We finished our series this week, continuing to put on our “grace glasses” instead of “law glasses.” We started in Hebrews 5, looking at how the writer puts Jesus as a priest (despite being from the line of
not a line of priests) in the line of Melchizedek. In verse 5, this verse suggests that these
people are not acquainted with righteousness and are thus infants in the faith
still. If this was talking about our
righteousness, is that a meaty teaching few understand (especially Hebrews
steeped in law living)? For them, it was
an elementary teaching. The advanced teaching
He is speaking of is our understanding of grace. We are programmed to live and judge others by
law. It takes tremendous time and study
and meditation to change the way we think, speak and act. We have to renew our minds to really grasp
This goes on to say that mature people by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. They have been trained by the law but as Titus suggests, taught by grace to say no to ungodliness. They learn by the Spirit how to discern right and wrong. He also mentions that elementary teachings include repentance from the acts that lead to death, faith in God, instructions about baptism, laying on of hands, resurrection from the dead, and eternal judgment (wow, those are supposed to by easy!).
Let’s take these apart, starting with repentance from the acts that lead to death. What are these acts? Living by law leads to death. Living for Jesus doesn’t mean we have to immediately stop sinning. What we need to repent of is sinful acts and our tendency to live by law. What about faith in God? Verse 12 expands this further. God was mad at the Israelites when they did not go into the Promised Land by faith. Our faith is to be in God’s power and our access to God’s promises. What about eternal judgment? If we are in Christ, that judgment has already happened. It is on Christ, and our sin has been paid for. We are of course accountable to God for what we do, but that is a different issue. What about “God permitting, we will do so…”??? Does that mean not everyone’s meant to received it? No, the “God willing” is with regard to who will teach it to those people. The writer is hoping it will be them, God willing…..
Hebrews 6:4 is another difficult passage. This is saying that if we continue now by law now that grace is available, there is no repentance by that means. It means that if we taste grace and go back to law, we are subject to being condemned by our inability to reach reconciliation without the grace of Christ. There is no salvation apart from Christ. Jesus was crucified once, but if we reject His death and what it means by continuing to sin. We disgrace Jesus by thinking it was not good enough to make us right before God. Then it is as if we’re saying His death was not enough. We don’t want to disgrace Jesus by minimizing what He did.
Verse 7 talks about land that is blessed versus cursed. “Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it”—we are the land, and drink in the Word of God often. Then we can produce a crop useful for the “farmer,” God. The seed sown is Jesus. So we need to be at church and also studying the Word personally in order to continue producing fruit. We can’t just be around water, but also drink it in. Drinking takes a willing acceptance of the input we receive. If we continue to live by law, we are not receiving the seed of grace and thus don’t produce for God. Notice that the land with thorns and thistles section does not say that God will curse us. We bring curses on ourselves by living by law. Thorns and thistles reminded me of the parable of the sower, where worry and deceitfulness of wealth choke out the seed of Jesus. We actually produce these things in our life by living by law.
Verse 12 indicates that living by faith and patience involves a lot of work. Living by law is lazy (we follow certain rules given to us by others). Living by grace takes hard work, and patience. Look at the contrast in Abraham. When he took the natural, easy way, it did not produce the blessing God promised. But that is not remembered in the New Testament, only his faith, patience, and righteousness, for waiting and receiving the promise God’s way. His prior failure did not matter. That sin no longer exists and wasn’t brought up again. When Abraham waited patiently, He received the promise. That is key for us. We need to press into the righteousness we have in Christ, and let that create the fruit that will be useful to God. If we continue to worry whether we are right before God, we will never get to doing things for God.