Promise and Hope
Hebrews 6:9-20

V. 20 clearly reveals the problem being dealt with here in Hebrews.

The Hebrews welcomed Jesus Christ as their Messiah with the hope that he would establish his physical kingdom here on earth with Jerusalem as its headquarters, and set them free from the physical bondage to other nations. They had even asked him "when will you establish your kingdom?"

On the other hand, many still believe that they had a valid High Priest in Jerusalem. Christ had ascended to heaven, but the High Priest in Jerusalem was more convenient, being near at hand.

In fact, in Acts 21, the idea of the validity of the Temple at Jerusalem was so strong that Paul, along with others, was urged to go to the Temple for purification. The idea of the Temple ceremonies was so ingrained that it took the Jewish Roman war of 66-76 A.D. to end that relationship.

As we have previously pointed out, Rome saw Christianity simply as a dissident group within Judaism. Hebrews gave the new Christians, and all believers to follow, the Biblical reason for the separation between the Jewish religion and the Christian religion. Hebrews also equips us understand the relationship of Christianity with Judaism at the time. The entire New Testament was written before 70 A.D. when Judaism still had a strong hold upon society.

Vv. 9, 10.

Though Hebrews clearly requires separation of Christianity from the old Hebrew, or Jewish mediation laws, it connects Christianity to the Mosaic law with its continuation of brotherly love as required by Moses.

He mentions in proof of their love, that they had ministered and were still ministering to the saints. We are hence reminded, that we are not to neglect to serve our brethren. By mentioning the saints, he means not that we are debtors to them alone; for our love ought to expand and be manifested towards all mankind; but as the household of faith are especially recommended to us, peculiar attention is to be paid to them; for as love, when moved to do good, has partly a regard to God, and partly to our common nature, the nearer any one is to God, the more worthy he is of being assisted by us. In short, when we acknowledge any one as a child of God, we ought to embrace him with brotherly love.

By saying that they had ministered and were still ministering, he commended their perseverance; which in this particular was very necessary; for there is nothing to which we are more prone than to weariness in well-doing. [Galatians 6:9, 2 Thessalonians 3:13, ed.] Hence it is, that though many are found ready enough to help their brethren, yet the virtue of constancy is so rare, that a large portion soon relax as though their warmth had cooled. But what ought constantly to stimulate us is even this one expression used by the apostle, that the love shown to the saints is shown towards the name of the Lord; for he intimates that God holds himself indebted to us for whatever good we do to our neighbors, according to that saying,

"What ye have done to one of the least of these, ye have done to me," (#Mt 25:40); and there is also another, "He that giveth to the poor lendeth to the Lord."(#Pr 19:17).
(Calvin, OLB)

Note: the lack of consistency in well-doing is a curse upon the church. From beginning to end, Scripture has much to say about the true faith working its way out in consistency, love and Christian charity.

Luke 6:38 “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”

Though the subjects of this letter were having a problem with Christ being the only mediator between God and man, they are commended for their faithfulness to the Lord because of their concern for others. Christian concern does not earn merit before the Lord. Rather it reveals our faith and trust in the Lord that he will not "forget your work and labor of love."

Matthew 22:36 “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.“

Though our first responsibility is to the household of faith, our responsibility does not stop there:

Galatians 6:10 “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”

Ver. 10. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men. This is the true rule about doing good. “The opportunity to do good,” says Cotton Mather, “imposes the obligation to do it.”… (Barnes, OLB)


The careful reader of the four Gospels, will discover that in the days of His flesh, the Lord Jesus healed those concerning whom nothing is recorded of their faith. The blessings which He dispensed were not restricted to His disciples. Temporal mercies were bestowed upon natural men as well as upon spiritual. And, be it carefully noted, this was something more, something in addition to, the providential goodness of the Creator, which is extended to all of Adam’s race: "He maketh His sun to rise, on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust" (#Mt 5:45). Rather did those gracious acts of Christ unto the unbelieving, fore-shadow that which we designated in the preceding article, the inlenor operations of His Spirit. On a few Christ bestowed spiritual blessings, saving mercies; to others, He imparted temporal blesses, mercies which came short of saving their recipients. (OLB)

V. 10. "which he have showed toward his name…" The Christian’s good "works" even toward those outside of the household of faith are unto Christ: “ye have done it unto me”. (Matt 25:40)

The Old Testament law required good works toward all, even those outside of the “household of faith".

