Online Bible Commentary
Hebrews 6:9 Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your case--things that accompany salvation. 10 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. 11 We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. 12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. 13 When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, 14 saying, "I will surely bless you and give you many descendants." 15 And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised. (NIV)
In the previous passage the writer warned against apostasy, the conscious act of turning away from Christ and rejecting Him. This is the person who has experienced Christ and professed to be a believer but then falls away. By his action of rejecting Christ he has proven that he was never a Christian. The proof of being a Christian and being indwelled by the Holy Spirit is endurance in the faith.
The writer of this letter, in my opinion Paul, warned of apostasy but was “confident” (v. 9a) that the Hebrews to whom this letter was written, likely those in the church in Jerusalem, were true believers. The phrase translated “things that accompany salvation” (v. 9b) in the literal Greek translation is “even holding fast salvation.” “Holding fast (to) salvation” is a reference to the endurance that proves the Hebrews were true believers in Paul’s eyes.
Paul then encourages the Hebrews with the truth that God is just, and will not forget the work they do for Him and the love they show to Him by helping His people both in the past and in the present (v.10). Doing good works is the result of being a Christian. Paul is again displaying his faithfulness in the Hebrews that they are true believers.
The words translated “we want” (v. 11a) is the Greek word “epithumoumen” which means “we strongly desire”. It is Paul’s, and those helping in his ministry, strong desire that the Hebrews would endure in these good works “to the very end” (v. 11b). This endurance would “make your hope sure” (v. 11c). Again, this is a reference to their endurance proving that they are true believers.
The strong desire is that these Hebrew believers would not be “lazy” (v. 12a) in their faith. The word translated “lazy” is the Greek word “nothroi”, which means “dull”. The word “dull” is a good description for some in the church. They are just going through the motions. They show up for church, but that’s about all. They are dull, slow to learn, because they do not read their Bibles and they do not attend Bible study. This slowness to learn often precedes apostasy. They may not be true believers.
In contrast, the strong desire is for the believers to “imitate” (v. 12b) those of “faith and patience” (v. 12c). Perhaps the greatest of those of faith and patience was Abraham (v. 13). His faith was such that he offered up his son for sacrifice in obedience to God, even though God later did not require that sacrifice. God would never require that of believers. He only required it of His own Son. Abraham’s patience, endurance, was displayed by his waiting upon God to fulfill His promise to him. This is the kind of faith and patience that proves that we are believers.
God’s promise to Abraham was on His oath, guaranteed by the highest power, God Himself (v. 13). His promise was to “surely bless you and give you many descendants” (v. 14). God blesses our faith and patience. His blessing to Abraham was “many descendants”. His blessing to us may be altogether different, but it is sure.
“And so after waiting patiently” (v. 15), Abraham received his promise. God is faithful. He blesses our faithfulness and endurance. He blesses us with eternal life. He blesses us with earthly blessings and rewards in Heaven. He is sure, and just, to fulfill His promises to us. These promises can be found throughout the Bible. They are there for us to read, and receive. They are the result of the “better things”, our faithfulness and endurance.