Perseverance: Hebrews 3

I love Hebrews. I find it easier to follow than Paul. I mean, the author — whoever he or she may be — wrote clear, direct prose. Hebrews speaks to me. And so I want to address the Perserverance of the Saints (POTS) from the text of Hebrews.

I’m half tempted to write a commentary on the whole book. I mean, I just love reading and studying Hebrews. But I figure that would test the patience of even the hardiest readers. But I’m going to cover A LOT of the book. And I want to start in chapter 3.

(Heb 3:7-11)  So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert, 9 where your fathers tested and tried me and for forty years saw what I did. 10 That is why I was angry with that generation, and I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.’ 11 So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.'”

The writer takes a passage from Ps 95 and composed a midrash (Jewish style of commentary) on the text.

The Psalmist describes God’s warning to the Israelites after he’d rescued them from Egyptian slavery, brought them through the Red Sea, and sent the 12 men to spy out the Promised Land. Ten of the men led the people to refuse to enter, whereas two men, Joshua and Caleb, had enough faith to encourage the Israelites to go to battle to conquer the land that God would give them (Num 14).

Now, we have to note at the outset that Paul also referred to the Exodus as a type (example, archetype) of Christianity. For example, Paul writes,

(1 Cor 10:1-12)  For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.

6 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry.” 8 We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did–and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. 9 We should not test the Lord, as some of them did–and were killed by snakes. 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did–and were killed by the destroying angel. 11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!

And as we go, we’ll see how close the thought of Paul and the Hebrews writer are. Both speak of the danger of testing God and both speak of the danger of falling.

Of course, Paul often speaks of Christianity as being about freedom from slavery, which is also an allusion to the Exodus — as are all the references to Jesus as the Passover lamb. And the Lord’s Supper itself, insitituted at a Passover meal, reflects the Exodus as a type of our Christianity.Add to that the many parallels drawn by Paul and others to the giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai to Christianity — the Law being an antitype of the Spirit, for example. The exodus is an image that permeates the New Testament.

(Heb 3:12-13)  See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

The writer jumps immediately to his conclusion: a warning against a sinful, unbelieving heart — a hard heart — coupled with wise counsel: to avoid this, encourage one another daily. The way to avoid a hard heart is to be part of the community Jesus created — the church — on a daily basis, which much be a community that loves you enough to help you fight the temptation to rebel against God.

This is one of those “one another” commands, of course. Just as teachers usually learn more than their students, encouragers are often encouraged more than those they encourage. Don’t be a taker only. Encourage others — and so be encouraged.

(Heb 3:14)  We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.

Notice that the implicit warning: “if we hold firmly to the end.” It might be tempting to argue, as some do, that he’s saying we were only saved at the beginning if we perservere to the end, but that’s not what he says. He says we had “confidence” at first. The key is to hold on to the confidence to the end — not to wait until the end to see whether our confidence was justified.

(Heb 3:15-19)  As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.” 16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? 18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed ? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.

The writer then repeats the warning from Ps 95 to point out that God’s wrath was visited on the same people whom he rescued from slavery and through the Red Sea. He then explains that they died in desert because of both a lack of faith and disobedience. As we’ll see, the Hebrews writers treats “faith” as a faith that leads to obedience. Nothing else is faith at all.

His argument is that being a part of God’s Chosen People and rescued from slavery is only the beginning. Nearly every Israelite that celebrated the first Passover died in the desert due to a lack of faith. They had enough faith to eat the Passover and flee Egypt. They had enough faith that God was willing to save them through the Red Sea. But they rebelled. A good beginning is essential. It’s not enough.

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34 Responses

  1. I copied the parable of the sower aka the parable of the soils from wiki. Here it is:
    Behold, there went out a sower to sow: And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some a hundred. And he said unto them, He that has ears to hear, let him hear.

    And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them. And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? The sower soweth the word. And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended. And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.

    the secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to those on the outside, everything is said in parables so that they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding.

    God always know what is good soil and what is not. It could help understand a lot about some that seem to come to faith, but it never materializes or is choked out by cares of the world. God knew all along who was who, it was just us that were confused.

    AS I have stated before, when addressing an large group or even a single person, such as your son before he goes out for an evening or off to a semester at college, an admonition to remain faithful is always appropriate. It may be the very means God has ordained to help keep that individual or many individuals in that a group faithful to God.

