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Hebrews 6:13-20



Because 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. God 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 offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. (verses 17-20)

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Promise. Oath. Hope. Three key themes that encompass the message in this passage.


Let’s focus on the last first. Hope. We use this word all the time, but we mean something much weaker by it than do the Scriptures. We think of it as a “dreaming-it-might-possibly-be” kind of wishful thinking. But that’s not the biblical sense. Not at all. It’s much, much stronger. “Hope,” in the Bible, is an assured reality – not yet fully seen, but a reality that is completely guaranteed.


In this passage, “hope” refers to salvation. Although we can’t always see it, and though we must wait till a future day to receive its fullness, salvation has been given to us now – “firm and secure” – by our Lord Jesus Christ. It’s a sure hope. He secured it for us in the very presence of God, symbolized by “the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,” that inner Holy of Holies in the Temple where the High Priest would go once a year to offer a sacrifice of atonement for the people. Jesus offered a better sacrifice – his own life – once and for all on our behalf. Salvation has been won. This is where we anchor our hope.


Indeed, those of us who have received Jesus’ salvation have “fled to take hold of the hope offered to us” – there’s an urgent sense that rescue is desperately needed (oh, how we need rescue from sin and death and judgement!), together with a certainty that Jesus is the very One who can provide that rescue for us. Hope is the motive force that lies behind this movement. Hope drives us to Jesus.


And hope is caught up in the “promise” of God – that’s the second theme. What God promises he certainly brings to fulfilment. The writer starts this passage by speaking of the promise God made to Abraham: “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.”It took years for that promise to be realized, but Abraham waited patiently until he received the fulfilment. Isaac (son of laughter) was born, the first in an ever-expanding line of descendants – as many as the stars in the sky and grains of sand on the shore. God kept his promise.


Just as surely, God has promised us this hope of salvation. His word is sure, just as it was to Abraham. He keeps his promises. It is “impossible for God to lie.”


But intensifying this promise of hope even further, God confirms it by swearing an oath – “oath” being the third theme. In essence, God himself serves as a guarantor of the promise of hope which he has made. We are given layer upon layer of absolute assurance.God has deliberately chosen to rescue us. He has announced it by giving his promise. He has deliberately chosen to intensify the promise by swearing an oath. All because he “wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear.”


That clarity is fully seen in Jesus. He himself is our hope. He is the fulfilment of the promise. He is the full realization of the oath. He has won salvation for us. Praise his name.

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Thank you, Father, for the hope of salvation now fulfilled in your Son. Thank you for promising long in advance, sealing it with your oath, and guaranteeing its fulfilment.


Thank you, Lord Jesus, for entering the inner sanctuary on my behalf, providing atonement, and winning me redemption. I will be forever grateful.

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Give Thanks: Reflect on each element: the promise (long-given), the oath (guaranteed by God), and the hope (fulfilled in Jesus). Turn each part into heartfelt thanksgiving to your Saviour.

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