The writer of the letter to the Hebrews said that there are two unchangeable things. The first is God’s promise of deliverance from our sin through the seed of the woman, the seed of Abraham, and the seed of David. Is there anything God can’t do? Yes, He cannot lie. He can never fail to keep a promise. The second thing is the clear and undeniable demonstration of His love for us as a guarantee that He will keep His promises as seen in the blood sacrifice of His son on Calvary. These two things, the promise and the blood oath, guarantee our eternal destiny. And God cannot lie. This is what the writer says in Hebrews 6:18. It reads, “So that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.” Steadman says, “So by these two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, the readers of this letter, and we who share it with them, are greatly encouraged to take hold of the hope offered. Since God cannot lie to us, and actually confirmed His promise with an oath, let us, as the writer says, be greatly encouraged”.[1]

In the history of Israel, God instructed Moses and then Joshua to set up cities of refuge. These are cities where someone could flee from the “avenger of blood” and find protection. Fruchtenbaum says “The word refuge is a reminder of the concept of the cities of refuge. The Old Testament concept of refuge is the background for this verse. Just as a man flees to a city of refuge, the believers have fled to the Messiah for refuge because that is where the hope [is] set before us, the Messianic Hope.”[2] Kent summarizes this issue for us. He writes, “So Christian believers, having trusted in the promise made first to Abraham regarding his seed—a promise which culminated in Christ, the unique Seed—have fled from the prospect of coming judgment to grasp as their own the refuge provided in the Christian hope.”[3]

The writer of Hebrews uses every allusion to the Old Testament to point to Jesus. Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promises to Adam & Eve, Abraham, and David. Just as surely as God kept His promises to His people in the Old Testament, we too can be sure He will keep His promises to us and even more so, because Jesus, the promised one, was also the blood oath that guarantees those promises. There is so much uncertainty and insecurity in the world in which we live that God wants us to know that there is something we can hold on to which will never change. His love for us demonstrated on the cross of Calvary is something that will never change. That’s why Jeremiah refers to it as “everlasting love.” Just as the cities of refuge gave sinners a place to run for protection from the blood avenger, so too does Jesus give sinners a place to run from the one who has the power of sin and death. “Come to me,” Jesus says, “I’ll give you rest for your souls.” Jesus is the only sure thing!

[1] Ray C. Stedman, Hebrews, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series (Westmont, IL: IVP Academic, 1992), Heb 6:16.

[2] Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Messianic Jewish Epistles: Hebrews, James, First Peter, Second Peter, Jude, 1st ed. (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 2005), 94.

[3] Homer A. Kent Jr., The Epistle to the Hebrews: A Commentary (Winona Lake, IN: BMH Books, 1983), 121–122.