“If thou meet thine enemy’s ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again.” (Exodus 23:4, &c.)

“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:35)

We are confronted today with many professed Christians, including “leaders" who, though professing charity toward others, their only charity is toward themselves. "By their fruits you shall know them."

This letter to the Hebrews is generally attributed to the apostle Paul, but in vv. 9 and 11, the word "we" is used to identify the author of this letter. In all of Paul's letters, he uses "I" to identify himself as the author. Evidently, this letter was written by a group, probably a group of Apostles.

Vv. 11, 12.

Two exhortations were set before the Hebrew Christians in the 6th chapter of this epistle. First, they were bidden to turn their backs upon Judaism and go on unto a full embracing of Christianity (#6:1). The application to God’s people today of the principle contained in this exhortation is, Abandon everything which enthralled your hearts in your unregenerate days, and find your peace, joy, satisfaction in Christ. In contemplating the peculiar temptation of the Hebrews to forsake the Christian position and path for a return to Judaism, let us not lose sight of the fact that a danger just as real menaces the believer today. The flesh still remains within him, and all that Satan used in the past to occupy his heart, still exists in the present. Though Israel came forth from the House of Bondage, passed through the Red Sea, and started out joyfully (#Ex 15:1) for the promised land, yet it was not long ere their hearts went back to Egypt, lusting after its fleshpots (#Ex 16:3).
It is worse than idle to reply to what has been pointed out above by saying, Real Christians are in no "danger," for God has promised to preserve them. True, but God has promised to preserve His people in a way of holiness, not in a course of sinful self-will and self-gratification. Those whom Christ has declared shall "never perish" are they who "hear His voice and follow Him" (#Joh 10:27, 28) .…
The second exhortation of Heb. 6 is found in #6:11, 12, first part of which was before us at the close of our last chapter There the apostle says, "And we desire that everyone of you do show the same diligence". This, together with the verses that follow, is a call to perseverance in the path of godliness. … (Pink)

(6) He shows in these verses that they need to go forward constantly, for their own good: that is, of charity, and patience; and lest any man should object and say that these things are impossible to do, he asks them to consider the examples of their ancestors and to follow them. (Geneva)

Followers of them µ?µ?ta? de ???????µ???t?? ta? epa??e??a?. That ye be mimics or imitators of them who are inheriting the promises. And they inherited these promises by faith in him who is invisible, and who, they knew, could not lie; and they patiently endured, through difficulties and adversities of every kind, and persevered unto death. (Clarke, OLB)

them whoР…Рinherit the promisesР—РGreek, "who are inheriting," etc.; to whom the promises are their inheritance. Not that they have actually entered on the perfect inheritance, which #Heb 11:13,39,40 explicitly denies; though doubtless the dead in Christ have, in the disembodied soul, a foretaste of it; but "them (enumerated in #Heb 11:2-40) who in every age have been, are, or shall be, inheritors of the promises"; of whom Abraham is an illustrious example (#Heb 6:13). (JFB, OLB)

The authors, "we", are urging all of the Hebrew believers, and believers of all ages, to "shew the same diligence" to the faith as was already shown by the faithful. (Ch. 11) Their diligence in v. 11 is to be exercised with the full assurance of hope that God is not unrighteous to forget their work and labor of love in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. They are not to be slothful in the faith, but follow the saints of old who through faith and patiently doing the work of God would inherit the promise.

Hebrews continually identifies faith as obedience, and obedience as faith. One obeys because he has faith, and his faith is shown by his obedience.

We have met more than a few who profess their Christianity in great and glorious terms, but their works deny that they even know the God of Scripture. (Titus 1:16)

The call and example of the saints here is "not to be weary in well doing", for we will inherit the promises just as sure as Abraham did. We must not be slothful and grow weak in the faith, but follow those who through patient obedience and faith are inheriting the promises of God in Christ here and now as well as in the future.

V. 14. By his own name, God promised to bless Abraham. Abraham lived in the assurance of that promise. Admittedly, he grew weak in his faith as all of us do at times. The result of that weakness is all around us as his seed through Hagar who follow Mohammed are doing all they can to destroy the "seed of Abraham", both the spiritual and the professed physical seed.

