“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 and have tasted the good Word of God and the powers of the world to come, 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.”

Hebrews 6:4-6

It’s a clear-and-present danger and one which we should always guard against.

“If they shall fall away.”

Ominous words, aren’t they—especially when coupled with the rest of today’s Manna?  For centuries theologians have debated the meaning of Heb. 6:1-8 and whether or not it’s talking about apostasy (a falling away from the faith or being saved and then lost again).

For sure, Baptists believe in “Once saved, always saved” and the “Security of the Believer.”  Thus, they view this passage as referring to those who were never saved to begin with.  Other groups, citing “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12), point to this passage as evidence of one’s ability to know the Lord and then be “rejected, cursed and headed for burning” (v.8).

So, the question is, “Who’s right?”

Again, this has been one of the most controversial and hotly-debated passages in the Bible down through the years since its writing.  However, when we view the context in which it was written—to Jewish-Christians being persecuted and tempted to recant their faith for the sake of survival—it sheds a whole new light on the intent and meaning of the passage.

The writer wrote the words as one of his “wooing and warning, two-edged Sword of the Gospel” exhortations (Heb. 1:1-14; 2:1-3, 5-18; 3:7-19; 4:1-16; 5:11-14; 6:9-20; 8:1-13; 9:12-28; 10:9-39; 12:5-29).  And, he reminded them that he was confident that they wouldn’t fall away and would continue in “their work and labor of love in His Name as they ministered to the saints” (6:9-10).

Dear Pilgrim, there are times that we do “grow weary in well-doing and faint in our minds” (Gal. 6:9) and are ready to wave the white flag of surrender, crying “What’s the use?  No one’s listening.”  But, if we “stop, look and listen,” we’ll realize there is Someone Who’s listening.  And, He’s not through with us yet.

Like Noah, who preached for 120 years without a single convert (I Pet. 3:20), our success isn’t dependent upon our results; it’s dependent upon our faithfulness.  As a “watchman on the wall” (Ez. 33:1ff), we must faithfully discharge our duties by “sounding the trumpet when a sword comes in the land” (Ez. 33:3-4).  Others may not listen (vv.6-9). . .or may even mock us and work against us (vv.30-33). . .but we must still be found faithful.

Woe to any who have experienced the blessings of the Lord, yet turn their back upon their dear Savior—for their actions will “crucify the Son of God afresh and bring Him to an open shame.”  And, instead of being a fruitful field and “stepping stone” to Christ, they’ll become a worthless, useless, barren “stumbling block,” causing others to curse them (and God).  Beware of the danger of falling away, Pilgrim.  Stay faithful and focused.

By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated October 18, 2009

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