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HEBREWS CHAPTER 6

I) [Heb 5:11-14]:

(Heb 5:11 NASB) "Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.

(Heb 5:12 NASB) For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.

(Heb 5:13 NASB) For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.

(Heb 5:14 NASB) "But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil."

A) [BSM ON HEB 5:14]:

(Heb 5:11 NASB) "Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.

(Heb 5:12 NASB) For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.

(Heb 5:13 NASB) For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.

(Heb 5:14 NASB) But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil."

So the author of Hebrews makes a point of chastizing the Hebrew Christians in the first century of not growing in the faith by studying the "oracles of God," the Scriptures. Instead they have remained infants in their Christian lives, who only partake of milk and not solid food which is for the mature who have trained to discern good and evil.

B) [(Heb 5:11-14) Expositor's Bible Commentary On Heb 5:11-14]:

"A. Failure to Progress in the Faith (5:12-14)
This little section is of special interest because it shows that the recipients of the letter were people of whom better things might have been expected. They should have been mature Christians. Since they had evidently been converted for quite some time, they ought to have made much more progress in the faith than they in fact had. The author is troubled by their immaturity.
12 The readers had been Christians for long enough to qualify as teachers. This does not necessarily mean that the letter was written to a group of teachers, for the emphasis is on progress in the faith. Those addressed had failed to go on though they had been believers long enough to know more. Christians who have really progressed in the faith ought to be able to instruct others (as 1 Peter 3:15 shows; cf. Rom 2:21). But, far from this being the case, they still need instruction, and that in elementary truths.
"Someone to teach you" stands over against "teachers" and points up the contrast. Their knowledge of the faith is minimal when it ought to have been advanced. "The elementary truths" renders an expression that is equivalent to our "ABC." It points to the real beginnings. The Greek actually means something like "the ABC of the beginning of the oracles of God." There can be no doubt as to the elementary nature of the teaching in question. Yet it is not quite clear what "the oracles of God" are.
 
Quite possibly the OT is meant, though some think it is the whole Jewish system. Since the expression is quite general, it seems better to take it of all that God has spoken—i.e., the divine revelation in general.
The verse ends with another strong statement about the plight of the readers. "You need milk" renders an expression that literally means "you have become having need of milk," an expression in which "you have become" is important. Once again the writer is drawing attention to the fact that his readers have moved their position. Always in the Christian life, one either moves forward or slips back. It is almost impossible to stand still. These people had not advanced; so the result was that they had gone back and had "become" beginners. The contrast between milk and solid food is found elsewhere (cf. 1Cor 3:2, though there the word for "food" is different). "Milk" stands for elementary instruction in the Christian way. "Solid food" is, of course, more advanced instruction, the kind of teaching beginners cannot make much of but which is invaluable to those who have made some progress. What is appropriate at the early stages of the Christian life may cease to be suitable as time goes on.

13 The author explains his reference to milk and solids (the Gr. has a gar ["for"], which shows he is giving the reason for his preceding statement). "Anyone" (pas) is inclusive (pas allows no exception). In other words, the author is saying, "This is the way it is." The Christian occupied with elementary truths is spiritually "still an infant" and must be treated as such. He is "unskilled in the word of righteousness" (RSV), to take a translation a little more literal than NIV. The Greek apeiros means "without experience of" and so comes to mean "unskilled." It is uncertain what "word of righteousness" means. The problem is that both "word" and "righteousness" may be taken in more ways than one. "Word" may mean the Christian message, in which case we may wish to see "righteousness" in terms of "the righteousness of God" that is made known and made available in Christ. Or we may see "righteousness" as the right conduct God expects believers to follow. Or the author may be following up the previous metaphor and thinking of the prattling speech of the child (cf. G. Schrenk, "There is a most unusual phrase in Hb. 5:13, where apeiros logou dikaiosynes implies that the infant is incapable of understanding correct, normal speech," TDNT, 2:198). The first of these suggestions scarcely seems called for by the context. Therefore I am inclined to favor the second, though agreeing that the third is quite possible.

14 Mature people (teleioi) need solid food. The teleioi in the mystery religions were the initiates. It is unlikely, however, that this is its meaning here. "But" (de) shows the contrast to infants in v. 13. The reference is clearly to the mature who have "trained themselves." The NT makes considerable use of metaphors from athletics and gymmnazo means "to exercise naked," "to train." It is not easy to find a good equivalent for hexis in this place (NIV, "constant use"). The difficulty is that, apart from this passage, hexis seems to denote the quality that results from training, not the training itself ("not the process but the result, the condition which has been produced by past exercise and not the separate acts following one on another" [Westcott, in loc.]). But our uncertainty about the detail does not carry over to the main thrust of the passage. The writer is clearly saying that the mature Christian, the eater of solid food, constantly exercises himself in spiritual perception, and the result is manifest. He can "distinguish good from evil" and, therefore, the implication runs, will not be in danger of doing the wrong thing to which the readers find themselves attracted. Lacking this perception, Christian service will always be immature and partial."

C) [(Heb 5:11-14) Bible Knowledge Commentary On Heb 5:11-14]:

(Heb 5:11 NASB) "Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.

(Heb 5:12 NASB) For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.