  2. Randall, my guess is that you are suggesting a rebuttal to Jay’s post. If I am wrong, I apologize for the misinterpretation. If I am right, it would seem that the parable can work both ways.

    First, parables, like analogies, are dangerous places to to interpret beyond the first layer of meaning. Even with Jesus’ giving them, they are meant to suggest a particular truth. By contrast, the Beatitudes are safer places to dig deeper for meaning.

    Secondly, the seed that fell amongst the weeds did sprout and grow. It did come to life. Being the relatively positionally challenged little buggers that they are, the plant did not remove itself from the company of the weeds. We can remove ourselves. It is up to us to do so.

    Likewise, the seed that fell on shallow soil did not seem to have the option of moving to deeper soil. We can dig deeper in our walk if we choose to. We must recognize in the parable that if we remain in perilous places, though we have begun our new life, we remain in those places at our peril.

  3. Randal,
    Luke’s account of this parable says, “Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Believing the word results in salvation.

    Jesus’ explanation continues: “Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. These believers fall away because they have not put a root down into the water of life.

    Again, “The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.” Jesus does not say here that these fall away; he simply says they do not mature and are unfruitful. In this, they stand in contrast to the seed on the good soil that produced varying amounts of fruit. They also stand in contrast to the seed that never sprouted or that sprouted quickly and died – where faith never developed at all or where faith was only “for a while.”

    An unfruitful Christian is not what God wants of us – but Jesus, in this parable anyway, at least leaves the possibility that such a one may be saved in the end. Yet, they miss the joy of fruitful service. Other passages may even indicate that such ones are not among those who endure to the end. Certainly the thorns have the capability of choking out their very small faith.

    Jerry

  4. Jerry and Pastor Mike,
    Thanks for your comments. The ones that “believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away” and the ones that “do not mature and are unfruitful” seem to be viewed by semi-Pelagians and Pelagians as saved and then lost. A Calvinist sees them as never having been saved as God was aware of the outcome from the beginning. Perhaps the difference lies in our definitions.
    Peace,
    Randall

  5. Jay, I will be looking for your remarks on the whole book , hopefully you can furnish a few answers over which I struggle . But if you skip the first two chapters I will remain confused.

    Heb: 1:8: But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
    Ps :45:6: Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.
    (I don’t see any mention of the son, in the original)

    Heb: 1:10: And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:

    Ps: 102:25: Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands.
    ( I can’t find any mention of the son there either)

    Later in chap 2 —- For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

    But does the Hebrews writer say in one place Jesus laid the foundation, and in another God created all things? Even said God made his son the perfect captain of salvation. Which is it? Sounds a little confusing .
    I don’t blame you for starting with chap 3.

  6. Randall — if you want to talk about the parable of the sower, you’ve got lots of options: go start a blog and talk about it; find a blog that’s talking about it and dive in; use it as supplementary material for a discussion of this blog’s material. Otherwise, it’s rather like sticking your fingers in your ears and shouting, “But I don’t WANT to talk about Hebrews 3! Sower Sower Sower!”

    Laymond – BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! Another anti-trinitarian drive-by comment that’s completely off-topic. But it’s easily addressed. There’s nothing confusing about what the Hebrews author is saying, if the reader is familiar with the concept of the family business. Creation and Salvation are a Father-Son-Spirit family business.

  7. A Calvinist sees them as never having been saved as God was aware of the outcome from the beginning.

    God was aware of the outcome, or God caused the outcome by not electing them for salvation?

    You say tomato, I say eisegesis.

  8. Hi Nick,
    If we were discussing salvation by grace through faith while going through James’ epistle would you want the conversation to stay only on what James had to say on the subject? Should we interpret all of what Paul says on the subject through the lens of a few sentences in James?
    I didn’t intend my comment above to be anything more than a suggestion that different folks understand the same passage differently. My formal education in bible is limited to a minor at ACU, and that was about 40 years ago. Please excuse my lack of ability to exegete as an advanced student of the word. Now that I am retired I hope to do some further study and perhaps I’ll be able to get up to speed.

    In a previous post by Jay, I believe it was titled Perseverance Old News, I commented dealing with his treatment of a passage in Hebrews. I believe he was out of town and didn’t have the opportunity to respond to any of those comments so I’ll copy it below. Also, in the past he referred me to his Third Way series. I read that and posted a few comments. I suppose that was old news and Jay can’t be expected to go back and address every comment that shows up after he has moved on.

