No chapter in the Bible has disturbed and worried people more than has Hebrews 6, specifically verses 4-6. Tragically many people use these verses as a proof text to support their errant view that a believer can lose his or her salvation. It says - “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, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 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.”
These verses have been misunderstood and misapplied by many. Also, there are too many who make the error of developing doctrine based on obscure verses. I would remind you that we are to interpret the obscure by the obvious. There are MANY verses in the Scriptures that assure the true believer that he or she can never be lost! While I do not want to give a false assurance to any professed Christian who is NOT truly born again, neither do I want to cause a TRUE believer to stumble and doubt God’s truth concerning Salvation.
Following are some OBVIOUS verses that assure the true believer that their salvation is secure, they cannot lose it.
· Christ Is The One Who Gives Eternal Life to His Sheep and He Is the One Who Keeps Them - John 10:28-30 “And I [Jesus] give unto them [His sheep; those who have believed] eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. 30 I and my Father are one.
This is one of the clearest statements in the Bible that one who believes in Jesus for salvation will never be lost. Believers sin and stumble, but Jesus as the perfect Shepherd loses none of His flock.
Note the phrase, “I give unto them eternal life….” If you believe in Christ today and have eternal life, but you lose it tomorrow, then the life that was given was NOT “eternal” at all. Therefore, if you can lose your salvation, the promises of eternal life in the Bible are erroneous.
“They shall never perish” is a strong affirmation in the Greek: ou mē apolōntai eis ton aiōna (“they will indeed not ever perish”; cf. John 3:16, mē apolētai, “should not perish”). The security of the sheep is found in the ability of the Shepherd to defend and preserve His flock. Such security does not depend on the ability of the frail sheep. Note the word “pluck.” It means to carry off by force; to snatch away. No wolf, no thief, no bandit, on hireling, no demon, not even the devil can pluck the sheep out of Christ’s grasp! We are safe and secure in our Heavenly Father and His Son’s Hand.
· Christ Promises That Those Who Come To Him Are Secure
John 6:37 “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”
I really appreciate this verse. However, I admit it does annoy the Calvinists though. Election and free will are both in this verse. “All that the father giveth me shall come to me” states a truth, and that is election. But wait a minute! “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” is also true, and “him that cometh to me” is free will. I don't know how to reconcile them, but they are both true. The Father gives men to Christ, but men of their own free will have to come. And the ones that come are the ones, apparently, whom the Father gives to Him. You and I are down here, and we don't see into the operation of God and the machinery of heaven. I don't know how God runs that computer of election, but I know that He has given to you and to me a free will and we have to exercise it.
Charles H. Spurgeon was a Calvinist of sorts. Yet, he preached a “whosoever will” Gospel. Someone said to Spurgeon, “If I believed like you do about election, I wouldn't preach like you do.”
Spurgeon's answer went something like this, “If the Lord had put a yellow stripe down the backs of the elect, I'd go up and down the street lifting up shirttails, finding out who had the yellow stripe, and then I'd give them the Gospel. But God didn't do it that way. He told me to preach the gospel to every creature that ‘whosoever will may come.’” Jesus says, “… and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”
So, my Calvinist friends, you can argue about election all you want to, but you can come. And if you come, He'll not cast you out. Jesus assured them that nobody who came to Him would ever be lost but would be raised at the last day. Even death cannot rob us of salvation! (In regard to the “last day,” (John 6:40).
· The Holy Spirit Seals The Believer - Ephesians 1:13-14 “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
In the Bible a seal signifies 1) A Finished Transaction (Jeremiah 32:9-10). 2) Ownership (Jeremiah 32:11-12; 2 Timothy 2:19) 3) Security (Esther 8:8; Daniel 6:17; Ephesians 4:30)
God places the Holy Spirit in us permanently (He indwells us, taking up permanent residence) indicating that the great transactions in which God the Son paid for sin, thus satisfying the just demand of God’s Holy Law is FINISHED (John 19:30). The believer’s body becomes “the temple of the Holy Ghost” and we are OWNED by God for we have been bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). And clearly, we are SECURE for Ephesians 4:30 says, “ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” If believers did not have eternal security, the sealing could not truly be unto the day of redemption, but only to the day of sinning, apostasy, or disbelief.
· Those Who Believe Are Guaranteed Everlasting Life -John 3:15-16 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
These verses tell us that whoever believes in Jesus Christ will "have eternal life." If a person were to be promised eternal life, but then have it taken away, it was never "eternal" to begin with. If eternal security is not true, the promises of eternal life in the Bible would be in error.
Another supporting passage is John 5:24 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
· Ye Must Be Born-Again Not Again & Again
John 1:12-13 “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
Once you are born, you cannot be unborn. Jesus said you must be born-again, not you must be born-again and again (John 3:7). In facts since we are God’s children we are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17). When His children sin, God does not kick them out of the family back into the dominion of the devil for we have been delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the Kingdom of Christ (Col. 1:13-14), but, as a proper human father deals with an errant child, God our father disciplines his children (Hebrews 12:4-13). Once you are born into the family of God you can never be unborn.
· Nothing Can Separate Us From Christ Who Redeemed Us
Perhaps the most powerful proof for eternal security is Romans 8:31-39. Our eternal security is based on God's love for those whom He has redeemed. Our eternal security is purchased by Christ, promised by the Father, and sealed by the Holy Spirit.