(Heb 5:13 NASB) For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.

(Heb 5:14 NASB) But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil."

"B. The third warning (5:11-6:20)
The author had barely begun his consideration of the topic of the Melchizedek priesthood of Christ. But he felt constrained to pause for another warning section before proceeding further. This was due to the immaturity and sluggishness of his audience which made him wonder how much exposition they could digest. No doubt he hoped to arouse them to greater attentiveness to the truth he wished to unfold. But at the same time he wanted them to face squarely the danger of remaining where they were, since this could lead to tragic retrogression.
1. The Problem Of Immaturity (5:11-14)

A. Failure to Progress in the Faith (5:12-14)
This little section is of special interest because it shows that the recipients of the letter were people of whom better things might have been expected. They should have been mature Christians. Since they had evidently been converted for quite some time, they ought to have made much more progress in the faith than they in fact had. The author is troubled by their immaturity."

(Heb 5:14 NASB) "But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil."

"14 Mature people (teleioi) need solid food. The teleioi in the mystery religions were the initiates. It is unlikely, however, that this is its meaning here. "But" (de) shows the contrast to infants in v. 13. The reference is clearly to the mature who have "trained themselves." The NT makes considerable use of metaphors from athletics and gymmnazo means "to exercise naked," "to train." It is not easy to find a good equivalent for hexis in this place (NIV, "constant use"). The difficulty is that, apart from this passage, hexis seems to denote the quality that results from training, not the training itself ("not the process but the result, the condition which has been produced by past exercise and not the separate acts following one on another" [Westcott, in loc.]). But our uncertainty about the detail does not carry over to the main thrust of the passage. The writer is clearly saying that the mature Christian, the eater of solid food, constantly exercises himself in spiritual perception, and the result is manifest. He can "distinguish good from evil" and, therefore, the implication runs, will not be in danger of doing the wrong thing to which the readers find themselves attracted. Lacking this perception, Christian service will always be immature and partial."

C) [(Heb 5:11-14) Bible Knowledge Commentary On Heb 5:11-14]:

(Heb 5:11 NASB) "Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.

(Heb 5:12 NASB) For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.

(Heb 5:13 NASB) For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.

(Heb 5:14 NASB) But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil."

"5:13-14. It is unsatisfactory to remain a baby in spiritual matters. This is true because a spiritual infant, living on milk... is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. The words "not acquainted" (apeiros) might be better rendered "inexperienced." It is not so much that a spiritual "infant" lacks information—though at first he obviously does—but rather that he has not yet learned to put "the teaching about righteousness" to effective use. He lacks the skill which goes with maturity and which results in the ability to make appropriate moral choices. Such ability is exactly what is possessed by those who... have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. That kind of person can handle solid food.
Once more the writer betrayed his concern about his readers' ability to reject the false ideas which confronted them. Had they been sufficiently mature they would be able to "distinguish" those ideas as "evil" over against the truths they should have known were "good." But he feared that this capability was not yet really theirs, though he would make every effort to instill it in them."

II) [Heb 6:1]:

(Heb 6:1 KJV) "Therefore, [having left] the [beginning] principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection [completion, maturity]; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead [useless] works, and of faith in God"

A) (Heb 6:1) "THEREFORE" = REFERS TO THE PREVIOUS SECTION IN CHAPTER 5: INFANT BELIEVERS

(Heb 6:1 KJV) "Therefore, [having left] the [beginning] principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection [completion, maturity]; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead [useless] works, and of faith in God" =

"Therefore" = Refers back to what was previously stated about "anyone who lives on milk being still an infant," (Heb 5:13). Immature infant believers are in view who are not acquainted with bible doctrine especially on righteousness and are not able to distinguish good from evil.

B) (Heb 6:1) THE INFANT HEBREW BELIEVERS ARE ADMONISHED TO MOVE ON PAST THE ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST

(Heb 6:1 KJV) "Therefore, [having left] the [beginning] principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection [completion, maturity]; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead [useless] works, and of faith in God" =

1) [Heb 6:1a Interlinear]:

"aphentes ...ton arches .....ton ....Christou logon"

"having left the beginning of the Christ ....discourse"

or more fluently:

'Having left the beginning principles of the doctrine of Christ'

C) (Heb 6:1) ANOTHER AFFIRMATION THAT BELIEVERS ARE IN VIEW: ONLY BELIEVERS ARE ADMONISHED TO MOVE ON IN SPIRITUAL MATURITY

(Heb 6:1 KJV) "Therefore, [having left] the [beginning] principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection [completion, maturity]; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead [useless] works, and of faith in God" =

The author says in Heb 6:1: Let us move beyond the basic teachings of Christ and start growing as Christians learning and abiding in the more advanced doctrines of the bible. These are believers in Christ in view, otherwise there is no moving on past the basics. An unbeliever would not be able to go past the gospel of Christ - the gospel of salvation. Only a believer can be thought of as able to advance toward spiritual maturity. Unbelievers go nowhere until saved:

1) [Compare 1 Cor 2:14]:

"The man without the the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned."

