Thursday, April 28, 2005

It's All About Him: Hebrews -- Lesson 21

To start at the beginning of this series, click here.

Of Tasting and Feasting(2)

This continues the thoughts on this troubling passage in Hebrews 6:

For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. (Hebrews 6:4-6, NASB 95)

The last post presented the example of the Jewish leaders who rejected the ministry and message of Jesus while not being able to refute His works of power--but rather ascribing them to the powers of hell. In coming close and rejecting, they committed an "eternal sin" that could not be forgiven. Other examples would include the first generation out of Egypt, who saw the plagues and experienced the power of God in parting the Red Sea, the provision of Mannah, the display on Mount Sinai, etc. When brought to the edge of the promised land, they balked. Like many in Jesus' day, they saw the power, heard the good word, and fell away. The important thing to note is that although they fell away from the truth, they had never believed. Is this not what the Writer has already said about them:

For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief. (Hebrews 3:16-19)

For the Writer of Hebrews, obedience and belief are two sides of the same coin--as are unbelief and disobedience. In terms of our current passage, this is what the Writer has to say about those reading this letter:

But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way. For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. (Hebrews 6:9-10)

In short, Hebrews 6:4-6 does not describe a state of salvation, but the state of someone who is brought into a knowledge of the truth and rejects the salvation that is offered.

I have still more to write on this, but I must again head off.

Test everything. Cling to what is good.

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