Hebrews 6:1-20 NIV
Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so.
What are these elementary teachings that the readers needed to move beyond? He can’t mean simple faith in Jesus as Lord and His resurrection from the dead. Let’s never move on from those! He’s not talking about Christian faith here; he’s talking about Jewish rituals. I believe that the book of Hebrews is written not only to Jews who have put their trust in Jesus, but those who are seeking the truth and those who are unbelievers as well.
It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned. Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case—the things that have to do with salvation.
This can be a very confusing passage if we don’t realize whom the author is talking to. I believe that he is talking to two different groups of people: the “dear friends” of the last sentence, who have received the Word, put their faith in Jesus Christ, and have begun to bear good fruit. The other group a is “those who have once been enlightened . . .” They have been intellectually convinced of the truth, have tasted God’s goodness, gotten right to the point of repentance – and backed off! Here’s some of what Bible teacher John MacArthur has to say about it:
…the issue here is not simply a contrast between two Christians, not at all; but rather a contrast between Jews who hold onto Judaism with all of its ABCs, baby talk, and basic elements, and the Jew who receives Jesus Christ, moves into the maturity of the new covenant, the full and final revelation. That’s the issue. It is the opportunity for receiving salvation, not salvation itself, that can be lost.https://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/1613/the-tragedy-of-rejecting-full-revelation-part-2
God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.” And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised. People swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”
Hebrews 7:1-10 NIV
“This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, the name Melchizedek means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.” Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever. Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder! Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people—that is, from their fellow Israelites—even though they also are descended from Abraham. This man, however, did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. And without doubt the lesser is blessed by the greater. In the one case, the tenth is collected by people who die; but in the other case, by him who is declared to be living. One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham, because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor.”
Melchizedek is mentioned once in Genesis, and once in Psalm 110 which is quoted in Hebrews 5 and 7. The only place he is talked about in the New Testament is these three chapters (5-7) of Hebrews, so everything we know about him is right here, where the author explains how Jesus can be a priest even though He is not from the priestly tribe of Levi.
A kindhearted woman gains honor, but ruthless men gain only wealth. Those who are kind benefit themselves, but the cruel bring ruin on themselves. A wicked person earns deceptive wages, but the one who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward. Truly the righteous attain life, but whoever pursues evil finds death. The Lord detests those whose hearts are perverse, but he delights in those whose ways are blameless.
Like a gold ring in a pigʼs snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion. The desire of the righteous ends only in good, but the hope of the wicked only in wrath. One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. People curse the one who hoards grain, but they pray Godʼs blessing on the one who is willing to sell. Whoever seeks good finds favor, but evil comes to one who searches for it. Those who trust in their riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf. Whoever brings ruin on their family will inherit only wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise. The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and the one who is wise saves lives. If the righteous receive their due on earth, how much more the ungodly and the sinner!”