Senior Adult Weekly Devotional Wk.89

By: Noah Barr

What God Cannot Do

Hebrews 6:13-20

13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, 14 saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” 15 And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise. 16 For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. 17 So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. 19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

        Lies, Lies, Lies, nothing but lies. This is the reality of many lives. Many people go through life hearing lie after lie from people they should be able to trust. Lying has become a way of life. We are confronted with lies every day. Commercials quite often lie to us, promising us lasting beauty, more hair, and chances that are better than ever to win the lottery. I have observed over the last few years a comical pattern in sitcoms. The main actor (usually the man) does something wrong and tries to cover it up. When he fails to contain the wrong doing we take great pleasure in seeing him in his humiliating situation. We find it comical. And as I have considered this scenario constantly on regular cable, I cannot help but conclude, that the truth will come out, but first: lie. Lying has become quite normal and we have become used to being lied to, often being surprised when the truth simply comes out plainly. But should it be this way? The preacher to the Hebrews had quite a lot to say about this.

        There is a lot to learn from the work of God in Abraham’s life. God came to Abraham and promised that his descendants would be “as the sand of the seashore” (Gen.22:17), He made an unbreakable oath to Abraham, which is still being fulfilled to this very day. He made a promise to save Abraham and that promise continues to us today, to all who call upon the God in which Abraham believed.

“For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise” (Heb: 6:13-16). God is a promise maker. He is also a promise keeper. Our Lord has never made a promise that He did not keep. We find here that the preacher wanted to remind the people of that truth. He takes us back in time to right after Abraham had obeyed to sacrifice his son. But God had stopped Abraham as the knife was about to slay his son. Abraham had passed the test and from that point on God made a promise that He would bless Abraham. If we think back to the garden of Eden, after Adam and Eve’s garden ruining sin, the Lord promised to send a savior (Genesis 3:15) and this savior would come from Abraham’s line. God promised to bless Abraham with many descendants who would follow after him. However, God promised that through Abraham’s seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed. God was referring not to Abraham’s son Isaac, but to the One who would come much later; Jesus Christ. God swore this to Abraham and brought it to pass. God swore by Himself as He is the greatest and highest being. Who is greater than God? Looking high and low none has ever been found. God said, ‘I swear by Me I will fulfill the promises to you’. And God not only swore to do it but made an oath to do it.

        “For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us” (Heb. 6:17-18). As we look back to Abraham, we should consider the promises that Christ has made to us. God promised to bless the whole world through Jesus and we have been blessed, as we have faith in Christ and share in the promise made to Abraham. What these verses make clear is the one thing that God cannot do. He cannot lie. God is incapable of lying. As we look at this verse we find that God cannot lie about the salvation that He has purchased for us. He cannot lie about His Holy Spirit dwelling in us. He does not lie in telling us that we will live forever with Him. For in lying, God would cease to be God. For God to break these promises to us would mean the end of God’s truthfulness and the end of our trust in Him. It would show Him to be a sham. But we know that God did fulfill the promise to Abraham and we should trust Him, being assured that if He kept His promises to Abraham after hundreds of years and great turmoil, then surely, He will keep His promises to us. God wanted to make His Word so sure to us that He swore and made an oath to it. Since He never changes and never forgets, we are told that we now have “strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us” (V.18).

        “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek” (V.19-20). The truth that God does not lie and has secured our salvation, the preacher called an “anchor of the soul” (V.19). As a huge ship is kept at bay by a very heavy anchor, so too our souls are held by this huge truth. The preacher assured the people by one more idea, saying that Jesus entered the inner court where only the priest could go (and he could only go in once a year) and Christ has torn down the separating curtain. Because we are in Christ, we have access to God behind the curtain that for thousands of years men could only dream about seeing.

Albert Mohler says of this passage: “The author reinforces God’s unchangeableness in order to encourage the church to once again hold firmly. The church is the refugee who must flee to God for rescue and who needs strong encouragement to seize the hope set before her. Because God’s Word is true and it is impossible for him to lie, we have all the confidence in the world to take heart and trust God’s promises just as Abraham did. The faithfulness of God and the certainty of his promises are not theoretical propositions. They are unchangeable realities. Like Abraham, we can stake our lives on God’s promises because God is the One who has promised them. Our God is a promise-keeping God” (Hebrews Pg.95).  Jesus went before us and fulfilled all the requirements by which we can now enter. It is all because of Christ that we have this salvation, this anchor of the soul, and this confidence in our God who cannot lie.