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  • Writer's pictureWayne Shelton

The Book of Hebrews - A Sober Warning

Hebrews 5:11-6:8

Whatever happened to Susan Pevensie? If you are a fan of C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, you will know that Susan is one of the main characters in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – one of the four children who end up as kings and queens of Narnia. But in the very last book of the series, The Last Battle, in a scene which effectively represents heaven, you realize that Susan is not there. It is a glaring, jarring omission. Even within the story, other characters ask why Susan is not there in glory with the rest.

Here is the answer:

‘My sister Susan,’ answered Peter shortly and gravely, ‘is no longer a friend of Narnia.’

‘Yes,’ said Eustace, ‘and whenever you try to get her to come and talk about Narnia or do   anything about Narnia, she says, “What wonderful memories you have! Fancy you still thinking about all those funny games we used to play when we were children’ (p154).

Michael Kruger writes: “This scene raises a very important issue. When we get to heaven, there will be people whom we expected to see there but we won’t see them – people we thought were believers who turn out not to be. Lewis is describing someone who seemed to be a follower of Aslan – who seemed, in other words, to be a Christian – but who ends up turning away. Eustace’s words explain why: ‘she dismisses all their childhood memories as mere games, as if they didn’t really happen. Susan is trying to be a grown-up now and no longer a child. She is on to other things.’” (Recounted by in his book, Hebrews for You, p75.)

In the Christian life, this is called apostasy. An apostate is described as ‘someone who once seemed to be a believer, but who later totally rejects Christ, turns away from sound teaching, and leaves the church.’ Apostasy is a real, sobering, scary, weighty issue. And it is one that God puts right before us in Hebrews 5:11-6:8.

The writer of Hebrews starts off by saying, I’m worried about you (5:11-14). His audience is not maturing as quickly as expected. And he is concerned about their spiritual health. In 6:1-3, he encourages them to move on and grow up in their faith. Then in 6:4-8 he dives into the very difficult theme of apostasy. He explains that those who seemed to be believers, yet have fallen away, will be subject to God’s severe judgment.

It is important to clarify again that true believers cannot lose their salvation. If someone is truly saved, truly regenerate, and truly trusting in Christ, they will always be held fast by him (John 10:28). However, God uses warnings of apostasy to encourage his people to stay the course of faith.

Thus, as we read this passage, as we hear this word, we should carefully ponder it, absorb it, and learn from it as we reflect upon our own spiritual maturity. This is what the writer to the Hebrews helps his readers do. For, in Hebrews 6:9-12 he cites the good signs of spiritual growth that he sees in them and encourages them to persevere in the faith.

I hope that you are able to join us this coming Lord’s Day as we look at this sobering theme of apostasy in the church. Please join me in praying for our service and for all who come to hear the Word of the Lord. May we be those who listen attentively and follow obediently.

For His Glory,

Pastor Wayne



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