D) (Heb 6:1) THE INFANT HEBREW CHRISTIANS ARE ADMONISHED TO LEAVE THE PRINCIPLE DOCTRINES OF CHRIST AND MOVE ON TO MATURITY

(Heb 6:1 KJV) "Therefore, [having left] the [beginning] principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection [completion, maturity]; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead [useless] works, and of faith in God" =

"Therefore, [having left] the [beginning] principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection [completion, maturity]."

"perfection" = "teleioteta" = completeness: spiritual maturity.

E) (Heb 6:1) THE INFANT HEBREW CHRISTIANS ARE ADMONISHED NOT TO LAY AGAIN A FOUNDATION OF REPENTANCE FROM DEAD [USELESS] WORKS, I.E. REPENTANCE FROM PERFORMING SACRIFICES IN ORDER TO BE SAVED

(Heb 6:1 KJV) "Therefore, [having left] the [beginning] principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection [completion, maturity]; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead [useless] works, and of faith in God" =

"not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead [useless] works," =

1) REPENTANCE = CHANGE THE MIND

The word "repentance" is translated from the Greek word "metanoias" which means a change of mind.

[Vines, (Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, W.E. Vine, Revell Publishing, Old Tappan, New Jersey, 1981, pp. 279-280), states]:

"metanoeo lit., to perceive afterwards (meta, after, implying change, noeo, to perceive; [comes from the Greek noun] nous, the mind, the seat of moral reflection), in contrast to pronoeo, to perceive beforehand, hence signifies to change one's mind or purpose...").

2) SO "REPENTANCE" IS APPLIED HERE TO NOT HAVING ONCE AGAIN TO CHANGE ONES MIND FROM DOING DEAD, I.E., USELESS WORKS FOR SALVATION WHICH DON'T ACCOMPLISH THAT END BECAUSE THEY ARE DEAD, TO ONCE AGAIN UNDERSTANDING THAT THEY ALREADY EXPRESSED "FAITH IN GOD" THAT GAVE THEM SALVATION

"not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead [useless] works and of faith in God" =

"Repentance" is applied here in Hebrews to not having once again to change ones mind from doing dead, i.e., useless works for salvation which didn't accomplish that end because they were dead, i.e., useless to that end, to understanding that they already expressed "faith in God", i.e., have trusted alone in Christ alone in the once for all time sacrifice of Christ and have already received salvation.

The dead works one is not to again have to repent from, considering the context being Hebrew Christians, are those works under the Mosaic Law system, more specifically, performing religious rituals and sacrifices to gain merit with God and thus compensate for sins in their lives to the end of receiving eternal life. This is a misuse of these rituals which were not intended to effect salvation but to picture Christ's once for all sacrifice that they were supposed to have believed in for salvation.

a) [Heb 10:1-4, 11-12]:

(Heb 10:1 NASB) "For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near.

(Heb 10:2 NASB) Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins?

(Heb 10:3 NASB) But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year.

(Heb 10:4 NASB) For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

(Heb 10:11 NASB) Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins;

(Heb 10:12 NASB) but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, 'Sat down at the right hand of God.' [Ps 110:1]"

The fact that the Hebrew Christians were using the sacrifices as a means of salvation is corroborated by looking ahead to verse 6b which the ceremonial sacrifices pictured, i.e., the crucifixion of the Son of God once for all time:

b) [Heb 6:4-6]:

(Heb 6:6 YLT) "and having fallen away, again to renew them to reformation, having crucified again to themselves the Son of God, and exposed to [Him] public shame."

So the acts when they were performed to be saved really didn't lead to salvation, they were dead, i.e., useless works. So changing your mind about performing these works in order to be saved is an abandonment of them as a means of salvation.

II cont.) [Heb 6:1 cont.]:

(Heb 6:1 KJV) "Therefore, [having left] the [beginning] principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection [completion, maturity]; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead [useless] works, and of faith in God, (cont.)"

F) REPENTANCE FROM DEAD [USELESS] WORKS LEADING TO FAITH IN GOD - IN A MOMENT OF FAITH ALONE IN HIS SON ALONE UNTO ETERNAL LIFE IS THE FOUNDATION OF SALVATION UNTO ETERNAL LIFE. ONCE EXPRESSED IT IS NO LONGER NEEDED TO BE LAID

"Not laying again the foundation of faith in God" =

Having repented of dead / useless religious rituals, i.e., having changed one's mind about performing religious rituals in order to achieve eternal salvation and instead expressing ones faith in God's plan of salvation, one then has laid the "foundation" of their salvation unto eternal life.

Here in the context of this passage, "faith in God" refers to a specific kind of faith = a faith in God in His plan of salvation which is a moment of faith alone in His Son alone unto salvation, (Heb 4:1; 5:9; 6:1; 1 Jn 5:9-13). This "foundation" is also referred to in 1 Cor 3:11:

1) [1 Cor 3:11]:

"For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ."

III) [Heb 6:1-2]:

(Heb 6:1 KJV) "Therefore, [having left] the [beginning] principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection [completion, maturity]; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead [useless] works, and of faith in God

(Heb 6:2 KJV) of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment."

