Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm20110105.htm
THRU THE BIBLE EXPOSITION
Hebrews: The Superiority Of Christ To Errant Religions
Part V: The Superiority Of Christ's Priesthood To Other Priesthoods, Hebrews 5:1-10:39
B. Warning About Immaturely Neglecting Christ's Priesthood, Hebrews 5:11-6:20
2. The Tragic Result Of Not Maturing In Christ
Lesson: We believers must go on into Christian maturity, for the alternative is spiritual hardening that leads to failure to repent and lasting immaturity with its ongoing loss of blessing and divine discipline.
- God wants us believers to grow in Christ, to mature spiritually in our walk with Him, cf. Colossians 1:28.
- This is not only something God desires, but growth is a necessity if we would avoid eventual spiritual hardening and its permanent spiritual barrenness, a reality solemnly clarified in Hebrews 6:4-8 as follows:
- The Tragic Result Of Not Maturing In Christ, Hebrews 6:4-8.
- After urging his readers to leave the basics to go on into Christian maturity (Hebrews 6:1-3), the author of Hebrews leveled a dramatic warning about the tragic result of not maturing in Christ in Hebrews 6:4-8.
- That Hebrews 6:4-8 passage has often been badly misunderstood, so we clarify it's meaning (as follows):
- Some hold Hebrews 6:4-6 teaches that one can lose his salvation, (Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament, p. 794), but this is incorrect for several major reasons:
- Many passages like John 5:24 teach that one cannot lose his salvation status in Jesus Christ!
- Besides, were the passage to teach one could lose his salvation, it would also mean one could never be saved again (Hebrews 6:6), a claim countered by Jesus' words in John 6:37 where He asserted that anyone who came to Him He would for no reason cast him out!
- Some hold Hebrews 6:4-6 warns against an artificial profession of faith of an unbeliever (Ibid. in citing The New Scofield Reference Bible, p. 1315), but this is also incorrect (as follows):
- The people mentioned in Hebrews 6:4 had tasted of the heavenly gift, been made partakers of the Holy Spirit and had tasted of the powers of the world to come, and that can only occur to true believers according to John 3:16, Romans 8:9 and Galatians 3:2, 5 respectively.
- Thus, those involved in Hebrews 6:4-6 are true believers who were truly saved by Christ.
- Some hold Hebrews 6:4-6 claims that if a Christian "hypothetically" was able to lose his salvation, there would be no provision for repentance (Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978, ftn. to Hebrews 6:4-6). However, the Greek language at Hebrews 6:4-6 does not support this view (as follows):
- The translations use the conjunction "if" before "they shall fall away" in Hebrews 6:6, but the Greek New Testament has only the participle, parapesontas, "who have fallen away," Ibid., p. 794-795.
- The passage should then read: "It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted . . . who have shared . . . who have tasted . . . and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance.'" (Ibid., p. 795). There is no conditional clause in this passage!
- Consequently, the way to view the passage is to take it as a warning against hardness in Christians:
- The idea of "fall away" in the Epistle where its Hebrew readers (Heb. 1:1) were in danger of slipping back into legalistic Judaism (Heb. 13:10-13) implies a failure to miss God's blessing, Ibid.
- Thus, by reentering Judaism, the followers of which religion had sentenced Christ to die, the "falling away" of the readers of the Epistle of Hebrews into Judaism effectively left them condoning Christ's death in union with their countrymen in Judaism! (Ibid., Hebrews 6:6)
- The author of Hebrews thus "suggested a deep hardening of their hearts against all efforts to win them back, not to Christian conversion, but to Christian commitment" as Christian believers ! (Ibid.)
- Accordingly, Hebrews 6:7-8 illustrates this whole point (as follows):
- Christians are those who are spiritually richly blessed of God like the land that receives His abundant rain and yields productively of various desirable crops, Hebrews 6:7.
- However, if the land yields thorns and briars with the rain, a picture of believers who respond to God's spiritual blessings by turning back to dead Judaism, it is close to being cursed and burned, Heb. 6:8!
Application: May we leave basic beliefs to go into the depths of God's truth for maturity and blessing.