Summary of Hebrews 6:4-20:
The Hebrews writer says it is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, tasted the heavenly gift, shared in the Holy Spirit, and tasted the goodness of God’s word and powers to be brought back to repentance if they fall away. Land that drinks in the rain and produces a crop is blessed. Land that produces thorns is worthless and cursed.
Things that accompany salvation is God’s love and mercy as you work to love his people to the end with faith and patience. God kept His promise to Abraham and swore by himself to make the unchanging nature of what he promised very clear to Abraham’s heirs. This shows it is impossible for God to lie and should offer us hope and encouragement. This hope is the anchor for our soul, allowing us access to the inner sanctuary (God) because Jesus went before us.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 14, Day 4: Hebrews 6:4-20
9a) People who don’t believe in “eternal security” think the passage refers to Christians who fall away from the faith. Others, such as John Calvin, insist that the author of Hebrews must be referring to people who never fully became Christians, because other verses seem to teach the eternal security of those in Christ (John 5:24; 6:37; Romans 8:1; Hebrews 8;12). The point is that if such a falling away ever did occur, it would be impossible to rescue such people again.
b) “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.”
10a) Personal Question. My answer: God keeps His promises, and what He says is not a lie and the truth. Thus, we can trust all that He promises in the Bible to us.
b) Personal Question. My answer: Sometimes I think He has not anchored me; that I’m a willow in the wind that sway at the will of others. Others days, I believe I do stand firm. Life for me is having more days where I feel like I’m firm than when I’m swaying in the wind.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 14, Day 4: Hebrews 6:4-20
Great passage to study. Much can be learned here.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 14, Day 4: Hebrews 6:4-20
Impossible in Hebrews
- It is impossible for God to lie (Hebrews 6:18).
- It is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats can take away sin (Hebrews 10:4).
- It is impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6).
The big debate is whether this is the experience of salvation or the experience of something short of salvation.
Tasted: The idea of “tasting” may mean to “test” something. But other uses of this word indicate a full, real experience as in how Jesus tasted death in Hebrews 2:9. The heavenly gift is probably salvation (as in Romans 6:23 and Ephesians 2:8).
Partakers of the Holy Spirit: This is an unique term in the New Testament. Since it means “sharing” the Holy Spirit, it has to do with receiving and having fellowship with the Holy Spirit.
The question is simple: Are these people with these impressive spiritual experiences in fact Christians?
We can see clearly that someone can have great spiritual experiences and still not be saved (Matthew 7:21-23). One can even do many religious things and still not be saved. The Pharisees of New Testament times are a good example of this principle. These men did many religious things but were not saved or submitted to God.
Yet, from a human perspective, it is doubtful that anyone who seemed to have the credentials mentioned in Hebrews 6:4-5 would not be regarded a true Christian. God knows their ultimate destiny and hopefully the individual does also – yet from all outward appearance, such Christian experience might qualify a man to be an elder in many churches.
Therefore, eternal standing of those written of in Hebrews 6:4-6 is a question with two answers. We may safely say that from a human perspective, they had all appearance of salvation. Nevertheless, from the perspective of God’s perfect wisdom it is impossible to say on this side of eternity.
If these are genuine Christians who “lost their salvation,” the terrible fact is that they can never regain it. In the early church some groups (such as the Montanists and the Novatianists) used this passage to teach there was no possibility of restoration if someone sinned significantly after their baptism.
Others explain it by saying that this is all merely a hypothetical warning (in light of the statement in Hebrews 6:9). In this thinking, the writer to the Hebrews never intended to say that his readers were really in danger of damnation. He only used a hypothetical danger to motivate them. However, one must say that there is questionable value in warning someone against something that can’t happen.
Still others think that this penalty deals only with reward, not with salvation itself. They stress the idea that it says repentance is impossible, not salvation. Therefore these are Christians of low commitment and experience who risk a loss of all heavenly reward, saved only “by the skin of their teeth.”
This difficult passage is best understood in the context of Hebrews 6:1-2. The writer to the Hebrews means that if they retreat back to Judaism, all the religious “repentance” in the world will do them no good. Retreating from distinctive Christianity into the “safe” ideas and customs of their former religious experience is to forsake Jesus, and to essentially crucify Him again. This is especially true for these ancient Christians from a Jewish background, since the religious customs they took up again likely included animal sacrifice for atonement, denying the total work of Jesus for them on the cross.
There is a necessary distinction between falling and falling away. Falling away is more than falling into sin; it is actually departing from Jesus Himself
The idea is not that “if you fall away, you can’t ever come back to Jesus.” Instead, the idea is “if you turn your back on Jesus, don’t expect to find salvation anywhere else, especially in the practice of religion apart from the fullness of Jesus.”
This refuge of hope are like the cities of refuge commanded by the Law of Moses, as described in Numbers 35.
If anything, verse nine shows how badly these struggling Christians needed encouragement. Their spiritual danger was not so much out of a calculated rebellion, but more because of a depressing discouragement
When we are discouraged, we sometimes think God forgets us and all we have done for Him and for His people. But God would deny His own nature if He forgot such things (He would be unjust). God sees and remembers.
The anchor was a common figure for hope in the ancient world. Here the idea is that we are anchored to something firm but unseen (which enters the Presence behind the veil).
A forerunner (the ancient Greek word prodromos) was a military reconnaissance man. A forerunner goes forward, knowing that others will follow behind him.
Jesus as our High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek (in Hebrews 5:6-10) continues into the next chapter.