The Epistle To The Hebrews, Part 1

This entry is part 1 of 9 in the series Epistle To The Hebrews

A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

A fair number of the questions posed to me have to do with whether our salvation is conditional or not, and what part our behavior plays in obtaining and maintaining it, or causing the loss of it. Answers to these and other questions about our relationship with the Lord are found in the Letter to the Hebrews and so I’ve quoted from there on a regular basis. But although I’ve taught Hebrews a number of times from both pulpit and platform, I’ve never before published a comprehensive study of the letter.

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Remain In Me

Q. I’m an avid reader of your website and a firm believer in the sufficiency of Christ’s work on the cross. However, I’m confused on John chapter 15, where in verse 2 Jesus says, ” He (The Father) cuts off every branch in me (Jesus) that bears no fruit…” Then in verse 6, Jesus goes on to say, “If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.” This verse does not sound like a “fellowship” verse to me.

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Preaching To The Spirits In Prison

I was wondering if you could offer your analysis of 1 Peter 3:19. I have heard said that he was preaching the gospel to the spirits of the dead, which would mean one can be saved after death. Obviously the Bible contradicts this, so what would it mean?

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A Different Salvation Message

Q. I have a question about something I just read on a well known prophecy website. The commentator was not addressing this subject specifically, but stated that:

“Prior to the death of Christ on the cross, it was only necessary that man believe in Who Jesus said He was. Proof of this revelation is evidenced through the testimony of Peter and the testimony of the thief on the cross. (See Mark 8:29 and Luke 23:42)

Now I do not know how exactly he meant this, but it makes it appear that the gospel Jesus preached in John 3:16 and John 6:29 changed after the cross. He could not be referring to Old Testament saints because of his scripture references. If this were to be true then we would have problems in dealing with difficult passages regarding salvation that occur after the gospels. Can you address this?

A. Think about it. Would Jesus have come into the world teaching that whoever believed in Him would be saved, and then fulfilled 300 prophecies that foretold his death and resurrection to prove that people who believed in him would be saved? Would He do that only to then tell His apostles to preach a different salvation message after He was gone? Does that make any sense to you?

Doesn’t it make more sense to believe that there are a lot of people preaching things that have distorted and re-interpreted the Gospel? Isn’t that why Jesus had His words written down, so we could use them to check out what people were saying? And in fact isn’t that just what Paul commended the Bereans for doing? (Acts 17:11)

John 6:29 is the Lord’s definitive answer to the question, “What does God require of us?” He said, “Believe in the One He has sent.” Everything that has been added to His answer has been added by man, in a misguided attempt to make expensive that which God gave His life to make free.

Embarrassed And Downcast

I write to you feeling very embarrassed and downcast. I love the Lord Jesus but there is sin in my life I don’t seem to get victory over. I have asked the Lord that I would write you honestly and prayed that He would give you advice so you can give it to me.

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Regrets In Heaven?

I have a quick question about the BEMA judgment. Will there be regret in heaven? Will Christians who did not do much for the Lord on Earth be regretful in heaven after the BEMA?

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Eternal Punishment?

Where did the concept of eternal punishment for all but 1% of the worlds population throughout history come from…because it wasn’t the bible. What does this mean in the face of Jesus saying ‘it is finished’; and the stated will of God to save all men?

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Can I Really Know I’m Saved?

Q. Here is my question to you. We are all sinners, and though I thank God every day for all he has provided me, and beg him to not leave me, how do I know when all is said and done and I am standing before God he will not say to me, “Be gone! I know you not.” Several of us were talking about this and I thought I would ask you. We do believe that Jesus is the son of God made man that came to earth and died for our sins that we may know everlasting life in heaven. It is only by the blood of Jesus washing us clean that we can ever hope to stand before God the father and hope and pray he tells us welcome. So there you have it. Can you help?

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Staying In Fellowship

Q. I know I must sin a thousand times a day. Even the best I do is like filthy rags, so it seems that my very being, the fact that I live and breathe on this earth, is an offense to God. Even the best I do is a sin. When I confess, what happens if I forget the sins I do all day long? I’m sure I have a closet full of sins I’ve never confessed because there are so many I can’t even remember them. So, with so many unconfessed sins, how can I get and maintain fellowship with God?

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