Read: Hebrews 6:16-20
16 Now when people take an oath, they call on someone greater than themselves to hold them to it. And without any question that oath is binding. 17 God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. 18 So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. 19 This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. 20 Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.
What’s It All About?
We have fled to Jesus Christ as our hope (v18) and this makes Him our eternal refuge. This verse harks back to the Old Testament “cities of refuge” (see Numbers 35:9ff) which offered refuge for men who had accidentally killed someone; these men could live in the city until the death of the High Priest. The significance for us is that when we flee from our lives of sin to the refuge offered by Jesus, the high priest of the refuge is Jesus Himself, and He will never die, meaning that we have eternal salvation.
The writer of Hebrews speaks of the hope that we have through Jesus as an anchor for the soul. There are a few things to note about this anchor. Firstly, traditional anchors on ships anchor downward, but our Spiritual anchor is anchored upwards, to heaven. Secondly, traditional anchors are designed to make a ship stand still, but our spiritual anchor is designed to move us forward, as we are being transformed from one degree of glory to another. Thirdly, whilst a traditional anchor can fail, our spiritual anchor is firm and secure – it cannot break and slip.
The key thing we need to know about the anchor of our soul is that it gives us the kind of security that no earthly anchor, literal or figurative, can possibly offer.
This section of Hebrews 6 talks about Jesus having gone before us to enter the inner sanctuary. What does this mean? The Old Testament understanding of relationship with God involved a system when in the temple there was an inner sanctuary, called the Holy of Holies, which only the High Priest could enter, once a year. When Jesus died on the cross, the curtain in the termple that separated the Holy of Holies (sometimes called the veil) was torn in two, meaning that, through Jesus, we are no longer veiled from the presence of God, and can meet with God face to face. Jesus not only paved the way for the restoration of the relationship that Adam and Eve lost at the Fall, but He anchors us into the inner sanctuary so that we can be firm and secure in our hope and knowledge that we can never again be separated from God (see Romans 8:38-39).
The Bottom Line
Our hope is in Jesus and what He did to restore us to relationship with God, not in anything the world can offer us, or anything we can do in our own strength. The hope that we have in Him gives us a reliable anchor for our souls – an anchor that is anchored heavenwards, that is moving us forward, and that will remain firm and secure no matter how stormy our lives get.
- What is different about the hope that Jesus offers us?
- How do you feel about this anchor for your soul?
- How does the anchor of the soul compare to the kinds of (figurative) anchor that the world offers – for example, finances, careers, family etc.?