|The author of the book of Hebrews didn't write the title is his epistle (that was added around 100 AD). I mention that because when we say that the author is writing to a group of Jewish Christians, we aren't pulling that information (or we shouldn't be) from the title. We are pulling that information from the contents of the epistle.
Throughout the epistle the author assumes that his readers have extensive working knowledge of things a Gentile would need to have explained - the Mosaic covenant, the Temple, the Levitical Priesthood in general and the office and function of the High Priest in particular, etc. Were the author writing to a group of Gentiles, these concepts would not be assumed, but would need to be explained in detail.
When I teach on the book of Hebrews, I make these kinds of observations known, because they are foundational to understanding what the author is trying to convey to his readers.
Consider the first few chapters of this book. Here the writer labors to demonstrate from the OT scriptures how Jesus is superior to angels. Why does that matter? It matters because the author is encouraging his readers, by way of a dire and sober warning: If the punishment for setting aside the message given to men through the agency of the angels meant damnation - how much worse will it be for his readers if they set aside the message Christ preached?
Our culture is far more comfortable with positive encouragement rather than negative encouragement, but the writer of Hebrews seems adept at both, encouraging believers to stay the course, both for the rewards of doing so, and again to avoid the consequences of not doing so.
That brings us to something we need to consider: if you cannot lose your salvation, does it make any sense to threaten a believer with dire consequences of failing to stay the course? If you're going to heaven "for sure" - can the threat of damnation be taken seriously?
Some would say that unless you can lose your salvation these kinds of "threats" don't make any sense. So lets explore that before we move on.
First we need to understand what we mean when we say that a person cannot lose his or her salvation, but to get there we should be clear about what we don't mean by saying that.
In Matthew 7:22-23 (Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’) our Lord describes the last day in pretty sobering terms. People who died, believing themselves to have been servants of our Lord, will find that they not only died without being saved, but died without having ever been saved.
If these people had been saved at one time, the Lord could not say, "I never knew you" - He'd have to say something like, "I no longer know you" - but the fact that they must depart tells us they weren't saved, and the fact that the Lord says that he never knew them in the first place, tells us they didn't "lose" their salvation - the never had it in the first place. They were deceived into thinking that they were saved when they were not.
If people can go to their graves so utterly deceived about their own faith, that they believe themselves to have been Christians, when in fact they weren't. People who believe themselves to be Christians, then "fall away" from their faith can be deceived as well.
In fact the Apostle John tells us that is exactly what happens when someone claims to be a believer, but then falls away from their "faith" at a later time. Consider the text of 1 John 2:19, "They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us." - in straight forward language John declares that people who fall away from their faith were not really in the faith to begin with. He sights the fact that they "could" fall away from their faith as the very evidence that their faith was illegitimate. Had it been real - they wouldn't have fallen away.
Thus anyone who falls away from their faith is not falling away from salvation - they are falling away from a faith that wasn't going to save them in the first place.
Jesus Himself said (in John 6:44) that that no one is able to come to Him (i.e. Jesus) unless God Himself draws that person to Him (i.e. Jesus). God alone draws those who come to Christ, we all lack the ability to come otherwise. Later Jesus says (c.f. John 10:27-28) that He knows His own sheep (a reference to genuine believers) to whom he grants eternal life, such that they will never perish, since no one has the power to take any of Christ's sheep, away from Him.
Some imagine that no one "else" can take them out of Christ's hand, but they themselves can take themselves out of Christ's hand. The main (but not only) problem with that is that it doesn't fit the narrative nor does it fit with the apostolic teaching. Recall what John said in 1 John 2:19 (see above). The jumped out of Christ's hand because He wasn't the one holding them in His hand. The fact that they were able to jump out demonstrates that He wasn't holding them in the first place. They placed themselves into the fold, but they did not come into the fold through the gate, but rather by leaping in over the fence. They thought they were Christians because they hung out with Christians, but they did not come through Christ who never knew them.
A genuine believer cannot lose his or her salvation. That's about as plain as it gets.
This notion is opposed by (and generally upsets) those Christians whose theology lacks a sound understanding of what is meant by a having a false assurance. The Apostle John writes in 1 John 5:13, "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life."
The trouble is that not everyone who believes themselves to be in possession of eternal life actually possesses eternal life. When Paul writes in Romans 9:6, "But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel;", he is arguing against those Jews who believed that because they were the genetic descendants of Abraham, they were automatically going to inherit the promises given to Abraham. Paul was showing that the promise was not given to the physical descendants of Abraham but to his spiritual descendants - to those whose faith was of the same sort as Abraham's.
