We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. Hebrews 6:11-12
Diligence. Faith. Patience. These are the words of Christian maturity. Ugh.
The Hebrew writer is prodding us toward spiritual maturity. This will mean moving ‘beyond the elementary teachings about Christ’ and actually living out our discipleship. Following Jesus is what Christ-followers do.
Those who do not follow Jesus practically and by faith, diligence and patience will likely fall away. Not only do they not move on beyond the elementary teachings, but they slip back to pre-Jesus thought and living. They need to repent once again, but the writer says this is impossible. Falling away is fatal.
It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. Hebrews 6:4-6
This messes with many people’s theology, but we should take the Scripture for what it says. Consider who these backsliders are:
- They had been enlightened by the Gospel. They understood it.
- They experienced the heavenly gift… the forgiveness of their sins through the blood of Jesus Christ.
- The Holy Spirit of God took up residence in their lives and they experienced Him among the believers.
- They had ‘tasted’ the goodness of God’s Word.
- They were witnesses to the power of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.
These fell away from the Kingdom. They were not diligent, faithful and patient. It is impossible for them to be brought back to repentance because through their actions they are “crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.”
The phrase ‘public disgrace’ is important, I think. They were living in such a way that Jesus was being defamed.
God is looking for the fruitfulness in our lives that comes naturally from spiritual maturity. Pursuing Jesus and growing in devotion to Him in not just an optional good idea – it’s vital! To not grow is to become worthless. This is illustrated in Hebrews 6 by a field that receives all the blessing from Heaven but only produces thorns and thistles (vs 7-8).
Through faith and patience and diligence I will experience the Hope held out in the Gospel.
I am looking for the verse that says growing in Christian maturity is easy…
Holy Father, I put my focus on You and thank You for Your Presence in my life. You strengthen me for life and ministry; for obedience and fruitfulness. I yield to Your work in my life and in the church. Thank You for that. Find me faithful to You and Your Word and Your Kingdom I pray, through the power of Christ. Amen.