    Here’s my comment from Old News. I begins with a quote from Jay’s post:

    “We start with one of the most difficult verses in the New Testament –

    (Heb 6:4-6 ESV) 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, 5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 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 teaching is not complicated. It’s just hard to accept. The passage seems to plainly declare that for those who’ve been saved, if they fall away, they will never repent.

    (Forgiveness is always available. God never gives up. He is always ready to accept us back. Falling away only occurs when it’s no longer possible for the individual to repent.)”

    Begin Randall’s comment: Okay, so it is one of the “most difficult verses in the New Testament” as stated at the beginning or is is that “The teaching is not complicated. It’s just hard to accept. The passage seems to plainly declare that for those who’ve been saved, if they fall away, they will never repent.?” The commentaries I read suggest it is a very difficult passage, especially the structure of the Greek. Some also suggest this speaks of those who have “tasted of” but not committed their hearts to Jesus i.e. they are not true believers – each one will have to decide that for themselves. Also Jay says “Forgiveness is always available. God never gives up. He is always ready to accept us back. Falling away only occurs when it’s no longer possible for the individual to repent.” yet verse 6 says “it is impossible to renew them again to repentance.” Jay than adds ” If someone does finally repent, then that person never fell away at all. After all, it’s impossible for those who’ve fallen away to repent.” So it seems Jay thinks the person only appeared to have fallen away (perhaps temporarily back sliders) but didn’t really fall away. I do not want to put words in Jay’s mouth that he would disagree with so let’s let Jay speak for himself as to why these people seem to have fallen away.

    Usually it is Calvinists that are accused of this type of thinking and here Jay seems to acknowledge it as his own, so I’m confused. Perhaps I am just reading the sentences wrong, but Jay here says that if they repent they never really fell away and if they don’t repent they did – so they must have looked the same way until they did or did not repent. This is the same argument he uses against Calvinists who say that if one persevered to the end he was one of the elect and if he did not persevere then he never was one of the elect.

    Calvinists generally teach that we humans never know with certainty about another person as only God knows the heart and only he knows the difference between a true believer and a make believer. We do expect to see evidence one way or the other from a professed Christian, but we also understand that the tares look pretty identical to the wheat. John says they went out from us because they were not of us. That’s not such a difficult way to understand things.

    Jay also quoted another scripture: “(2 Pet 2:21-22) It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 22 Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud.” I believe someone commenting on another post mentioned that the context of this passage is false teachers so here the text is used out of context to make a point that the text does not make.

    Jay also says: “Now, if you begin reading Hebrews with a once saved, always saved preconception, this is all nonsense, even offensive.” Randall says: I wonder if one reads Hebrews with a you can lose your salvation preconception if they will find texts they can use to support their point of view. I also wonder if a person goes to many classic texts in scripture that the POTS folks quote all the time if they come away saying this is all nonsense, even offensive. It seems like there are a lot of TWO WAY avenues rather than the one way routes I see posted here. Problem is we can all quote our proof texts and it would be so much better if we did more than that and really tried to understand the other point of view rather than talking past each other.
    Peace,
    Randall

    P.S. Nick, Have you considered herbal tea. It doesn’t even require a prescription. In the words of Johnny Cash so many years ago: “Leave your gun at home son, don’t take your gun to town.” 😉

  9. Randall,

    We definitely don’t need “special pleading” about educations. I’m a high school grad who has read a lot of books, so your minor from Abilene trumps my sheepskin from McAdory High School. And I love herbal tea, but it doesn’t make eisegesis and off-topic drive-bys any easier to tolerate! 🙂

    Jay says “Forgiveness is always available. God never gives up. He is always ready to accept us back. Falling away only occurs when it’s no longer possible for the individual to repent.” yet verse 6 says “it is impossible to renew them again to repentance.” Jay than adds ” If someone does finally repent, then that person never fell away at all. After all, it’s impossible for those who’ve fallen away to repent.” So it seems Jay thinks the person only appeared to have fallen away (perhaps temporarily back sliders) but didn’t really fall away. I do not want to put words in Jay’s mouth that he would disagree with so let’s let Jay speak for himself as to why these people seem to have fallen away.
    Usually it is Calvinists that are accused of this type of thinking and here Jay seems to acknowledge it as his own, so I’m confused. Perhaps I am just reading the sentences wrong, but Jay here says that if they repent they never really fell away and if they don’t repent they did – so they must have looked the same way until they did or did not repent. This is the same argument he uses against Calvinists who say that if one persevered to the end he was one of the elect and if he did not persevere then he never was one of the elect.

