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Volume 14 - Page 40 of 167 Index | Zoom | |
Volume XIII, page 30. The context is concerning Christ and His people "being made
perfect". The figures used are those of "babes" and "full grown or perfect". The "dull"
had made no progress, they had remained babes. The lessons connected with their
perfecting and with Christ as the Priest after the order of Melchisedec could not be told
them in their condition. These things are carried over to Heb. 6: 12. The dull or slothful
would fail "after the same example of unbelief" (Heb. 4: 11), for the "inheriting" of
promises must not be confounded with those gifts in grace that are ours through Christ
Heb. 11: 33 speaks of those whose faith "wrought righteousness" (which cannot refer
to justification without works); who "obtained promises". Heb. 6: 15 tells us that this
"obtaining" is the result of "patient endurance":--
"And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise."
The Hebrews, though saved, were in danger of giving up and going back. The apostle
seeing this, and knowing the history of his people as he did, was allowed the privilege of
writing to his kinsmen this word of exhortation (13: 22). Throughout the epistle the
thought of slipping away, turning back, failing to enter, losing confidence, denying the
Lord, bartering the birthright as did Esau, is uppermost. The going on to perfection is
enforced and illustrated by the example of Caleb and Joshua, the elders who obtained a
good report, and by the example of the Lord Himself. Work, love, hope, faith, patience;
if the word "labour" be retained in verse 10, we have a similar series to that set out in
I Thess. 1: 3, and expounded in that epistle. "Faith" and "patience" are the two words
used by the apostle in direct connection with inheriting the promises. In Heb. 10: 38, 39
we have "living by faith" placed in contrast with "drawing back", and the faith
that inherits the promises is the faith that "believes unto the acquiring of the soul"
(Heb. 10: 39). This rendering we must justify when dealing with chapter 10: The faith that
inherits the promises is further expressed in Heb. 11: as
"the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
This enabled Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and the rest to overcome and to obtain
promises. The whole teaching concerning faith is summed up for us in chapter 12: 2:--
"Looking away to Jesus the author and perfecter of faith, Who for the joy that was set
before Him endured . . . . . and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
The sequel expresses the need for continuance:--
"lest ye be wearied and faint . . . . . ye have not yet resisted unto blood" (Heb. 12: 3, 4).
The apostle urged his readers to become "imitators" of those who by faith and
patience inherit the promises. He says in 13: 7:--
"Remember them that have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word
God; whose faith be imitating, considering the end of their conversation, Jesus Christ the
same yesterday, and to-day, and unto the ages."