November 11: Hebrews 6
One of our favorite family movies was "Up," the wonderful Pixar film that came out a couple of years ago. One of the key moments in the movie came early: after the child Carl meets Ellie, she comes to his room with her adventure book. She made him swear not to tell another person about it: "Cross your heart! Do it!" We smile because we know what this is about. Our promises are confirmed by an oath that invites the other person confidence to trust our word.
That's what we find in Hebrews 6:13-20. If we have been shaken by the stern warning of Hebrews 5:11-6:12, God graciously comes to us and tells us that our hope is not built on such unstable stuff as our own faithfulness, feelings, or good works. Rather, our hope, our soul anchor, is found in the fact that God has said, "Cross my heart!" Not only does God promise to save all those who come to him through Jesus, but also he has confirmed it with a glorious oath that Jesus will be a priest forever for his people.
In order to help us to understand how God tells us, "Cross my heart," the writer to the Hebrews points to an unfaltering example, Abraham. But really, the emphasis is not on the patriarch at all, but on God himself: "When God made a promise to Abraham." It is God's action that is most important--and here the promise is the glorious promise of Genesis 12:1-3 that God would give him a land and an offspring through whom all the families of the earth would be blessed.
By Genesis 15, Abraham began to wonder whether God would keep his promise. So, God commanded Abraham to bring a heifer, goat, ram, turtledove and pigeon; he told him to cut all but the birds in half. After a deep sleep fell upon Abraham, God reiterated his promise about the land and offspring with more details. And then, God himself walked between the cut up animals--in doing so, God was basically saying that "if I don't keep my word, then let me be like these dead animals--let me die!" God was saying, "Cross my heart!" These promises will come true.
As glorious as God promise to Abraham was, his covenant promises to his people to save them in Jesus Christ is an even more glorious one because it fills full what was promised to Abraham. But the wonder of the Gospel is that in keeping his promise to his people and to Abraham, God himself did die! In Jesus Christ, we have a high priest who was the once-for-all, decisive, bloody sacrifice for sins. Thanks be to God!
And so, when we struggle, falter, and fail, wondering whether God will really save us in the end, we must run to the cross. Because there we see the Triune God shout to the world, "All those who come to me will be saved to the uttermost! Cross my heart!"