Let us be thankful to God for His grace has found us. We have been permitted by grace to enter, to draw near, for His righteousness has found us–and we obtain it at the cross of Christ.
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 and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.
To understand these verses 4-6 we must first look at the chapter as a whole. The writer clearly indicates from the onset that he is talking to believers as he exhorts us to grow in our salvation experience with Christ in the earlier scriptures of the chapter.
After exhorting readers as believers to move on to spiritual maturity and to a deeper walk with Christ, Hebrews lays out a serious warning.
In verses 1-4 the writer uses the pronouns “we “and “us”, clearly stating that he is talking about the Body of Christ. But in verses 4-6 he clearly uses the pronouns “those” and “they” to identify those who fallen away. They are clearly someone other than a person who is walking hand-in-hand with their Redeemer. They are clearly indicated as a group of people who are no longer grouped with believers. There is but one Redeemer, if we forsake Him, there is no other Savior.
After a person gains the knowledge with the truth about sin, and salvation, then filled with the goodness of Christ and they willfully, consciously, and intentionally decide to reject Him, how do they anticipate finding their way to the foot of the cross in repentance later? If their heart becomes so hardened that they are able to walk away, and look away from the fountain of living waters from which they are redeemed, why would they return later even when their heart is even more calloused? The act of rejecting such the altogether lovely gift of God in Christ Jesus will harden one’s heart even further. When one begins to harden their heart and fall away, they become scarred more and more over time, further reducing their chances of repentance.
(Rev. 2:1-5) Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
Similarities are found here in Revelation in the appeals and warnings made to the gathered church in Ephesus. Here in Revelation, John is speaking to a body of believers.
It is my opinion that here in Revelation 2, as well as in Hebrews 6, the Word of God is speaking to believers questioning their true salvation and looking at the possibility of the circumstance of leaving their first love–that being a relationship with Christ. We need to give greater study to the Holy Scriptures concerning our relationship with our Lord. It should be obvious to all of us that our Lord highly values the walk and testimony of those redeemed by His blood, and He does not tolerate sinful practices for very long, especially the loss of affection and rebellion in sin toward Himself.
For it is impossible. (6:4)
Many believers have a good deal of difficulty with these words. I myself wonder why. There are limits that we place on the ability of God to reach us. We have to be submissive to Him. The love of God is boundless and merciful, however there is a time when the love of God is not enough, and that time is when we will not allow that love to work in our lives. We are the recipients of free will, and we have the choice to allow or disallow God’s love to be a part of our lives. Many of us cannot believe that our God is not able to overcome anything and everything. I must sadly say that there are some things that our God will not do. He will not make us accept his love; He will not make us sorry for our sin and He will not make us repent of that sin. There will be those that will reject Him and there will be those for whom the love of God will not be enough, according to their wishes. I thank God that he speaks to us by His Spirit in His word and warns us of all of the impossibilities.
Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. (2 Peter 3:17)
And have tasted the good word of God. (6:5a)
What true believer hasn’t tasted the good word of God? Think about the impact that His Word has had in your life. Remember His Word as it has comforted you in times of sorrow, strengthened you in times of despair, and rescued you in times of need. What the writer is talking about is just that, tasting of the sweet word of God in all circumstances, and how it has affected their lives. Apparently those mentioned here could look at a time when they were feeding on God’s word and it was near and dear to them, but now Christ–in whom they once rejoiced in for their salvation–has found them sorely wanting.
The powers of the world to come. (6:5b)
The enjoyment of “the powers of the world to come” was the Spirit of God by Christ Jesus working among and through them. There were healings and miracles in the early church. The power of Christ and His resurrection was a part of every believer as they tasted of His goodness in this world and of the world to come. But even in the midst of all this some turned away, and yet some still longed for those times when their hearts were warmed by the things of Christ. They had once enjoyed the power of God working among them, but in rejecting Him they were the possessors of nothing more than memories, faded memories at best.
If they shall fall away. (6:6a)
Pay careful attention here to the words “if” and “they.” He uses the word “if” to show that it is indeed possible to fall away, and then to denote a separation from the body of Christ as they fell away using the pronoun “they” instead of the pronoun “we”.
The word rendered “fall away” means properly to fall by anyone; and thus to fall aside from, to swerve or deviate from; to apostatize from, and implies an entire renunciation of Christianity, or a going back to a state of sin. The Greek word here occurs nowhere else in the New Testament.
Seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh. (6:6b)
Once sinners have seen the light, tasted of the goodness of grace and of the things of heaven by the Holy Spirit, and once they’ve personally experienced the sheer goodness of God’s Word and the powers associated with Him—if then they turn their backs on Him, washing their hands of their salvation, as if the love of God is not enough, there is nothing left to reach them. They’ve re-crucified Jesus! They’ve repudiated him in public, and rejected His grace before man.
Gal. 1:6-7 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. (Gal. 1:6,7)
Let us be honest with ourselves. Much of the church has been negligent throughout teaching regarding Christ and grace. Many times we shadow with theology what is clearly marked in the scripture. As Paul wrote to the churches, he addresses multiple times in the letters of his heartache and concern for those in the Body of Christ who had fallen away and left the faith. We see that Paul wept day and night, day after day, for the souls entrusted into his care. Consider for a moment… Why Paul would weep for the churches if he knew the sovereignty of God better than we do? It was Paul who said, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed….” The writer of this letter to these Hebrews had to have wept as he prayed over them.
The falling away here mentioned in Hebrews is an open renouncing of Christ, an enmity of heart against Him, after believing in Him, receiving the knowledge of the truth, and tasting of the sweetness of grace. Hebrews reads that it is impossible to renew them again unto repentance. It is not because the blood of Christ is not sufficient to obtain pardon for this sin, because it is. It is not because the love of God is not all sufficient, because it is. It is because of sin, in its very nature, is opposite to repentance and everything that leads to it. If there are those who have tasted of the sweetness of the grace of God in Christ Jesus and are willing to fully dump Him, that it is a total and a willing renouncing of Christ and his sacrifice on Calvary, what is there left to reach them?
We should all as believers ourselves beware, and we should instruct and caution others of every approach near to a gulf as awful as apostasy and falling away. We as believers not only taste of the word of God, we drink it in. As we bask and bath in His grace we receive the blessings of God associated with being redeemed.
I can relate my personal experience in these matters. There was a time in my 30’s that I was the person described in Hebrews 6. I was a former pastor; I had been raised in the church as the son of a minister. I had lived for God all of my life, but I fell.
I fell away; I rejected God; I cursed His name; I made fun of Christians; I laughed at the redeemed; I openly denounced ever being saved; I was lost.
I continued in this state for many years. In my mind I was so lost, I wondered how I could have ever been so stupid to believe such fairy tales as I openly put the grace of God to shame. I was aggressive in my sin, openly ridiculing Christ and believers, denying that there even was a God. Had I, while in this tragic state met with the end of my life, there is NO DOUBT in my mind that I would have spent an eternity in hell. The grace of God left a foul repugnant taste in my mouth. Living as I was, having rejected Christ, I was the spawn of Satan. I used to brag that before I was a good Christian, but now I was a great sinner, I was the very seed of Satan. I used to brag that hate was better than love, and that love was for the weak and ignorant. I was close to becoming a reprobate, in danger of eternal damnation. At the time I used to welcome it.
But then… Thanks be to God that we have a “but then” in our lives. At a time of my deepest despair, after years of walking apart from God, sitting alone in a closet on the brink of suicide, and in desperation head in hands weeping uncontrollably, I called out to God.
He physically touched me, physically putting His hand on my shoulder and said to my heart…”I am here”. I audibly heard His voice. I swung around but there was no one there. The love of God that I had rejected so openly and adamantly was there, and with open arms Christ forgave me of my stupidity and sin; just like that, in a moment, grace returned to my life.
Let us not be so smug and think that we have it all figured out as many times we believe that we know and understand all the things of God. The Bible tells us that there can come a time when the Spirit of God will no longer deal with a person. There is no way to receive grace unless we are led by His Spirit. His word also instructs us that it is possible after continued rejection of God to be turned over to a reprobate, a person rejected by God and beyond hope of salvation.
“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient” (Romans 1:28)
Grace given to us by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ calls us to self-examination. The end result of which should be a deep conviction of our sin, and the necessity of deliverance from the state of condemnation in which we find ourselves. It is a slippery slope to reject that given grace, and openly denounce Christ and return to the former life of sin.
Peter warns us of this in 2 Peter 2:20-22
If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A pig that is washed goes back to its wallowing in the mud.”
Let us be thankful to God for His grace has found us. We have been permitted by grace to enter, to draw near, for His righteousness has found us and we obtain it at the cross of Christ.