A) THE HEBREW CHRISTIANS ARE ADMONISHED BY THE AUTHOR TO MOVE ON PAST THE ELEMENTARY DOCTRINES OF BAPTISMS, LAYING ON OF HANDS, RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD AND OF ETERNAL JUDGMENT WHICH ARE PARTS OF THE BASIC FOUNDATION UNTO ETERNAL LIFE WHICH THEY HAD ALREADY LAID IN THE SENSE OF EXPRESSED THEIR FAITH UPON ONCE FOR ALL TIME

"of the doctrine of baptisms" = washings and baptisms, including John the Baptist's, with particular respect to Christian baptism, by which all others are surpassed and replaced. Remember these are Hebrew Christians with a tradition of ceremonial washings and John's repentance baptism, (Acts 18:24; 19:1-7).

So these are some of the components of the the basic / elementary doctrinal foundation of the Christian faith unto eternal life that needed to be expressed once for all time:

"baptism" = the first event is the symbol of the judgment of the unregenerate life and of the resurrection to newness of life in Christ.

"laying on of hands" = is the symbol of the eternal blessing which replaces the curse of man's falleness borne by Christ on the cross. Ref Acts 6:6, 13:3; 1 Tim 5:22; 2 Tim 1;6; Mt 19:13-15; Mk 6:5, 16:18; Lk 4:40; Acts 28:8, 10:44, 47-end.

"the resurrection of the dead" = a cornerstone of the Christian faith, which is indissolubly bound to the fact of the rising from the tomb of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is Himself the Resurrection and the Life, (Jn 11:25), and proof of the resurrection of believers to be with Him in heaven, (1 Cor 15:1-58).

"eternal judgment" = the resurrection of unbelievers to eternal judgment, thus completely eliminating evil and its consequences from God's creation, (Dan 12:2; Mt 25:46; Jn 5:24, 28f; 2 Pet 2:9; 3:7; Jude 14-end; Rev 20:11-end), and the establishment of the new heaven and the new earth in which righteousness dwells, (2 Pet 3:13)]

IV) [Heb 6:1-3]:

(Heb 6:1 KJV) "Therefore, [having left] the [beginning] principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection [completion, maturity]; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead [useless] works, and of faith in God"

(Heb 6:2 KJV) of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

(Heb 6:3 NASB) And this will we do, if God permits."

A) IF GOD PERMITS = IT IS ALL BY GOD'S GRACE

"if God permits" = It is all by God's grace. Salvation and even a believer's spiritual growth occur only as God permits. Yet at the same time it is up to every individual to choose to believe in Christ as Savior and then to choose to grow via the enablement of God.

B) SINCE BELIEVERS ARE ADDRESSED WHO ARE ENCOURAGED TO MOVE ON TO SPIRITUAL MATURITY AND AT THE SAME TIME ARE VIEWED AS NEEDING TO REPENT OF REVERTING TO DEAD [USELESS] WORKS THEN THIS INDICATES THAT LOSS OF SALVATION IS NOT IN VIEW

Since believers are addressed who are encouraged to move on to spiritual maturity and at the same time are viewed as needing to repent of reverting to dead [useless] works then this indicates that loss of salvation is not in view because they are addressed as believers.

V) [Heb 6:4-6]:

(Heb 6:4 NASB) "[For it is impossible] ... 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,

(Heb 6:5 NASB) and have tasted the good Word of God and the powers of the age to come,

(Heb 6:6 NASB) and then having fallen away, [it is impossible, (v. 4)] to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame public disgrace]."

A) "IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR THOSE WHO HAVE [SALVATION].... AND THEN HAVING FALLEN AWAY

[FROM REPENTING OF DEAD [USELESS] WORKS AND THUS EXPRESSING FAITH IN GOD UNTO SALVATION]

TO RENEW THEM AGAIN TO THE REPENTANCE THAT BROUGHT THEM SALVATION"

(Heb 6:4 NASB) "[For it is impossible] ... 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, (Heb 6:5 NASB) and have tasted the good Word of God and the powers of the age to come, (Heb 6:6 NASB) and then having fallen away, [it is impossible, (v. 4)] to renew them again to repentance, [to that which brought them eternal life] since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame." =

The Greek phrase "metochous genEthentas pneumatos hagiou" in Heb 6:4 is best rendered "have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit." The verb is in the aorist tense in participle form which indicates a completed action as a condition in the present which was completed in the past of having become partakers of the Holy Spirit. In answer to those who would say that believers are not in view, or individuals who have lost their salvation are in view, there are no additional words to the effect in Heb 6:4 that those who are the ones having become partakers of the Holy Spirit are no longer partakers of the Holy Spirit and hence not saved unto eternal life. This would have to be specifically stipulated in the text. So this passage portrays believers who persist in falling away from having repented from dead [useless] works to believing alone in God - His Son - alone unto salvation. They persist in going back to dead [useless] works in order to be saved / continue to be saved.

B) BELIEVERS ARE CONFIRMED TO BE IN VIEW - ALL SIX BLESSINGS ARE BUT DIFFERENT ASPECTS AND MANIFESTATIONS OF THE ONE GREAT BLESSING WHICH THE RECEPTION OF THE GOSPEL BRINGS: SALVATION

Herein begins an oft misinterpreted passage. The subject of the passage is well defined by verses 4 & 5: The believer and that which is impossible for the believer.

