Going on Toward Perfection.
SUMMARY.--Leaving First Principles.
First Principles Explained.
Going On to Perfection.
The Fatal Consequences of Apostasy.
Exhortation to Diligence.
The Absolute Assurance of God's Promises.
1, 2. Leaving the principles. The rudiments, the milk fitted
only for babes.
Let us go on unto perfection. Go on to the higher lessons which
belong to full grown men. The exhortation is to go on from the lessons
of Christian childhood to those of manhood in Christ. See
verses 13, 14 of chapter 5.
Not laying again the foundation, etc. To lay the foundation once
is enough, if it is laid right. These first principles are the
foundation of Christian life, but we must build higher and higher upon
Repentance. This was essential in laying the foundation. All
men are commanded to repent. Repentance is essentially a change of the
will, the rebellious will becoming a will to serve the Lord.
Dead works. Some try to save themselves by trusting in their
works but they are as vain to save as though they were dead.
Faith towards God. Faith as well as repentance enter into the
foundation. The sinner must believe upon the Lord, and repent. See
Acts 16:31 and 2:38.
2. Of the doctrine of baptisms. The third of these first
principles which belong to the "foundation" relates to baptism. See
Eph. 4:5; Matt. 28:19,
etc. But why is the plural used? There is but one baptism in water
when the penitent is baptized into Christ
(Eph. 4:5; Gal. 3:27).
There is, however, another baptism which was promised before Christ
came which was not of water. See
Christ also promised it before his ascension. Hence there is not only
the baptism of the body in water, but of the spirit in the Holy Spirit,
as fulfilled on the day of Pentecost.
Laying on of hands. In the primitive church the extraordinary
operation of the Holy Spirit was imparted by the laying on of the
Of the resurrection of the dead. One of the fundamental but
primary principles of Christian teaching.
Of eternal judgment. This was comprehended in teaching the
resurrection. All were to be rewarded according to the deeds of this
3-6. If God permit. We will go on to these higher lessons if God
permit. The author is led by the
Spirit in what he says, and hence humbly defers all he shall say in the
rest of the epistle to the will of God.
4. For it is impossible. There are sins that have no forgiveness
(Matt. 12:31, 32).
There are Apostates who can never find a place for repentance, not
because of the failure of God's mercy, but because they have destroyed
their moral capacity for a heartfelt repentance. Usually the most
hardened sinner are apostates.
Were once enlightened. Had the light of the Gospel. See
Have tasted. Experienced.
The heavenly gift. The new life in Christ. Christ "giveth life
unto the world"
Partakers of the Holy Ghost. The Spirit of God is sent into the
heart of all sons
(Gal. 4:6; Rom. 8:9).
5. And have tasted the good word of God. Fed on that word which
is food for the soul.
The powers of the world to come. The miraculous gifts of the
Spirit. The world to come is used in the sense of the Christian
6. If they fall away. Apostasize from the faith.
To renew them to repentance. He is so far fallen that he has no
capacity left for repentance. Judas the Apostate sorrowed, but his
sorrows became despair. There was remorse but not repentance.
Crucify . . . the Son of God afresh. By rejecting
Christ they place themselves with those who rejected him and crucified
him because he affirmed that he was the Son of God. Those meant are not
those "overtaken in a fault,"
or backsliders only, but men once Christian professors who not
only turn away from but oppose Christ.
7, 8. For the earth, etc. These two verses show that treatment
depends on what kind of fruit is borne. God sends sunshine and rain on
the earth. If it brings forth food for man, it is blessed. But if it
thorns and briers, they are rejected. So God, who blesses our
lives, and refreshes them with the Gospel, demands righteous fruit. If
they bear thorns,
the end is destruction.
9-12. We are persuaded better things of. That you will not bear
thorns and briers.
10. For God is not unrighteous to. Though the Hebrew Christians
had not advanced in knowledge
yet they had shown the fruits of the love of Christ in
ministering to the saints.
11. Show the same diligence. Not only continue your work of
love, but show equal diligence in attaining the
full assurance of hope, by going on to perfection in
12. That ye be . . . followers of them. Of the
glorious heroes of the faith, like Abraham and Moses, and the martyrs,
like Stephen and James.
Faith and patience. These qualities, essential to steadfastness,
must be found in those who "inherit the promises."
13-20. For when God made promise. The promises are absolutely
sure. See how God confirmed his promise to Abraham! See
14. Saying, Surely blessing. The promise so confirmed to Abraham
is given in these words.
15. He obtained the promise. It was sure, but he had to
patiently endure in order to obtain. The history of Abraham shows how
he was blessed.
16. For men verily swear by the greater. When men make a solemn
oath in order to settle a fact or covenant beyond controversy they
usually swear in the name of God. God, however, could swear by no one
greater than himself.
17. God willing, etc. God, out of condescension to that human
weakness which puts more confidence in an oath than in the bare word,
confirmed his promise by an oath.
18. That by two immutable things. By his word of promise, and by
his oath, neither of which could ever be broken.
Strong consolation. In the absolute certainty of God's promises
who have fled for refuge. Fled from the wrath revealed against
sin to the Gospel with its promises and blessed hopes.
19. Which hope . . . an anchor of the soul. As an
anchor holds the ship when the storms are raging, so this hope holds
the soul stedfast.
Entereth into that within the vail. The vail was before the Holy
of Holies in the tabernacle, but it was a type of heaven. Hence this
means that the hope reaches to heaven. It is a heavenly hope.
20. Whither the forerunner. As the High Priest entered within
the veil into the Holy of Holies, so our High Priest has entered for
us, and before us, into the heavens.
A High Priest forever, etc. See notes on