I am SURE that God the Father, His Son and my Savior Jesus Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit will keep me saved! Paul writes in 2 Timothy 1:12 “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”
THE PROBLEM PASSAGE IN FOCUS
Hebrews 6:4-6 “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, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 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.”
Those who believe Christians can lose their salvation appeal to these verses as “proof” of their theory. Then there are those like me who believe we are to interpret the obscure by the obvious. As I showed you in my last message there are many verses that clearly teach that true believers can never lose their salvation. So what is the meaning of Hebrews 6:4-6 “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, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 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.”
First of all, the writer IS describing saved people. We read in verse 4 they were “once enlightened.” The word once is a first aorist passive articular participle, which indicates it means once and for all enlightened, indicating an experience of true salvation. They have “tasted [experienced] of the Heavenly gift,” the gift of God which is eternal life through Jesus Christ. They were “partakers [sharers] of the Holy Ghost”, “tasted [experienced] the good word of God and “the powers of the world to come.” Clearly believers are being addressed here.
The second thing to note is the focus is on repentance, NOT salvation. The writer of Hebrews is talking about the fruit of salvation, not about the root of salvation. Notice verse Hebrews 6:9 - “But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation [he hasn't been discussing salvation but the things that accompany salvation], though we thus speak.”
He is speaking of the fruit of the Christian's life and the reward that comes to him as the result. The whole tenor of this passage is that he is warning them of the possibility of losing their reward not losing their salvation`. I am talking about the Judgment Seat of Christ before which all believers will appear (2 Corinthians 5:10). Our works will be tested there by fire (1 Corintians 3:11-15).
Now to the troublesome verse: - “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.” (v.6).
The phrase fall away is NOT apostasia, from which we get the English word “apostasy.” It is It is parapipto, (par-ap-ip'-to) which means “to fall beside, to deviate, to turn aside, to wander.”
It is similar to the word for “fault,” as found in Galatians 6:1 (“if a man be overtaken in a fault [trespass]”). So, Hebrews 6:6 describes believers who have experienced the spiritual blessings of God but who fall by the side, backslidden or trespassed because of unbelief. Having done this, they are in danger of divine chastening (see Hebrews 12:5-13) and of becoming castaways (1 Corinthians 9:24-27), which results in loss of reward and divine disapproval, but NOT loss of salvation.
You should also note that the words “crucify” and “put” in Hebrews 6:6 are, in the Greek, present participles: “while they are crucifying . . . and while they are putting Him to an open shame.” That means, the writer IS NOT SAYING that these people could never be brought to repentance. He said that they could not be brought to repentance while they were treating Jesus Christ in such a shameful way. Once they stop disgracing Jesus Christ in this way, they can be brought to repentance and renew their fellowship with God.
There are many examples in Scripture of men who “fell away.” The apostle Peter fell, but he was not lost. The Lord Jesus said to him, "I have prayed that your faith might not fail" (see Luke 22:32). Peter suffered loss, but he was not lost.
John Mark is another example. He failed so miserably on the first missionary journey that when his uncle Barnabas suggested that he go on the second journey, Paul turned him down. He as much as said, “Never. This boy has failed, and as far as I am concerned, I am through with him” (see Act 15:37-39). Well, thank God, although he stumbled and fell, God was not through with him. Even the apostle Paul, before he died, acknowledged that he had made a misjudgment of John Mark. In his last epistle he wrote, "… Take Mark and bring him with thee; for he is useful to me for ministering" (2 Timothy 4:11). Now, neither Peter nor John Mark lost his salvation, but they certainly failed and they suffered loss for it.
There is two final points I want to address. First, lose, sinful living by a believer can so damage his or her testimony that others blaspheme, mock and deride Christ. You can so destroy your testimony that you become unusable by the Lord. Paul speaks of this in 1 Corinthians 9:27 “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” That means unworthy and unusable. Those who are castaway’s have not lost their salvation, but they have lost their testimonies and damaged the name of Christ to such an extent that they are no longer useable. They will be saved, but “yet so as by fire!” (1 Corinthians 3:15). Those who are genuinely saved cannot lose their salvation but they can lose their testimonies and put Christ to open shame. I know of several instances where this has happened. Sin destroyed the persons testimony, caused people to mock Christ, destroyed the church and has had long lasting consequences for several generations.
Finally, there are people who have done the “1, 2, 3 pray after me” thing, and there has never been a change in their lives. There is no fruit, not even a dried raisin. Then there are others who professions of faith for some reason or other for ulterior motives. I remember a young man who went and asked a dad if he could date his daughter. The dad said, are you a born-again believer. The young man answered “No!” The dad said, “You may not until you get saved.” That Sunday, the young man responded to the invitation and “trusted Christ.” He got baptized, and joined the church and a year later he and the young lady were married. He continued to attend church, later taught a Sunday school class, sang in the choir and even became a Trustee. However, more than two decades later, walked the aisle during an invitation and confessed to the people he was not really saved. He made a profession so he could marry the young lady. That evening, this middle aged man got GLORIOUSLY SAVED!
So, what is my point? Be SURE you are genuinely saved. 2 Corinthians 13:5 “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”
There is NO chance in eternity to change your destiny!