Hebrews – Chapter 6

Hebrews 6:1-20 from the Commentary in Translation Version

(1)  For this reason, having left the beginning word of Christ, let us be carried on to completeness, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and faith towards God —
(2)  Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of the resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment,
(3)  And this we will do, if God may permit.
(4)  For it is impossible to nail up a second time the Son of God for one’s own repentance,
(5)  So making a mockery of him, in order to renew again those who have once for all been enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and have become sharers in the holy spirit,
(6)  And tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, and yet have fallen away.

In verses 4-6 we get a very clear and very startling fact concerning apostasy. It is impossible to crucify the Son of God again, twice, for our repentance. It is not unlikely, or difficult, but thoroughly impossible to do so. There is not way around for the apostate. The writer here goes to say that if we apostatize we mock God. Just who it is that can no longer have the repentance of Christ? It is those that were enlightened (baptism in the later Church), tasted of the heavenly gift, and have partaken of the holy Spirit of God. In these three phrases we have the sum of the beginning of the Christian life. Baptism, repentance, the holy Spirit of God. Once you share in these things, and you turn back, you are no longer fit for the kingdom of God, finding it impossible for you to repent.

Further, if you have tasted of the good Word of God (see 1st Peter 2.3) – the doctrine of the Church – and tasted of the powers of the world to come, then again, you cannot repent. The audience was in danger of doing so, and this was the warning.

(7)  For the land which drinks in the rain frequently that comes upon it, and brings forth herbs fitting for them by whom it is dressed, receives a blessing from God,

(8)  However, if it produces thorns and thistles, it is found unapproved and thus rejected, and is near to cursing, whose end is for burning.

Call it a parable if you will, but we see that we have a piece of land – you or I – that is owned by the good Master. If we bring forth good fruit, then we are blessed by God, but if we we receive the rain and produce nothing by thorns and thistles, we are rejected and having nothing to expect but the curse and to be burned.

The Greek word for reject (other times translated as reprobate) is ἀδόκιμος. The word is meant to be applied to coins. When coins where impressed with the images of the rulers, they were then tested to see if that impression was good. If it was not, the coin was then cast aside, and deemed unusable. The writer uses this word to describe not a mere sin or the consequences thereof, but to bring to mind that if a Christian, when test and tried is found not to have the impression of Christ, then that person is rejected and will not/cannot be used of God.

(9)  But beloved, we are now convinced, concerning you, of the better things that hold to salvation, even though we are speaking this way.

A warning is followed up by an enjoinder of love. The writer is trying to show the confidence of the Church that those that are slipping away can still start to grow.

(10)  For God is not unjust to forget your work or you love’s labor that you have shown in yourselves to his name, in that you have served the saints and are still serving them.
(11)  And we long for that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of the confidant expectation until the end.
(12)  That you are not sluggish, but emulators of them who through faith and patience are inheriting the divine promises.
(13)  For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he could swear by no greater, he swore by himself.
(14)  Saying: Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.
(15)  And so, after Abraham had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
(16)  For men indeed take an oath by their greater, and with them the oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute.
(17)  In which God, willing more abundantly to show the heirs of his promise the unchangeableness of his will, confirmed it by an oath.
(18)  These are two unchanging things in which it is impossible for God to lie. So then we who have taken refuge in him might have a strong comfort to seize firm hold upon that confident expectation being set before us.
(19)  In which we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, having entered within the veil,
(20)  Where as a forerunner Jesus entered on our behalf, having become a High Priest forever according to the order of Melchisedec.

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0 Replies to “Hebrews – Chapter 6”

  1. Also the point to this whole text/texts, is the “perfection” or ‘full growth’ of the Hebrew Christians. But also the exegesis is bound to the theology and doctrine of God: “the immutability of his counsel”, and ‘God cannot lie!’ With the great theme of Hebrews: the…”a forerunner Jesus entered for us, having become a high priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” (Heb.6:20)

    Also a major theme of the Book of Hebrews is the contrast between the earthly, or Levitical priesthood and the eternal priesthood of Christ, which is seen in the Melchizedek..and fulfilled in Christ. The Order of Priesthood of Melchizedek is above and supersedes all others! But only because of Christ!

    Fr. Robert

  2. Fr. Robert, glad to see you back. I believe that Hebrews was written in a very distinct style which calls for steps and series in it’s understanding. For me, I find a natural separation within the passages.

    Perhaps you could help us with what the Orthodox/Anglican believes about apostasy. I am currently reading about Cyprian’s battles dealing with the readmission of heretics and those that had lapsed.

  3. Joel,

    As to Apostasy, this is seen especially in the OT, but has reference in the New also.. 2 Pet.2:1-2 (Jude), 2 Tim.3, etc. It is however hard to define somewhat, but always involves human behavior and the response to Christian doctrine. The loss of the Incarnation, is the loss of the true Christian reality, and also the power of the redemptive Christ, (1 John 4:1-4, but note verses 5 & 6 also). There is a “spirit of truth and the spirit of error”!

    And the antinomian error, the loss of the moral law and obedience, is part of this also. See St. Paul’s model in 1 Cor.9:19-27. “I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I (too) may share in its blessings.” (verse 23)

    As Luther said, all the “elect” will be in heaven, but apostasy is very real! We can only follow Christian guidelines and reality, to be found “In Christ”! (2 Peter 1:2-11)

    Fr. Robert

    PS, I had written something more along the lines of the etymology of the word “apostasy”. But, after thinking overnight, (and the loss of it anyway, due the the loss of my power yesterday). This seems better, and to the point biblically. Sorry again for the brevity, but the Scripture itself holds power here!

  4. Not a problem, Fr. Robert. I appreciate your comments here. i believe that people assume apostasy is a state of ‘sinning out’ (or backsliding), but for me is it the outright denying of Christ, His Church, and the Doctrine of said Church. If you deny the Incarnation after having accepted it and the sacrifice that it entails, there remains no hope. (Hebrews 6.4-6)

  5. As Luther also said, a certain “sin” alone did not remove one from the grace of God, but a loss of both the hate and battle with sin, that finally ends in the, as you say “outright” denial of Christ, His Truth and His Church. These do! Even Calvin would agree to my mind also.

    The true Christian, in my opinion sins everyday! Not so much outright, as just his/her sins of omission and co-mission. This is not an admission to allow sin either, but just the sad reality of even Christian life in a fallen world! My thoughts anyway.

    “Fight the good fight of the faith, lay hold on the life eternal..” (1 Tim.6:12) (Note, the articles “the” in Greek)

    Fr. Robert

  6. Yes, to pick-up “our” cross daily is no easy, light matter. It has demands…our everything! As someone has said, grace is free, but costs us everything! For me this is so needed, as I too feel and know my own sinful self and nature. Death to self! But only in Christ does it work!

    Fr.R.

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