Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A New Exposition of Hebrews 6:1-2

I am currently glorying in transcribing Rob Rufus's keynote session at the Glory and Grace Conference in Hong Kong from 2010. He spoke on Hebrews 6 - what he correctly identified as a "trouble" passage for many New Covenant believers. And I must admit - I have struggled as I have worked through the passage to get my head around the new teaching and revelation that Rob brought to it.

It all makes such perfect sense! But my entire Christian upbringing and background scream against it.

So what I have done for the purposes of the "Grace and Glory Blank Bible" is to separate and identify Rob's teaching on each of the "foundation verses" in Hebrews 6:1-2. I have previously always thought of these verses as being foundational for Christian belief. Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones even taught a series inspired by these verses on Christian living. But Rob shows clearly how there is a different and wonderful freeing slant that true New Covenant belief brings;

"Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment" - Hebrews 6:1-2 (English Standard Version).

"Hebrews 6:1 is NOT the elemental teaching to put the church on. It will make the church dull if you put the church on that.

Repentance from Dead Works:

So I am going to show you - repentance that leads to death, or repentance from dead works. Repentance from dead ceremonies, or repentance from dead works - is doing things to earn God's favour. Doing things over and over again to get God to love you. The question under the law - was; "Lord - am I pleasing enough to you?". The question under our High Priest who represents us is; "Father - is Jesus pleasing enough to you?". The answer is obviously; "Yes!". Then we are okay - because we are in Him! Repentance from dead works is literally trying to do good things to get a result of God liking and loving you. We are not to be living our lives constantly in repentance; "Oh I did that; I am sorry". We are not to live in this constant state; "I did this; I did that; I am so sorry!". That is Old Covenant.

Faith towards God:

I want to say that faith in God of the Old Covenant is completely different to faith in God in the New Covenant. Old Covenant faith is me trying to please God. New Covenant faith is something God gives to me and something that Jesus has on my behalf. Jesus has faith for you. And Jesus has faith IN you ... The Old Covenant had great emphasis on faith in God. The New Covenant's emphasis is on God's faith in you and for you. The Old Covenant lays the burden on you to have faith in God. The New Covenant lays the burden on our Great High Priest to have great and perfect faith on our behalf so you are not examining yourself all the time to see if you have faith - but your eyes are on Jesus all the time - the author and perfector of faith.


Now what about baptisms? Surely that is a New Covenant thing. Of course baptism is New Covenant. We are baptised in water not to get our sins forgiven. You don't bury people to kill them. You bury them because they are already dead.

So when you are baptised in water as a believer in Christ that is not to get your sins forgiven - it is because your sins HAVE been dealt with! Baptism into the body of Christ and baptism in the Holy Spirit. This word "baptism" (you can check it out in the Greek) it is talking about water purification ceremonies done by the Old Covenant people. It is to wash sins away. It is to be done regularly because you are constantly feeling condemned so they go through washing rituals.

Laying on of Hands:

What about the laying on of hands? Listen - laying on of hands on the sick to impart healing is New Covenant stuff. He isn't talking about that! He is talking about the great type of the High Priest of the Old Covenant laying his hand on the scapegoat! And transfer the sins symbolically (only symbolically - not literally) and then let it out into the wilderness and that was symbolical covering.

The Resurrection from the Dead:

What about the "resurrection from the dead Rob? Are we not going to be raised from the dead in the New Covenant?". Of course we are going to be raised from the dead in the New Covenant! But the Old Covenant is - if you are good enough, one day you may be raised from the dead. One day! You don't know for sure, but if you are good enough - one day you will be raised from the dead and then you will go to heaven and you will experience life. He is saying - stop teaching that stuff. Tell them according to Romans chapter 6 and many other passages - you were united with Christ in resurrection! You were raised with Christ! Romans 6 says we were raised with Him so that we may know new life with Him - we are already seated in the heavenly realms!

Eternal Judgement:

Eternal judgement was finished at the Cross! Gone forever! People need to know that! Never again will they be judged by the Father - He took an oath in Isaiah 54; "Never again will I be angry with you - I swear by Myself, I will NEVER withdraw My love from you, I will never rebuke you, I will never condemn you, I will never take My covenant of peace from you - I swear by Myself!".

Reference: Rob Rufus - "Hebrews 6:4-6" - Glory and Grace Conference 2010 - Hong Kong.


Anonymous said...

Dan, Apparently your Yahoo account has been taken over by spammers, and I'm continually get spam emails. Can you delete that account, or - if you have access to it - delete my address? Thanks! - Don B.

Dan Bowen said...

Already deleted Don after you mentioned this before.

I suggest blocking my email address?