Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Oct 10 2020 - Hebrews 6:1-20 – An anchor for the soul

The passage that we are reading this morning contains some wonderfully encouraging images. The letter is written to encourage Hebrew Christians to go on following Jesus and not to think of turning back. Go on so that "what you hope for may be fully realized" (Hebrews 6:11). Hope focuses on the goal set before us and provides the energy to press on towards the goal even when the going is tough.

The Christian's hope is not mere fancy or make-believe; it rests upon the promise of God. Remember, says our author, how God dealt with Abraham. God promised that he would bless him and give him many descendants (6:14). And, "to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear ... he confirmed it with an oath" (6:17). God not only promised blessing to Abraham, he also bound himself by oath to fulfil his own promise; his own character and reputation is tied up with the fulfilment of his promise. Abraham could trust God, even in the difficult days when it seemed unlikely that his promise would be fulfilled.

God has done the same for us in our Lord Jesus. Jesus has been made our great high priest, the one through whom many children will be brought to glory (2:10). God has gone on oath concerning Jesus (see 7:21 quoting Psalm 110:4). God's character, purpose and reputation are tied up with the person and work of Jesus. If Jesus should fail in the mission given to him, God would turn out to be a liar. It's quite unthinkable; it’s quite impossible.

Having laid this foundation, our author now uses two wonderful images. This hope we have in Christ, he says, is "an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf" (4:19-20). Our hope is fixed in Jesus who has entered glory on our behalf. We have been inseparably joined to him in the promise and purpose of God who has made him our great high priest and mediator. We may face all manner of storms and troubles, but this anchor for the soul remains firm and secure. This anchor will ensure that we are not swept away to destruction for it rests in Jesus Christ and in his unshakable throne in glory. Hope in Jesus is an "anchor for the soul."

The second wonderful image is mixed in with the first; Jesus is our "forerunner." The picture is taken from ancient warfare. After a notable victory the "forerunner" would be sent from the battle to run back to the home city to proclaim the victory and declare that the rest of the troops would soon be returning safe home. Jesus is our forerunner; he has won a notable victory and has returned to glory on our behalf. His return includes the proclamation that those who belong to him will soon be following him; they also will be brought safely home.

Jesus' presence in glory is the guarantee that we who hope in him will one day be with him. The very character and reputation of God depend upon it. May this secure hope keep us faithful in following Jesus.

Heavenly Father, we praise and thank you for your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you that he became like us that he might conquer death and enter glory on our behalf. Thank you for his perfect obedience. We thank you for the promises you have made to him and which are made to us in him. Help us to set our hope upon him as the anchor for our soul that we might not be swept off course in the storms of life. Help us to follow him faithfully that where our forerunner has gone on our behalf we may also arrive safely. By your Spirit, enable us to be greatly encouraged in following him.

Peter Misselbrook