1 So we must go on from the first lessons that we learned about Christ. We must grow as believers so that we understand more and more. We should not go back to those first lessons again and again. We already know that we must turn away from wrong things that lead to death. We know that we must trust God. 2 We have already learned about how to become clean. We know that leaders put their hands on other Christians to pray for God's help. We know that God will raise dead people to live again. And we know that God will judge every person one day at the end of time.
6:2In the Old Testament God gave his people special rules to make themselves and other things clean. See Numbers 19:1-10. This may also mean Christian baptism. This shows that, if someone is a Christian, God has made that person clean and new. 6:2The Bible tells us that Christian leaders often put their hands on somebody. Then they prayed for them. It was often when God chose that person for special work. See Acts 9:17; 13:3. Or the leaders might pray in that way for someone who was ill. They prayed that God would help that person. In the Old Testament Israel's people also did this at certain times. See Numbers 27:18, 23; Leviticus 16:20-22.
3 Yes, we must choose to go on from those early lessons! God is ready to help us to do that.
We must not turn away from Jesus
4 That is important, because we must not turn away from Christ, after we have first believed in him. Some people have come into God's light. They have understood God's message. They have started to enjoy the true life that God has given them. They have received the Holy Spirit, like other believers. 5 They have understood that God's message is good for them. They have seen powerful things that belong to the future time. 6 But after all that, they have turned against God. Then it is impossible for anyone to help them to turn away from their sins again. It is like they are killing the Son of God on the cross again for themselves. They show other people that they do not think Christ is important.
7 Think about a field where rain has fallen many times. That ground helps the plants in it to grow well. As a result, the farmer receives good things. It shows that God has blessed that ground. 8 But a field where only weeds and thorn bushes grow is worth nothing. God will very soon speak against that ground. In the end, fire will burn all of it.
9 We are telling you this, our good friends, because we want you to continue well. We are sure that God has saved you and that he will continue to bless you. 10 God is always right and fair. He will not forget all the good things that you have done. You have shown that you love him very much, because you have helped the other believers. And you continue to help them as God's servants. 11 But we very much want each of you to continue to trust God to the end. Show that you really want to serve him. Be sure that, in the end, you will receive all the good things that you hope for. 12 Then you will not be slow to learn. Instead, you will copy the example of those people who continue to trust God. They continue to be patient when trouble happens to them. People like that receive what God has promised to his people.
God's promise to Abraham
13 God made a promise to Abraham many years ago. God used the authority of his own name to show that his promise was true. He did that because there was nobody greater than God himself. His name showed that the promise was very serious. 14 God said to Abraham, ‘I will certainly bless you. I will give you many children and many, many grandchildren.’ 15 Abraham waited patiently for a long time. In the end, he received what God had promised to give him.
6:15Abraham and his wife wanted a son. But they could not have a child, and they were becoming very old. Then God promised to give Abraham a son, and many grandchildren. See Genesis 12:2; 13:16; 15:4. Even though it was difficult to believe that he would have children, Abraham believed what God said.
16 When someone makes a strong promise, he uses the authority of a person who is greater than himself. This shows that he will certainly obey his promise. Then nobody can argue about it. 17 God wanted to show very clearly that he would never change his purpose. He wanted his people to know that he would certainly bless them. So when he made this promise, he also used his own name to make it strong. 18 Those two things can never change. God cannot tell a lie. As a result, we can be brave and strong. We have trusted God to keep us safe with him. We should also expect to receive the good things that he has promised to give us.
19 We can be completely sure about those good things that we hope to receive. That keeps our thoughts strong, because we know that our life is safe with God. It is like an anchor that keeps a ship safe. When we hope like that, we know that we will one day arrive in God's special place in heaven. That is like the special place behind the curtain in the tabernacle. 20 Jesus has already gone in there. He has gone there before us, on our behalf. He has become our special priest for ever, in the same way that Melchizedek was God's priest.
6:19A ship with an anchor is safe, because it cannot move. When we trust Jesus, we can be completely sure about what God has promised us. God has promised to give us life with him for ever because of Jesus.
6:20In the Old Testament God told his people to build a special house where they could worship him. Behind a curtain in that house there was a very special place that belonged to God himself. Only the leader of the priests could go into that room, on one special day each year. See Leviticus 16:2 and Hebrews 9:7. That special house was like a picture of what is really true in heaven, where God himself lives. Jesus is our special priest. When he died on the cross, God tore that curtain into two pieces. See Matthew 27:51. This showed that Jesus had opened the way to heaven for us. Jesus brings us near to God himself. See also Hebrews 8:1-9:28.