Heb 6:1-3 What six things does the author enumerate as “elementary teaching about the Christ”, and how is each foundational? What is listed first and how is it of first importance? Cf. Mat 3:2, 4:17, Acts 2:37-38, 17:30, 20:21, 26:20, Rom 2:4. In what two-fold manner are we to understand what is meant by “dead works” and how does “faith toward God” deliver from both? See Eph 2:1-5,8-9, 1 Tim 5:6, Rev 3:1, Rom 9:30-33, Gal 4:9-11, Col 2:20-23, Phil 3:8-9; cf. Heb 9:14. Note: NASB “washings” translates the Greek word baptismos that is related to, but not, the usual word used for baptism (baptisma); it is a more general term that encompasses not only baptism as we know it but also the ceremonial ablutions and purification rites of the Jews. Why would the instruction about such “washings” be considered foundational, especially to those who were in danger of falling away back into the religio licita of the Jews? See Heb 9:9-10, Mk 7:1-8, Lk 11:37-41, 12:50, Jn 1:33, 3:22-26, Acts 19:2-5, Rom 6:3-4, 1 Cor 10:2, 12:13, Col 2:11-12,20-23, 1 Pet 3:18-21. Note: While the dead formalism of the Jewish purification rituals came to epitomize the fleshly religious traditions that so many Jews supposed would save them, the rite of baptism came to epitomize the exact opposite: that true religion was religion of the heart and if one wished to truly be saved he needed not just a cleansing of the flesh but a cleansing of the heart that comes from the heartfelt repentance that John the Baptist preached to prepare the way for the Lord. It was thus in preparing the way for the Lord that John the Baptist transformed the empty formalism of the Jewish baptismos into the New Testament rite of baptisma that became the sign of the new covenant. What is foundational about laying on of hands? See Lev 16:21, 24:14, Num 8:10, Deut 34:9, Mat 19:13, Mar 5:23, Luk 4:40, 13:13, Act 6:6, 8:17-19, 9:17, 13:3, 19:6, 28:8, 1 Tim 4:14, 5:22, 2 Tim 1:6. Why is the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment foundational to the gospel? See 1 Cor 15:12-17; Mat 25:41-46, Mar 9:43-48, Luk 16:19-31, Jn 5:28-29, Acts 17:30-31, 24:25, 2 Thess 1:6-9, Rev 14:9-11, 20:10-15. What effect do the foundational truths of a physical resurrection to an eternal punishment in a literal hell have upon people that is central to salvation? See Heb 4:1, Rev 14:6-7, Prov 14:27, 16:6b. What has been the effect as churches have ceased to proclaim these foundational truths? Cf. Jer 8:5-14. Notice that the enumeration in Heb 6:1-2 were considered elementary truths to the author of Hebrews, from which he wants to move on; are they elementary truths to us from which we are ready to move on? Can a building be built by continually laying the foundation? What is the building that we are to build on this foundation?
1. The consequences of the judgment will be eternal; Hebrews 6:2. No truth is more solemn than this. It is this which makes the prospect of the judgment so awful. If the consequences of the sentence were to continue for a few years, or ages, or centuries only, it would be of much less importance. But who can abide the thought of “eternal judgment?” Of an “eternal sentence?” Here the most fearful and solemn sentence is for a short period. The sentence will soon expire; or it is mitigated by the hope of a change. Pain here is brief. Disgrace, and sorrow, and heaviness of heart, and all the woes that man can inflict, soon come to an end. There is an outer limit of suffering, and no severity of a sentence, no ingenuity of man, can prolong it far. The man disgraced, and whose life is a burden, will soon die. On the cheeks of the solitary prisoner, doomed to the dungeon for life, a “mortal paleness” will soon settle down, and the comforts of an approaching release by death may soothe the anguish of his sad heart. The rack of torture cheats itself of its own purpose, and the exhausted sufferer is released. “The excess (of grief,) makes it soon mortal.” But in the world of future woe the sentence will never expire; and death will never come to relieve the sufferer. I may ask, then, of my reader, Are you prepared for the “eternal” sentence? Are you ready to hear a doom pronounced which can never be changed? Would you be willing to have God judge you just as you are, and pronounce such a sentence as ought to be pronounced now, and have the assurance that it would be eternal? You seek worldly honor. Would you be willing to be doomed “always” to seek that? You aspire after wealth. Would you be willing to be doomed to aspire after that “always?” You seek pleasure — in the frivolous and giddy world. Would you be willing to be doomed “always” to seek after that? You have no religion; perhaps desire to have none. Yet would you be willing to be doomed to be ALWAYS without religion? You are a stranger to the God that made you. Would you be willing to be sentenced to be “always” a stranger to God? You indulge in passion, pride, envy, sensuality. Would you be willing to be sentenced always to the raging of these passions and lusts? How few are they who would be willing to have an “eternal” sentence passed on them, or to be doomed to pursue their present employments, or to cherish their present opinions for ever! How few who would “dare” to meet a sentence which should be in strict accordance with what was “just,” and which was never to change! ~Albert Barnes’ Notes on Hebrews 6.↩