A Verse by Verse Look at the Book of Hebrews

Hebrews 6

Warning against falling away

Hebrews 6 serves as a warning against walking away from the truth and becoming reprobate (damned). Falling away makes it impossible to come back to repentance because it subjects Christ once again to open shame. However, there are better things accompanying salvation for us who continue on with Christ. We can proceed toward that steadfast hope entering through the veil which Christ has opened to us.

Leaving the Elementary to Go on to Maturity (Hebrews 6:1-3)

Written by Juli Camarin on . Posted in Hebrews 6

Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so" (Hebrews 6:1-3)

One of my favorite things to do is visit big cities. I love walking around town, taking in the skyscraper scenery and experiencing the hustle and bustle of big city life.  New York is perhaps the most impressive of cities that I have ever visited. Every square inch is occupied by tall buildings and skyscrapers. Anything less than twenty stories dwarfs in comparison to what makes up New York City skyline. Considering the fact that all of this is housed on a tiny island, it makes sense that what you see above the surface is relative to what lies beneath. To support dozens of floors, each skyscraper must have footings that go deep into the earth. The foundation must be built right or the building would never support the addition of height.

The same is true for believers. Our foundation must be well constructed. We must know and understand certain things first in order to receive the deeper things of God later. The foundation always comes first. The cornerstone of this entire belief system is built on Jesus. Then as we get to know Him and read His Word certain principles are laid, solidifying the base we are building. What is being formed will support the many deep and wonderful truths of God in the future. But to build the sixteenth floor the foundation has to be in place first.

This passage of scripture is a call to start moving in the direction of maturity. The writer of Hebrews is still on the same thought as the ending of chapter 5. He begins this chapter with 'therefore' and as the saying goes, any time you see this in scripture you need to pause and find out what it is “there for”. He ended chapter 5 rebuking the people for their laziness in understanding important beginning truths. They still needed the milk showing their infancy, not willing to grow and train themselves to understand even the base principals of God. Because of this, he is saying it is time to move on to spiritual maturity. They need to take the foundation of what they'd been taught and strive for more understanding.

This list of elementary truths should be the foundation of our lives. These doctrines are important to know so well we could teach them to others. Understanding these things concerning repentance, faith, baptisms, laying on of hands, the resurrection and eternal judgment are the base things of God, they are beginning truths. But having these as our foundation of faith assures that the principles built on them will be secure and supported. This is why the writer says it is time to move on toward completeness and perfection belonging to the spiritually mature. And now, he aims to do just that. The next principles discussed in Hebrews can be hard to understand, but we will be proceeding into advanced teaching leaning on our foundational understanding to support these deeper truths.

Just as each floor of a New York skyscraper is built on the preceding one until the entire building is completed, we are to continue growing in the Word until the very end. It is not a onetime read. Each time through brings more understanding and more revelation than the time before. As we plant these seeds in our hearts we can expect much return on our investment. David said we will be like a tree planted by the streams of water yielding fruit in season and prospering (Psalm 1:2-3).

Subjecting the Son to Public Disgrace (Hebrews 6:4-6)

Written by Juli Camarin on . Posted in Hebrews 6

"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)

Part 1 of 4

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.

The Basis of Eternal Redemption (Hebrews 6:4-6)

Written by Juli Camarin on . Posted in Hebrews 6

"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)

Part 2 of 4

If it is possible to fall away, as this passage in Hebrews suggests, or in effect become again as an unbeliever without the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, this verse seems to contradict others throughout scripture which talk about eternal redemption. So, it is important to first look at eternal redemption, what it is, what has been promised and who it is for; so we understand what the writer is saying in these verses concerning falling away.

Eternal redemption can be defined in this way; it is putting saving faith in the complete and perfect work of Jesus Christ, confessing Him as Lord, accepting the payment and forgiveness for your sins, trusting in Him to do what you cannot do. Once this happens you are saved, period. This is an eternal decision. You cannot lose what has been given to you as a gift.

What Does it Mean to Fall Away? (Hebrews 6:4-6)

Written by Juli Camarin on . Posted in Hebrews 6

"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)

Part 3 of 4

We've established that you cannot lose your salvation, nor can anyone take it away from you, but Hebrews teaches that it is impossible to be brought back again to repentance once you've fallen away. If it is possible to fall away after being born again, it is important to look at this and understand what the writer is saying. Remember for every Biblical truth there is an equal and opposite truth that appears to contradict. Like our example of the tightrope, these truths pull in an equal and opposite direction to bring balance. In all cases it is not an either or scenario, but both. So understanding both sides of the apparent contradiction will expand your revelation of God's amazing grace and heighten your appreciation of the choice offered to you in Jesus.

The Conditions of Becoming Reprobate (Hebrews 6:4-6)

Written by Juli Camarin on . Posted in Hebrews 6

"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)

Part 4 of 4

Every new believer has at one time or another struggled over this question of losing their salvation. They’ve messed up and assumed that what they’ve done proves they aren’t saved. Of course the devil is right there planting these ideas into their head. But as we have already seen, you cannot lose your salvation, which was a gift. Neither will God take it back from you.

Let’s go back to my camp days again... There was another counselor who had been learning about this in Bible college and started challenging me whether or not you could lose your salvation. To even phrase it like that, I don’t believe he understood this principal either, because it really should be a non-issue among Christians. It is in the scriptures to show us the incredible facets of God’s nature, meaning he gives us a choice because this is the highest form of relationship one can have. Everyone in this kingdom is here by choice, personal choice. It is not a matter of losing it rather returning or renouncing it.

