Verse of the Day Devotion. Hebrews 6:6
“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 6:6
The idea found in Hebrews 6:4-6 is one of the most difficult and controversial one to understand in all of scriptures. Lets look at verses 4-5. “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” Hebrews 6:4-5. This here speaks of ‘spiritual enlightenment’: understanding and acceptance of the truth. We know these are Christians for it states they are ‘partakers of the Holy Spirit’. They have the Holy Spirit dwelling within them. These are not simply those who declare they are Christians when actually they have never given their lives to Christ. These are actual Christians.
Then, it is in our focus verse where the major difficulty comes. “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 6:6. Many people see this as a losing of their salvation. But this is not what it is saying. They are not ‘losing’ their salvation, they are ‘leaving/walking away from their salvation. They are becoming ‘apostates’, which are those who abandon or renounce Christianity, and ultimately Christ Himself. Remember what John wrote. “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8-9. Unfortunately, as Christians we will sin from time to time. However, if we go before Him and ask Him for forgiveness, He will grant it to us. Therefore, this is not what the author was speaking of. Falling away refers not to sin in general, but to the specific sin of apostasy. By backing away from the faith, you essentially back away from what He did for you. Thus, the idea regarding be crucified again.
The next two verses give us an illustration using farmland. “For ground that drinks the rain which often falls upon it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned. ” Hebrews 6:7-8. The rain that falls from heaven corresponds to the enlightening blessings of verses 4–5. If the seed of the word of God is truly present in the soil, the hearts of men and women, the rain causes fruitful crops to grow, fulfilling the blessing intended by God. But where the word of truth, though heard, has been rejected, the rain can only quicken that which is already in the soil, that being thorns and thistles. And continued rain will only make matters worse, not better. Such fruitless land will merit the ultimate cursing of God and be finally given over to burning.
Such a scenario parallels the condition Jesus describes of certain branches of the true vine which do not abide in him and are therefore cut off and gathered into the fire and burned. Jesus says essentially the same thing as written by John. “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch, and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” John 15:1-6.
In closing, those who stay true to Christ and follow His ways are guaranteed eternal life with Him. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” John 5:24. However, there will be some who will reject the faith they had believed in. Their eternal future is not glorious. But will be eternal punishment in the lake of fire. Spend time in the scriptures, strengthen your faith through study and prayer. And also use this time as preparation to be ready to help and strengthen those who need assistance in keeping their faith. “Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:1-2. If you see someone drifting away, do what you can, in love, to draw them back to the truth. You will be blessing them, yourself, and ultimately God.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.