Guarded by God’s Power
If we’re honest, we all can recall times when we’ve failed, faltered, or temporarily lost interest in the things of Christ. These experiences can unsettle the faith of even the most seasoned believer. What, then, are we to make of our stumblings?
The Bible is clear that once we are in Jesus’ hand, we are not coming out. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me … No one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:27-28). Indeed, our failures serve as a daily reminder to cling to God’s promises all the more and not to our own merit. For those hidden in Christ, “all the promises of God find their Yes in him” (2 Corinthians 1:20). When God promises that nothing will separate us from the love of Christ (Romans 8:38-39), that includes our stumbling and sinning.
When we have been redeemed by Christ, when we have been brought into His orbit of grace, He promises to complete the good work He began in us (Philippians 1:6). We must conclude, then, that a genuine believer cannot be lost. It is not possible! According to God’s mercy, we are brought into His family and guarded by His power until the day of salvation (1 Peter 1:5).
The Bible is equally clear, however, that there are those who for a time are marked by some dedication to God but who then turn in opposition to Jesus and His word, never to return to Him again. Their repudiation of what they once professed reveals that they never genuinely belonged to Jesus at all. Such individuals, notes the author of Hebrews, receive the knowledge of truth and perhaps even suggest to others around them that their faith is sincere, but in reality, they are trampling the Son of God underfoot. They engage in the reverse of what Paul describes in Philippians 3:8: “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Paul counted everything in life as rubbish compared to knowing Jesus. But these men and women taste the goodness of the Lord yet count Him as rubbish when offered earthly pleasures.
The aim of the writer to the Hebrews is to warn against complacency, which leads to dangerous drifting (Hebrews 2:1). He is urging his readers to run to the cross in their weakness and failures, for the wonder of the cross is that there is no sinful believer that cannot be forgiven, and the glory of the Spirit is that there is no weak believer He cannot preserve. When you stumble, then, stumble toward the cross. And when you awake each day, ask the one who died in your place for a fresh outpouring of His grace in order that you may persevere in your faith.
Warning Against Neglecting Salvation
1Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, 4while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.
The Founder of Salvation
5For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. 6It has been testified somewhere,
“What is man, that you are mindful of him,
or the son of man, that you care for him?
7You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
you have crowned him with glory and honor,1
8putting everything in subjection under his feet.”
Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. 9But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
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