It is impossible to restore them

For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. Hebrews 6:4-6

I have to admit I gave serious thought to just skipping today’s three verses and moving on in Hebrews. Taken by themselves it would appear that the writer is telling us that we can lose our salvation and there is no way back. That is frightening. However, the rest of the New Testament contradicts the idea we can lose our salvation. Salvation is a gift of God and nothing we can do will change it. So, what is the writer telling us?

One thing about interpreting God’s Word is that is we keep it in context we can find the meaning. It helps us today that we have a multitude of commentaries and history to call upon. The context of today’s verses is the writer is taking to task Christians who have fallen back on their old Jewish customs and practices. They are moving backward rather than forward in their faith.

Next I turned to The Bible Knowledge Commentary edited by the late J. F. Walvoord, theologian and former president of Dallas Theological Seminary and one of my favorite authors, and the late Roy B. Zuck, senior professor emeritus of Bible Exposition at Dallas Theological Seminary. Here we learn that there are four ways to interpret these verses. First is that Christians can lose their salvation but this is rebutted in the rest of the New Testament. Especially in John where Jesus tells us that God has placed us in Jesus hand and no one not even God can remove us.

Next is that this is a warning for those who merely give lip service to the faith. But the writer of Hebrews calls these people who have been enlightened and have shared in the Holy Spirit. This indicated they were more than people hovering around the rim of faith but had accepted and understood. Then there is the view that these verses are speaking hypothetical about the possibility of one losing their salvation. Again, the writer is speaking to and about actual Christians and nowhere is there an indication he suddenly switched from actual Christians to hypothetical Christians.

We are left with the last interpretation that these are Christians who have moved away from the faith and now live a life of apostasy. They have been saved and still are saved but they are no longer useful in the work of the church. Once they denounced Christ and moved back to their old religion they are in essence crucifying Jesus once again that is aligning with those who originally called for Jesus’ crucifixion. In doing so their heart had so hardened that there was no way they could ever be brought back into the Christian walk. The writer of Hebrews is warning these people that they are on a path from which they will not return. He wants them to return to the faith before it is too late.

This still goes on today. Someone gets seduced by the world and eventually renounces Christianity. Maybe one of our kids goes off to college unprepared for the confrontations with the philosophy professor they have in the intro course and in order to fit in or not be ridiculed leaves the church. Someone is hurt by another Christian and leaves. There are probable as many reason for leaving Christ as there are people who leave. But once that happens it is usually for good. Why is that?

I think pride comes into play. Once someone takes a stand it is hard to later admit they are wrong. This is especially true when we are young but the young do not have a monopoly on pride. Maybe if we kept the change to ourselves it would be easy to reverse but that rarely happens. Someone renounces Jesus and Christianity and they want to world to know. They eagerly want to convince everyone else how right they are and how wrongheaded everyone else is. The heart hardens and the dye is caste. They no longer work for God nor do they keep their promises to Him. God however will keep His promise to those who renounce Him.

Have a blessed day,

David

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About dwwork

The name of this blog is taken from 1 Peter 3:13 - “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience. This verse became special to me over ten years ago when I was asked to teach an adult Sunday school class on Christian apologetics. This interest grew over the years to the point that I took some graduate level classes in apologetics. I think the best way to be prepared to give and answer to everyone who asks is to know scripture. It is my hope that through these short devotionals the reader will become more familiar with each verse. I have tried when possible to make them personal hoping in some small way to show that God’s word written over two thousand years ago is still relevant today. In the writing of these short devotionals I have been able to better understand how God’s word impacts my life. It is my hope that you too will come closer to our Lord Jesus and develop a closer relationship with Him. Finally, if the reader finds anything in conflict with scripture please let me know. God’s word is the final authority always overrules anything I might write. David
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One Response to It is impossible to restore them

  1. Having ministered to Atheists David, even some who had once been part of a Church, I have no confusion about these verses, when they are viewed with the rest of Scripture they are very clear. I sought God and He showed me that some would be saved and some would be lost but we are not to judge anyone’s Eternal Destiny, they may come to heart repentance on their deathbed by the good seeds planted.

    Daniel 12:10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.

    Falling away does not mean falling into sin, although that will be included, we can be forgiven of sin which includes hate towards others but it means we are still in darkness and do not walk in Unity with Jesus (1John 2:1-11) falling away means rejecting Jesus, how can anyone be brought back to repentance for their sin if they reject Jesus who forgives them.

    Some sadly have done this even unto death and by the motivation of their evil flesh they fight against the True Church of God, meaning those who have been Born again, they hate them. They may have even had a Spiritual gift like King Saul who prophesied and others in Scripture and they knew all about God, but their heart was hard and they had no real Love for God or others, their repentance was outward and not of the heart, they were white washed tombs.

    If we continue to sin we will die Spiritually, The Holy Spirit will no longer draw us to repentance, He can’t but this shows we were never a redeemed Child of God and part of His eternal Family, He knows those who are His and has from Eternity and not one of us will be lost, we work out our Salvation by walking in The Spirit not the flesh, this we are to put to death by The Spirit – Romans8

    Hebrews 3:12-14 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;

    James 1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

    When we are Born again and perfected in Love, we will show we are by walking as Jesus walked, and having His mind we will not choose to sin, we are not punished when we walk in Righteousness which will be shown by our words and actions and God protects our souls.

    Psalm 97:9-11 For thou, Lord, art high above all the earth: thou art exalted far above all gods. Ye that Love the Lord, hate evil: He preserveth the souls of His Saints; He delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked. Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.

    Christian Love from both of us – Anne.

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