Wednesday, October 15, 2014

WELL-ANCHORED (Hebrews Chapter 6)

Hebrews 6:19, “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain.”

On February 4, 1999, a ship, the New Carissa, was bound for the Port of Coos Bay, Oregon to pick up a load of wood chips.  The ship's crew was informed by the local bar pilots that weather conditions would prevent the ship from entering the harbor until the next morning.  The captain ordered the ship to drop anchor some distance off of the coast in order to ride out the storm.  The crew dropped anchor, but the anchor line was too short.  Heavy winds drove the ship to the shore where it ran aground.  Though no lives were lost, the recovery and cleanup cost tens of millions of dollars.  The New Carissa was provisioned with a suitable anchor, but not being well-positioned it was of no help in the situation.  A “sure and steadfast anchor of the soul” has been provisioned by God to the believer in Christ.

We have need of an “anchor of the soul.”  “Sin and despair, like the seawaves cold, threaten the soul with infinite loss” (Grace Greater Than Our Sin).  We face trials and temptations of many kinds.  An untethered soul will inevitably be “tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 3:14).

The anchor provisioned by God is both “sure” and “steadfast.”  The two terms relate to the nature of the anchor in different ways.  The word “sure” speaks of that which is firm and certain.  The word “steadfast” speaks to the anchor’s security when placed under stress.  The hope of the believing soul is such that it is both firm and unassailable.  It is that because of who God is.  God has promised salvation to the believer.  The believer’s assurance is based on “two unchangeable things” (Cf. Hebrews 6:18)—His promise and His oath (Cf. Hebrews 6:13-18).  Since “it is impossible for God to lie,” we know that in Him we have been provisioned with a suitable and trustworthy anchor.  Charles Spurgeon commented on this, “When a gale is rushing towards the shore, blowing great guns and the vessel cannot hold her course and must surely be driven upon an iron-bound coast, then an anchor is worth its weight in gold!”

An anchor is of no value if it is not laid hold of by means of a rope or cable.  The author of Hebrews spoke to those “who have fled for refuge…to hold fast to the hope set before (them)” (Hebrews 6:18).  How is a soul tethered to the sure and steadfast anchor?  Is it not by faith?  “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).  Faith “flees for refuge” in the unseen Christ.  It lays hold of him by faith and by faith works to bind one’s self tightly to Him.  No one can be saved apart from it.  And by it the believer experiences both security and stability.

Note the place to which the anchor is secured.  It “enters into the inner place behind the curtain” (Hebrews 6:19).  The well-anchored soul is tethered to heaven itself.  He is bound to heaven’s shore!  And though we face the winds and waves of adversity here, all is calm in that harbor.  Is your soul even now bound by such an anchor to such a glorious place? 

Charles Spurgeon concluded a sermon on this topic with these words, “My cable has grown shorter of late, a great many of its links have vanished.  I am nearer my hope that when I first believed.  Every day hope nears fruition!  Let our joy in it become more exultant.  A few more weeks or months and we shall dwell above!  And while we shall need no anchor to hold us fast, we shall eternally bless that Divine condescension which produced such a holdfast for our unstable minds while tossed upon this sea of care!  What will those of you do who have no anchor?  A storm is coming on!  I see the lowering clouds and hear the distant hurricane!  What will you do?  May the Lord help you at once to flee for refuge to the hope set before you.  Amen.”

And it holds, my anchor holds:
Blow your wildest, then, O gale,
On my bark so small and frail;
By His grace I shall not fail,
For my anchor holds, my anchor holds.
(My Anchor Holds, William C. Martin)

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