The beginning of our assurance

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by JonC δοῦλος, Mar 9, 2014.

  1. JonC

    JonC
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    Hebrews 3:12-19 is a commentary on the quotation in 7-11 (from Psalm 95). The author encourages his audience to take care that there be none among them with an unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. Becoming partakers of Christ means holding firm the beginning of our assurance until the end.

    If we take the original audience to be primarily Jewish minded individuals (which I believe is warranted by the text), what is the “beginning of our assurance”? Is it referring to, in general, a knowledge of the gospel message or is this beginning a faithfulness to Judaism with its object being Christ? Is “the end” entering into “God’s rest” in the present (the salvation rest and inheritance we have in Christ) or the future eternal “Sabbath rest”?
     
  2. Judith

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    He is speaking to the Hebrews who knows the truth and who has received Christ to exort other hebrews who still has not come to a salvation belief. They have made a move towards Christ but have not fully come to salvation and are in danger of turning away. They are on the fence. They still have some doubts and like those in the Exodus who started but hardened their hearts with unbelief and wondewred in the desert for 40 years these are also in the same danger. The saved are being exhorted to encourage the doubters to put their faith in Christ unto salvation.
     
  3. JonC

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    I agree. I was wondering how the initial audience would understand a couple of points in the message. Is “the beginning of their faith” then looking at their Jewish faith which should culminate in a belief in Christ or the cognitive realization of the gospel which should culminate in a belief in Christ? Is holding the beginning of our assurance until the end referring to this realization (accepting Christianity as a fulfillment of what the Hebrew religion foreshadowed) or is this “end” referring to glorification?
     
  4. kyredneck

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    Disagree.

    Even after all the wickedness Israel had done in the wilderness after leaving Egypt (unbelief, disobedience, murmuring, idolatry, fornication, rebellion, etc.), and even with Balaam wanting so badly to curse Israel, God made Balaam to declare:

    He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob; Neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: Jehovah his God is with him, And the shout of a king is among them. Nu 23:21
    (Blessed is the man to whom, the Lord will not reckon sin. Ro 4:8)

    But the Exodus Generation still yet reaped (IN THIS TEMPORAL REALM) for their wickedness after being redeemed from Egypt, they wandered for forty years in the waste places when they could have possessed the promised land.

    Yet during all their wandering/chastening in the Wilderness He still yet gave them shade by day and light by night, He fed them manna, gave them water, their clothes never wore out, their feet didn't blister, etc., He was with them always.
     
  5. Iconoclast

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    The Hebrew religion was legal under roman rule.Christianity was illegal and subject to persecution.The Hebrews were warned not to "go back" to the safety of the OT religion which was to go into apostasy from the Living God.
     
  6. kyredneck

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    After reading Icon’s post I realize how unclear my previous post was; Hebrews is so steeped into the types I commented to you from ‘type mode’. I understood what I was saying while probably no one else did.

    What I disagree with in the above post is the [implied] notion that those in that congregation that were falling away back to the apostate religion that had crucified Christ were unregenerate. The text of Hebrews does not support that notion, in fact it’s quite the opposite:

    12 Take heed, brethren, lest haply there shall be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the living God: Heb 3

    4 For as touching those who were once enlightened and tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit,
    5 and tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the age to come,
    6 and then fell away, it is impossible to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. Heb 6

    26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more a sacrifice for sins,
    27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and a fierceness of fire which shall devour the adversaries.
    28 A man that hath set at nought Moses law dieth without compassion on the word of two or three witnesses:
    29 of how much sorer punishment, think ye, shall he be judged worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
    30 For we know him that said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. Heb 10

    The notion amongst Christians that one that is ‘truly saved’ could never commit the sin of unbelief is wrong. Even Moses and Aaron were denied entrance into His rest because of their unbelief:

    And Jehovah said unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed not in me, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them. Nu 20:12
     
  7. kyredneck

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    Outstanding point which the types given in Rev 11:8 reinforce:

    Sodom:
    17 And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the Plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.
    26 But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. Gen 19

    Egypt:
    38 This is he that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel that spake to him in the Mount Sinai, and with our fathers: who received living oracles to give unto us:
    39 to whom our fathers would not be obedient, but thrust him from them, and turned back in their hearts unto Egypt,
    40 saying unto Aaron, Make us gods that shall go before us: for as for this Moses, who led us forth out of the land of Egypt, we know not what is become of him. Acts 7

    Jerusalem:
    25 But first must he suffer many things and be rejected of this generation.
    28 Likewise even as it came to pass in the days of Lot; they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;
    29 but in the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all:
    30 after the same manner shall it be in the day that the Son of man is revealed.
    31 In that day, he that shall be on the housetop, and his goods in the house, let him not go down to take them away: and let him that is in the field likewise not return back.
    32 Remember Lot`s wife. Lu 17

