Tuesday in the Twenty-Seventh Week of Ordinary Time

Hebrews 6:4-8

Now the Word of Warning

The passage before us today presents us with some of the most contested verses in all of Scripture.  On the one hand, to use this passage against others in a debate over whether or not one can lose one’s salvation is to miss the point of the passage.  The Preacher was not writing for the purpose of bringing up a theological point over which the Church might argue for centuries to come.  On the other hand, the Preacher is issuing a stern warning that every believer must take very serious, such that spouting mantras like “once saved always saved” only manifest aversions to do so—which then begs the question, “Why the aversion?  What are you afraid of?”  As I have said before, the doctrine of the final perseverance of the saints should not be used to short-circuit those passages where the Bible would admonish us to, well…persevere.  Let me put it this way: I have more reason to believe that a person is saved who may occasionally doubt his salvation and weep over his struggles and failures to live a holy life than I do another who is so confident over his salvation that he never gives it a care in the world, though he pursue not a holy life nor grow in grace such that anyone else could ever tell a difference in his life.

That said, there is no question but that the Preacher is serious about his subject.  He has used the illustration from the Old Testament about the wilderness generation who failed to enter God’s rest.  They came to Kadesh-Barnea and for fear refused to trust God and conquer the land (Numbers 13-14).  The Preacher concluded, saying, “So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief” (3:19).  This means that there is a direct relationship between our actions and our belief; indeed, we act on our beliefs.  A person can say he has accepted Christ, that he is born again, saved, but if his deeds prove not his profession—well, this warning is meant for him.  Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”  Nor does their even doing mighty works like casting out demons ensure their place (Matthew 7:21-23).  The works our Lord looks upon with favor seem to have more to do with works of mercy (Matthew 25:31-46) and crucifying the flesh that we may gain those virtues which produce those works of mercy (Romans 8:5-17; Colossians 3:1-17).

Those who are truly saved persevere to the end; but, those who are truly saved are walking with the Lord, growing in grace, sloughing off sin, showing the fruits of the Spirit, and ministering to other people.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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