Thorns & Thistles are Worthless and in Danger of Being Cursed (Hebrews 6:7-8)

Written by Juli Camarin on . Posted in Hebrews 6

"Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned" (Hebrews 6:7-8)

I am from Iowa, and in Iowa farming is very important to the economy. Every summer the entire state is covered by thousands of square miles of corn and soy beans. Each spring farmers plant their crops to harvest in the fall. Around July and August there is always talk about the amount of rain needed for the crops to flourish and grow. While it is always a safe topic of conversation, the truth is God is the one who sends rain upon the earth to water it.

David spoke eloquently in Psalm 65, “You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly. The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain, for so you have ordained it. You drench its furrows and level its ridges; you soften it with showers and bless its crops. You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance. The grasslands of the desert overflow; the hills are clothed with gladness. The meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are mantled with grain; they shout for joy and sing” (Psalm 65:9-13).

The produce that is harvested is a blessing from the Lord. Amazingly, God also blesses those who are not of his kingdom. Jesus said in Matthew, “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45b). God is not partial and chooses to bless everyone whether they recognize it or not. The difference is how we respond to this blessing in our lives. If the farmers’ fields repeatedly grew weeds instead of corn, eventually they might sell that land or let it return to prairie choosing to farm only in productive areas. The same is true of God. If a person repeatedly rejects Him and His blessing producing thorns and thistles instead of what God desires and His blessings allow, then in the end they are in danger of their decisions in this life.

When Jesus explained the parable of the weeds to his disciples (Matthew 13:24-30; Matthew 13:36-43) he told them that the wheat and the tares were allowed to grow together until the harvest. At this time the weeds would first be gathered and burned. But all through the growing season the tares were allowed to grow with the wheat. They took the same nourishment from the soil, they enjoyed the same sunshine and benefited from the same rain drops that fell on the crops. However, the ending for the weeds was drastically different than it was for the wheat.

The writer of Hebrews is making this analogy directly after instructions about moving onto maturity in Christ. Weeds sprout because of neglect and sometimes it takes work to cultivate a good crop. However, Jesus gave us the key to a good harvest in John 15, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). So it makes sense that believers will produce a kingdom crop by functioning as they were created while enjoying the many blessings from God.  The fruit is always determined by the seed that is planted and cultivated, which is why it is so important to remain in the vine and recognize the many blessings of God.

Confident of Better Things (Hebrews 6:9-10)

Written by Juli Camarin on . Posted in Hebrews 6

"Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your case—things that accompany salvation. God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them" (Hebrews 6:9-10)

Salvation is accompanied by lots of fringe benefits. In fact salvation is the entrance point for all the good things that God has in store for us. The moment we were born again every promise that was made belonged to us as heirs of this kingdom. Although the warning at the end of Hebrews 5 and beginning of chapter 6 is a strong warning, the entire passage is really focusing on moving into maturity so as not to become complacent with the eternal life that has been given us. As believers we are not in danger of falling away, the writer simply mentioned it because what he wants to say needs a good foundation to understand and his audience was not training themselves to gain spiritual insight as they should have been.

Both knowledge and understanding is one of the many benefits that accompany salvation. John explained how this works, “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth” (I John 2:20). The King James Bible tells us that we have “an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things” (KJV). The word is translated both as anointing and unction comes from the same word, which Strong’s Concordance defines as “anything smeared on, unguent, ointment, usually prepared by the Hebrews from oil and aromatic herbs. Anointing was the inaugural ceremony for priests. The amazing thing is that John is referring to the Holy Spirit as the ointment covering the believer and granting them the means to possess the knowledge and understanding of God’s truth and walk in all His ways.

John goes on to explain later it the very same chapter, “As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him” (I John 2:27). We have the perfect teacher to lead us into all truths and unlock the scripture to us. When we don’t understand, the Holy Spirit partners with us in bringing revelation knowledge concerning the things we have read or heard. This knowledge and understanding comes from within to illuminate our minds to the truth, this is one of His many functions. Jesus told his disciples shortly before His death that it was advantageous for Him to go back to the Father so He could send the Holy Spirit to us because He knew we needed Him (John 16:7).

Being confident of better things the writer also pauses to remind us that God is not unjust in noticing the labor of love shown the world through them for His name sake. Which is amazing considering that we are Christ’s ambassadors on this earth (II Corinthians 5:20), sent by him and in His name to love a hurting and dying world. He has given us full authority on this earth to act on his behalf, and God certainly notices and does not forget these acts of kindness. Which is why the writer finishes with this thought reminding us to persevere until the very end;, “We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised" (Hebrews 6:11-12). Through knowledge, spiritual insight and perseverance we will lay hold of the hope to which we have been called. This is why we take encouragement through these scriptures, chiding us to move forward in our knowledge and understanding of God, because we know the best is yet to come.

Showing Diligence Until the Very End (Hebrews 6:11-12)

Written by Juli Camarin on . Posted in Hebrews 6

"We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised" (Hebrews 6:11-12)

Perseverance is a necessary characteristic for believers. Judging by the world around us it would be easy to become discouraged by the events continually surrounding us if we did not know the hope we have in Jesus and cling to it until the very end.

We are encouraged to show the same diligence as those who went before us in realizing and inheriting the promise. Paul noted in Corinthians, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize” (I Corinthians 9:24). Forget what surrounds you, run to win. Looking forward to future with tunnel vision because we know that this world will distract us from accomplishing the mission the Lord has for us. Which is why we need to be diligent and steadfast until the end to make this hope a reality.