If you receive updates on new posts through email, you may not have gotten the You Tube link that I mentioned in the last post (Impossible to be Renewed Again to Repentance After Falling Away?); however, the video is available when you access my site directly. I presented this video because the explanation on Hebrews 6:4-6 made sense to me. Here, I want to summarize what was said in the video, and give you my own commentary on it. This is such an interesting topic.
First, here’s the passage:
Hebrews 5:12-6:9 (KJV)
12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
CHAPTER 6, verse 1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
3 And this will we do, if God permit.
4 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.
7 For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:
8 But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.
9 But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.
If you didn’t get a chance to watch the video yet, here it is.
Basically, here’s the point of the passage from Hebrews 5:12-6:9, as Michael Pearl explains it (my paraphrase), and as I understand it:
It’s time to stop being baby Christians and begin to grow up; meaning, we needn’t keep “receiving Christ into our hearts” over and over again (to put it into contemporary terms that we’re familiar with), but instead, we need to recognize that 1) that would be impossible to do anyways (to get saved more than once), and 2) we need to become mature and start to understand the more complex themes in the Bible, moving beyond the simple gospel message.
Why can’t we be saved twice? Well, the passage says that “it is impossible.” So, if you’ve lost your salvation, that’s it. You can’t ever get it back. There is no such thing as being saved twice.
I like how Michael Pearl doesn’t try to convince us that maybe the person was never saved in the first place. No, he says, clearly the person being talked about is a born-again believer (he or she tasted of the heavenly gift, was made partaker of the Holy Spirit, had tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come). No, what is being stressed here, is that EVEN IF, hypothetically, a person somehow COULD lose his or her salvation, then that person could NEVER get saved again, because it would be IMPOSSIBLE. So, stop trying to get “saved again,” and move on toward maturity. Time to grow up.
Why would it be impossible? Because then that would mean, hypothetically, that Christ’s atonement for the first time that person got saved had been all used up, and no longer sufficed; it would mean that the person had somehow “out-sinned” the atonement that Christ had provided, and that His work on the cross was no longer sufficient.
This makes sense to me. We didn’t receive our salvation because of any good works we had done; it was given to us by God as a free gift (Romans 6:23 –> “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”) A gift isn’t earned, it’s given. All you have to do is open up your hands and receive it. So, how can it be, that once we have been given this gift from God, He is going to take it away again because we “didn’t measure up”? If we have to “measure up” in order to keep the gift, then it’s not really free.
The death of Christ on the cross was all-sufficient for our salvation, and can’t be repeated again. We can’t lose our salvation one day, and get saved again the next, because then that would mean His death WASN’T all-sufficient; it wasn’t enough to keep us from losing our salvation; it wasn’t enough to cover that one sin (or more) that was just so bad, we lost our salvation.
If we truly are saved, then yes, there WILL be something to show for it (see verses 7-9 in chapter 6 of our focus passage). There will be SOME sign of Christ’s life living in us, even if we still haven’t matured yet and are still living like little baby Christians. We can’t lose our salvation because we “messed up too bad.” No, we need to get right with God, and move on to maturity. The real danger is for those who are not genuine believers, but are posers. It can be hard to distinguish the two.
A true believer may be living an ungodly lifestyle (for a time), because she hasn’t moved on to maturity. Maybe she doesn’t know the Bible very well yet. Maybe she’s still struggling to overcome old habits from her former life. Maybe she’s stubborn. But that doesn’t mean she’s not saved. She’s just a baby Christian.
Then there’s the poser. This person lives an ungodly lifestyle because the life of Christ is simply not within her. She’s a fake. She may go to church, and some people may have her labeled as a “baby Christian,” but they don’t realize that the reason she acts the way she does isn’t because she’s just an immature Christian who needs to grow up, but because she isn’t a true Christian at all!
How to tell the difference? Maybe WE can’t–but God can. In the meantime, He allows the good to grow up along with the bad (Matthew 13:24-30). One day, He will separate the two, and the posers will be burned up like weeds; but the true Christians, even though perhaps still immature, will be saved.
I want to “move on to perfection,” don’t you? I don’t want to be a baby Christian all my life; I want to begin to understand the more complex themes of the Bible, and I want to live by faith, and not just say that I have faith. I want to stop wondering if I’ve lost my salvation because I “haven’t been good enough,” and I want to leave that burden to rest, while acknowledging that yes, I have “messed up” at times, but also yes, Christ’s atonement was sufficient for ALL my sins, even the ones I haven’t committed yet (but I know I will because I’m not perfect, and won’t be until heaven). When Christ saved me, He knew all the ways I was going to sin after accepting His free gift, but He gave it to me anyway. IF I could lose my salvation, I would have lost it years ago, and it would be IMPOSSIBLE for me to be saved again, according to this passage from Hebrews. So then, what am I doing? If I’m now no longer saved, and CAN’T be anymore, then I have no hope at all! So, the point of this text is, that since that’s not gonna happen (being saved twice), let’s accept that our salvation was good enough to last a lifetime (an eternity, to be exact), and stop worrying about losing what we can’t lose anyway. Let’s move on to maturity instead.
*Note: I haven’t finished examining this topic, so there will be more to come in future posts, as I analyze other texts that relate to this issue. I may also publish other interesting videos and commentaries that present what seems to me a logical understanding of the subject. Thanks for joining me!