Does Hebrews 6:4-6 say a believer can lose his salvation?

 

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.

Commonly many point out to this verse and point out believers can lose their salvation if they back slide. I want to tell you the above verses do not refer to believers but the Hebrews who refuse to receive Jesus as their Messiah. 

Note a few verses later the writer addresses the believers as “beloved”. When it comes to them he is fully assured of their salvation. 

Hebrews 6:9
But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.

See also TNIV


Hebrews 6:9
9 Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case–the things that have to do with salvation.

The Message


9 I’m sure that won’t happen to you, friends. I have better things in mind for you—salvation things! 

 

Below are short explanations for each part. It is helpful to note that the letter to the Hebrews is written to Jews and not Gentiles. As such any warnings which are issued are issued to them and not the Gentiles. Let us consider their story in Numbers and Deuteronomy.

 

The Hebrews stood at the entrance of God’s physical rest –the Promised Land. This was after they witnessed the column of cloud in the day and bright fire in the night; the brightness of His glory on Mount Sinai; and the fire that consumed the rebels. The Hebrews saw His light –they were “enlightened”. (Exodus 13: 21-22, 2 Samuel 22: 7-13, Numbers 11: 1-3)

 

They ate the daily bread –the manna– that He provided. The Hebrews tasted the food (“heavenly gift”) given from heaven to know about the word of God (Exodus 16: 11-18, 31, Deuteronomy 8: 1-4).The Holy Spirit that rested on Moses (so that he could fairly judge the disputes of the people) was later partaken (shared) with seventy leaders to help carrying the heavy burden. In this way, the people partook (shared) in the Holy Spirit (Numbers 11: 4-6, 10-17). 

 

They saw supernatural events occur before their eyes –like the sea parting before them so they could escape from slavery and their enemies be destroyed (Exodus 14: 21-28). Those miracles were physical demonstrations of spiritual power yet to come through Jesus.

But even after all of these, those stubborn people deliberately refused to go into the Land –God’s Promised Land of rest. That is what it means “by sinning wilfully” or “keep on sinning” by constantly rejected Jesus as their Messiah. Hence please note it is written towards the unbelieving Jews. It is not a letter written to Jews or Gentiles who already believed.

Be at peace and Shalom. 

7 Comments

  1. Brother Yap,

    I reposted your post on my blog and I got a very interesting response from a man. I would love for you to comment and expound some of his argument. Thanks and Blessings (:

      1. Here are the responses :

        DCORPUS:I came across your post on “can you lose your salvation”. In my studies of the scriptures, I believe the bible does support that a believer can fall or backslide and therefore lose their salvation. As long as a believer abides in Christ, he or she will be saved. But if the believer denies Christ and longer serves Him, that person does not have eternal life any longer. I have met many people who loved God and served Him faithfully, and then reject Him and became participants in witchcraft and have no desire to serve God. Would you say that this person still has salvation?

        WithoutAbandon:Thank your for your comment Dcorpus. I appreciate your insight and I will answer the question with the best accuracy I can.

        Well, with consideration to the scripture audience lets look at who the author is speaking to: the Hebrews of that time(not us). These verses speak to the danger of the Hebrew Christians returning to Judaism and thus committing apostasy which was very easy to do because of the time period. From the scripture,the author is only inferring the impossibility of repentance by the believer, but he is NOT saying the impossibility of the person being forgiven or being restored by GOD(Two separate things).Scripture says we are sealed by the spirit to the day of redemption (Ephesians 1:11–14). (:

        Your question as to which if the people you know who have fallen away are still saved is very good! This scripture is easy to apply to superficial believers who renounce Christ or unbelievers who have have had encounters with Christianity.But that asks a separate question if these people were believers to begin with? I feel the writer is only warning of the hardness of heart that would make repentance inconcevable for the sinner and those who have had those experiences.

        Furthermore, Verses 7 and 8 discuss the difference of crop yeilding in a believers/unbelievers life. It speaks about certain soils that Jesus spoke of. Jesus in Mat 7: A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Therefore, a test of authentic fruit in those “believers” lives, would fall into question.

