25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.
I would like to look at what seems to be an unassailable eternal security stronghold verse today. My intent is to look at the verse for what it says, in relation to the believers security .
So often I have found that in my zeal to understand the Word that I find “my truth”. What I mean is that I may have an agenda or teaching, and find support for it in the Word. This is a difficult issue to handle, since I am not a blank slate, but I come to the Scriptures with a history, a bias and a weak mind.
With my limitations clearly stated, I still intend to consider how the passage relates to the security of the believer, with an honest mind and open heart.
Conditional or Eternal Security
Is it the authors intent to discuss the eternal security question? Lets consider the phrases in this verse and try to understand what the apostle (or apostolic representative) is trying to say.
He is Able
Roget thesaurus gives me my first clue as to what is being communicated to us as believers. The thesaurus has a definition for “able” as “capable of performing”, “having an innate capacity”, and uses words like capable, competent and strong as synonyms.
Strong’s dictionary is also helpful.
“Able” is the translation of the greek word dunamai, a very familiar greek term for many believers.
G1410, dunamai, Of uncertain affinity; to be able or possible: – be able, can (do, + -not), could, may, might, be possible, be of power.
Hopefully, it is obvious to you, as it is to me, that to be able to perform an action does not inform us that the action is being (or even will be) performed! It is simply a description of the capacity of the Messiah, in His office of High Priest. And yet we know He is a loving and merciful God.
Shall we presume that since He has the ability to save to the uttermost, that He will do so independently of all other considerations? Is the eternal security doctrine falling into this trap?
Is there a condition upon which the ability to save to the uttermost becomes reality in a persons life? And is this reality in a persons life that which is the security believers seek?
Coming to God
The condition in this passage is that those that will be saved, must come unto God by Him.
It is important at this point in the study to realize that all verbs in this passage are “present tense” which in the Greek signifies continuous or habitual action, and often reflects a lifestyle.
This speaks volumes when you consider the verb “come” in this text. Those that are being saved, even to the uttermost, are those who come (continuously) to God via the Great High Priest.
This is the condition upon which His abilities to save are released.
But lets consider one more aspect that I found intriguing.
To the Uttermost
When the author is describing the abilities of our Great High Priest, he states that Jesus is able to save “to the uttermost” I have always come away from this verse, wondering what exactly this means and I am glad this study is forcing me to consider it. You see, what I have found is that “to the uttermost” refers to the result of the sanctifying work of God in a believers life.
Uttermost is the English translation of the Greek παντελής (pantelēs). This word speaks of completely, or perfectly, that the action being performed is finished. It is a rare word in the New Testament, used only in Hebrews 7:25 (our verse today) and in Luke 13:11 in a negative sense.
And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.
She could in no wise lift herself up. She could not “completely” lift herself up. She couldn’t “finish” standing straight!
If the eternal security teaching is true, then I would have hoped that the previous term would have a time element associated with it. What I mean is that the saving action of our Great High Priest would be perpetual based on my initial coming to Him. Sadly, I am not sure this verse supports such a teaching.
So lets recap
To be able to do something does not necessarily imply action.
The Great High Priest has conditions to be met prior to a saving work being performed.
Those coming to God are described as continuously coming. A lifestyle of coming to God! With each coming, the High Priest is able to save, that is completely save. (I take this to mean in a sanctifying process.)
But I still have a problem!
He Ever Liveth
Lets consider the next phrase – He ever liveth to make intercession. Again the present tense, He is always alive in order to always make intercession.
I suppose at this point I have a question that I am not sure if the verse answers.
Does He make intercession for us since we are His children, or does He make intercession for us as we come to God by Him?
I am not going to loose any sleep over it, since we both know that as believers, we are to constantly seek His favor and help.
It is just so great that He is there when we seek Him. He is Good, and He is able! Let us seek Him.
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