SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Some elementary teachings of the Bible are listed in verses 1-2. These are subjects every Jesus follower should be able to explain.
- Verses 4-6 offer a serious warning about the consequences of our falling away from God.
- We're told (in verse 6) that when, as Christians, we live in an unfaithful way, we subject Jesus to public disgrace. Other people who don't really know Jesus form their opinions about him from our lives, and we make him look bad.
- Verses 11-12 challenge Christians to not become lazy, but to be diligent about their faith so they won't suffer any of this, or make Jesus suffer in that way.
- The last section (verses 13-20) are a little confusing but the basic idea is that, in contrast to how people can be unfaithful, God is always faithful and keeps every promise he makes to us, which is our firm and secure hope.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- The Bible says that if we put our faith in Jesus (see Acts 16:30-31, and Romans 10:9-10), God takes away our sins (see Colossians 2:13-14). We aren't "saved" through being good or through not sinning (see Ephesians 2:8-9), but through our faith. So we don't "fall away" (verse 6) from God by sinning.
- Even if we sin, those sins are already forgiven. Why? Because we have put our faith in Jesus. So how could a person fall away? By no longer putting their faith in Jesus. It's the person who has faith in Jesus who is brought to God, and how a person could "fall away" from God is by no longer putting their faith in Jesus. This warning we see in verses 4-6 is the same as we see throughout this book of Hebrews, and in the book of Galatians, and to some degree in the book of Colossians.
- We are not very dependable. Our thoughts, and emotions, and even our faith can be fickle and waver. But God is totally dependable. He is unchanging.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- If you are newer to the Bible and can't explain the "elementary teachings" (verses 1-2) then it is great that you're now reading the Bible. Also, we offer Verve U courses that will help develop your understanding. Our class called Verge (starting next month!) will help you get a firm grasp on the basic concepts of Christianity and why they matter in your life. Be sure to take Verge!
- Hearing the warnings of the dire consequences for someone who falls away from Jesus, what can you do to bolster your faith, and keep it strong over the long term? How might daily reading the Bible fit into this? Praying? Taking Verve U courses? Being in a micro group? We're all busy, and so it's easy to be distracted from doing the things that strengthen our faith. But nothing is more important than our relationship with God and so we need to prioritize building our faith daily.