    Ahh, good! Interaction with the text (or at least with Jay’s interpretation of the text). I’ve italicized what I want to discuss in your comments.

    1) it isn’t just that Calvinists are accused of that kind of thinking — you happily admit to that kind of thinking. And I don’t think anyone has said that that kind of thinking is inherently out of bounds. That kind of thinking, when removed from the ‘falling away’ context and applied to the ‘confidence in salvation’ context, removes all confidence and contradicts Scripture in that case.

    2) Jay isn’t saying that the teaching is hard to understand; it is hard for us to accept — which is why we’re having this argument, because the different parties can’t accept what the Hebrew writer has to say. (PS – this STILL isn’t talking about Hebrews 3, the topic of this blog — but whatever)

    3) Repentance is the key to understanding whether or not someone has fallen away — which is why we must be terribly careful a) not to judge someone as “fallen away” and b) to continue with Scriptural warnings like the ones in Hebrews 3 above. If someone repents of their post-baptismal rejection of Jesus, their open rebellion against his clear moral/ethical commands, and/or their self-justifying legalism, Hebrews 6 clearly states that they were not fallen away.

    In the end, the call is not ours to make — it is our duty to lovingly warn Christians not to fall away. Your doctrine, as you’ve stated yourself, makes it impossible to tell if someone is a believer. Here’s the quote:

    Calvinists generally teach that we humans never know with certainty about another person as only God knows the heart and only he knows the difference between a true believer and a make believer.

    Calvinists can’t spot members of the household of faith, because anyone might be a make-believe Christian. I’m glad I’m not a Calvinist. Anyone who believes in Jesus Christ, strives to live in allegiance to His teaching, and doesn’t try to use external markers of faithfulness to justify themselves is my sibling in Christ. As John says, if we’re walking together in the light, we know we belong to Jesus. That’s all I need to know.

  10. Atta-boy Randall, Nick gets frustrated with me because I bring up things he can’t dispute without using extra-biblical quotes like “Creation and Salvation are a Father-Son-Spirit family business.” If it were a family business, it would be ready for bankruptcy, Some people see it more like the mafia, once you get in you can’t get out.

  11. Excellent! Looking forward to studying with you through Hebrews.

  12. Randall,

    An admonition to remain faithful is not altogether inconsistent with POTS — but a warning against falling away is.

  13. laymond,

    I’m not attempting a commentary on the entire book. I’ve got to skip some things. And I’m not really wanting to re-visit the Nicene Creed.

  14. laymond,

    If you’re comparing God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to the Mafia, that’s blasphemy — and not amusing.

  15. Laymond,
    More than a few get frustrated with your comments. If you don’t affirm the divinity of Jesus and the doctrine of the Trinity why do you sometimes refuse to admit it when directly questioned about it. I sometimes get the impression you want to be taken seriously w/o openly committing to what you do, or don’t believe. I do not consider it be responsible adult behavior.
    Randall

  16. Hebrews 6:4-6 NKJV 4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.

    How about this? Note v 6. Those who “fall away” are the same as those who “crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.” Thus, one who is rejecting Christ (by rejecting His teaching) will not repent while so-doing. It’s not that he can’t, it’s that he won’t (with this attitude). Just my thoughts.

  17. I hope this is not too far afield. I have said before that ‘Calvin’s god is too small.’ My understanding is that God can choose to restrict His foreknowledge in specific areas if He wishes to do so. If He can’t do that, then He is not omnipotent: here is something He can’t do. It seems to me that Calvin limits God, when His sovereignty is supposed to be his (Calvin’s) big issue.

  18. Jay, not comparing God to the Godfather, Just saying some believe (once saved, always saved) once in the mafia, you are not getting out, I believe God will let you out of your covenant, at any time. although not without a price. well to think about it Death is the price for leaving either. but if you change your mind, God is forgiving.
    Do you think salvation is a family business of God’s , or do you guess that could be closer to blasphemy, the selling of salvation, or do you think that is funny.

    Randall you might be the only one here who don’t know how I feel about the Trinity Doctrine. I know it is not mentioned in the bible, I know it came about after all the books of the bible was written, I know it was written by men. I also know the bible warns of doctrines of men.