The moment you become a (genuine) Christian, you pass from death into life (c.f. John 5:24, "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.") The life that you pass into is eternal life. In the epistle of the Hebrews, the author describes it as entering into the Sabbath rest of God.
If the life that you pass into is eternal, you cannot lose it because it -is- eternal. If you can lose it after gaining it, then you haven't really gained it at all, since you can lose it again. Using a sports analogy, once you've won a game, you are no longer able to lose it. You may be winning, but you haven't won the game until there is no opportunity to lose it. It isn't over until it is over, and when it is over, it is a done deal.
Said another way, if you "lose" eternal life, you never had "eternal" life in the first place, for eternal life cannot be lost.
In the same way, Our Lord, as I have illustrated above made a distinction between those who were actually of His flock, and those who had come into the sheepfold but were not a part of His flock. Not everyone who calls themselves (or believes themselves to be) a Christian is a Christian.
I don't really know any Christians (genuine or otherwise) who would have any trouble with that notion. It isn't like this is some gospel secret! All Christians come to know (or should come to know) what it means to have tares amongst the wheat.
We understand that not everyone who names the name of Christ has actually come to Christ. Many come superficially - which our Lord expounds in the parable of the soils.
Some hear the gospel, but can't understand it and so cannot receive Christ at all because their hearts are hardened against the truth (hard packed soil).
Some hear the gospel, but their response to it remains superficial. Jesus describes this in terms what the seed produces and fails to produce. It fails to produce what is needed to sustain growth - an adequate root system. In Christianity the roots are a reliance upon God (faith) and a genuine and ongoing repentance (submission to God's will, and especially an ongoing intentional effort to deny our own will). These never run in the power of God, but in their own power - having failed to repent and trust God - and eventually they run out of steam. Unfortunately in our culture - even though the bible clearly describes these as having never been Christian in the first place - yet these sorts (even after they stop attending church) consider themselves to be "Christians".
Others hear the gospel but they receive it into the same soil in which they also receive other (contrary) worldly philosophies. The two grow up together, such that genuine Christianity never emerges, but rather is choked out by a kind of Christianity that embraces/incorporates worldly philosophies. Such Christians do not worship the God of the scriptures, nor do they practice what the bible describes as Christianity. They consider themselves to be Christian, but what they call Christianity cannot be found in the scriptures. They never come to genuine faith or ongoing repentance because their worldly philosophies have replaced these tenets of genuine faith.
Just as every doctrine is (and ever will be) twisted by our enemy (and those who unwittingly serve him) so also the doctrine of eternal security has been greatly used by the devil in his efforts to hinder the work of Christ in this world.
Many teachers today are misinterpreting the parable of the soils in order to coddle those unsaved Stony/Thorny ground hearers on their way to hell. This they do, more often than not, because they themselves are Stony/Thorny ground hearers, unwilling to surrender their life to Christ in a settled course of obedience, or because their version of Christianity has surgically removed the requirement ongoing repentance from their version of Christianity, such that repentance would be nice, but either way, you're going to heaven even if you don't repent, because God only requires you to believe you're going to heaven, for you to go there.
The truth is if you continue to live your life without intentionally turning away from what God forbids, and intentionally humbling yourself to obey what God commands you - on a daily basis - you have no reason to believe that you are a genuine Christian, or that you have eternal life.
How many of you reading know that you are saved? How do you know that? I bet a good many readers "know" this because they believe that once you are saved, you are always saved, and so because they had an experience once upon a day, when they heard the gospel - it means they were saved that day - therefore they must still be saved, because you can't lose your salvation.
To that I say, "Well, whoop-dee-do!"
Who told you that assurance comes from being certain you believe the truth, or that because you had some sort of spiritual experience you must be a genuine Christian?
It certainly isn't a biblical idea. Judas Iscariot believed that Jesus was the Christ with all his heart, mind, soul, and strength. I mean Judas was given authority to heal the sick and raise the dead, he himself did miracles in Christ's name - he certainly understood and believed that Jesus was the one and only Christ. In his earthly ministry, Judas was sent out to personally lead Jews to Christ - and we have no reason to believe he didn't. I don't doubt that Judas will have led more people to Christ in his earthly ministry than 95% of those reading this post.
Yet he wasn't saved, and he never was saved.
Didn't he do miracles? Didn't he believe Jesus was the Christ - but yet our Lord tells us plainly that he was not only a devil, but had been so from the beginning. He wasn't saved then unsaved, he was never saved in the first place.
