Hebrews 6:1-8 is a theological battle ground. Churches have split over these verse and whole denominations have been started on a misunderstanding of them. At issue is whether or not a saved person can later be lost. Can a born again, regenerate, justified, follower of Christ lose their justification? These verses are not dealing with assurance of salvation but rather security of the believer. Assurance is a personal certainty that when this life is over you will go to be with Jesus. Assurance is knowing you are saved. Your assurance can increase and decrease. Some days you may more certain of your salvation than ever before and some days you may be scared of where you might go if you die. What the writer is addressing here and what separates denominations is not assurance but security of the believer. If your security depends on you, then you will be in the minority view that believes it’s possible to lose your salvation. If you believe your security depends on God, then you know God cannot fail and He will keep you saved, firm until the end. This is clearly what Jesus, Paul, and everyone in the New Testament taught.
“The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me. “But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” (John 10:24–29, NASB95)
Some might say, “No one can snatch you out of God’s hand but you can walk out on your own.” That comment comes from someone who thinks their security depends on them. They also forget the words, “they will never perish.”
In another place John also writes about anyone who would chooses to walk away
“They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.” (1 John 2:19, NASB95)
The writer of Hebrews has been open about his concern that some of his readers may fall away; they might go out from us. He warns his readers against falling away. I’ve argued, along side most of the theologians in church history that these are warnings to keep genuine believers in the faith. I put these verse here at the beginning of chapter 6 in the category of a warning. They are a warning but not an empty one. I believe there truly were people who had experienced all five of the benefits mentioned here and yet still turned away from God. His whole point is to warn his readers to not fall away. How is he going to get his point across?
There are two ways to illustrate a point. The first is to give the illustration and then explain how that illustration clarifies the point you are trying to make. Jesus often did this when He told a parable. On one occasion He told about weeds growing among the wheat. After He tells the parable the disciples said, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.” Sermons today often begin with an illustration and then the preacher draws a truth from that illustration to make a bridge to the Biblical text. The second way to illustrate a point is to make the point and then provide the illustration at the end. This is often the way normal conversation goes. You make your point and then back up that point with an illustration. For example, you might hear someone say, “Today has been the worst day imaginable.” After someone looks puzzled at the comment,” you might then hear, “Today reminds me of when I was in college and I had three papers due on the same day.” This second way to illustrate a point often comes when a complex point or statement has been made and it needs some explaining. This is what is going on in Hebrews 6:1-8.
In verses 7-8 the writer gives an illustration to shine a light on the complex point he’s been talking about in the previous verses. I’m going to begin with the illustration and then we’ll come back to verse 4 for the reason he had to give the illustration.
The gospel is only effective for the soil that drinks it in. Jesus said to the woman at the well, “Whoever drinks the water I give will never thirst again.” The hardened soil that repels or sheds the water of the gospel off will be burned. Now let’s go back to verse 4 and read about the hardened soil. I believe the soil that has been tilled and drinks the gospel is described beginning in verse 9.
- Knowing the facts of the gospel will not save you. v4
- No talk of God’s saving work, born again, justified, regenerated, forgiven.
- Enlightened is to have something taught to you. Doesn’t mean you accept the teaching, you just have the information. “So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.” (2 Peter 1:19, NASB95)
- Sampling the Christian life will not save you v4
- Samples at Costco leave you wanting more. Not satisfying
- To taste is not to eat or drink
““I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”” (John 6:51, NASB95)
“Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” She said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? “You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?” Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”” (John 4:10–14, NASB95)
- Being around Spirit filled people will not save you v4
- Partakers means partners. Here is the word in Luke 5:7
“so they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink.” (Luke 5:7, NASB95)
- The word partakers is never used when talking about a relationship with HS
- Filled, sealed, HS within,
- Sampling the Word of God will not save you. V5
- People taste the Word of God and some parts they like and some parts they spit out. When Jesus says, “I’ve gone to prepare a place for you,” people will say, “Man I love the Word of God. I could eat the whole book.” The next day they read Jesus saying, “ ...do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. “If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. “Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. “Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.” (Matthew 5:39–42, NASB95)
- Then people will try all kinds of different interpretation seasonings but it still taste terrible and they won’t eat it.
- What parts of the good Word of God are you not eating? “I tasted it but I didn’t eat it.”
- I spoke with someone yesterday that said, “I don’t care what anyone says. If I want to do this thing (we won’t mention the vice) no one is going to stop me.”
- Seeing the power of God will not save you. V5
- The readers had seen miracles.
- Some of these may have been in the crowd of 5000 that Jesus fed with 5 loaves and two fish.
“Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.” (John 6:26, NASB95)
- People have seen God working in their lives and still they refuse to believe
- I’ve had people tell me, “If God will get me through this, I’ll start coming to church and worshipping Him.” People who talk like that never do.
- What kind of miracle would it take for you to believe? ““But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’ ”” (Luke 16:31, NASB95)
Impossible to renew them again to repentance. They keep on crucifying Jesus (present active tense - continuing action).
Conclusion: A person can become so hardened in their own heart that any chance of repentance is impossible. God will never turn away anyone who truly repents. However, He will not save anyone apart from repentance and faith. If a person is so hardened to the truths of the gospel it is impossible for them to repent. This happens after a person has been so close to salvation and yet turns away. Jesus is ready to save you today.