Hebrews 6

Scripture Passage: 
Hebrews 6:4-6
  1. THE ISSUES OF THE PASSAGE 
    1. Were the People Initially Saved?
      1. Their description
        1. They were once enlightened
        2. They have tasted of the heavenly gift
        3. They were made partakers of the Holy Ghost
        4. They have tasted the good word of God
        5. They have tasted the powers of the world to come
      2. The problem
        1. If these people were truly saved, then does this passage teach that saved people can lose their salvation?
        2. If these people were not saved, then how can such a powerful description be made of saved people?
    2. Does the Falling Away Refer to Loss of Salvation?
      1. If it does, this is a real problem to those who believe in eternal security
      2. If it does not, to what then is it referring?
    3. How is it Impossible to Renew Again Unto Repentance?
      1. If the falling away refers to loss of salvation, then an inability to repent would be an inability to get saved again. (NOTE: Although those who believe in the losing of salvation love to use this passage, this should not frighten off those who believe in eternal security.  Because if it does, it teaches the impossibility of getting saved after losing it—a doctrine with which most who teach losing of salvation are very uncomfortable.)
      2. If the falling does not refer to the loss of salvation (like becoming a castaway), then what does it mean that they cannot renew again to repentance?  This causes other doctrinal problems.
    4. What is it to Crucify to Themselves the Son of God Afresh?
      1. If a saved person loses his salvation, this would be referring to a necessity of Christ dying on the cross a second time for a second salvation
      2. If a saved person does not lose his salvation but rather falls away from God, what would this mean?
      3. If the person was never truly saved but only fell from his profession, what would this mean?
  2. STANDARD INTERPRETATIONS OF THE PASSAGE
    1. Real Loss of Salvation
      1. The people were really saved
      2. The passage deals with actual loss of salvation
      3. Those who lose their salvation can never be saved again
    2. Hypothetical Loss of Salvation 
      1. The people were really saved
      2. The passage deals with actual loss of salvation
      3. However, the “if” clause points to a hypothetical argument.  Paul is not saying that the loss of salvation is possible.  He is only saying that if it were then it would be impossible to be saved again.
    3. The Spiritual Castaway 
      1. The people were really saved
      2. However, they did not really lose their salvation but fell away from their service to God
      3. The impossibility deals with the fact that they are spiritual castaways (1 Corinthians 9:27) and can no longer return to the perfect will of God in their lives and will never be much used of God
    4. The Excommunicated Castaway 
      1. The people were really saved
      2. However, they did not really lose their salvation but fell away from God by committing a major sin
      3. They are castaways and, although they will go to heaven, they should never be received back into the church.
    5. The Lost Apostate 
      1. The people were never truly saved
      2. However, they were received into the church as saved and participated in a very active way as believers
      3. Their falling away was simply proof that they were never truly saved
      4. The impossibility of their repentance deals with two things:
        1. Their return after having claimed to have been saved and fully participating as a believer and after then having fully and outwardly rejecting the truth of the gospel would make a mockery of the gospel of Christ.  Christ would be seen as being crucified a second time
        2. God is declaring that He will not participate in calling them back to the gospel.  They have made a mockery of His offer and have gone to a point that He will no longer deal with them.
  3. REAGAN’S INTERPRETATION OF THE PASSAGE 
    1. The Interpretation Stated
      1. The people described in verse four were never truly saved.  They were Jews who professed to trust in Christ and in every outward way partook of the blessings of the Christian life and experience but they were not truly saved.
      2. At some point, they fell away from the gospel, renounced Christianity and returned to Judaism.
      3. For them to return to Christ a second time would make a mockery of the crucifixion of Christ.  They would be crucifying to themselves the Son of God afresh and would put Him to shame by saying that His first offer of salvation was insufficient.
      4. It would be impossible for these people to renew themselves to repentance because God is through with them.  He will not give them another call.
    2. The Interpretation Defended – NOTE: Since all other interpretations begin with the premise that the people in verse four are saved, only one thing needs to be proved to show the above interpretation to be correct. The following gives proofs that those referred to in this passage were never saved.
      1. The illustration of the herbs and thorns (Hebrews 6:7-8)
        1. Verse seven begins with “For the earth.”  The for points back to the proceeding verses and shows that what follows illustrates what has just been stated doctrinally.
