A quick look and less careful reading of Hebrews 6:4-6 gives us a view that believers can possibly come to that point where they fall away and lose their salvation. But is that true? Is the writer of Hebrew lying or is the entire parts of the Bible that sheds light on the eternal security of the believer a lie? We will find out but let’s read this part of the scripture.
“For it is impossible to bring back to repentance those who were once enlightened—those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come— and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance; by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame.” Hebrews 6:4-6 NLT
The above verses stand as one of the difficult passages of the Bible because so many believers view it from different interpretations. In a nutshell, I can say that a careful study of this passage does not in any way suggest that a believer can lose his or her salvation.
AS AN ADDRESS TO UNBELIEVERS
A school of thought believes that this passage is addressed to unbelievers. Some cite verse 9 of this passage which reads:
“Dear friends, even though we are talking this way, we really don’t believe it applies to you. We are confident that you are meant for better things, things that come with salvation.” – Hebrews 6:9 NLT
There are unbelievers who have encountered the truth but being a believer is not about encountering the truth, it is not about recognizing the truth, it is about believing and accepting this truth. There are people who have not only recognized the truth of the gospel, they have also had an experience of the power of this gospel but there is no commitment to the gospel on their part.
You may wonder if it is possible to experience the power of the gospel without believing in Jesus. Yes, it is very possible. When Jesus was on earth, he performed many miracles, people heard him teach the truth but some chose not to believe in him.
“But despite all the miraculous signs Jesus had done, most of the people still did not believe in him.” John 12:37 NLT
You see, it is possible for one to experience the good things of heaven and even share in the manifestations of the Holy Spirit but still turn away from the truth of the gospel. It is also important to note that one can understand the scripture but remain an unbeliever. Everyone on earth has many opportunities to come to the knowledge of the truth but not everyone will accept it.
There are also people who join our church structures, they get very engaged in the things of the Church, they even become committed to some extent but they are just there trying things out. Often, we see people who were once Pastors, leaders or “serious Church members” depart from the Church and even make a mockery of the gospel but truth is that they never believed in the first place. John writes:
“These people left our churches, but they never really belonged with us; otherwise they would have stayed with us. When they left, it proved that they did not belong with us.” 1 John 2:19 NLT
AS AN ADDRESS TO BELIEVERS
There is another school of thought or theological group that argues that this portion of Hebrews was written to believers. If this is the case, it gives us more ground for our conviction that a believer cannot lose his or her salvation.
The argument that the writer of Hebrew is referring to believers is based on the King James Version translation which says
“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…” Hebrews 6:6 KJV
The problem is with the word “IF they shall fall away…” Some people argue that the Bible wouldn’t be talking about falling away in the first place if unbelievers were being addressed. If we should explain the verse in the light of this school of thought, we can say that “if” here is just an assumption.
We see that this assumption also brings to light another assumption based on the false notion that Jesus will be crucified again on anyone’s account. We know that Jesus died ONCE and FOR ALL. If we should accept that the portion was written to believers, then it only reveals more deeply that a believer can not lose his or her salvation since Jesus died once and for all.
However, we must note that the original rendering of that verse does not suggest it was written to believers in the first place but both arguments do not invalidate the eternal security of believers in Christ Jesus. Jesus said:
“And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.” John 6:39-40 NLT
Apostle Peter also wrote
“And we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.” 1 Peter 1:4-5 NLT
You see, the eternal security of the believer is a sound doctrine and not one place in the scriptures or the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles was it suggested that a believer in Christ can lose his or her salvation. With this assurance, we can be grateful to God for saving us with the hope that the good work he started will also be completed by him.
I call you blessed.