V. 15. “This means that, amid all the temptations and trialsto which he was exposed, Abraham studiously persevered inbelieving and expecting God to make good His word. …” (Pink)

Abraham’s chronology: Genesis 12 promise at 75 years old; promise of a son, 100; offered his son and promise of God’s provision of a mediator in place of the blood sacrifice, “God will provide himself a lamb”, 125; death at 175. (Annals of the World)

V. 16. V. 14, “Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.” (C. 1871 BC) Man’s promises offer only a hope that something will be done. God's promises are reality, though it may take many years for the reality to come to pass.

God, "that cannot lie," made a promise to Abraham. V. 14 quotes Genesis 22:15-18.

When men swear oaths in the name of the Lord to establish or settle a matter, it should be "an end of all strife." (Cf. Exodus 22:11, &c.) But even the best of men may swear falsely, or break their oaths. There was a time even in our recent history when an oath meant something. But generally those days are now in the past. We are all weary of those, particularly professed Christians, who say they will do something, and that is the last you hear of the matter.

When a Christian gives his oath to do something and fails to do it, he has taken the Lord's name in vain. And such vain conversation is quite common among Believers.

But God's promise to Abraham was made in his own name, because he could swear by no higher authority than himself. (Heb 7:21)

V. 18, “Two immutable (i.e., permanently fixed) things.”

First, God‘s promise. Second, God’s oath. The God who cannot lie promises the believer free access to the father through the mediator Christ Jesus. He is the only Refuge.

To flee for refuge(V. 18) is the true attitude of the believer. The believer recognizes Christ Jesus to bethat One who may be approached by faith for the purpose of soul safety. Notice now as weconsider Christ our refuge.(Alderman.).

Turn from anything that seeks to make us right with God, and turn to Christ alone.

Pink’s brief analysis of theverses which were before us in the preceding article.
1. Abraham is set before us as an example: #6:12 and the opening "For" of #6:13
2. God made promise to Abraham: #6:13.
3. That promise had immediate reference to Christ and the benefits of His mediation: #Ga 3:16.
4. In addition to His promise, God placed Himself on oath to Abraham: #6:13.
5. The peculiar nature of that oath: God sware by Himself: #6:13.
6. God sware by Himself because there was none greater to whom He might appeal: #6:13.
7. Abraham’s faith, resting on the ground of God’s promise and oath, patiently endured and obtainedthe promise: #6:15.(Pink)

V. 18 refers to two immutable things: Gods promise, and Gods oath, both given by the God who cannot lie. We are given strong encouragement, and have found a refuge, altar, or sanctuary (i.e., OT sanctuary cities to where the guilty could flee) in Jesus Christ. That refuge, altar or sanctuary was not in the Hebrew temple.

V. 19. "Hope", or faith in the unseen God, as revealed in Christ, who cannot lie, is compared to a ship's anchor that prevents it from being destroyed upon the rocks in storms.

The veil refers to the veil of the temple, separating the most holy place from the holy place. Through faith in the mediation work of Christ, the believer enters into Christ, and become fellow heirs of the promise of entering into “the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.” (Hebrews 12:22, 13:14)

The believer’s hope of obtaining that City which the saints of old saw by faith is by the same faith in Jesus Christ, who entered through the veil into the holy of holies as the true High Priest, which replaced the Aaronic priesthood. The believers' High Priest is now in the heavens making intercession. The Hebrews are assured it is now an act of apostasy to seek mediation through any earthly means.

In addition, the believers who are in Christ are seated in the heavens with him.

Thedetails of the anchor-metaphor are not to be pressed; the writersimply argues that we are meant to fix ourselves to what has beenfixed for us by God and in God. To change the metaphor, our hoperoots itself in the eternal order. What we hope for is unseen, beingout of sight, but it is secure and real, and we can grasp it by faith.(Moffatt)

V. 20 forerunner, is one who those before others to prepared the way. (Hebrews 4:14) He also shows the way for those who have never been that way. “A ‘forerunner’ is one who hasalready traversed every step of the race which is set before us(#12:1, 2), and who has entered into possession of that towardwhich he ran.” (Pink)

