Putting God's Word into Practice…

Hebrews 6:4-12 ~ True Salvation

on March 12, 2013

I have been afraid studying this passage, but in the end it has given me much hope and a good reminder of my own story of faith!

The heading for Hebrews 5:11-6:12 says “Warning Against Apostasy.”  Honestly, I had to look the word up: it means abandoning beliefs.  So far we have been warned of letting our hearing become dull and never moving past the foundation of faith.  Both of these things lead to falling away from, or abandoning, beliefs.  To lay the groundwork, I’d like to suggest that beliefs are not the same as saving faith.  Belief is accepting something as true.  In James 2:19 it says (my paraphrase), “So you believe in God.  Good, even the demons believe in God, and shudder.”  Faith is complete trust and confidence in God.  “Without faith it is impossible to please God,” the writer of Hebrews states in 11:6.  Those who become dull and fall away from God, may have believed truth, but never moved to faith in God.

Hebrews 6:4-6.  For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once  been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the Word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.

True salvation can never be lost–but salvation must be tested to see if it is genuine.  Does my life prove that God is at work in me changing me and transforming me to look more like Him?  Am I really “saved” or playing “Christian?”  I asked myself these questions almost 14 years ago, and my answers were “no” and “playing.”  The list given in verses 4-5 give evidence to the foundation talked about in verses 1-2.  We can experience baptism, communion, presence and power of the Holy Spirit, church life and Bible studies; and not be truly saved.  If we experience everything about Christianity, but don’t have the cornerstone of repentance and faith in God even our foundation is worthless.  Lives that are lived without repentance are lived as if Jesus is still dead on the cross, not alive and active.  People like that tarnish the reputation of Jesus Christ and give Christians the name, “Hypocrite!”

If you have repented and turned to God once, it is impossible to need to be led there again and thus lay again the cornerstone of foundation.  There only needs to be one cornerstone! If one has tasted the blessing of the Christian life but never repented, they can still be led to repentance.

My parents started following the Lord when I was about two years old.  I was baptized at age five because of belief and fear of going to Hell.  I attended Christian elementary school and memorized great songs and whole chapters of the Bible.  I was baptized again when I was 11 for membership into a different church.  I served in the youth group, taught Sunday school and even started a student led Bible study in my public high school.  I believed truth about God, Jesus and salvation.  I started falling away from those beliefs in high school and by college had completely abandoned the lifestyle that I had learned.  After I got married, I began going back to church, started reading my Bible again and even teaching Sunday school.  Shortly after when my first son was four months old, I questioned my salvation like I stated earlier and came to the realization that I was never truly saved.  All the blocks were in place, except the Cornerstone!  On October 31, 1999, God led me to put my full confidence in Jesus Christ by faith, to repent of my sins and turn my life over to God.   Several weeks later I was baptized for the last time, and I didn’t just experience the peripheral blessings of the Holy Spirit, but I had His presence inside of me personally.  My ears were opened and I began to grow and change; life has never been the same!

Hebrews 6:7-8.  For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God.  But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.”

One way that we can test the validity of our salvation is gaging how we respond to the teaching of God’s Word.  This reminds me of the parable of the soils and seeds in Matthew 13.  Poor heart soil will cause the Word of God to run off with no penetration resulting in dry, dull soil that is filled with rocks and thorns and thistles (trials, persecution, anxiety and deceitfulness of riches).  The Word of God is rendered worthless in the life of those whose hearing is dull!  Good soil of the heart drinks in the refreshing, life-giving rain of God’s Word.  Do we love to hear God’s Word?  Does it refresh us?  Does it bless us and make us useful?

Hebrews 6:10-12.  For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.  And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

We can also test our salvation by the “fruit” that is produced in our lives.  Faith that leads to action/works is alive (James 2:14-26)!  Love that is shown through serving others demonstrates that we have God inside of us (1 John 4:7-12)!  The hope and assurance of true salvation perseveres to the end–giving up and falling away are not even an option!

I pray that if this puts any doubts in your heart, that you will simply repent and turn to God, put your faith in Jesus Christ and let His life-giving Word rain on you causing you to grow, be blessed and have usefulness through love and good works.

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