"Who have once been enlightened" = The same verb in the Greek which is translated "have been enlightened" above is used in John 1:9 of the activity of the eternal Word who came into the world to enlighten men. Through faith in Him, believers have been enlightened to the very depths of their being.

1) [Compare Eph 1:18-19]:

(v. 18) "the eyes of your understanding having been enlightened in order that you may know the sure hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints,

(v. 19) and His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of His mighty strength."

"The eyes of your understanding having been enlightened" =

Paul inserts this parenthetical participle phrase, (perfect tense), to remind the believers that they have already been enlightened in the ways that he stipulated in vv. 3-14, (believers' acquisition of every spiritual blessing - including election, predestination, adoption, grace, redemption, forgiveness, wisdom, understanding, knowledge of the mystery of His will, the sealing of the Holy Spirit, and inheritance). This past enlightenment is then to lead to further edification about God with the reception of the spirit of wisdom and revelation.

V cont.) [Heb 6:4-5, (cont.)]:

(Heb 6:4 NASB) "[For it is impossible] ... 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,

(Heb 6:5 NASB) and have tasted the good Word of God and the powers of the age to come,"

B cont.) BELIEVERS ARE CONFIRMED TO BE IN VIEW - ALL SIX BLESSINGS ARE BUT DIFFERENT ASPECTS AND MANIFESTATIONS OF THE ONE GREAT BLESSING WHICH THE RECEPTION OF THE GOSPEL BRINGS: SALVATION, cont.

"who have tasted the heavenly gift" = who have experienced the blessings and spiritual gifts that God freely and graciously bestows in Christ to the believer and only to the believer.

"have shared" = "metochous genethentas" = literally: "partakers became"

This phrase is literally rendered, "partakers became", i.e., have become partakers, have become permanently indwelt by the Holy Spirit, (Eph 1:13-14)

"who have shared in the Holy Spirit" = who have become indwelt by God the Holy Spirit as a result of expressing faith in Christ as Savior. Therefore verse 4 is speaking of believers who are permanently secure in their eternal destiny in heaven,

2) [Compare Eph 1:13-14]:

(v. 13) "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,

(v. 14) who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession--to the praise of his glory."

V cont.) [Heb 6:4-5, (cont.)]:

(Heb 6:4 NASB) "[For it is impossible] ... 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,

(Heb 6:5 NASB) and have tasted the good Word of God and the powers of the age to come,"

B cont.) BELIEVERS ARE CONFIRMED TO BE IN VIEW - ALL SIX BLESSINGS ARE BUT DIFFERENT ASPECTS AND MANIFESTATIONS OF THE ONE GREAT BLESSING WHICH THE RECEPTION OF THE GOSPEL BRINGS: SALVATION, cont.

"who have tasted the goodness of the Word of God" =

(believers) who have tasted, i.e., experienced the blessings which come from study and obedience to Scripture. Unbelievers do not accept truths from Scripture much more taste the goodness of God's Word. For truths from Scripture are foolishness to them, (1 Cor 2:10-14).

"who have tasted...the powers of the coming age." = The metaphorical use of the verb 'to taste' implies to experience something in a manner that is real and personal. Tasting the powers of the coming age refers to the Christian who, being transformed from glory to glory as he is increasingly molded into the likeness of Christ, (2 Cor 3:18), enjoys a genuine experience of the powers of the age to come, especially in the moment by moment victories over sin which bring assurance that the triumphant Christ will finally drive out all imperfection in the world. One does not "taste" death and not partake of it fully and die, nor taste the powers of the coming age without full partaking of salvation, nor taste of the Holy Spirit having become believers in Christ fully partaking of salvation. Just as Christ tasted death so the believer tastes the powers of the coming age, and tasted of the heavenly gift:

[Compare Heb 2:9]: "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone." Notice that Jesus' taste of death for everyone was not a partial, incomplete taste of death.

All six blessings are but different aspects and manifestations of the one great blessing which the reception of the Gospel brings: salvation unto eternal life. They are components of a unitary experience of evangelical grace in the life of a believer......even immature believers - to whom the Book of Hebrews is addressed.

VI) [Heb 6:1-6]:

(Heb 6:1 KJV) "Therefore, leaving the [beginning] principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection [completion, maturity]; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead [useless] works, and of faith in God

(Heb 6:2 KJV) of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

(Heb 6:3 NASB) And this will we do, if God permits.

(Heb 6:4 NASB) [For it is impossible] ... 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,

(Heb 6:5 NASB) and have tasted the good Word of God and the powers of the age to come;

(Heb 6:6 NASB) and then having fallen away, [it is impossible, (v. 4)] to renew them again to repentance, [to that which brought them eternal life] since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame [public disgrace].

