16 People swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. 17 Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. 18 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 set before us may be greatly encouraged. 19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 6:16-20)
- God can only swear by God— there is no greater power to ask to help keep the promise
- Repetition of the idea of what does not change: God’s nature and then “two things” that cannot change (God’s promise and God’s oath)
- God’s unchanging nature (in the face of what seems changing in the light of Christ’s coming) is the basis for hope.
- We are the heirs in verse 17 – the heirs of what God promised to Abraham
Is there anything – anything at all – that is unchanging in our experience? While earlier generations remember times when change proceeded glacially if at all, we live not in those times. About the time I grow used to my current smart phone I realize there are two newer versions of the same phone out and about. And the world! Who would have thought in my childhood or youth that people would be traveling to Cuba for instance? The times they are a changin’…
But God does not. God’s character, God’s grace, God’s work done perfectly in Jesus Christ is unchanging. For some who read or heard these words who had been raised in Judaism it might have seemed like what they had learned and believed was upended. Nothing could be further from the truth the writer argues here.
Sometimes what is new and changing offers hope. Sometimes it is the unchangeable, the enduring that brings us real hope. A hope rooted in what has been and still is true.
Unchanging God, you alone are fixed. You alone have not changed, have not reneged, have not broken your promises or your oaths. Ground my hope in you and in your promises. When change sings its siren song, may I hear instead your voice reminding me of your faithfulness above all things. In the name of Christ who was my forerunner in this hope. Amen.