  19. Laymond,

    If you think “Salvation is a family business” is something I made up, something extra-biblical, you might want to read Luke’s description of the Son of God in the Temple at age 12.

    And it took me several hours of chewing on your words to decide how to respond to your framing of our relationship: “Nick gets frustrated with me because I bring up things he can’t dispute without using extra-biblical quotes…” I wanted to let those words settle and see if they were true.

    They’re not. You do frustrate me, no question. But that’s not why. You frustrate me because you do not listen. Listening is a hallmark of the relationship of love between Christians. I visit Jay’s blog (and Keith’s, and Tim’s, and Patrick’s) because I love them. I show that love by listening to their words and trying to respond to what they’re trying to say.

    You do not listen. You take our words and twist them into weapons to serve your anti-trinitarian assertions. No matter what we are talking about, you grab a phrase or two and make an attacking comment. Even on my blog, you won’t interact with what Jesus said about himself – you shifted to how Peter preached about Jesus to a particular group of Jews in Acts.

    You frustrate me because you demand respect for your words, but you show neither love nor respect for the brothers whose words you use for your own purposes. Keith called it quibbling, and I guess that’s as good a word for it as any. Whatever it is, it is neither loving nor respectful, and THAT is what frustrates me.

  20. Nick, I believe the scripture you referred to would be better served as work, not occupation
    If I got frustrated with people who don’t understand scripture the way I do, I would remain so continually. but I don’t .

    Like I tell my grandsons about algebra, if you are frustrated, you must study more. When someone says they believe something different than I do, I ask why do they believe that, and try to find out. Not just say hey you are stupid, because you don’t believe as I do. That only alienates.

  21. And yet again, you did not listen to what I said.

  22. Jay, I wrote my first comment in response to what you said in your opening statement. “I’m half tempted to write a commentary on the whole book. I mean, I just love reading and studying Hebrews. But I figure that would test the patience of even the hardiest readers. But I’m going to cover A LOT of the book. And I want to start in chapter 3.”

    I thought my comment was about what the writer had said about statements taken from Psalms.
    I can’t see where this comment brought up the subject of “trinity” but as you well know if someone else wishes to discuss this doctrine, that in my opinion runs contrary to every sermon Jesus preached while here, I will be more than happy to oblige.
    In my opinion the Nicene Creed., runs contrary to the teachings of the Church of Christ which claims, to have no creeds. I choose to agree with Barton Stone.

  23. Nick, I read what you said even the condescending remark ,
    “you might want to read Luke’s description of the Son of God in the Temple at age 12.” as if you had read something I had not, remarks like that is the reason people don’t take what you say as serious dialog.

  24. Laymond, you’ve shown a clear preference for the KJV in your online discourses.

    Luke 2:49 in the KJV says, “Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?”

    You said that my statement that “Creation and Salvation are a family business” was extra-biblical.

    So either you didn’t know several translations use the word business to translate that passage, in which case you needed to read it…

    …or you DID know that “family business” was not an extra-biblical concept, but you made the accusation anyway.

    I went with the more honorable reading of your words.

    Pretending that “does the Hebrews writer say in one place Jesus laid the foundation, and in another God created all things?” has nothing to do with your anti-trinitarian stance isn’t going to encourage anyone to take you seriously.

    Finally — I know you READ what I said. You just ignored it, as usual, in favor of saying something unrelated to the discussion at hand. I didn’t call you “stupid” – my words stand as written.

    You frustrate me because you demand respect for your words, but you show neither love nor respect for the brothers whose words you use for your own purposes. Keith called it quibbling, and I guess that’s as good a word for it as any. Whatever it is, it is neither loving nor respectful, and THAT is what frustrates me.

  25. Nick, you are right, I do prefer to read the KJV, that was the only bible I knew while growing up. My Granddad was an elder and preacher in the church of Christ since before I was born. I learned to hunt, fish and worship God at his elbow. yes it was a conservative church, that was the only church of Christ going at that time. and we didn’t know we were all going to hell, for believing what the church taught. Until the liberals came along and wised us up. We didn’t know that “God” was three beings acting as one, we believed in one God, we actually believed that the “son of God , was just what he represented himself to be” . we all have a cross to bear. Please believe whatever you wish, but don’t insist I do.
    I don’t remember just where Jay left you in charge of his blog, so that if Randall or I got out of hand you could admonish , and keep us straight. Oh well.