A) THE FIRST FOUR PARTICIPLE PHRASES IN VV. 4-6 DESCRIBE THOSE INDIVIDUALS IN VERSE 1 WHO HAVE LAID THE FOUNDATION OF REPENTANCE FROM ACTS THAT LEAD FROM ETERNAL DEATH UNTO SAVING FAITH IN GOD

The first four participles of vv. 4 thrugh 6 are four specific things describing those in v. 1 who have laid "the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God:"

(1) "phOtisthentas" = "having been enlightened"

(2) "geusamenous te tEs dOreas GSF tEs epouraniou" = "having tasted the heavenly gift"

(3) "metochous genEthentas pneumatos hagiou" = "having become sharers of the Holy Spirit"

(4) "kalon geusamenous theou rhEma dunameis te mellontos aiOnos" = "having tasted the good Word of God and the powers of the age to come"

Then follows the open ended participle:

(5) "parapesontas palin" = "lit, "having fallen away again. It is an aorist, active participle which is open ended as to what they have fallen away again from. The answer is clear when you consider the context of verses 1 through 6:

"Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God ... it is impossible for those [who have salvation].... .... if they fall away [from laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God]

So "it is impossible...to be brought back [to be renewed again] to repentance from dead [useless] works and thereby to faith in God [unto eternal life] if these Hebrew Christians have fallen away again from that repentance from dead [useless] works to faith in God which provided their salvation, their enlightenment, the heavenly gift of the Holy Spirit, the taste of goodness of the Word of God and the powers of the coming age in the first place - while they insist on that fallen away mentality.

1) [Compare Gal 5:4]:

"You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace."

In other words, we are looking at believers who have fallen away from repenting from dead [useless] works and instead have re-embarked upon performing those dead / useless works in order to be saved - to no successful end in that reversionism. Thus they have fallen away from those principles of the doctrine of Christ which brought them eternal life. They have not lost their salvation, but they have lost the grace and temporal and eternal rewards which accompany the faithful believer who maintains his repentance toward faith in God's plan of salvation.

B) THE HEBREW CHRISTIANS WHO "HAVE FALLEN AWAY...." HAVE FALLEN INTO "CRUCIFYING TO THEMSELVES THE SON OF GOD ALL OVER AGAIN BY THEIR FUTILE ACTS OF MOSAIC LAW SACRIFICE AND THEY "SUBJECT HIM TO PUBLIC DISGRACE"

"It is impossible to be brought back again [to be renewed again] to repentance [unto eternal life and the grace way of life], since they crucify to themselves the Son of God all over again [by their futile acts of Mosaic Law sacrifices] and subject Him to public disgrace."

"And then have fallen away.... since they crucify to themselves the Son of God all over again [by their futile acts of Mosaic Law sacrifice] and subject Him to public disgrace." =

These particular Hebrew Christians that the author mentions have fallen back into the legalistic practices which were falsely done to receive forgiveness of sin unto eternal life. As believers, they had already received total and complete forgiveness of all of their sins unto eternal life by trusting alone in Jesus Christ alone as their Personal Savior - an act of the grace of God. Now they have gone back to the false practice of rituals and sacrifices in order to 'maintain' their salvation as the Pharisees did - all to no avail. To do this is to virtually crucify Christ all over again - again and again, subjecting Him to public disgrace. The sacrificial practices these fallen away Jewish Christians performed were those that symbolized the complete and total sacrifice - once for all - of Christ on the cross which they had already received the benefit of through a moment of faith alone in Christ alone, (cp Heb 7:27; 9:28).

"It is impossible [v. 4]....[v. 6] to be brought back [to be renewed again] to repentance" =

"To be brought back" = "palin anakainizein" =

"again to renew" = "To be renewed again - to return again - to repentance, to a changing of one's mind and thus return to a life of 'faith in God' (v. 1)"

"repentance" = Hebrews 6:1 refers to a particular kind of repentance: "repentance from dead [useless] works and of faith in God."

Grace and works cannot mix, it is one or the other. They are mutually exclusive:

1) [Compare Ro 11:6]:

"But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace."

Therefore, it is impossible, while one continues to live a works lifestyle - performing rituals and sacrifices - a lifestyle of dead [useless] works and of faith in oneself - to be renewed again to the grace lifestyle - of 'repentance from dead [useless] works and of faith in God."

The author of Hebrews is referring to those who are already permanently saved, (Compare Eph 1:13-14, Heb 7:27; 2 Tim 2:10-13; 2 Cor 1:21-22, 5:4-6; Ro 8:38-39; Jn 10:27-30), who have returned to the rituals and sacrifices of the Mosaic Law with the misguided intent thereby to regain or maintain eternal life which they falsely perceive as either lost or something which must constantly be maintained by human doing. But the author of Hebrews states that it is impossible to live a life of faith in God while one insists on keeping the Law, (or any code of behavior, ref., Gal 3:21b-22), as part of ones salvation. Furthermore, it is impossible to maintain something that is already permanently secured and maintained by God alone. How can one receive again or even maintain what he already has and can never lose - especially by such false means which could never attain it in the first place?

Later on in the book of Hebrews the author states that the blood of bulls and goats did not satisfy the requirement of receiving eternal life - only the once for all time sacrifice of Jesus Christ can do that by a moment of faith alone in Christ:

2) [Heb 10:4]:

"Because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins."

3) [Heb 9:25-26]:

(v. 25) "Nor did He [Christ] enter heaven to offer Himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own.

(v. 26) Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself."

4) [Heb 9:28-10:1-4, 8, 10, 14]:

(v. 9:28) "So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him."

(v. 10:1) The Law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming - not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.

(v. 10:2) If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins.