        2. Two things are the same.
          1. The external circumstances of the herbs and the thorns are the same.  They both are in the earth.  Both groups of people being compared are earthly peoples and are of this world.
          2. But, especially important, they both receive the rain.  Rain from heaven is always a picture of blessings from God.  The blessings of verse four are blessings which were especially prevalent in the apostolic age and were indicative of the moving of the Spirit.
        3. Two things are different
          1. The fruit is different.  One spot of earth brings forth herbs and another spot brings forth thorns.  In the Bible, the fruit reveals the root (Matthew 7:20).
          2. The end is also different.  The herbs receive God’s blessing.  The thorns and briars are rejected and are burned.  The Bible teaches us that the tares are to be burned in the end (Matthew 13:40) and the man who does not abide in Christ is to be burned (John 15:6).  To be burned in the end is to be lost.
        4. The herbs are a picture of the saved.  The thorns are a picture of the lost.  Is it possible that they were saved and then lost their salvation? No.  Consider the next point which deals with verse nine.
      2. Better things (Hebrews 6:9)
        1. Verse nine is connected to the passage by the contrasting “But.”  “But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you.”  This means that Paul is convinced that the Hebrews to who he writes do not match the description of the thorns in verse eight.
        2. He is persuaded of “better things” of them and “things which accompany salvation.”  This would contrast with lesser things that do not accompany salvation
        3. In other words, there are two ways: the better things which accompany salvation and the lesser things which does not accompany salvation. Paul has been warning (Hebrews 6:4-6) against the lesser things—a way which provides many of the external experiences of the saved but not the permanent gift.  He is warning against those who profess to have but do not possess the gift of salvation.
      3. The description of verses 4-5 gives evidence that those described therein are not truly saved
        1. The key word, tasted, is used two times and is the verb of three of the five statements.  To taste as used here is to make a trial of or to experiment with.  It would be contrasted with eating and digesting.
        2. They were “enlightened.” Christ is the light that “lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:9).  This does not prove salvation.
        3. The strongest statement of the five says that they were partakers of the Holy Ghost.  Remember that most of these people had experienced the gifts of the apostolic age (see Hebrews 2:4).  Were lost people able to experience and practice the spiritual gifts?  Consider two examples.
          1. The wonder-workers of  Matthew 7:20-23.  They prophesied, cast out devils and did many wonderful works yet Jesus says that He never knew them.  Since He never knew them, they were never saved—yet they did many works.
          2. Judas.  He was one of the twelve disciples who cast out devils and healed all manner of diseases (Matthew 10:1).  He was certainly a partaker of the Holy Ghost, yet he was “a devil” (John 6:70) fairly early in the ministry of Christ.
          3. Being a partaker of the Holy Ghost indicates a very real closeness to the work and power of Christ but it does not verify true salvation—especially in the times of the outward manifestation of the power of the Spirit. However, it does pinpoint the people to whom Paul refers in this passage.  They were people who were very close but did not possess the true gift of salvation.
      4. Hebrews clearly teaches that those Jews who fall away from the gospel after having fully participated in its experience were never saved because they never believed to the saving of the soul.
        1. Better things…which accompany salvation (Hebrews 6:9)
        2. An evil heart of unbelief (Hebrews 3:12)
        3. Not mixed with faith (Hebrews 4:2)
        4. Lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief (Hebrews 4:11) –notice that the falling here is the result of unbelief and is proof (Hebrews 4:2) that they were never truly saved 
      5. The crucifying of the Son of God afresh
        1. It is not an actual crucifying because it is to themselves.  In other words, by rejecting what they had outwardly accepted, they were saying that Christ’s first death was insufficient.  Paul is emphasizing the mockery that they are making of His sacrifice.
        2. This situation is mentioned again in Hebrews 10:29.  These people who mock the crucifixion of Christ have trodden under foot the Son of God and have counted the blood of the covenant an unholy thing.  Their punishment will be sorer than those who simple reject Christ.  But notice the context.  God says that “if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them that draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul” (verses 38-39).  This teaches that those who draw back never believed to the saving of the soul.  In other words, the apostates were never saved.  “I never knew you.”
David Reagan

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 18:10

The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.