Today: [Hebrews 6:] Christ Our Anchor: In chapter 6 of Hebrews we see the utter importance of understanding what is called the doctrine of Christ and five first principles based on that doctrine as critical to our walk with God. From the writer’s standpoint, we are held back in our maturity unless these fundamental understandings are fully developed in our thinking not only to understand but to teach the same.
[Heb 6:1-20 KJV] 1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this will we do, if God permit. 4 For [it is] impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put [him] to an open shame. 7 For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: 8 But that which beareth thorns and briers [is] rejected, and [is] nigh unto cursing; whose end [is] to be burned. 9 But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. 10 For God [is] not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. 11 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: 12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. 13 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, 14 Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. 15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. 16 For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation [is] to them an end of all strife. 17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed [it] by an oath: 18 That by two immutable things, in which [it was] impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: 19 Which [hope] we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; 20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, [even] Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
In the previous chapter the writer of Hebrews brings up the subject of the Melchizedek priesthood:
Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. v. 11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.
From the writers perspective, the subject of the Melchisedec priesthood is not an obscure matter but rather the natural extension of the believer’s education in the things of God but only after the rudiments of the doctrine of Christ are fully comprehended. To what depth must a believer aspire to be ready for these Melchisedec truths? In v. 12 we see that when we become apt teachers of the first principles of the oracles of God, then we can say we have come to full age and not before.
In chapter 6 the opening appeal is that we would leave the principles of the doctrine of Christ that is then itemized for our understanding. It is important to note that these are not the doctrine of Christ in themselves but are the first principles of the doctrine of Christ. What then is the doctrine of Christ? The phrase only appears twice in scripture, the other reference being in 2 John:
[2Jo 1:9 KJV] 9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.
Whatever this doctrine of Christ is – it is a prerequisite for determining the validity of a person’s salvation. The doctrine of Christ does not save us, but its proper understanding is a litmus test for whether or not a person is indeed born again. So what is then the doctrine of Christ? It is found in 1 Tim. 2:5:
[1Ti 2:5 KJV] 5 For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
There is one God. This delegitimizes the maxim common in modern culture that it doesn’t matter what you believe just so you are sincere. It does matter. There is only one God, revealed in the Hebrew Scriptures defined within the time-honored canon of the 66 books of the Bible. Who is that one, God? He is the man Christ Jesus. So the doctrine of Christ is that Jesus is God and Man and Mediator between God and man and no other. Because of this one great fact the following principles of doctrine are fundamental and should be so familiar to the believer that they can not only understand these doctrines but teach them as well:
- Repentance from Dead Works. This is uniquely Christian repentance. The sinner in John the Baptist’s chosen words ABHORS sin because that is all they can do – the Christian however this language reveals must do more than abhor sin but ABANDONS sin altogether – that is the doctrine of repentance from dead works.
- Faith toward God. Our faith is not in our religion or Christian culture as a whole. Our faith is not in our doctrine or our understanding of spiritual things. Our faith is in God, and there is (1 Tim. 2:5) only one God and one mediator, the man Christ Jesus.
- Doctrine of Baptisms (plural). We are baptized into Christ at salvation and should mandatorily accept the necessity of public water baptism as an article of faith (significantly marginalized in our day). There is also the distinct and verifiable baptism of the Holy Spirit evidenced by speaking in other tongues. That is not all. There is also the Baptism of Fire which is greatly misrepresented in modern theology and widely unknown or experienced in Western Christianity.
- Laying on of Hands: The early church received its members by a somber laying on of hands in identification. The early church imparted spiritual gifts by laying on of hands and prophecy. The early church ministered the gift of healing likewise by laying on of hands. This intimate transference is widely ignored in Christian circles today.
- Eternal Judgement. There is temporal judgment men experience as the consequence of their actions through the law of reciprocity. There is also Eternal Judgment both for the sinner (Rev. 20:15) and for the saint (Luke 12:47).
These are fundamental understandings that the writer calls us to receive and move beyond “if God permit…” In other words, there are deeps in God to be discovered but only after we understand and comprehend to the point of being able to teach these five things. In v. 4-6 the writer says to demonstrate benign disinterest in these things manifests a condition of deep jeopardy in one’s standing before God. These teachings do not save us, but their lack of emphasis in our lives or our culture is considered to be grave beyond overemphasis.
In v. 7 the example is given of the earth receiving the beneficial rains for purposes of fruitfulness but being rejected because it brings up instead thorns and briers. What are the thorns and briers? In the parable of the sower Jesus makes these known to us:
[Mar 4:18-19 KJV] 18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, 19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
The writer makes these dreadful statements but follows up in v. 9 with the assurance that no doubt these judgments do not apply to the reader even though the warning is strongly given. Then in v. 10, the declaration is made that God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love. That verse in times past profoundly impacted my life with the reminder that God does not take lightly the cost of following after Him however imperfectly we do so. Thus we should not be lazy in these things but followers of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Faith is not enough – we must also demonstrate patience.
What is the promise we will inherit? That which God gave Abraham also applies to us:
“Surely blessing (v. 14) I will bless you and in multiplying I will multiply you…”
The life of Abraham is given as a sure example of what God has for us in our generation and in our generations to come. God has sworn (v. 17) with an oath that this is our portion if we follow on not only with faith but with faith and patience to inherit the same. This is the hope set before us like an anchor cast into the sea that holds a ship. Our anchor is Christ Jesus Himself to which we are attached as surely as that ship is attached to its anchor to keep it from drifting to destruction. This is the priesthood of Jesus so important as to be the assurance of holding us fast from destruction and firm in growing maturity in these vital truths.
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