[So any human doing is useless towards one's salvation, especially the rituals and sacrifices of the Mosaic Law]

(v. 10:3) But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, [as are today's sacrifices of water baptism, Lord's Supper, daily confession, etc. These are a reminder to us that we as believers are still sinners and have to totally and exclusively rely on the once for all time sacrifice of the Savior for our salvation:

a) [Compare I Jn 1:7b]:

"And the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin."]

And Paul's comments in the Book of Galatians brings home this point:

b) [Gal 3:21-22]:

(v. 21) "Is the Law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law ['a law' = i.e., any rule of conduct] had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by law [and not by a moment of faith].

(v. 22) But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe."

4 cont.) [Heb 9:28-10:1-4, 8, 10, 14 cont.]:

(v. 10:4) "because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

[The author of Hebrews is saying here the same thing as he said in chapter 6: 'It is impossible to be saved by any human doing such as by the sacrifices of bulls and goats]

(v. 10:8) First He [Christ] said, 'Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings You [God the Father] did not desire, nor were You pleased with them' (although the Law required them to be made).

(v. 10:10) And by that will, [the will of God to sacrifice His Son for the sins of the whole world, cp Isa 53:10-11] we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."

(v. 10:14) because by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy"

So if one has already been made holy "through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." and this to last "forever" then further efforts on an individual's part to do anything to attain this state of holiness is redundant, an insult to God, and impossible to succeed. For God has already done it all through the sacrifice of His own Son on the cross - not through any human doing! So to offer something to God to contribute to one's salvation is tantamount to saying that what Jesus Christ did on the cross was not enough!

Furthermore, any kind of deed is ineffectual toward salvation in the first place as the author of Hebrews indicates in 10:1-4.

Consider the believer today who is truly saved but who now denies that faith alone in Christ alone has saved him and who then receives the Lord's Supper, (or the Mass), or performs water baptism or keeps a set of rules of conduct with an attitude that this will once more provide forgiveness of sins for salvation: IMPOSSIBLE! For it is only through a one time expression of faith solely in what Christ did on the cross can he receive any benefit of forgiveness of sins unto eternal life! This Christian's modern day sacrifice goes for naught!

VI cont.) [Heb 6:1-6 NIV cont.]:

(Heb 6:1 KJV) "Therefore, [having left] the [beginning] principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection [completion, maturity]; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead [useless] works, and of faith in God"

(Heb 6:2 KJV) of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

(Heb 6:3 NASB) And this will we do, if God permits."

(Heb 6:4 NASB) "[For it is impossible] ... 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,

(Heb 6:5 NASB) and have tasted the good Word of God and the powers of the age to come;

(Heb 6:6 NASB) and then having fallen away, [it is impossible, (v. 4)] to renew them again to repentance, [to that which brought them eternal life] since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame [public disgrace]."

[In other words, while they insist on performing the sacrifices, (crucifying Christ over and over again), their minds are impossibly closed to what got them saved in the first place: trusting alone in Christ's once for all time sacrifice alone for eternal life.

[Dave Hunt, An Urgent Call to a Serious Faith, The Berean Call, December 2002]:

"According to Hebrews 6:4-9, the “falling away” doctrine, rather than glorifying Christ, once again holds Him up to shame and ridicule before the world for two reasons:

if we could lose our salvation, then

1) Christ would have to be crucified again to save us again;

and

2) He would be ridiculed for dying to purchase a salvation but not making adequate provision to preserve it—for giving a priceless gift to those who would inevitably lose it.

If Christ’s death in our place for our sins and His resurrection were not sufficient to keep us saved, then He has foolishly wasted His time. If we could not live a good enough life to earn salvation, it is certain we cannot live a good enough life to keep it. To make the salvation He procured ultimately dependent upon our faltering works would be the utmost folly. “Falling away” doctrine makes us worse off after we are saved than before. At least before conversion we can get saved. But after we are saved and have lost our salvation (if we could), we can’t get saved again, but are lost forever...

If we could lose our salvation, we could never get it back without Christ dying again upon the cross. This is folly. He would have to die an infinite number of times (that is, every time every person who was once saved sinned and was lost and wanted to be “saved again”). Thus, those who reject “once saved, always saved” can only replace it with “once lost, always lost.”

This last verse indicates that these fallen from grace Hebrew believers are in a position of loss. The next two verses describe that loss]:

VII) [Heb 6:7]:

(Heb 6:7 NIV) "Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God."

The land in this verse refers to the Christian who has not fallen away into legalistic practices such as in the Mosaic Law, but walks by faith in the Lord. The land receives rain, (blessings of God), and produces a useful crop, (divine good works, Eph 2:10).

"Receives the blessing of God" = Refers to eternal rewards in heaven and temporal blessings - spiritual and/or physical on earth, 1 Cor 3:5-8.

VIII) [Heb 6:7-8]:

(Heb 6:7 NIV) "Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God.

(Heb 6:8 NIV) But that [land] that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned."

