Hebrews 6* The Hebrews are urged to go forward in the doctrine of Christ,and the consequences of apostacy, or turning back, aredescribed. (1-8) The apostle expresses satisfaction, as to themost of them. (9,10) And encourages them to persevere in faithand holiness. (11-20)1-8 Every part of the truth and will of God should be setbefore all who profess the gospel, and be urged on their heartsand consciences. We should not be always speaking about outwardthings; these have their places and use, but often take up toomuch attention and time, which might be better employed. Thehumbled sinner who pleads guilty, and cries for mercy, can haveno ground from this passage to be discouraged, whatever hisconscience may accuse him of. Nor does it prove that any one whois made a new creature in Christ, ever becomes a final apostatefrom him. The apostle is not speaking of the falling away ofmere professors, never convinced or influenced by the gospel.Such have nothing to fall away from, but an empty name, orhypocritical profession. Neither is he speaking of partialdeclinings or backslidings. Nor are such sins meant, asChristians fall into through the strength of temptations, or thepower of some worldly or fleshly lust. But the falling away herementioned, is an open and avowed renouncing of Christ, fromenmity of heart against him, his cause, and people, by menapproving in their minds the deeds of his murderers, and allthis after they have received the knowledge of the truth, andtasted some of its comforts. Of these it is said, that it isimpossible to renew them again unto repentance. Not because theblood of Christ is not sufficient to obtain pardon for this sin;but this sin, in its very nature, is opposite to repentance andevery thing that leads to it. If those who through mistakenviews of this passage, as well as of their own case, fear thatthere is no mercy for them, would attend to the account given ofthe nature of this sin, that it is a total and a willingrenouncing of Christ, and his cause, and joining with hisenemies, it would relieve them from wrong fears. We shouldourselves beware, and caution others, of every approach near toa gulf so awful as apostacy; yet in doing this we should keepclose to the word of God, and be careful not to wound andterrify the weak, or discourage the fallen and penitent.Believers not only taste of the word of God, but they drink itin. And this fruitful field or garden receives the blessing. Butthe merely nominal Christian, continuing unfruitful under themeans of grace, or producing nothing but deceit and selfishness,was near the awful state above described; and everlasting miserywas the end reserved for him. Let us watch with humble cautionand prayer as to ourselves. 9,10 There are things that are never separated from salvation;things that show the person to be in a state of salvation, andwhich will end in eternal salvation. And the things thataccompany salvation, are better things than ever any dissembleror apostate enjoyed. The works of love, done for the glory ofChrist, or done to his saints for Christ's sake, from time totime, as God gives occasion, are evident marks of a man'ssalvation; and more sure tokens of saving grace given, than theenlightenings and tastings spoken of before. No love is to bereckoned as love, but working love; and no works are rightworks, which flow not from love to Christ. 11-20 The hope here meant, is a sure looking for good thingspromised, through those promises, with love, desire, and valuingof them. Hope has its degrees, as faith also. The promise ofblessedness God has made to believers, is from God's eternalpurpose, settled between the eternal Father, Son, and Spirit.These promises of God may safely be depended upon; for here wehave two things which cannot change, the counsel and the oath ofGod, in which it is not possible for God to lie; it would becontrary to his nature as well as to his will. And as He cannotlie; the destruction of the unbeliever, and the salvation of thebeliever, are alike certain. Here observe, those to whom God hasgiven full security of happiness, have a title to the promisesby inheritance. The consolations of God are strong enough tosupport his people under their heaviest trials. Here is a refugefor all sinners who flee to the mercy of God, through theredemption of Christ, according to the covenant of grace, layingaside all other confidences. We are in this world as a ship atsea, tossed up and down, and in danger of being cast away. Weneed an anchor to keep us sure and steady. Gospel hope is ouranchor in the storms of this world. It is sure and stedfast, orit could not keep us so. The free grace of God, the merits andmediation of Christ, and the powerful influences of his Spirit,are the grounds of this hope, and so it is a stedfast hope.Christ is the object and ground of the believer's hope. Let ustherefore set our affections on things above, and wait patientlyfor his appearance, when we shall certainly appear with him inglory.
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