ESV - 6 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.
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I believe the writer is saying that it is impossible to fall away and be renewed unto repentance because Jesus died only once. Since Jesus died only once, we can only be saved once. And once we have received Jesus as our savior, we can not fall away because He keeps us saved. John 6:37-40. I have heard believers say they have fallen into sin, and had to be saved again. That is impossible because once we have received Christ as our savior He has covered us from all sin. Where sin abounded grace much more abounds. If Gods grace was not sufficient for all our sin, then no one could be saved because we are all sinners. And then, What about King David when he committed adultery and premeditated murder. If we read that verse that way then he would not have been able to be saved. But God said He was a man after His own heart. Did King David get saved again? No, because Christ died only once. We are saved from all sin when we trusted Christ to save us. We can no more fall away because Christ died only once for all sin. So taking this verse in light of all other scripture, it has to mean that it is impossible to fall away because of sin, because Jesus paid for all sin. Before we accepted Christ as our savior, all of our sins would send us to hell because they were not paid for. But after we have received Jesus as our personal savior, all of our sins have been paid for, and we can no longer be condemned. John 3:18 Believers can not be condemned, but unbelievers are condemned already. God hates our sin, but He loves us. That is why Jesus went to the cross. He loved us so much that He knew the only way for us to be saved was for Him to die in our place and take the punishment we deserve for our sins. It is the only way we could be saved from the wrath of God. We are saved by grace, through faith, without works, so that no one can boast. No one can say I saved myself by keeping from sin or living a holy life. Only Jesus can save us when we put our faith and trust in Him and His finished work on the cross plus nothing from us. We can only be justified before God by faith alone, and not by our works, what we do or do not do. Romans 4:5 We are justified sinners by faith alone in what Jesus did for us on the cross, and since He paid our sin debt in full, we can no longer be lost because he died for all our sin, not our only, but the sins of the whole world to them that believe. We can not justify ourselves by anything we do, but we are justified by Christ by what He did for us. John 6:40 and 47.
In Heb 6:1-6, Paul is speaking to Christians seeking to grow into maturity (Heb 6:1-3). They have seen the light (II Cor 4:6), ate of the heavenly gift (John 6:33), shared in the Holy Spirit (I Cor 12:13, II Peter 1:4, Eph 3:6, Heb 3:14, Col 1:12, Phil 1:7, Eph 4:4, etc), tasted the goodness of the word of God (Psalm 38:4) shared in spiritual gifts (1 Cor 12:4), and have repented (Acts 2:38). These believers *should* have had a good handle on their Christian faith by now (yet are still struggling with the basics). As such, Paul gives them a dire warning: that there is no "do over" if one repents and is baptized in Christ, but then later rejects Christ, effectively returning to slavery to sin and rejecting all the promises of God. In Heb 4:6, the word for 'fall away' is 'parapipto.' Parapipto literally means 'to fall from close beside,' that is, to desert something you were once a part of or to apostatize. It is also important to note the exact sequence of the verses here in Heb 6:4-6. The warning Paul gives to the believers is about others who were, like them, believers - but fell away. Specifically, "For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit....and then having fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to a state of repentence." There is nothing hypothetical in this warning - Paul describes that for those who had received the Holy Spirit and were believers, but then fell away, it is impossible to renew them to repentance. [Side note: Beware of translations adding the word 'if' to Heb 6:6, such as 'if they should fall away' - as there is no 'if' or other conditional in the Greek manuscripts.] To defect from Christ, falling away from a position of relationship with Him, is nothing short of the willful rejection of faith in the covering blood of Christ. It's not merely struggling with sin, addiction, selfishness, rebelliousness, stagnating, backsliding, doubting God, being angry with God, or other pitfalls Christians often fall into, but rather deliberately rejecting salvation by faith and in so doing reverting to our former state before Christ - without the spirit, slave to sin, under condemnation. Jude 1:22, I Tim 1:18-20, Luke 15:11-31, Luke 8:13, Heb 10:26-31, and other passages give examples of these 'temporary' believers. II Peter 2:20-22 goes so far as to say that it would have been better for these people to have never had true knowledge (relationship) with Christ then it is for them to have escaped the world