Land which produces "thorns and thistles", (the Christian who is out of fellowship with God - who has an unrepentant attitude about sin that he is aware of in his life, especially the practicing of ritual and sacrifice for salvation.....that Christian as is that land - is worthless. The wayward Christian produces no divine good at all, and is in danger of being cursed, (put in a state of never being enabled by God of producing any divine good, Mt 21:19, perhaps even to a point of severe divine discipline, even early physical death). In the end it, (the land), will be burned, (the land will not suffer the burning or the man suffer loss of salvation but the crop of thorns and thistles and the man's works will be burned leaving nothing for reward in heaven - NO FRUIT):

A) [Compare 1 Cor 3:11-15]:

(v. 11) "For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.

["foundation" = "themelion" = a foundation for a building which one would "lay" and then "build upon". Salvation is the key to entrance into heaven and the foundation of one's life in heaven which God solely and exclusively builds as a result of one trusting alone in Christ alone, (Eph 1:13-14)]

So sacrificial practices or any act on the part of any man instead of faith in Christ are of no value and cannot contribute to the foundation of eternal life which an individual receives solely as a gift, (Eph 2:8-9). But a believer has divine good works which have been set aside for him to perform, (Eph 2:10)]:

(v.12) If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw,

[Now once one is saved one then begins to build upon this foundation. One may build with eternally valuable gold, silver and precious stones, i.e., divine good works; or with valueless and destructible wood, hay and straw, i.e., human good works, (or perhaps no works at all - just a sinful lifestyle). The building that a believer's lifestyle is forming upon the foundation of salvation in Christ is representative of the reward that a believer receives when he gets to heaven]:

A cont.) [1 Cor 3:11-15 cont.]:

(v. 12 cont.) "If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw,

(v. 13) his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work."

["the day" = a term which signifies the day when our Lord will return and judge all men for their deeds and rule the earth from Jerusalem, beginning with the rapture, (2 Thes 2:1-2; I Thes 4:13-18); and the Judgment Seat of Christ which judges believers' lives when they get to heaven, (2 Cor 5:10); extending through the tribulation period; and through the millennium into eternity future, (Isaiah - details of the "Day" described throughout the entire book.

Notice that the quality of each believer's work will be tested by fire. What a believer does with his life on earth will then be judged as to whether or not it deserves a reward in heaven. So fire is not just a judgment of the unsaved it is also used by God to judge the value of the deeds of believers' lives]

A cont.) [1 Cor 3:11-15 cont.]:

(v. 14) If any man's work which he has built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward,

["it" = the "foundation" of eternal life which is faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, (v.11).

(v. 15) If it [a man's work] is burned up [like thorns and thistles] he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved."

1) [Compare above to Heb 6:7-8]:

(Heb 6:7 NIV) "Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God.

(Heb 6:8 NIV) But that [land] that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned."

Just as the land itself is not destroyed, but only the worthless 'crop' of thorns and thistles, so the believer is not destroyed either in 1 Cor 3:11-15 or Heb 6:1-8, but he certainly will "suffer loss"]

A cont.) [1 Cor 3:11-15 cont.]:

(v. 14) If any man's work which he has built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward,

["it" = the "foundation" of eternal life which is faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, (v.11).

(1 Cor 3:15 cont.) If it [the man's works] is burned up [like the thorns and thistles] he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames."

[If a believer's work which he has built by what he did with his life on earth survives the test of our Lord as to its eternal value then he will receive a commensurate reward in heaven. The question as to whether the believer's works were of divine origin or not, (Eph 2:10), will be decided by Jesus Christ Himself. Ref. 2 Cor 5:10]

(v. 15) If any man's work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire."

["any man's" = 'any believer's', since the context is limited to the population of those who are building on the foundation of salvation by faith alone in Christ alone, (v. 11). Notice that if the believer's works were burned up - i.e., if the works did not survive the test of fire, then that believer will actually suffer loss - suffer in heaven for the loss of what he could have received but did not because he wasted his time on earth. But that believer, the Scripture says, will still remain saved unto eternal life, barely entering onto heaven's shores as one escaping to safety from a burning house - without bringing anything out of the burning house but himself. 2 Cor 5:10 supports 1 Cor 3:11-15 in teaching about the judgment of a Christian's life on earth:

2) [2 Cor 5:10]:

"For we [believers, (v. 5)] must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or worthless."

["recompensed" = given what is due him, i.e., rewarded/disciplined for his deeds whether good deeds or worthless/evil.

"worthless" = "kakon" = "worthless", "evil"

Notice that here again it is the believer's works which are judged and not his salvation. He is either rewarded or disciplined for what he has done with his earthly life. Verses 1-9 in 2 Corinthians chapter 5 indicate the believer's absolute confidence in his eternal destiny in heaven no matter what, especially verse 8:

3) [2 Cor 5:8]:

"we [believers] are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord."

This verse is saying that we believers prefer to be absent from the body which is to be present with the Lord Jesus Christ in heaven - a statement of the sure hope of the believer of his eternal destiny in heaven no matter what, (cp 1 Jn 5:13). So the primary responsibility of the Christian is to work as unto the Lord which is toward his inheritance in heaven:

4) [Col 3:23-25 NAS]:

(v. 23) "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men;

(v. 24) knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ Whom you serve.

(v. 25) For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality."

And our Lord will bring those rewards with Him when He comes again:

5) [Rev 22:12 NAS]:

" 'Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done."