What Is This About?

Hebrews 5:11-6:10

11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to clarify because you no longer try to understand. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk is still an infant, not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil by constant use.

6 Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2 instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And God permitting, we will do so.

4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened,   tasted the heavenly gift, shared in the Holy Spirit,  have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss, they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. 7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and producing a crop valuable to those for whom it is farmed receives God's blessing. 8 But land that has thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end, it will be burned.

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. 10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.

At first, it seemed strange that this warning was in the middle of exposition about the significance of Christ's death. I  5:11- 6:2, the author urges us to advance from the basics.    A warning against falling away does not seem to have any connection to this. The implication might be that if you don’t grow, you are in danger of falling away. This might be true because if they did not grow, they would not be well-rooted and were in danger of falling away because of a lack of knowledge. If they did not grow, they would even forget about basic things such as salvation. (cf. 2 Peter 1:3-11) The placement of the warning showed that it was urgent. It is impossible to imagine some who fit the description of 6:4-6  purposely leaving God.   However, Keep in mind this was written to Jewish converts in danger of going back to Judaism because of persecution.  Under pressure, it would have been for them to give in to the panic the way Israelites did after hearing the spies' negative report.  (Numbers 13 and 14)

    This could apply to those who have hardened their hearts severely to  God for any reason. Perhaps guilt over sin and/or some disappointment cause them to fall away. Judas, for example, was with Jesus, and he heard the truth. He let the love of money overtake caused him to steal from the treasury and ultimately betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. He felt so guilty that he hung himself.  He could have repented like Peter a but guilt overtook him. . Satan also let pride and power harden his heart to the point of rebellion against God. Again, he could have quickly repented, and God would have taken him back.

Regardless of the exact meaning of the verses, the purpose becomes clear in verses 9 and 10. It encouraged the original readers to holy living and not to give up hope. If they lost hope, it would be easy for them to harden their hearts. The difference between someone who backslides those who fall away is that the backslider still holds out hope.  Their hearts are still receptive to God, and they can receive God’s mercy. Fruit doesn't come easily, whether it is winning souls or growing spiritually. Even today, it difficult to stand against what is wrong. The demands of being a Christian seem daunting. Even when I felt discouraged, I never gave up hope.

Updated  May 31,2021


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