Partakers Overtake Undertakers

November 6, 2015 at 10:36 am | Posted in Eternity, Hebrews | 2 Comments
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In my opinion Hebrews 6:4-6 is one of the more difficult passages of Scripture in the Bible to understand.

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

Hebrews 6:4-6

I have encountered people with different views as to what it means:

1. Some people believe that this passage teaches that it is possible to truly trust Christ for salvation, receive eternal life, but then later willingly to turn from that salvation and voluntarily give it up. I disagree with this interpretation, though. In order to try to make Hebrews 6:4-6 fit into a doctrine that teaches that truly saved, born-again believers can make a mistake and lose their salvation, then the verses would also have to be teaching that, once this happens, these now-former believers could never get eternal life back again. Most of the people who deny eternal security instead teach that believers may lose it and get it back, lose it and get it back, many times. These verses teach just the opposite. They are saying that it would be impossible if someone were truly saved, and then could “fall away” out of salvation, to renew them again unto repentance.

2. I have also encountered the teaching that the people being described in Hebrews 6:4-6 were never really saved at all. Certainly there are some who profess to be saved and are really not, but that’s not who these verses are talking about. These folks are “once enlightened.” They “tasted” the heavenly calling, which means they actually experienced it, the way Jesus was said to have “tasted” death back in Hebrews 2:9. These people were “partakers” of the Holy Ghost. He had sealed them unto redemption. Verse 6 speaks hypothetically concerning what would happen if God’s seal could be broken, and it is clear that an unsaved person could not put the the Son of God “to open shame.” True Christians are His sheep. Wild goats don’t bring shame to the shepherd; they’re not in his care.

3. As indicated already, I believe the true meaning of these verses is that they are describing a hypothetical situation to prove the point that only true Christians can bring shame to our Savior by refusing to grow up, but can a baby stay a baby so long that his father is no longer his father? No, as true Christians, we’ve been “born again.” Once you’ve been born, any manner of things might happen to you, but you can never be “unborn.”

I might also note the significance that Hebrews 6:4-8 use the pronouns “them,” “those,” and “their,” whereas the rest of Chapter 6 uses “us” and “we,” which is another indication that a hypothetical situation is being described.

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  1. […] Christians move on toward greater maturity, secure in our salvation, growing in Christ-likeness and bringing glory to Christ instead of shame, the thorns and briars in […]

  2. […] When the Foundation Ceases to be Cute (Hebrews 6) 18. The Hard Work of Encouragement (Hebrews 6) 19. Partakers Overtake Undertakers (Hebrews 6:4-6) 20. Anchored Upward (Hebrews 6) 21. The Certain Hope (Hebrews 6:18-19) 22. A Unique […]


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