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The Certainty of God’s Promise April 25, 2015

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Hebrews 6:13-20.

Summary: The author begins by reminding his readers that when God declared His purpose toward Abraham for his good, He gave him a higher pledge of His faithfulness; this pledge can be found in Genesis 22:17. Although Abraham was exposed to trials and temptations about the truth and accomplishment of God’s purpose toward him, he carried on depending on God and was freely justified in Christ.

Now the author appeals to his readers’ understanding of human society to show why God gave Abraham a higher pledge of His faithfulness: an oath that invocates God as the supreme governor of the world is necessary for the peace of mankind in the event of an argument between human beings. In particular, it was God’s will to manifest His unchanging nature to all believers under the old and the new covenant; thus, He gave them a higher pledge of His faithfulness. Now since His promise is immutable and it is impossible for Him to lie, believers who seek safety in the Gospel message and firmly keep it in their grip will be comforted and consoled. Indeed, the Gospel message cannot be moved, and it can be trusted; this stems from the fact that Christ has passed through the heavens and entered the place of the glorious presence of God for all believers. The author concludes by inferring that Christ is the forerunner of all believers; He has become a high priest – as represented by Melchizedek – and their Savior.

Thoughts: In verses 13-15, the author states that Abraham maintained his faith in God’s promise even though one might have doubted His faithfulness in that regard. Owen offers some insights on this point in his commentary on verse 15:

If there are not difficulties or delays, it is not possible to know if a person can wait patiently. Abraham did not become weary or exasperated by these delays…Continuing to believe, and trusting in God’s truth and power against all difficulties and oppositions, showed how Abraham was waiting patiently.

The Old Testament shows us that both Abraham and his wife, Sarah, should have been infertile at the time when Isaac was conceived. Thus, the fulfillment of God’s promise should have been impossible given their underlying biological constraints. Sarah found the prospect of childbirth at her advanced age to be laughable; also, Abraham’s friends and acquaintances likely mocked his trust in God at his advanced age. Yet God gave Abraham the requisite strength for overcoming his natural embarrassment and maintaining his belief that His promise would be fulfilled. Thus, Abraham was an excellent model of faith for the Hebrews, as they were called to maintain their faith in Christ – and the fulfillment of His promises to them – in the face of intense persecution. Abraham is also an excellent model of faith for modern-day believers, as we are called to maintain our faith in Christ – and the fulfillment of His promises to us – in the face of opposition from the world and our sinful nature. Indeed, we rest on the fact that God has not changed over the (roughly) two millennia since He gave His promises to Abraham.

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