Many are on that same, broad road. They believe that Jesus is the Christ, but they reject Him as the Lord of their life, and in order to do that and still believe themselves to be right with God - they have to reject the bible's teaching on repentance - either by ignore it altogether, or by choking it out with false teachings.
People in this category get their (false) assurance from the fact that they said a prayer and really believed it. They get their (false) assurance from the fact that they go to church most Sundays. They get their assurance because they have been called to be elders, or because they are convinced that God has saved them, so they don't (really) need to root out the sin in their life and live a holy life dedicated to God. They ultimately believe that as long as they believe the right things, they can do the minimum, and still get into heaven when they die - and because having eternal life is the only reason they became a Christian - the moment they truly believe themselves to be in possession of it, they really don't care about such things as holy living, repentance, church attendance, fellowship, sound doctrine or anything else.
They get religious only when they are afraid they might not have eternal life yet, and fall out of their religion the more certain they are that they have eternal life already.
Maybe you see the church differently, but I see the church as a collection of genuine and false converts, most of the genuine converts are so spiritually immature, it would be impossible to really distinguish them from false converts (people who are convinced they are saved in a way that runs contrary to how the bible tells us we can know we are saved).
The truth is that even the angels of heaven cannot know for sure whether a person who calls themselves a Christian (but gives little evidence of a genuine faith) is a real Christian (wheat) or a false one (tare). If the angels, who are superior to us in power and insight - and who are not encumbered as we are by sin, are incapable of determining who is saved and who is not - we must not imagine that we can do better.
We are not called to determine whether another person who calls themselves a Christian is a real Christian or not - we are told only that any believer who justifies themselves in their sin, and refuses to repent is to be put out of the church (delivered over to the devil, as it were) in order that they (if they be genuine) learn to repent, or (if they be false) be removed as a hindrance to the growth of those genuine believers that ousted him or her.
So these truths I share, not to encourage us to start looking at others and deciding whether or not they are real Christians - it is rather to say that there are false Christians in the world today who believe themselves to be the genuine article because they are fortified by bad doctrine.
Our assurance, is best illustrated in 2 Peter 1:5-11 [NASB]:
Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.
In other word, we have assurance when our faith is the kind that inescapably produces in us an ongoing repentance. If our faith does not cause us to examine ourselves daily and often, and to provoke us again and again to submit ourselves to the will of God, and to turn away again, the hundredth and thousandth time from some besetting sin, we have no reason to believe it is saving faith. In Matthew 1:21, the angel speaking in a dream to Joseph, instructs Joseph to name the child in Mary's womb, "Jesus" because, the angels expounds, "He shall save his people from their sins". If we do not see any evidence in our lives that Jesus is saving us right now from our rebellion against God's rule in our lives - any assurance we have is baseless.
Make no mistake, the Buddhist who chooses not to lie or steal in order to secure a better reincarnation, is not repenting. Nor is the Muslim who deals honestly because he believes that increases his chances of a better afterlife. So also, a person who believes themselves to be a Christian is by no means "repenting" if the reason they obey God is to secure a better afterlife. That isn't repentance, it is self-preservation. What animal will not gnaw it's own limb off to get out of a trap? So the false convert will suppress his own sinfulness if he imagines that doing so will increase the likelihood of a better afterlife. All of it is sinful because it is selfishness - and you don't earn your way into heaven by pursuing selfish things.
I mention that because if you don't see these things in your so-called Christian life, the solution isn't to start doing these things in order to produce a real salvation for yourself.
If your repentance is this superficial and self-serving like this - then thank God you've finally seen it! Now you will have some perspective when you examine the foundation of your belief system. Why on earth would you think you're saved (from sin) if the only salvation you experience is that which you yourselves are (sinfully) producing in an effort to earn a better afterlife?
Listen: the life of Christ expressed through the outworking of the Holy Spirit in the believer is described as living water (c.f. John 4:10-11; John 7:38). Our Lord in these passages likens the work of the Holy Spirit in the believer to an artesian well - one that brings forth water without someone having to pump it out.
Our Lord describes the work of the Holy Spirit in this way, so that we will know the difference between our own works and the works of the Spirit within us. We are not the originator of that work which the Holy Spirit produces in us. We desire to do it because through the life of Christ within us, we "know" it is the right(eous) thing to do. We likewise know that we would rather follow our own self-serving pleasure than do this - yet find ourselves constrained to do what is right rather than what would please our own selfish desires.