As a forerunner (p??d??µ??). Old word used for a spy, ascout, only here in N.T. Jesus has shown us the way, has gone onahead, and is the surety {e?????, #Heb 7:22?} and guarantor ofour own entrance later. In point of fact, our anchor of hope with itstwo chains of God’s promise and oath has laid hold of Jesus withinthe veil. It will hold fast. All we need to do is to be true to himas he is to us.(RWP) (Ps 23)

The author’s warning against apostasy continues as he again shows the uselessness, even apostasy of those who were inclined to return to the Temple. Jesus Christ, as our forerunner, has already entered into the Holy of Holies where he represents his people as their Great High Priest. He is forever that High Priest “after the order of Melchisedec”. He fulfilled the promise foreshadowed by the Mosaic priesthood.

V. 20, again we are shown the total victory of Jesus Christ in both time and eternity by referring again to Psalms 110: 4.

V. 18, “lay hold upon the hope set before us”.

2. When fixed on God, hope embraces expectation, trust, and patient waiting. It is linked to faith, as in #Heb 11:1, whichstresses the certainty of what is divinely given. #Ro 8:24-25 makes not only the formal point that we do not hope for what isvisibly present saw by faith also the material one that what is visiblypresent offers no basis for hope since it belongs to the sphere ofthe sarx. Hence we have to wait patiently, in hope believingagainst hope, i.e., unable to count on controllable factors andhence thrown back on God. {#Ro 4:18?} Patient endurance is themain point in #Ro 5:4 1Th 1:3 Heb 6:11, but sure confidence ismeant in #1Co 15:19 2Co 1:10 Php 1:20 Heb 3:6 1Pe 1:21. Themain difference from the OT is that the act of salvation has nowbeen accomplished in Christ, so that hope itself is an eschatological blessing, and there is every reason for confidencesuch as Paul has in the Corinthians. {#2Co 1:12ff?} Hope restson faith in the act of salvation {#Ro 8:24-25?} and issustained by the Spirit. {#Ro 8:26-27?} It is an integral partof the Christian life. {#Ro 15:13 12:12?} As such it goesclosely with faith and love. {#1Th 1:3 1Co 13:13?} It endureseven when we attain to sight, for its focus is not on what is tobe given but on the God who gives it and will maintain it when itis given. Endurance may be stressed in this life. {#Ro 5:2,4-5?} but our waiting is confident, for we are saved byhope. {#Ro 8:24?}(TDNT) (“Hope that is seen is not hope”.)

The fulfillment lies in the future, and is sure as there is an everlasting God in heaven: “The God of Hope is the God of the future, because He has ordained it and totally governs and predestines it. This hope rests on Christ’s Kingship, and Christ’s high priestly status. And our standing in that hope is Gods ordination and our apprehension by faith.
First, Jesus Christ our last Adam, cannot be our King if He is not our High Priest who makes atonement for us, and then regenerates us to be His new humanity, His new human race. This is God’s doing, not ours. Second, because He is with the Father and the Spirit our Predestinator, our future does not depend upon us, but upon Him. We can therefore with Abraham regard our hope as the promise of the God who cannot lie.” (RJR)

Hope, or faith in what cannot be seen, for faith is not a feeling. It is rather a sure confidence in the promises of God, who cannot lie.

The Mediator from his throne on high is even now working through his elect and by this divine providence to make his enemies his footstool. (Hebrews 6:20, Psalms 110:4) And his people have the assurance that all things will be subdued to Christ's kingdom.


V. 12, though the fulfillment of Psalms 110 shall be accomplished by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit works through people, which requires great diligence on their part. It will not be an easy task. (Proverbs 12:24, 13:4, 15:19, Acts 14:22, Romans 8:17, Jude 3, &c.)

Finally, vv. 9-11, gives us a requirement of Christian charity. Moreover, we are not here on this earth to accomplish our own personal desires. We are here to do all things required of us by God's word, take dominion over his creation, avoid slothfulness, and endure with patient hope in obtaining the promise. We must get past our own desires and self-will.

Faith and hope have been reduced to feelings, rather than action. The accomplishment of all things required of the believer is not dependent upon the believer, but upon our high priest. Hope and faith is a gift of the Spirit to all of his people.

We should keep in mind that Hebrews was written during a time of great persecution against the church by the Jews, and by Nero.