by knowing Christ only to turn their backs on the gospel and return to the world. To receive Christ, but then later reject Him and trample underfoot Christ's blood (Heb 10:26-9), is to fall away from faith, relationship with Christ, and all the promises of God through the Holy Spirit. These former believers, once begotten again in Christ as new creations (1 Peter 1:3, Gal 6:15) deliberately died to Christ, uprooting themselves from the source of life. There are several reasons a believer might defect from Christ back to the world, such as love of sin or fear of persecution, but the one Paul was most concerned about in Heb 6 was that some converts were seeking to return to being under the law, rather than under grace. However, for a Christian to reject the idea that faith in Christ is what saves and instead seek the fulfillment of God's promises through the law can only bring condemnation, for the law has no power to save. (Heb 7:18-22.) Under the law, we all stand condemned. If someone enters, but then rejects, the new covenant, then they also reject the seal of the Holy Spirit and Jesus as their guarantor. They cannot claim any of the promises of God, such as eternal life, for they no longer have faith, and God only wills that those who believe (continuously, not in the past) in Christ receive eternal life (John 3:13-18.)
In my view Jesus clearly explains this term in the Parable of the Sower (Luke 8:5-15). He is illustrating what happens when people hear the Word of God (the gospel message of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ). Jesus describes 4 different kinds of people who interact with his message and the impact it has on their lives. Before looking at each group i would like to set two plumb lines to evaluate the responses people have. Firstly, In Romans 10:9-10 Paul says "If you declare with your mouth 'Jesus is Lord', and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved." Public profession of faith is essential to salvation, see Luke 12:8-9. To believe with our heart is to have faith. Romans 10:14-17 says "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?... Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message and the message is heard through the word about Christ." We look at the outside appearance like a profession of faith for evidence of belief but God looks at the heart. In 1 Samuel 16:7 God says "...The Lord does not look at things people look at. People look at the outside appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. But Jesus did say we could know the condition of a heart by the fruit it bears. In Luke 6:43-45 Jesus said "No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognised by its own fruit.... A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. Secondly, before faith can develop in our hearts we need to be a overcomers. In 1 John 5:4-5 we read that everyone who is born of God overcomes the world and this victory comes through our faith. We have three spiritual enemies: 1) the evil Satan, 2) the corrupt world, and 3) our sinful flesh. All three are doing everything they can to stop faith from developing in our hearts. Therefore we need to be feasting on the Word of God to have the spiritual power to overcome them. Jesus is our supreme example of this. In Matthew 4:1-11 we read of Jesus temptation in the wilderness. He was tempted three times; 1) you're hungry - make bread, tested his flesh, 2) creating a spectacle by jumping off the temple is the world's way, 3) bowing down to Satan is the lie and deception. After Jesus had overcome he began his public ministry, producing a huge crop of the good fruit of righteousness that would last forever. Now back to the Parable. Group 1 - those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. It is Satan's lies and deceptions that people buy into. They do so because they do not know the Word of God and are not convinced it is true. So they choose to believe the lie. Group 2 - Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. Their temporary belief is evident on the outside but there has been no heart transformation. Group 3 - the seed among thorns is those who hear but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures and they don't mature. They go back to the world's ways. Group 4 - the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop. In my view, Groups 1,2,3 were never saved, they "fell away" from the path to salvation. The failure of each group was caused by their neglect of the word of God (See Heb 5:11-14,). They can't fight the devil, flesh or world without the weapons God has given to overcome.
The word "Fall away" is from the Greek: parapipto (G3895), to fall aside; apostatize; fall away. (Heb. 6:6) It means to throw overboard all faith in the experiences of the gospel and to deny them. People are here warned that such is possible. How could they fall away from the experiences of Heb. 6:4-5 if they never had them? The language is past tense and factual so it cannot be denied that the ones referred to did at one time have experiences.
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