Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 16 September 21:
Hebrews 6:1-6 — Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits. 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.
The Bible says, “without faith it is impossible to please [God]: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” In faith, we must truly believe in grace (salvation and sanctification as a free gift from God, enabled by Him and not by us) while we diligently seek Him with complete confidence in His perfect, unending, unchanging, everlasting love for us, despite ourselves (Romans 8:31-39). If we believe in grace, we will walk in the freedom of grace with confidence, peace and joy, and we will naturally produce the fruit of love and good works, which are labors of love (not pride or fear), as we abide in God’s love. We will produce much fruit as we cultivate and harvest in love, but we won’t struggle to create artificial, man-made fruit which any farmer knows is impossible.
Hebrews 6 could be speaking to two audiences: the legalists, who have turned away from grace and have returned to the futile pursuit of self-righteousness through adherence to the law and rules in an attempt to earn salvation and to produce sanctification from their own merit; and/or the apostates who have acknowledged grace, have experienced grace but have continued to live in willful disobedience, trampling on the Gospel and the blood of Christ. Both groups sat in church and participated in church activities but were dishonoring God, working against the Gospel in their lives and the lives of others, and were lacking the fullness of joy that comes by faith in the sufficiency of grace through faith in Jesus.
Faith calls us to grow in love while placing all our confidence on God’s love, understanding that both our salvation and our sanctification rest securely in the power of God rather than in our own power. We are not yet perfected in love, but as we abide in God’s love, we remain confident in His acceptance despite our imperfection while we continue to strive for perfection. We trust that He is working all things together (even our failures) for good in our lives to conform us to the image of His Son, Jesus; and we rest in confidence, awaiting the Day of His final restoration when He will make all things new – “And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise.” (Hebrews 6:15)
“We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 6:19-20) Let grace be the anchor of your soul, and don’t quench the Spirit by failing to enter the inner place behind the curtain with Christ because you somehow feel you haven’t “earned” the right or because you feel free to remain on the others side. Remain in the presence of God because He loves you just as you are and wants you to experience Him to the fullest. While in His presence, give Him the honor He deserves.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 16 September 21: Today, practice the presence of God.