Leadership in Context Episode 76 Show Notes
Be Imitators, pt6
Leadership in Context with Keith Tucci
Let’s look at one more time at Paul’s encouragement to be imitators.
So that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
In this passage, Paul is dealing with people who had fallen back into the sacrificial system. They confessed Christ, they were probably baptized and part of a church, but they had drifted back into temple rights and making sacrifices.
Maintaining an active faith towards God--walking with Him every day, having an open heart, getting on our knees, dealing with sin issues, consecrating our lives, hearing from God--in a very real sense, takes more effort than just going through the motions, going to the temple, and making sacrifices. It takes more of our soul, dedication, emotion, and energy.
I really think this is what Paul is addressing. He uses an interesting word here. “So that you will not be sluggish…” Sluggish can be translated to apathetic, lazy, dull, slow. What it is really talking about is someone who is just coasting. Paul is warning them about people who are backsliding in front of them.
There is nothing more discouraging in the faith than to watch people who once were vibrant, not be vibrant any longer. To me, there is no greater embarrassment in my faith than to see people who once were acknowledging God who are no longer acknowledging Him.
Our salvation is based on a relationship with Christ, and that relationship must be maintained.
For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.
This is not referring to someone who thinks they are saved and they really aren’t. It says that they were enlightened--they had tasted the heavenly gift and were partakers of the Holy Spirit. They were people who didn’t just have an intellectual conversion, but they had a real, experiential conversion.
Why is it impossible to renew them to repentance? In the greater context, this is referring to people who have gone back to the temple. They have their feet in both camps--they are acknowledging Jesus and making sacrifices. Paul is saying that they can’t repent until they stop doing that. You can’t renew someone to repentance, being right with God where Jesus is their Lord and Savior, if they are still making sacrifices. Every time they do that, “they are again crucifying to themselves the Son of God agin and putting Him to open shame.” People can repent and be restored. But they can’t repent and be restored when they are persisting in a sacrificial system that says that Jesus isn’t enough.
The writer of Hebrews is saying: Do not become sluggish. Do not become dull. Do not start coasting in your faith. Remember that faith in Christ is an active engagement.
Let’s celebrate Jesus. Everything that God could do about your salvation has already been done. Now the Holy Spirit is urging us to respond. Let’s celebrate the one and only sacrifice that qualifies us to stand before God--that is Jesus.
Join us next week as Keith Tucci continues to put leadership truth in the context of the local church. And as always, please like, share, rate/review, and invite others to listen. See you next week!