13 October 2019
IF I Fall Will I Be Restored?
Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, v2 and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. v3 And this we will do if God permits. v4 For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, v5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, v6 if they then fall away, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. Hebrews 6.1-6
How are we to understand verses 4-6 of Hebrews 6, which have been described as being “one of the most startling scriptures in the whole Bible”!
The author speaks in verses 4-5 of a person who has had five spiritual experiences.
(1) He is enlightened (verse4). That is, he has discovered some truths about Jesus.
(2) He tastes the heavenly gift (verse4). That is, he has discovered that Jesus is the only one who can save us from the punishment we deserve for our sin.
(3) He shares in the Holy Spirit (verse4). That is, he has discovered that the Holy Spirit is given to a believer and is at work in making believers more like Jesus.
(4) He tastes the Word of God (verse5). That is, he has discovered that God has spoken to mankind and that the Bible is the book that contains all that God wants us to know about himself and how we can be right with God. And,
(5) He tastes the powers of the age to come (verse5). That is, he has discovered that God will never let go of a believer, that he preserves believers, and that they can now know victory over the world, the flesh and the devil.
The author also speaks of four certainties that apply to a person who falls away.
(1) He falls far. That is, he abandons the teaching of Jesus(verses 1and 6).
(2) He falls in such a way that the Son of God is exposed to public disgrace (verse6).
(3) He falls fatally. That is, he refuses to return to Jesus(verse4). And,
(4) He falls irrevocably. That is, he is not restored (verse4).
A similar warning is found in Hebrews chapter 10. There we read:
For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, v27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Hebrews 10.26-27
And Peter, the apostle, speaks in a similar way:
For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. v21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. 2 Peter 2.20-21
What does the Bible say about falling or turning away?
(1) fall from grace (Galatians 5.4),
(2) abandon our first love (Revelation 2.4),
(3) love the world like Demas(2 Timothy 4.10),
(4) stray after Satan like young widows (1 Timothy 5.15) and
(5) choose that which does not profit. It is possible to forsake God, the fountain of living waters, and to prefer broken cisterns that hold no water (Jeremiah 2.11, 13).
What falls does the Bible describe?
In Genesis 3 we read of the fall from grace of the first man and woman, Adam and Eve. Here we focus on other falls mentioned in Scripture. We read of:
(1) a fall that is followed by recovery – e.g. Peter (Matthew 14.31);
(2) a fall from which there is no recovery – e.g. Pharaoh (Exodus 15.4-5); and
(3) a fall from which there may be a recovery – e.g. Alexander and Hymenaeus are mentioned in 1 Timothy (1 Timothy 1.19-20).
What do we discover about Christians?
(1) We constantly struggle (Provers 24.16; Romans 7.7 – 8.17 and Galatians 5.16-26).
(2) We all stumble (James 3.2).
(3) When we transgress we are to be restored (Galatians 6.1).
(4) We can be greatly weakened by sin – e.g. Solomon (1 Kings 11.4, 9-10).
(5) We cannot go on sinning (1 John 3.9; 1 John 2.27).
What do we discover about the unregenerate?
Those who are not born again may give the appearance of being Christian but still need to be made new by God. They need a new heart. A heart, that is, that desires and loves God (see Mark 4.17; 1 Chronicles 28.9; 1 Samuel 16.14; Revelation 3.1-3).
(1) It is possible to fall away. Sadly, some join with Christians for a while (and it may be for a long time) but then turn away from loving and serving the Lord Jesus.
(2) It is not wise to jump to a hasty conclusion about a person who sins. He or she may be restored. And the restoration may be quick or after a long period of time
(3) It is necessary to sound a word of warning to those who grieve, quench, or resist the promptings and leading of the Holy Spirit. To grieve, quench or resist the Holy Spirit may have serious consequences.
(4) It is wise to lovingly inform people of the fact that some people- the impenitent and unregenerate – will be lost for ever. Please remember you do not know whom the Lord will yet effectually call to faith. We do not have a window into a person’s soul. Nor do we know the secret things of God.
(5) It is right that we should bow before God who is gracious, holy, and wise.
13 October 2019