The Good Fear
There are different types of fear. There's a fear that is fun. There is a kind of fear that is bad a kind of fear that will paralyze you and robs you of life. There is a good fear. There is a fear that will make you run from danger into safety.
This section of Hebrews is terrifying and it should produce in all of us good fear.
Imagine Olympic figure skaters getting ready for the games. The dancers are in the middle of practicing their routine, they have been doing well, but they are starting to get tired, starting to look uncertain, sluggish anxious and in danger of injury. After the routine the coach comes alongside and says “I see evidence of neglect and drifting and lack of practice, if you are going to finish well, on your feet and not break your neck you need to be more diligent”. The coach wants to impact them with a good fear.
These Christians had started well 6v10 (work, love, and service). But they had become Dull in hearing. Lazy and sluggish. Still in the kids splash pool. So the writer takes them aside and looks them in the eye and confronts them. You are drifting, Neglecting your salvation, Not diligent about applying what you know is true. And this is a very dangerous spot. They are acting more like bad soil. Why are you not maturing, and growing? Then comes the critical verse v 4
Ok let’s pause for a moment, are you telling me that Hebrews is saying that you can lose your salvation? That if I struggle to apply a truth, become dull, sluggish I will cease to be saved? He's not.
It’s not about losing salvation. Its just there is a way of behaving that raises the question were they ever saved?
What’s terrifying about these verses is that it’s possible for people to experience and see spiritual things and not be saved. Sit under the rain of the grace of God, think about the gospel for years, come to church and observe repentance, seeing the Holy Spirit work, Perhaps liking Christian values, yet without having a personal and experiential encounter with Jesus.
A merely religious person is vulnerable to backing off when pressure, disappointment and discouragement hits, rejecting the gospel, “it never worked for me”. Treating Jesus and the Cross with contempt. And humanly speaking when a person like this backs off it is difficult get them to look again and very unlikely indeed impossible (but not for God) they will come back
But they do not lose a salvation that they once had. But show by their lack of perseverance that they never truly belonged to Christ, were never born again, justified, or adopted.
BUT Hebrews as a book is about assurance 10:14. The Christians eternal perfection stems from the once for all nature of Jesus’ sacrifice. Indeed his tone changes in 6:9. Yet in your case… BELOVED I’m sure a true work has taken place, he wants them to respond well under pressure.
God does not change His mind about you. He does not save you, rescue you and ten weeks later, say “You know, I never saw this behavior coming.
It is not God's desire, it is not God's plan, it is not God's will, out of this text to produce bad paralyzing fear. “Oh, am I in or am I out?” We are called to look to Christ and not to ourselves or self help for our cleansed conscience, and total flawlessness in the future.
But Maybe the coach is looking at you and saying where is your appetite, or desire, or application, or diligence or love for Christ. What's going on?
For the genuinely born again, justified, adopted this will produce a good fear.
How are you doing? Are you Sluggish? Dull of hearing?
Are you Knowing truth that you refuse to apply? Are you practicing?
Are you moving? Are you maturing? And if not, why not?? Sometimes people are held back because they accommodate an un-Christ like character traits that need to be nailed, confessed got help for and gradually moved on from
Who you are today doesn't have to be who you are tomorrow.
Let us leave the elementary teachings....Let us onto maturity....Let's be diligent...” This is a powerful call to action He's saying, “Let's go. Let's go, let's go, let's go.