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Hebrews Six

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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Hebrews 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

principles. The “principles” means “the beginnings” in this context.

doctrine. “Doctrine” here is logos, the same as “word” in Hebrews 5:13.

perfection. “Perfection” is “maturity.” See above, on Hebrews 5:14.

foundation. Repentance and saving faith are essential in beginning the Christian life (Acts 20:21), but are only the beginning.

Hebrews 6:2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

Hebrews 6:3 And this will we do, if God permit.

Hebrews 6:4 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,

impossible. This passage (Hebrews 6:4-6) has been very controversial, the argument having to do with whether or not it teaches that a true Christian can lose his salvation. One very clear teaching that emerges, however, is that a person can only be saved once. If a true Christian actually could fall away and be lost again, he would be eternally lost; it would be impossible to bring him again to repentance.

Hebrews 6:5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,

world to come. In context, the author of Hebrews was warning the Jews who had professed faith in Christ not to relapse back into Jewish legalism and ritualism, but rather to go on to full maturity in Christ. The question is whether or not they were actually born again, truly believing on Christ. Could professing Christians be enlightened partakers of the Holy Spirit, having tasted of the heavenly gift and the Word of God, as well as the energizing knowledge of the world to come, without actually being born again Christians? These criteria all certainly apply to real Christian believers, but they also seem to apply, in some measure at least, to the considerable number of men who at one time were members of evangelical churches and later became apostates from the faith. In fact, it often happens that the most vigorous opponents of true Biblical Christianity are men who once were fundamentalist Christians but later—through their studies in evolutionary science, humanistic philosophy or Biblical criticism—came to deny the faith they once had espoused. Such men never return, for they have already understood and rejected all the evidences in both the Word and the world that the gospel is true, and there is nothing more that can be said to win them back. “If we sin wilfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10:26). It is therefore vitally important that each professing Christian “examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves” (2 Corinthians 13:5). “Give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall” (2 Peter 1:10).

Hebrews 6:6 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.

If they shall fall away. “If they shall fall away” from the true faith, having once fully understood it (“been enlightened,” having been made “partakers of the Holy Ghost,” etc.), then they can never return. “My Spirit shall not always strive with man” (Genesis 6:3). However, this seems to be a hypothetical situation—“if” they fall away. The question remains: can they fall away? The security of true believers in Christ is clearly taught in numerous other passages (John 10:27-29; Romans 8:35-39; Ephesians 1:11-14; xTerm 5:11-13; etc.), and all these prove that genuine Christians cannot fall away, for Christ Himself will keep them from it. Just as a babe, once born, cannot be unborn, so one who is “born again” into God's family can never be not born-again. One is saved from hell when he truly accepts Christ, so he can never end up in hell; if he does, he certainly was not saved from it. The very concept of salvation would become meaningless. Nevertheless, the warning remains very clear. Many who appear to be true Christians and who may even believe themselves to be true Christians, can and do fall away and come to deny and oppose the faith they once thought they believed. They could not truly have believed it, however, or they would never have allowed doubts to come in and supersede the overwhelming evidences of its truth. “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us” (xTerm 2:19).

Hebrews 6:7 For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:

Hebrews 6:8 But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.

Hebrews 6:9 But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.

things that accompany salvation. This verse makes it clear that the author's warning in Hebrews 6:4-6 was not given because he felt these Hebrew Christians were either not saved or were in danger of losing their salvation. He was aware of the things that accompany salvation in their lives (Hebrews 6:10). Note also the assurance in Hebrews 6:19 that our hope in Christ is “an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast.”

Hebrews 6:10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have showed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

Hebrews 6:11 And we desire that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:

Hebrews 6:12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Hebrews 6:13 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,

sware by himself. In Genesis 22:16, God “said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord,” a most remarkable testimony to the importance and verity of this promise to Abraham.

Hebrews 6:14 Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.

Saying. See Genesis 22:17. Despite the unlikelihood of such an event happening to Abraham, who was supposedly too old to beget children, this miracle has been remarkably fulfilled in history. His progeny has multiplied exceedingly, with both Israelites and Arabs his descendants.

Hebrews 6:15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.

Hebrews 6:16 For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife.

Hebrews 6:17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:

Hebrews 6:18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:

for God to lie. With the omnipotent God, all things are possible (Luke 18:27) except to lie (Titus 1:2). In fact, whatever He says is true, by definition (Psalm 33:4). He cannot say or do anything contrary to His very nature.

Hebrews 6:19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;

within the veil. Contrast the testimony of Hebrews 13:13. The Lord Jesus Christ, our High Priest, with His own shed blood, is our approach to God “within the veil” (Leviticus 16:15), because He first bore our reproach before God as He shed His blood “without the camp.”

Hebrews 6:20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.