The Berean Expositor
Volume 13 - Page 41 of 159
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If God Permit (6: 3).
pp. 142 144
"If God permit."--It is most essential that every believer who contemplates running
the race, pressing for the prize, gaining the crown, and being numbered among those who
are called "the Perfect", should realize the meaning hidden behind the apostle's words,
"If God permit". The verses that follow are an explanation, speaking as they do of the
impossibility of renewing again unto repentance those who, having tasted the heavenly
gift, fall away. The type given later, of Esau, is very explicit.
"Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.  For ye know how that
afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no
place of REPENTANCE, though he sought it carefully with tears" (12: 16, 17).
The only occurrences of the word "repentance" in Hebrews are in 6: 1, 6 and
12: 17. It is evident that the case of Esau is an amplification or an illustration of the case
of those spoken of in Heb. 6:
The words "If God permit" glance back to that period of Israel's history that has
already provided the great basis of exhortation in chapters 3: and 4:--"the day of
temptation in the wilderness". It will be remembered that upon hearing the evil report of
the ten spies Israel murmured, and said, "Let us make a captain, and let us return to
Egypt". The Lord then bade Moses say:--
"As truly as I live, . . . . . your carcases shall fall in this wilderness . . . . . and the
people mourned greatly." It would appear also that their mourning was in some measure
a repentance, for "they rose up early in the mourning and gat them up into the top of the
mountain, saying, Lo, we be here, and will go up into the place which the Lord hath
promised: for we have sinned. And Moses said, Wherefore now do ye transgress the
commandment of the Lord? but it shall not prosper. Go not up, for the Lord is not among
you: that ye be not smitten before your enemies . . . . . But they presumed to go up into
the hill top: . . . . . then the . . . . . Canaanites . . . . . smote them . . . . ." (Num. 14:).
In the words "but they presumed", we have a parallel with the expression in
Heb. 11: 29, "the Egyptians assaying to do".
This passage together with those of Heb. 6: and 12: cause one to pause and think of
the seriousness of the lesson here being taught. Of a similar import is the saying of the
"No one, having put his hand to the plough, and looking unto the things that are
behind, is well placed with a view to the kingdom of God" (Luke 9: 62).
The exact repetition of the words "The things that are behind" in Phil. 3: 13 is too
pointed to be a coincidence, the context being so closely connected with those we have
been considering. Having turned to Phil. 3: it may be as well to observe another