4-6But what about people who turn away after they have already seen the light and have received the gift from heaven and have shared in the Holy Spirit? What about those who turn away after they have received the good message of God and the powers of the future world? There is no way to bring them back. What they are doing is the same as nailing the Son of God to a cross and insulting him in public!
7A field is useful to farmers, if there is enough rain to make good crops grow. In fact, God will bless such a field. 8 But land that produces only thornbushes is worthless. It is likely to fall under God's curse, and in the end it will be set on fire.
9My friends, we are talking this way. But we are sure that you are doing those really good things people do when they are being saved. 10God is always fair. He will remember how you helped his people in the past and how you are still helping them. You belong to God, and he won't forget the love you have shown his people. 11We wish each of you would always be eager to show how strong and lasting your hope really is. 12Then you would never be lazy. You would be following the example of those who had faith and were patient until God kept his promise to them.
My high school year group was known to be particularly troublesome. We were often gathered together to receive harsh words from one teacher or another and as someone who generally tried hard to abide by the rules and do my best, all these reprimands could feel very unfair. Mr Forbes, my French teacher, sensed the injustice and would generally conclude his rants by saying, “If the cap fits, wear it!” What he meant was that his words were not addressed to all of us.
Among the Hebrews addressed by this letter there would have been those who looked to all intents and purposes like they’d bought into the gospel message, “seen the light and received the gift from heaven” (v 4), and yet are able to turn their backs on Jesus on a whim. They are the targets of the warning in verse 8.
We do not need to live in fear of losing our salvation. Jesus says “I give them eternal life, so that they will never be lost. No one can snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28). When we “belong to God” (v 10), we are eternally safe and secure.
There might be those of us who wonder which of these groups we are part of. If we are being saved, our lives will confirm that; we will be “doing those really good things that people do when they are being saved” (v 9). And although we could walk away from Jesus at any point, we never would because our hope is strong and lasting (v 11).
Almighty God, you are good, fair and generous. Help me trust in your saving grace and strengthen my faith so I can live unreservedly for you, loving and serving my neighbour in your name. In Jesus’ name, Amen.