    But when ye see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that her desolation is at hand. Then let them that are in Judaea flee unto the mountains; and let them that are in the midst of her depart out; and let not them that are in the country enter therein. For these are days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. Woe unto them that are with child and to them that give suck in those days! for there shall be great distress upon the land, and wrath unto this people....This generation shall not pass away, till all things be accomplished. Lu 21:20-23,32

    But Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. Lu 9:62

    Babylon:
    After having been given the command to get out, very few Jews actually returned home! On the whole their hearts were totally immersed in Babylon! Edersheim comments:

    “…it is of the greatest importance to remember in regard to this Eastern dispersion, that only a minority of the Jews, consisting in all of about 50,000, originally returned from Babylon, first under Zerubbabel and afterwards under Ezra. Nor was their inferiority confined to numbers. The wealthiest and most influential of the Jews remained behind. According to Josephus, with whom Philo substantially agrees, vast numbers, estimated at millions, inhabited the Trans-Euphratic provinces….A later tradition had it, that so dense was the Jewish population in the Persian Empire, that Cyrus forbade the further return of the exiles, lest the country should be depopulated. So large and compact a body soon became a political power. Kindly treated under the Persian monarchy, they were, after the fall of that empire, favoured by the successors of Alexander. When in turn the Macedono-Syrian rule gave place to the Parthian Empire, the Jews formed, from their national opposition to Rome, an important element in the East. Such was their influence that, as late as the year 40 a.d., the Roman legate shrank from provoking their hostility…..”
     
    #7 kyredneck, Mar 10, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 10, 2014
  8. Iconoclast

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    excellent vs to go back was to depart from the living God
     
  9. kyredneck

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    Yes! Turning back in their hearts to Judaism.
     
  10. JonC

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    I disagree that the warning is intended for those who are believers (not the targeted audience to encourage one another – but the warning of not entering God’s rest). One reason is more specific to Hebrews 3. Those who are God’s house, over whom Christ is the Son of the house, are those who hold on to their confession until the end.

    This is one reason I was asking the question about the context being a return to Judaism, which after a rejection of the gospel would be a clean break from God by going to an empty religion. The imagery of the Psalm as used by the author in Hebrews serves as a warning against not being His house (not a warning of losing that position) by unbelief.

    Moses and Aaron didn’t enter the land of Canaan – but the land "of rest" that these sought was a type or foreshadowing of God’s rest by the time the Psalm was written (and, of course, by the time Hebrews was authored).

    The author uses “God’s rest” in two ways in Hebrews (as a salvation rest that the believers have entered and as a future Sabbath rest.
    I find the passage in Hebrews 3 to be the opposite of implying that those in danger of falling away were true believers (that they possessed a true saving faith). If they didn’t hold their faith until “the end” then they were not a part of His house. In this case, however, does “the end” imply becoming a believer or the final state of the believer?
     
  11. kyredneck

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    Yeah JonC, that's what the majority believes, Christ's atonement does not cover the sin of unbelief, God will not remain faithful to the faithless.
     
  12. JonC

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    That is an interesting statement - I wouldn't have come up with that from my comments. It is interesting because I was just reading a R.C. Sproul book (came in the mail, guess I requested it at some point). He made a point that Christ covers the sin of unbelief otherwise we would not be saved (as we are not born into belief) - although I really didn’t see an opposing view of his statement (I think, in this particular book, he has a tendency to create objections to tackle: here he was verifying that unbelief is a sin for which Christ atoned but limiting the scope to the elect). Personally, I accept that not all of Israel is Israel...this is how I view the unfaithful generation in the wilderness.

    Out of curiosity, how would those who think that Christ’s atonement does not cover the sin of unbelief handle our initial sin of unbelief?
     
    #12 JonC, Mar 10, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 10, 2014
  13. kyredneck

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    ???????????????
     
  14. Yeshua1

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    well, the truth of the letter though was that the writer was certain that the genuine saved Christians among them WOULD keep going forward, while those just professing would fall away and go back to what they really were in the end...

    SAME thing happens in churches all the time!
     
  15. JonC

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    I'm not sure what you mean in the previous repl (#13). It's not you....I'm slow to catch on these days. :(
     
  16. Yeshua1

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    Wouldn't it be adressing jewish converts who have ow become established into "the faith", which would be the NT revealtion of jesus as Messiah, and that thru Grace saved, not by keeping the law as was their former practice?

    Exhortation to not fall back to liivng under law, but now under messiah grace?
     

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