Assurance and Warning
I am a firm believer in what is called the doctrine of “the perseverance of the saints.” I am aware that some disagree, and that is fine. Many teachers of the Church have differed on this point. Hebrews 6 has often served as a passage of contention. It is not my intention here to argue one side or another, but to show that the Bible has a way of shaking us out of our spiritual slumber and warning us of our indolence, so as to incite us to continually mortify our flesh and strive for holiness, so that we may not presume upon his good grace but examine ourselves daily to be sure that we are indeed of the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5).
The recipients of the letter are first chided for not being mature and being “unskilled in the word of righteousness.” This was a hard saying for the people since “by this time [they] ought to be teachers.” It is sad but true. How many of us have been Christians for so long but remain babes in Christ, people who lack basic Christian virtues such as humility, faithfulness, or even chastity. We care not for doctrine, thinking it tedious and boring, but are puffed up and angry, easily offended, constantly complaining, insisting on our own way, unwilling to learn, and as a result, immature.
It is this kind of behavior, and worse, that leads to the kind of warnings we must hear from the word of God. Repentance is a daily activity, not something we do once and for all when we are saved. A Christian must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior (2 Peter 3:18). The life of the believer must manifest the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-26). We must show that we possess what we profess. And the way we do this is by our works, for our Lord said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
However, we must be careful that our faith does not become moralistic in that we are trying to save ourselves by our works. We cannot. Only Jesus saves. But we must “be all the more diligent to make [our] calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10). The beautiful part is that just after Hebrews warns us, it reassures us, “Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things.” And since our God cannot lie, we may flee to Him for refuge in time of doubt, “a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul.”