Note: Today’s reading is Hebrews 6.
Have you ever had a promise made to you that from the moment it was spoken you knew it probably wouldn’t be kept? Maybe your friend asks you to spot them some cash you know they’ll never pay back. Maybe your parent promised to be at an event you knew they wouldn’t make. Maybe a foolish boy or girl swore that they would “always love you” only to abandon you soon after. Hebrews 6 talks about a promise we can count on. But first let’s address the gravity of this situation.
When we talk about promises of God, eternal life and eternal damnation hang in the balance. So while it a bummer to never get that $10 back from your friend, it’s a much bigger deal if you are banking on God to come through and it turns out there was a misunderstanding. How can we feel secure in our relationship with Christ? How can we know that God is with us and will be with us even though we’re so prone to fail in our attempts to obey him. Answer: When God makes a covenant to his child he swears by himself. And all God’s people said, “Wait…what?” Let’s look at the passage.
“For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, 14 saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” 15 And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise. 16 For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. 17 So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. 19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain 20 where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.”
– Hebrews 6:13–20 ESV
Did you read that? God, to show us his infinite mercy and grace, swore salvation to his people. He didn’t swear on his grandmothers grave (btw, don’t ever do that, creepy and probably sinful). He didn’t swear by a rock, or tree, or an animal’s death. He didn’t even swear on the Bible. God swore by the highest authority one can swear by, God. God swore salvation to his people by himself. If you want to read about where this happened it is in Genesis 15:8-21.
Here’s the point. If God would have just made a deal with Abraham back in Genesis 15, then we would have to ask, “Did Abraham hold up his end of the bargain?” I mean, maybe that deal is off now, Abraham definitely had some weak moments along the way. But this passage tells us that God’s covenant with his people isn’t based on his people’s performance, it’s based on his own character.
This promise was ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ. He made the way for sinful people like us to have a “sure and steadfast anchor of the soul.” Even as we consider seriously the warnings of scripture, we hold fast to the anchor. We cling to Christ, knowing that our salvation rests in his finished work.
Remember today that thousands of years ago in Genesis 15 God was already working to bring you to himself. If God has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light, then he has done so through the permanent work of His son and an oath he swore by his own name, his own character and purpose. Find your joy and hope in the steadfast anchor of God’s eternal promise fulfilled in Christ.