The more we obey the Holy Spirit within us (or said another way, the more we 'draw near to God'), the more assurance we have that we are the real deal.
A Proper Understanding of Eternal Security
Thus it is the obedience that Christ is producing in us - our ongoing repentance - which testifies to the validity of our faith. It should come as no surprise therefore that we are told to excommunicate those who justify themselves in their sins, and refuse to repent (c.f Matthew 18), because more than anything else, genuine repentance (obeying God rather than our own desires) is the primary evidence (and assurance) of our salvation.
We do not say, "because I am saved, I cannot be lost, therefore it doesn't matter if I sin" - rather we say, "because I find in myself the willingness to surrender to the will of God, and practice that very same thing, I have good reason to trust that I am truly on the narrow road. Again, we say, because as I stay this course, I find my repentance increasing, and not failing or stagnating - I am assured that my salvation is proving to be genuine.
What we do not do is content ourselves by the growing evidence of the genuineness of our salvation to set aside this sanctifying work within us, and pursue the things in this life anew, with the assurance that we can enjoy these now, having attained a level of certainty that we already apprehended the better afterlife we wanted.
If the only reason we repent is because we are afraid we'll go to hell if we don't, then our repentance isn't really repentance, because we are not doing what we do to draw near to God - we are doing what we do to pacify Him. If you do that you're essentially throwing all that Christ did satisfy the wrath of God and to make you acceptable into the toilet. Listen if that describes you - stop. doing. that.
Any act of obedience that includes in itself the notion of pacifying God by and through the act - is an act of sacrilege. If the life of Christ was spilled out on God's altar - an altar not formed by men's hands, but by God Himself - and you imagine yourself adding something to that when you take your tool to it - you are not adding to it, but profaning the work of Christ. (c.f. Exodus 20:25, If you make an altar of stone for Me, you shall not build it of cut stones, for if you wield your tool on it, you will profane it.)
So if you find yourself lacking security - don't just what you're already doing harder. Re-think not only what it means to repent, but why you're repenting. You should be humbling yourself before God because you believe he has the right to rule over you, and that it is fitting and proper for you to obey Him. You should see anything else as an offense against God and all creation (since it was on account of sin that creation itself was cursed). You should be experiencing a desire to repent because -that is the right thing to do- and if you don't experience that in your soul, you need to talk to God about why that is - and thank God, dear reader, that you've come to hear this, because if that is you, you're either a false Christian in need of salvation, or a baby Christian in need of sanctification. Either way, knowing for sure that something isn't right, is itself a gift of God - how else would God show you that you're doing it wrong?
Now That We're Done The Pre-amble...
By Hebrews 5:12, the author has mentioned Christ as our priest or high priest, seven times in six places:
- Hebrews 2:17 - Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
- Hebrews 3:1 - Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession;
- Hebrews 4:14 - Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
- Hebrews 4:15 - For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
- Hebrews 5:5-6 - So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him, “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You”; just as He says also in another passage, “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.”
- Hebrews 5:10- being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.
But it isn't until Chapter 5 that the author begins to describe Jesus as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.
The author chooses to introduce the teaching concerning Christ as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek with a cautionary prelude beginning in Hebrews 5:11 and including all of Hebrews 6. Our text therefore falls within this prelude, and serves a function within that prelude, which must be understood in order to follow the author's teaching properly.
The prelude can be divided into five parts:
- Hebrews 5:11-14: He explains that some of his intended readers lack the maturity to understand the teaching he is about to give them, and explains to them why they have remained immature.
- Hebrews 6:1-3: He begins to explain that they do not need a new foundation at this point, but must build upon the one they already have - pressing on to maturity. He intends to lead them in that way if God permits.
- Hebrews 6:4-8: The reason a new foundation is not going to help them is because faith and repentance are part of the foundation. The Holy Spirit reveals Jesus to us, and in that revelation is the seed of our repentance: the knowledge that Jesus is our Lord (the One who has the right to command our obedience). Without this knowledge we cannot repent, and unless we repent we cannot build upon our repentance. When the Holy Spirit reveals this truth to a person, if it does not produce repentance, it is necessarily producing rebellion.
- Hebrews 6:9-12: In explaining this, he doesn't mean to imply that he is convinced that this is the problem with them - he rather wants them to have a full assurance of their hope, knowing that the greater their assurance is, the less sluggish they will likely be.
