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Saturday, August 09, 2014

Inbox: Renewing Them to Repentance

A reader commenting on Hebrews 6 provides me with sufficient topical cover to link to a pair of earlier posts on the subject of eternal security.

The italics below are mine. JR has the following thoughts to add:
“[Hebrews 6] continues in the same vein as the previous chapters. Just as the Israelites who came out of Egypt came right to the edge of the promised land but didn’t enter because of unbelief, causing the Lord to seal them in their decision even though many of them lived for decades longer, so too these Hebrews had come to the edge of Christianity and were being warned that the Lord would seal their rejection — there’s a point at which unbelief is so insulting that the Lord seals a person in it even though they’re still alive. Also, this isn’t a danger that people face today. The Hebrews were being warned that since they had had an exceptional testimony of signs and wonders (something which isn’t present today), a choice to go back would be unforgivable.”
Then he adds three observations I haven’t read elsewhere:
“One: This was rarely possible in history. In fact, it was only possible during the rare times of public signs and wonders. Moreover, it didn’t relate to Gentiles — it was only for the Jews who rejected the Lord’s Word along with His signs and wonders. And we in fact see examples of this in the three points in history when there was a concentration of public signs and wonders for the nation: (i) the Israelites who rejected the signs and wonders of Moses and Aaron (as discussed in Hebrews 3 and 4); (ii) the Jewish leaders who rejected the signs and wonders of Christ (and committed the unpardonable sin); and (iii) the Hebrews who rejected the signs and wonders of the apostles (as discussed in Hebrews 6, etc.).”
There are those who maintain that there are “signs and wonders” occurring in North America today; they may even whip up religious movements around them. But no rational being observing these “wonders” could reasonably compare them to the miracles wrought in the desert for Israel, the miracles performed by the Lord Jesus in his earthly ministry, or the miracles of the apostles in the book of Acts.

Nobody today is parting the Red Sea, raising the dead, feeding the 5,000 or watching those who lie to the Holy Spirit fall dead at their feet. These wonders were in a class of their own and have not been repeated.

The difference is not merely a matter of degree. Christians who have sinned and fear they have “fallen away” or “lost” their salvation have seen no such evidence. These sorts of miracles have not taken place since the early years of the Church Age.

JR goes on:
“Second: It’s interesting that in reference to the incident being referred to in Hebrews 3 and 4, when we turn back to the OT account, we see that the Lord specifically relates this to their rejection of His signs and wonders.”
And finally:
“Third: Just as we know that verses 1-3 are Jewish in nature, so are verses 4 and 5. All of those descriptions also applied to the Israelites in the time of Moses and Aaron: they had once been enlightened (the Law), tasted of the heavenly gift (the manna), etc.”
The believer is safe because “whoever comes to me I will never cast out”. Our security depends on Christ himself, not on our ability to cling to him by our own efforts.

That is not a reason to be casual about the things of God. It is not a reason to assume that we can do anything we like as Christians and return to the blessing and fellowship of the Lord whenever we please on our own terms. It is not an advertisement for cheap grace.

But the believer who sins has no need to fear that a prayer of repentance will meet with rejection.

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