These Christians (and many were Jewish Christians) were being persecuted for their faith (see Heb. 10:32-34) and were tempted to go back to Judaism and drop out of the faith race, so the “coach” (the human author of Hebrews) here in chapter 6 encourages and urges them and us to:  “go on to maturity” (v.1),  “show … diligence” ( v.11),  “do not …  become lazy”  (i.e., spiritually dull due to moral laxity – v.12), and  “take hold of the hope” (v.18) offered to them (to us) by Christ. Even though we as American Christians are not suffering greatly for our faith as these believers were, we too must believe that the ultimate blessing for obeying the Lord is not in this life but will surely be rewarded in eternity. “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” (1 Cor. 15:19; see Eccl. 3:11) “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1) So we need the same exhortations as these believers did to press on to maturity and obedience to the glory of God and “to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” (Inherit here includes going to heaven but also refers to rewards for obedience received (inherited) in heaven. See Walvoord and Zuck; The Bible Knowledge Commentary, p. 796)

To give the context for the verses in this lesson, let’s look at a key paragraph from our last lesson: “Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your case—things that accompany salvation. God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy (sluggish, dull, Gr. northroi), but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.”   In using the term “those” earlier in v.4 (“It is impossible for those… to be brought back to repentance”) maybe the writer of Hebrews was speaking hypothetically or to a certain group of the Hebrew Christians who were going back to Judaism and had fallen away from Christ (and thus suffering temporal and eternal consequences but not loss of salvation; see 1 Cor. 3:10-15); but now he is turning back to address the ones who had not fallen away but were in danger because they were drifting, doubting and getting dull (due to moral laxity, Gr. northroi). He reminds them of how God will reward them for their love and obedience to Him in their service to the saints. He exhorts them to diligence (versus laziness or being sluggish/dull/lazy (5:11; 6:11-12) “so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end” (v. 11 NASB).

There is a reciprocal relationship between faith, hope and love as seen in Hebrews 6:9-20 and in the example of Abraham. (Also see 1 Cor. 13). Faith is looking back (past) at what God has done for us as revealed through His Word; hope looks forward to (future) what God will do for us as we walk in obedience to Him; and now (present) our love is a response to His love as we serve Him by serving His people. God saves us by grace through faith as we admit that we are a “charity case” (I’m spiritually bankrupt Lord and need a Savior/Deliverer) but then He calls us to live by faith, i.e., to work out our salvation by grace through faith (trusting in God’s power to do what He calls us to do) motivated by hope in His promise of blessings and rewards (an heir and land in Abraham’s case) and spiritual blessings (love, joy, peace, etc.) in this life for NT believers and eternal rewards in the next for all believers (see Hebrews 11).  As we live by faith in the hope of God’s blessings we grow in our revelation of Him (John 14: 21-23) and thus grow in our love for Him. Our love for Him motivates us to love and serve others (for Him), and as we do our faith and hope grow even more. Note how faith, hope and love work together: “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work (the hope of reward) and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.  We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure… to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.”

Humanism (trusting in man/self) leads to cynicism. The Bible says that the whole world is under the power of Satan and he is a liar and so the world is full of liars. Living among fallen people and in our own fallenness apart from Christ we can become cynical, untrusting and even hopeless at times.  So who can we trust? Who can we really put our hope in? Can we really trust God?  Here the writer of Hebrews is showing us through the example of a man who did radically trust God (and one of their own, a Jew) that God is trustworthy and especially as we look at Jesus Christ as the ultimate example of a Man fully trusting and thus obeying God – “for the joy set before Him.” (Heb. 12:2) “Remember your leaders, (Abraham and others) who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ (the ultimate leader/example) is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Heb. 13:7-8)

“When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, saying, "I will surely bless you and give you many descendants. And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.”  Let’s look at just three examples of Abraham’s great trust in God that led to radical obedience. “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” “By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents.”  (Heb. 11:8-9)  “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him,(God’s promise) "So shall your offspring be." Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah's womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. (Rom. 4:18-21) “And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.” (Heb. 11:12) (There are 13 million Jewish people living today plus the millions who have lived over the past 4500 years along with the millions of spiritual children of father Abraham.) “By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.” (Heb. 11:17-19) Abraham believed God’s Word because “it is impossible for God to lie.”

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” {“Hebrews 6:10-20 instructs us to fix our hope solely on the character and promises of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. There is but one safe refuge for hope in this world, and that is the unchanging character of the triune God and the certain promises of Scripture that flow out of His character.” Ken Boa – Conformed to His Image} All the promises God made to Abraham were ultimately fulfilled in and through Jesus Christ and all of us who are in Christ are assured by Him that – “I go and prepare a place for you (and) I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:3) – forever. "Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.” (Rev. 22:12)

APPLICATION: 1) “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”  (Prov. 3:5-6)  2) “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual (or reasonable) act of worship.” (Rom. 12:1) 3) “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Cor. 15:58)   4) “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Tim. 4:7-8)   5) “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Heb. 11:6)


1) “Go on to maturity” (v.1),  “show … diligence” ( v.11), “do not …  become lazy” (i.e., spiritually dull due to moral laxity -v.12), and  “take hold of the hope.” (v. 18). Which of these exhortations speaks to you and why?                                       

2) How do faith, hope and love work together? What are you hoping to receive from the Lord and does He promise it in Scripture? Is your hope in Christ mainly for this life? Discuss your answers.

3) Humanism (trusting in man/self) leads to cynicism. Compare this to David’s words in Psalm 27:13 and discuss the difference.

4) Which one of the five Scripture verses motivates you the most? Discuss your answer.

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