I said yesterday that if you hold that Hebrews 6 says it is possible to lose your salvation, then once that person falls away it is impossible to get it back (6:4-6). There is no out.
One reason is this passage here where the writer of Hebrews says something else is impossible. It is impossible for God to lie (18). So the possibility of a person coming to repentance once they have fallen away is the same as the possibility of God lying: Zero.
But while one of these impossibilities should cause us to fear, the other gives us great hope. And that, more than anything, was what the author of Hebrews was trying to give us.
Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your case–things that accompany salvation. God 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. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. (9-12)
In short, “I know all this about the impossibility of repentance after falling away and being cursed and judged sounds scary, but I’m sure it doesn’t apply to you. Your life does seem to show the fruit of salvation. So I want to encourage you to hang in there, even though things are tough right now. For if you do, your hope in Christ will not be in vain.
He then points to the promise made to Abraham, that God would bless Abraham and give him many descendants. Why? Because we are heirs to that promise. (Galatians 3:7-9)
And when God made that promise he also made an oath, swearing by himself since there is none greater than God. And because Abraham believed that promise, though he had to wait 25 years, God gave him a son in Isaac, and Isaac eventually became a great nation in Israel, just as God promised. And through Jesus, we who believe in Him are all children of Abraham.
Why did God feel it necessary to give an oath? Because he is unreliable? No. The writer of Hebrews says,
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. (18)
Because God’s promise and oath are unchangeable, we can be doubly sure of our hope. And now the writer of Hebrews tells us,
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. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek. (19-20)
When it says that Jesus went before us, it literally says in the Greek that he was our forerunner. What’s a forerunner?
When weather was bad and a ship couldn’t enter a harbor, a small boat, a “forerunner” would carry the ship’s anchor into the harbor and put the anchor down there. And because the ship was already anchored in the harbor, the sailors could have hope they would eventually arrive there safely.
In the same way, Jesus enters into God’s very presence ahead of us. And because of that, we have hope that one day we will follow him into God’s presence, accepted and beloved as his children.
So when the storms of life hit, and our ship is tossed by the waves, let us not give up hope or think that God has abandoned us. Jesus has gone on before us. He has anchored us, and we will come safely home someday.