HEBREWS 6: Falling away, losing your salvation, the impossibility of renewal, and going to hell
Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. And this we will do, if God permits. For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned. But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way. Hebrews 6:1-9
The common view of Hebrews 6 is built upon so many compounded misunderstandings that it leaves us with doubts and fears as to what that means to us. Here are the most common questions or concerns connected to Hebrews 6:
What does it mean to fall away from the faith? Where is the line in the sand?
Impossible to renew them again to repentance! No second chances?
Does being burned mean I will go to hell if I fall away?
1) The falling away as referred to in Hebrews
a) What falling away meant to the Hebrews versus what it probably means to us (Their perspective vs. our perspective)
Adam: Well that is always relative to degree right? It ties way back to the original idea that we are not CHOSEN but, the we CHOOSE Him. [ Read John 15:16 quickly and really rest on that ] Man can afford the opportunity to draw his lines in the sand because he can not accept this reality from God. It’s a gift.
Adam: There seems to be a confusing mix up with the phrase “fall away”. We have the “fall away from grace” that Paul refers to, and it makes falling away become something very possible for the believer, hence very threatening. Can we fall away from grace? What does it mean to fall away from grace? Is this fall away in Hebrews the same fall away that Paul refers to though?
b) Corporate (the movement) versus individual
c) “Godly” pursuits versus “worldly” pursuits (Was the message written to those who were trying to sin more or who were attempting to deal with their sins?)
d) Not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instructions…etc. (Is laying another foundation what they were actually attempting to do?) 1 Corinthians 3:11 “For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ”
e) Those who have once been enlightened? (According to whose judgment?)
Adam: The judgment of men?> Or the judgment of God in Christ?
e) Sacrifices of the Law versus the one sacrifice of Christ
2) The impossibility of renewal to repentance
a) The difference between difficult and impossible
Adam: Excellent distinction to consider! For something to be “difficult” still lies in the realm of POSSIBLE. That is not the case with a word of reality like “im,possible”. One is of man, and one is established by a force greater than ourselves.
b) The contradiction of the religious teaching (the religious mind preaches loss of salvation and yet offers renewal through repentance)
Adam: Seems easy enough.
c) The meaning of repentance (especially in view of the phrase “renewal TO repentance”, not renewal THROUGH repentance)
Adam: EXCELLENT distinction! Very rich.
d) Again crucifying to themselves the Son of God (this is the impossibility factor)
Adam: Important to identify this.
e) The impossibility of renewal is a good thing, for it means that what has been renewed in Christ cannot be renewed AGAIN through the Law, which is exactly what they were being tempted to do by the religious mind of man.
Adam: It is not wonder why this escapes us. We trying too hard to view things while holding onto both the perceptions of law AND the reality.
f) “For in the case of those who have fallen away…” Fallen away according to who? Is this God’s verdict or is it the judgment of the religious mind?
Adam: I am honestly not sure. What are you seeing there Jim?
3) The fear of being burned (sent to hell)
a) It must be recognized that the reference to being burned in Hebrews 6:8 relates to the illustration of ground that brings forth worthless vegetation. And although we might fail to take into consideration that any farmer would have known that in burning the ground, it would revitalize it and make it productive. John 15:6 That which is burned is cast into the fire by men who gather them up. It’s an illustration of grape vines that don’t produce. Can we assume that those who don’t remain in Christ? (which according to John elsewhere reveals that it was a reference to those who didn’t belong in the first place 1 John 2:19)
Adam: Yes they have fallen after the way of Cain. For only in appearance do they want to please God. That is why the child of the flesh ALSO offers his gifts to God. But God has not accepted it/them.
b) Other than our reading hell into the account, is there any suggestion of hell in this passage?
Adam: It is only “implied” if anything. But then again, it is also true that the implication could simply be something more akin to being burned up by the fire of the Spirit. For our God is a consuming fire.
c) The expectation of judgment in Hebrews 10:27 is intrinsically connected to the vengeance of the Law.
Adam: This would be good to expand on Jim. Lets draw this out a little bit.
d) (If we have time, we can get into Hebrews 10, and what it means to sin willfully and the severer punishment, and the terrifying aspect of falling into the hands of the living God … but I have my doubts)
4) Convinced of better things concerning you
Adam: Do we know who WE are? Do we know how special and called out we are? Better things are based on BETTER promises!