- Hebrews 6:13-20: He encourages his immature readers to persevere with a patience that waits for the fulfilling of God's promises even as Abraham did. Showing that Abraham took refuge in the promises of God, as we ought to also, as we wait for their fulfillment. Thus the coming teaching that Christ is our high priest according to the Order of Melchizedek serves this purpose: to give us something to hold onto as we persevere in the faith.
For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, â€†since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned. - Hebrews 6:4-8 [NASB]
In Matthew 16:15-18 we read the following, He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
Let's be real with this text. I don't think it is suggesting that Peter suddenly was possessed by the Spirit of God, and began pronouncing this truth with the glassy-eyed stare of someone who had just been used by God to say something that had never occurred to him before. I think Peter, from his own perspective, believed that he had "figured out" who Jesus was. He saw the signs, reasoned within himself that this must be the Christ, and spoke what he believed to be true.
Jesus wanted Peter, and everyone else that was there - and certainly all Christians throughout the ages to know - was that Peter could not have come to know this apart from God revealing it to him.
Let that sink in.
If you are a Christian, you certainly came to understand that Jesus is the Christ, but just as it was for Peter, so it is for you, and I. We could neither understand nor believe this truth unless God Himself opened that truth to our understanding. You probably heard the gospel more than once in your life, why didn't you believe it the first time you heard it? It is because God hadn't revealed it to you at that time as being true.
But don't imagine that because God Himself revealed that truth to you, you were saved. You weren't saved until that truth provoked you to repent, and accept Christ Jesus as your Lord and Savior.
Judas was one of the twelve. Judas came to know that Jesus was indeed the Christ, and as such had the right to command his obedience, but unlike the other Apostles, Judas did not humble himself in obedience to Christ. Even as he knew that Jesus was his Lord, nevertheless, he rejected Christ's rule, and was lost.
Remember again, John 6:64, But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. [NASB], and again, John 6:70-71 Jesus answered them, “Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?” Now He meant Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray Him. [NASB]
These texts together tell us that Judas was not a "believer", and had never been a believer. Yet Judas preached the gospel, and was given authority by Christ to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, etc. (c.f. Matthew 10:5-8. These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: “Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give. [NASB]
Some imagine that Judas went out and kind of faked it when everyone else was doing real miracles, but that isn't what happened. Jesus gave the 12 (including Judas) authority to preach the kingdom, and to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers and cast out demons. But this is silly. None of the Apostles, for all their piety, could perform a miracle apart from this authority. This authority was given apart from their faith, and apart from the repentance - it was given according to the office they had received, and not according to any merit in them.
Jesus makes it plain in Matthew 12:28 that when he was casting out demons he was doing so by the Holy Spirit (c.f. "But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you." [NASB]). If Christ did the miraculous by the power of the Holy Spirit (and not as some suppose, by the innate power of his own deity), it follows that when the Apostles were given power to cast out demons - that this power was likewise the power of the Holy Spirit.
Thus whatever miracles Judas performed, he did in the power of the Holy Spirit.
More than anyone, Judas abundantly fits the description given in Hebrews 6:4-6, and we know that Judas was never a believer in the first place.
So we conclude that the experiences mentioned in Hebrews 6:4-6, while certainly true of every believer, isn't necessarily describing someone who has put his or her trust in Christ for salivation. It is only describing someone who has come to know, through personal experience that Jesus is indeed the Christ.
Thus the text is telling us that when a person comes to know (through the Holy Spirit) that Jesus is the Christ - that knowledge will either produce repentance, and thus salvation, or the same knowledge will damn those who reject or ignore it.
Make not mistake, This isn't talking about hearing the gospel and rejecting something that wasn't "believed" - it is talking about those who hear and believe the gospel, but nevertheless refuse to come to Christ for salvation.
While that certainly would be a reason for someone "not" to mature in the Christian faith - the author isn't suggesting this is the case with some of them. He rather mentions it because he wants to explain that the solution to immaturity is not to "get saved again" - because that is impossible, the solution is to build upon that foundation rather than to let it sit unkept.
He intends to press on - to build upon that foundation - if the Lord permits which he trusts the Lord to do if in fact they have a real foundation. Those who have never believed do not.
This passage does not teach that you can lose and regain your salvation. It teaches that there will be folks in the church who have been given all that they need to be saved, but they will still reject the Lord. Thus we are encouraged to make our call and election sure - lest we be found on that day of judgment wanting.
What a great mercy it is that the Lord continues to minister to those who join themselves to a church, but are only joined superficially - here is meat for such as these to chew upon, that they may accept Christ as their Lord and Savior "for real".