  26. Laymond, I do not insist that you believe Trinitarian theology. Far from it. While I believe that God’s oneness is comparable to Adam and Eve’s oneness before the fall (check the Hebrew in Deut 6:4 and Gen 2:24 – the same Hebrew word echad is used to describe both), and that a perfect union of divinity and humanity is “just what he represented himself to be,” I have never insisted that you change what you believe, and I have certainly never come close to suggesting that you “were all going to hell” for disagreeing with me, on translations or Trinity or anything that we’ve ever disagreed on.

    And I’m certainly not in charge of Jay’s blog. As I’ve written, my frustration comes when people consistently use their host’s graciousness as opportunity to disrespect them. You certainly haven’t been shy about discussing my flaws. I wish you were as willing to discuss the actual topics of the blogs you comment on.

  27. The writer of Hebrews at times was speaking to certain people present that they need to have genuine faith in the gospel.

    Hebrews 4:1-2 “Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.”

    The unsaved participate partaking that which is of Christ all the time. The gospel had been preached to these people, they gained knowledge of Christ, they have been to churches, they have tasted heavenly things, they have seen the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit manifested in their presence. They were to go on to a full genuine acceptance or to fall to a willful conscious enmity against Christ, and the sin of rejecting Him, and putting Him to an open shame. Those who don’t hold firm were never saved. The writer of Hebrews is speaking to the unsaved who have heard the truth, but who have hesitated to embrace Christ.

    As we see the writer also speaks to the beloved present to those who have genuine faith as in verses 6:9-20.

    “But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.” And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”

    The Lord Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.”(John 10:27-30), Paul gives us assurance saying, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”(Romans 8:38-39), “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14). We can be confident that God keeps us as He promises to complete what He started in us, “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6).

  28. John,

    I have a post on the passage scheduled to post in the next few days.

  29. Anonymous,

    I’ll be posting something on Heb 6:4-6 shortly that responds to these arguments. And John 10 is coming sometime after that. I’ve already addressed Rom 8 in the series on Election.

  30. Wow, my computer goes down, I try to catch up, and now it’s the Randall and Laymond knock down. You guys are deep.

    My question, is it ever right to rebel? To get out of an oppression of wrong doctrine that for everyone else was absolute but shoved the weak into a box we could not bear to even keep our faith? No one was telling us the truth. Had Abram not lied to Pharoah would he have had all those sheep?

  31. Neal asked the question; “is it ever right to rebel? To get out of an oppression of wrong doctrine that for everyone else was absolute but shoved the weak into a box we could not bear to even keep our faith?”

    I may be taking things for granted here, but my name was mentioned, so I will answer.
    Neal, it is not only right, but it is a must, What was it Jesus said about the blind leading the blind, and where they were headed?
    Mt:15:14: Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

  32. Nick said “I believe that God’s oneness is comparable to Adam and Eve’s oneness before the fall (check the Hebrew in Deut 6:4 and Gen 2:24 – the same Hebrew word echad is used to describe both), and that a perfect union of divinity and humanity is “just what he represented himself to be,”

    The “he” Nick speaks of here is Jesus Christ. The story of the virgin birth tell just that story Nick, the union of God and human, which produces a perfect human, a perfect human sacrifice, (spotless) for the sins of mankind, the perfect life and blood was sacrificed, because the blood of animals would not do.
    Heb:10:9: Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.

    Heb:10:10: By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
    11: And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:
    12: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

  33. This is incredible. At church last night DAISY was taught straight up. The context was Acts 5 where God kills Anninias and Saphira for lying to the Holy Spirit. I asked about Romans 7:21-25 and was told the process is still the same, confess, repent, and pray. A sister did share the answer was in Rom 8, but the speaker said that reaffirmed DAISY. Was I wrong to keep quiet at that point? There were several verbal Amens when the speaker mentioned obedience. Living by the Spirit is obedience. Not following a strict process and losing salvation is Grace? Stunned in Florida.

  34. Neal asked, “Was I wrong to keep quiet at that point?”

    Only you know for sure Neal whether it was wrong to remain silent. If your conscience screamed “speak up” you should have, if it said remain silent, you did the right thing. follow your conscience, don’t deny what your conscience tells you to often or it will be of no use to you, as the bible tells us it will become seared over , My motto is “you can only become embarrassed if you speak, but you can remain confused if you don’t”

    Just my opinion, I am sure there are others.

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