        But still, I think as believers today, we shouldn’t look at Hebrews 6:4-6 solely for us, but as illustration of a larger picture painted by the author for his audience. If applied to modern day, this picture shouldn’t be wielded as a script for disqualification, but as an encouragement for qualification in Christ for those who press onward to the prize of our calling. The reason why I favor this post most, is because it speaks to the misconceptions many of us have about scripture, and how we apply it incorrectly to our lives, bringing us into unnecessary condemnation, when Christ has set us free!

        Blessings and Love brother (:

        #Withoutabandon

        DCORPUS:Withoutabandon,
        Thank you for your reply and your thoughts on Hebrews and the subject of “can you lose your salvation”. I enjoy the fact that we as believers in Christ can talk about this topic and share each others ideas and knowledge about God’s word. I’d like to respond if I may to your most recent post.

        While I agree with you that the book of Hebrews was written to the Hebrews of that time and not us per se, this does not mean that the same idea of salvation and the possibility of falling away does not apply to Jews or Gentiles. Even though the book of Hebrews was not written to us merely, this does not mean we as christians today cannot learn from these warnings throughout the book. Besides, the book of Matthew was written to a Jewish audience and not a Gentile audience, but this does not mean that the sayings of Jesus Christ does not apply to us today. No believer would say this. In this same regard, the book of Hebrews has much value and truth that has the ability to change us.

        I agree with you regarding the idea of the book of Hebrews having to do with the Jews returning to Judaism. The warning to this audience is apostasy. The warning is to believers. Hebrews 6 says that these people were made “partakers of the Holy Spirit”. No unbeliever can be a partaker of the Holy Spirit but only believers. In fact Hebrews 3:14 states “For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end”. Notice the writer includes himself by saying “we”. To be partakers of Christ is the same thing as to be partakers of the Holy Spirit since the Holy Spirit is God and Christ is also God. Hebrews 12:8 also uses the word “partakers” which is the same greek word used in Hebrews 6 and Hebrews 3:14.

        In addition to Hebrews 6:6 where it says “if they fall away”, you could look up any Greek lexicon or interlinear translation and find that the word “if” is not found in the greek text. The correct translation in the greek text for Hebrews 6:6 is “and having fallen away”. There is no possibility of “and having fallen away” being a hypothetical statement. It is referring actual christians who have fallen away. There is a certain group that has fallen away. If a person is enlightened, and are partakers of the Holy Spirit, and who have tasted the word, seems to clearly imply that this is a saved person. This is salvation type language here.

        So what about the “impossibility for them to be renewed again unto repentence”. The word “impossible” in the greek means “not able”. A person who has never been a christian may be hard to reach, but this person has not hardened their heart against the truth as much as someone who has known Christianity to be true and has turned against it. To sin againstt light, produces a hardness of heart. Now notice that Hebrews 6 does not say “it is impossible for them to repent”. It says “for it is impossible for them (meaning some third party) to restore them to repentence. There is a difference. Those seeking to restore them is impossible for them to do. There is no implication that Jesus or God could not restore them.
        So what does “since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame”. I believe this phrase is figurative. It does not mean that we actually put Christ on the wooden cross. But it means that the same sin that put Jesus on the cross, you are returning to it. It is as though you are requiring Jesus to continue to suffer.

        With regard to Ephesians 1:11-14 about the seal of the Holy Spirit. The bible nowhere says that the seal cannot be broken. We are sealed with the Holy Spirit because of faith. But if we cease to have faith, we are no longer sealed by the Spirit. Jesus said in John 15 that the branches must “abide” in the vine. The word “abide” means a continual belief in Christ.. If you cease to abide in Christ, then you cannot be said to be abiding in Him.
        Reply ↓

  2. without abandon

    I believe this scripture Heb 6:9 shows us he letter is not written to Believers that He is assure of all those who had already Believe 100%

    Like Simon said it written to UN-believing jews and he separates Believer from The context of this chapter ( heb 6:9) from being refer to us believers.

    as for the seal not being broken I really do not know how hard until The day of redemption is to understand, if it until the end of our life then it cannot be broken.

  3. Thanks for the explanation Simon! Just to add, the verse says: It is impossible to renew these people AGAIN to repentance.

    Does this imply that the people in question repented before?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s