Acts + Letters Lesson 14 Day 4

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Hebrews 6:4-20

Questions for Acts and Letters of the Apostles Lesson 14

A Warning Against Turning Away + God’s Promises

9. a. Hebrews 6:4-6 — The controversy

It is impossible to restore an apostate. (v. 4 TPT)

To fall away (v. 6) or become an apostate —

Parapiptō to fall beside a person or thing; to slip aside; hence, to deviate from the right path, turn aside, wander: (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon)

Interpretations:

The debate centers on whether the spiritual experiences refer to salvation or something short of salvation.

  • Some approach this passage with the assumption it is impossible for a person to lose their salvation. Therefore, they suggest these interpretations.
    • Refers to unbelievers. They were “enlightened” because they have heard or read scripture. Perhaps they even repeated a prayer asking Jesus to come into their heart but did not mean it or believe it. Or they had a momentary taste but didn’t fully commit.
    • Some translations including KJV begin verse 6 with “if they fall away” so some suggest this scenario refers to a hypothetical situation. It’s also suggested that Greek does not include the word equivalent of “if.”
    • The other interpretation accepts that this passage refers to Christians, and that “once enlightened and tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,” are all descriptions of true believers.
      • The person has fallen into sin; backslidden.
      • “A complete disowning of Christ, a deliberate and decisive abandonment of the Christian faith. The people described are not backsliders but apostates. They have not merely fallen into sin but have denounced Christ. They have become as those who crucified Jesus.” (Spirit Filled Life Bible, p. 1878)
        “To say it is impossible does not mean that God cannot bring them to repentance, but that he chooses to leave them in their hardened state, much like Pharaoh who hardened his heart to God. The Aramaic is very clear, “they cannot be renewed to conversion.” (TPT footnote ‘a’)

        A similar verse in Hebrews 10:29

        “Just think how much worse the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God, and have treated the blood of the covenant which made us holy, as if it were common and unholy, and have insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to us.” (Hebrews 10:29 NLT)

    The warning illustrates the serious consequences of falling away. (Enduring Word)

    b. Encouragement and rewards for staying the course in Hebrews 6:9-12

    —The writer says he believes the readers are destined for better things, so it won’t apply to them. (v. 9)

    — God will not forget our labor of love showed toward his name by serving the saints. (v. 10)

    — Remain diligent and hopeful to the end. (v. 11)

    — Imitate those who through faith persevered and inherited the promises. (v. 12)

    10. a. God and His promises bring us strong encouragement.

  • Two unchangeable things — God’s promise and God’s oath.
  • God does not lie. In fact, it is impossible.
  • God fulfilled his promises to Abraham and his descendants.
    • I will bless you.
    • I will multiply your descendants beyond measure.
    • Abraham waited patiently, and “he realized and obtained [in the birth of Isaac as a pledge of what was to come] what God had promised him.” (v. 15 AMPC)
  • Jesus as our forerunner (trailblazer) entered into that which is within the veil. (v. 19)
  • Jesus is the high priest of those who believe, and we are joint heirs of the promise. (v. 20)
  • God is our refuge.

And now we have run into his heart to hide ourselves in his faithfulness. This is where we find his strength and comfort, for he empowers us to seize what has already been established ahead of time—an unshakeable hope! (Hebrews 6:18 TPT)

b. “Watch! Stand firm in the faith! Be courageous! Be strong!” (1 Cor 16:13)

This I recall to my mind; therefore I have hope.

It is because of Yahweh’s loving kindnesses that we are not consumed,
because his compassion doesn’t fail.
They are new every morning.
Great is your faithfulness.
“Yahweh is my portion,” says my soul.
“Therefore, I will hope in him.”

Yahweh is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.
It is good that a man should hope
and quietly wait for the salvation of Yahweh. (Lamentations 3:21-26)

 Yahweh’s name is a strong fortress, the righteous run into his heart and find a safe and secure place of rest. (Proverbs 18:10 paraphrased)

Behold, Yahweh’s eye is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his loving kindness,
to deliver their soul from death,
to keep them alive in famine.
Our soul has waited for Yahweh.
He is our help and our shield.
For our heart rejoices in him,
because we have trusted in his holy name.
Let your loving kindness be on us, Yahweh,
since we have hoped in you. (Psalm 33:18-22)


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My answers to BSF Bible Study Fellowship questions Acts + Letters of the Apostles Lesson 14 Day 4