"It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace" ( Hebrews 6:4-6 )
Growing up Baptist, I held tightly to the doctrine 'once saved, always saved'. So you can imagine the ground shaking experience that occurred one summer at camp when my counselor co-worker challenged this idea. He was attending Bible college at the time learning all sorts of things. As he shared this knowledge, confusion about what I had always believed set in. I realize now what he was trying to say, but at that time, I wasn't able to reconcile this truth in full understanding. Even reading a verse such as this, can challenge our core belief system unless we understand several things. However, to comprehend the fullness of God's grace, having insight into a passage of scripture such as this is extremely important.
Every great truth in the Bible, appears to have a contradiction. This is why we get so many divisions among believers who cannot agree and argue these doctrines. However, there are always two sides to every truth and understanding both sides brings balance to each truth in the Bible. Each idea is usually not an either or but both. A good illustration I once heard a speaker use is that of a tightrope. If I was going to cross a gorge on a tightrope I would need anchor point securely fastened on each side of the gorge. I would want the tension and pull to be the exact same so I could walk the entire length of the rope without it losing structure. If they were not both pulling in the opposite direction with the same force. I would never securely make it across.
This is a great picture to understand why it is important to have equal and opposite truths that appear to contradict. Because it gives the pull needed to find balance between both ideas and both truths. Comprehending all facets will bring a deeper understanding of scripture and an intimate working knowledge of God and His infinite grace.
At first glance, this verse seems to be floating in this chapter out of nowhere. The writer is encouraging the reader to progress in their knowledge of truth. Then out of the blue He warns against falling away, noting it is impossible to be brought back again to repentance once this happens. This can be a little disconcerting because life carries us through ebbs and flows without the need to worry about losing one's salvation. So the question naturally becomes, once you are born again, can you lose your salvation?
Tomorrow we will look at this question and find the answer by looking at the promise of salvation. Please join me for part 2, The Basis of Eternal Redemption.