Jesus as Our Rest
I. If Jesus is our rest, we need to grow up; 5:11-14.
They had been Christians for such a long time now that they ought to be able to teach others; but they still needed to be taught—the very ABCs of God’s Word. They ought to be taking solid food; however, they were still unable to digest anything stronger than milk, the food of infants.
Are you teaching others how to live a moral godly life, easily distinguishing good and evil, or do you still need to be taught how to obey? Are you growing in your righteousness? Today is the best day to repent of spiritual immaturity and start living out the deeper matters of faith or when trials come, we don’t persevere.
II. If Jesus is our rest, move toward maturity; 6:1-3.
To go on insisting on the basics, therefore, would not really help them; it would be better to press on to those teachings which belonged to spiritual maturity, in the hope that the maturity would come.
Will God permit them to even mature in their faith? If the same things are working for you to grow then, it is time to do something new. Stop trying to combine being a follower of Christ with how everyone else lives - your old lifestyle and relationships.
III. If Jesus is our rest, there is no start over; 6:4-8.
The group in these verses are genuine believers who “fall away” in the sense of willful disobedience to God. They do not once and for all deny Christ. They do fail to press on to spiritual maturity by direct disobedience to God’s will and word. The judgment that these believers incur does not involve loss of salvation.
Temporally, this discipline involves loss of opportunity to go on to maturity in the Christian life, loss of effective service for Christ in this life, loss of the blessings of God that come from an obedient life, and in some cases perhaps premature physical death. Eternally, it involves loss of rewards in heaven and perhaps loss of position of leadership/service in the coming millennial kingdom. These are genuine believers who are in danger of forfeiting some blessings in this life, as well as rewards in eternity.
The agricultural illustration is contrasting a fruitful believer who endures with an unfruitful believer who is unfruitful because of willful disobedience - resulting in a state of arrested development spiritually, a state confirmed by God himself.
The Kadesh-Barnea episode furnishes the backdrop as it did for Hebrews 4. Their rebellion against God caused them to consider rejecting Moses and going back to Egypt. As a result, God swore an oath that that generation would not enter the Promised Land. Through the intercession of Moses, God forgave them their sin and did not reject them as His covenant people.
Though they had forfeited the Promised Land, for the next 38 years they still were the beneficiaries of God’s miraculous manna and water. They received His divine leadership and protection. Yet they were under His oath and His curse that they could not enter the land. Though they wept tears of repentance and attempted to go up into the land, God did not permit them to do so.
The readers of Hebrews did not face the danger of losing their salvation through total rejection of Christ. Their danger was falling into a permanent state of immaturity through a willful refusal to trust God to deliver them from their present troubles.
The key to understanding the impossibility of renewing to repentance is found in Numbers 14. There, it was impossible for the people to be renewed to repentance because God had determined against permitting their entrance into the Promised Land.
The ground for every Christian’s assurance and perseverance is the high priesthood of Christ. Genuine believers persevere, not based on what they do, but on what Christ has done.
Such decisive refusal to press on to maturity through obedience places us in jeopardy of having God refuse to permit us to press on to maturity. The consequence would be the loss of blessing, growth, usefulness in this life, and loss of rewards in the eternal state.
IV. If Jesus in our rest, we must not become lazy; 6:9-12.
Considering what is at stake, the author does not want his readers to lapse into laziness, but rather to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. Who do you want to be like - the great people of faith or the people our culture see as great?