of Jesus Christ is the proof.
As we continue our series on the Book of Hebrews, we pick up where we left off last time with Hebrews 6:1-12–the author’s stern warning not to turn away from Jesus Christ or else suffer eternal consequences. But that warning is not the end of the author’s overall argument. So, we will do a very brief bit of review before we turn to the specifics of our text (verses 13-20 of chapter six).
The author of Hebrews has spent the first five chapters of this remarkable book making a powerful case for the superiority of Jesus Christ. The author has shown us from the pages of the Old Testament that Jesus is superior to angels, Moses, and the priests of Israel. The reason why the unknown author of this epistle has made this impressive case is because the church to which he is writing is facing a serious crisis. Many of the members of this congregation who were reading/hearing this letter were likely recent converts to Christianity from Judaism. Yet many of these same converts were facing intense persecution from civil authorities, or from the Jewish community they had left behind. Because of this pressure, a number of the members of this church renounced their faith in Jesus, and had returned to the synagogue.
Since Jesus Christ as creator and redeemer is superior to all things, the author exhorts the members of this church to grow to maturity, and to know what they believe and why. They must not neglect the great salvation accomplished for them by Jesus Christ. But the author also warns them of the need to persevere to the end of their lives in faith. Apostasy is a serious sin with grave consequences, and cannot be taken lightly. However, the author of Hebrews never gives warnings, or issues threats of covenant curses without at the same time giving his readers a reason to persevere, and showing them a better way. So, after issuing his warning in the first half of chapter six, at the end of the chapter the author reminds these struggling Christians of the glorious nature of God’s covenant promise to his people, a promise grounded in his own divine authority and truthfulness–in other words, his sacred oath.
To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here