Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits. For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.
Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation. For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (Hebrews 6:1-12, ESV)
What if the immature spiritual life of these readers, the Hebrews, persists and they leave the moorings of Christian faith, leave Jesus their Savior, for their previous way of life? The author urges them to leave, that is, go beyond the elementary doctrines to more mature teaching. But they can only do this if God permits.
They might be those who have only been enlightened, who have heard the gospel and understand it, and so have tasted if not fully dined upon the heavenly gift of life in Christ, even experienced the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in their midst, hearing the good news from God’s word over and over and even seen the miracles of the age to come, the kingdom, happening around them. They might be the soil Jesus described where the seed results in immediate growth but when trouble comes growth withers.
He warns them that if they are these kind of people they will fall away from Christ and it will be impossible for them to be restored to repentance since they knew the truth and rejected it, in essence crucifying the Son of God again, as if his initial crucifixion did not avail for them. They will have committed the unpardonable sin. It will no longer be “today” and they will not hear the voice of God inviting them to enter into His rest. They will be the useless land that cannot bear anything but thorns and thistles and so is in need of burning.
The author does not believe this is a true assessment of who this congregation is. He believes better things of them, things belonging to salvation. In other words, he believes they are genuinely saved, are that soil that Jesus said produces fruit a hundred fold, and therefore will not fall away but will heed his warning and repent. He has seen evidence of God’s work in their souls via their work and love for the saints. They need to push on and inherit the promises of God.
What about you? Is there evidence that you have done more than tasted the heavenly gift? Are you maturing or are you teetering on the brink of truly living for Christ?
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