Tuesday, December 16, 2014

What about Hebrews 6?

Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.  Hebrews 7:25

We've been studying as of late concerning our eternally secure relationship with God. Now that we've covered the undeniable proof from the Word that we are in fact secure I would like to address the what about this passage or this verse objections. 

We've titled this series, "Loving it, leaving it, losing it". Now we will explore the leaving it portion. Some, will always resist God's goodness and overwhelming love and grace. They feel compelled to create a straw man argument that free will means we will reject and walk away from such love and grace. Does the Scripture actually support this? I think not. We will begin by tackling the biggest passage that most critics site. What about Hebrews 6?

 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.  Hebrews 6:4-8 

Many cite this passage as proof that one can renounce faith in God. That they can just walk away from God. Is this really what this passage is referring to? Is this the main point God is making here? I think not. 

The biggest concern with the traditional interpretation some have attributed to this passage is one word. That one word is the word impossible. Many state this passage proves that one can renounce their faith or that they can lose their salvation by some bad deed. Yet, when pressed about this view, most believe that the one who walks away or renounces their faith can at some point return to God. Yet it clearly states it is impossible to renew one to change. It is impossible to come back. 

That doesn't sound like good news at all. That doesn't leave the sense of mercy or grace anywhere. If indeed, this is the right view, then if anyone walks away out of emotional turmoil or momentary grief they are lost forever. Why then do we see so many alter calls in churches to come back to God? Because the heart cries for mercy and grace. The mind and emotions, on the other hand pull for some sense of "getting even". That God avenges that old sinner for turning on Him. Thanks be to God this is not the right view.

Who is Hebrews written to?

The book of Hebrews was written to two types of Jewish people. Those who had received the Lord Jesus and were receiving much persecution from their fellow Jews. It also addresses those Jews who had heard the good news of the New Covenant and new life Jesus brings but have stopped short of receiving Him. These are they who are at a straight between two paths to follow. Follow through in faith and receive new life from the New Birth or stay with the system of law and sacrifice. 

In fact Jack Hayford's Bible handbook credits this as one major interpretation of this difficult passage. "Jews who stopped just short of faith in Christ". This is what I see Hebrews 6 is really talking about. Those who hear the truth and stop just short of salvation and turn away from God. I venture to say that many of us at one time have witnessed to someone and saw God tugging on their heart with His love and grace to receive the free gift of righteousness and yet they choose what is familiar and reject the free gift. That same one then never received the Lord and stayed in sin and reaped the consequence of rejecting new life in Him. I've seen this before. It is truly sad. 

So who is it then that it is impossible to renew to change? If you dive further into this passage it actually interprets itself. Verses 7 and 8 talk about rain and herbs and bearing fruit. What, did the writer finish his thought and stop to teach on farming? No, it is all one thought. He is teaching that as rain waters the soil and it bears fruit so God's Word and love is poured out upon human hearts. One heart is fruitful and the other heart is unfruitful. What is the difference? The nature of the one receiving the Word reveals what the end result will be. So who falters and falls away? The one who hears the Word and not allowing the nature change to take place will fall away and not return. 

If a field keeps harvesting faulty negative crops after it gets sufficient rain and sun then the soil is faulty. This perfectly illustrates the heart exposed to the light of God's love and grace and rain of His Spirit but has no resulting fruit. In other words it's not experienced a true nature change. So once again proof positive that a unchanged heart is what falters and falls away. The heart that has the nature change is what is eternally secure.  

I believe when we rightly divide the Word there is no more "scary" passages. It all reveals love and mercy and His grace. Even passages such as this. It reveals that if you choose to reject the free gift through the hardness of heart you will have what you chose. 

To summarize, this passage isn't addressed to a born again child of God. This is addressed to one who is hearing the Word of salvation and the sun and rain of the Spirit are shining and refreshing and the heart chooses to harden and not receive the goodness offered. To that heart which has chosen to reject forever this gift it is impossible to renew them to change. Knowing the Word brings life and freedom. Now go forth in confidence knowing your relationship is secure in grace.

I trust this post has blessed you. May the Lord and His grace be with you this week. 

photobyAleksandr Kutsayev,courtesyfreedigitalphoto,net

No comments: