Warning Against Falling Away
1Therefore 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,#6:1Or from useless rituals and of faith in God, 2instruction about cleansing rites,#6:2Or about baptisms the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3And God permitting, we will do so.
4It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6and who have fallen#6:6Or age, 6if they fall 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. 7Land 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. 8But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.
9Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case—the things that have to do with salvation. 10God 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. 11We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. 12We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.
The Certainty of God’s Promise
13When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, 14saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.”#6:14Gen. 22:17 15And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.
16People swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. 17Because 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. 18God 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. 19We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.