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Christianity
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

The Three Verses That Defy The Securist

Hebrews 6:4-6

Many Christians wished there were a clear cut answer to whether eternal security doctrines were true.

Hebrews 6:4-6 has always, and always will, be a crux that the Securist must twist and turn to support their beliefs and should be the clear cut proof needed to deny eternal security doctrines.

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.

Hebrews 6:4-6

This single passage of 3 verses has caused numerous debates throughout time, but if you really study this scripture, there can be no denying. Those that try to refute it are not refuting those that deny eternal security, but are actually refuting the Word of God. Those that deny eternal security only need to sit back and ask good question and the Securist will usually bring everything else upon himself.

7 POSITIONS

There are at least 7 positions taken in regards to this passage.

1> It is a hypothetical situation. It was written to extort the reader to be obedient by revealing the seriousness of denying our faith in Jesus. Those that accept this theory accept that these are true believers and that it is impossible for them to fall away.

2> It is a "scarecrow" tactic. It was written to scare the believer that he could fall away if he didn't continue in the faith, thus ensuring that he would remain faithful. It is admitted that the believer can fall away, but that it will never happen, making this belief coincide with the theory that it is a hypothetical situation.

3> They were never saved in the first place. These were people that came to a full understanding of the Gospel and what all is entailed in the Christian life, but never accepted it to the point of having a profession in Christ.

4> They are saved but have not lost salvation, only rewards. Those that are fallen away have only lost any hope of becoming repentant again. Their salvation is retained although they have no chance at regaining any rewards they have lost because of their falling away.

5> They are true believers that will be chastised. Those that hold to this belief claim that "fallen away" refers to falling into deep sin that requires God to chastise them severely, perhaps to the point of taking their life so as not to ruin their profession.

6> They are true believers and lost salvation forever. These are true believers that have turned away from Christ and forfeited salvation. They can NEVER regain salvation because of their denial of Christ.

7> They are true believers and lost salvation. These are true believers that have turned away, forfeiting salvation, but can regain salvation after they are brought back to repentance.

DEFINITIONS

Before we begin to examine the different theories, some definitions must be arrived at concerning who is being referred to and exactly what "falling away" means.

If those that are described as able to fall away are Christians then the definitions given in the passage should line up with this analogy.

The definitions are:

They were once enlightened. The word "enlightened" is also used again in chapter 10, verse 32. Although rendered "illuminated" it is the same Greek term photizo.

Young's Literal translation renders verse 32 as "And call to your remembrance the former days, in which, having been enlightened, ye did endure much conflict of sufferings, ". 

Since it is the same writer utilizing the term in both verses, we can safely assume that "once enlightened" must be referring to a saved person, rather than someone that only has a superficial faith.

They have tasted the heavenly gift. What is the heavenly gift? Some say Christ, others say it is salvation (For by GRACE are you SAVED through FAITH, and that not of yourselves it is a gift from God). Whatever position we take, it is dealing with salvation. The word tasted, some argue, doesn't imply someone that was saved, but merely knew enough to know what the salvation experience would be like. The author of Hebrews used this word in chapter 2, verse 9 that Jesus should taste death for every man. How does this equate with the idea of only knowing what the experience would be like. Did Jesus only taste death in that He understood what it would be like? or did He experience it totally? The term "tasted" tends to equate with a truly saved person given this consideration.

They were made partakers of the Holy Ghost. Notice that they were MADE partakers of the Holy Ghost. It doesn't say they they partook of their own doing. The term "partakers" is also used in chapter 3, verse 1 to address the "holy brethren", "Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; ". The authors use of "partakers" here is implying that these are believers that are living in the reality of their salvation. Also, notice the use of the term in chapter 3, verse 14, "For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end; " (also note the condition placed on being a partaker of Christ denoted by the conditional word IF). Once again, the author is telling us that we will be in the actual reality of experiencing Christ first hand if we continue steadfast to the end. We can assume that the author is referring to actual believers here rather than false professors.

They have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come. Once again we have the term "tasted" and it should contend for the same meaning. These are those that come into the reality of God's word and what is ahead. Not much of a possibility for a false professor, but a definite description of a true believer. All evidence, when taken together can only mean that this passage is referring to true believers.

Now we need to come to a definitive explanation of the term "parapesontas" which is rendered "fall away" in most Bibles. The RSV doesn't state "fall away" but translates it as committing apostasy. Vine's Expository Dictionary states that it signifies "to fall away" (from adherence to the realities and facts of the faith). This definition can be interpreted as abandoning faith in which case, apostasy is a proper rendering in the RSV. The NLT translates it as turning away from God, while the Living Bible has it as turning against God. The TEV rendering is "and they abandon their faith" and the CEV refers to them as "those that turn away".

We must conclude that to "fall way" is referring to abandoning faith in Christ or becoming apostate. What is apostasy? It is the reverse of becoming saved! So apostasy is the act of falling from a state of faith and grace to a position of losing salvation. Few argue that this is the meaning, they only argue whether it is possible or not. With these definitions in mind, we can now return to the 7 positions regarding this passage.

1> It is a hypothetical situation.

It was written to extort the reader to be obedient by revealing the seriousness of denying our faith in Jesus. Those that accept this theory accept that these are true believers and that it is impossible for them to fall away.

In order to accept this as a hypothetical situation, there must be evidence in the passage or the context that gives us an indication that it IS a hypothetical situation. Those that profess this opinion about the passage point to verse 6 and the word "if", implying that "if" makes the passage hypothetical. If this is the only evidence of this being a hypothetical situation, we can disregard this position as being truthful because there is no "if" in the original Greek. The verse is better rendered "AND they fall away" rather than "IF they fall away". With no valid reasoning other than the word "if", we can assume that this is not a true explanation of this passage.

2> It is a "scarecrow" tactic.

It was written to scare the believer that he could fall away if he didn't continue in the faith, thus ensuring that he would remain faithful. It is admitted that the believer can fall away, but that it will never happen, making this belief coincide with the theory that it is a hypothetical situation.

This is what Robert Shank commented on in his book, "Life in the Son" in which he referred to those that find fanciful interpretations of passages as being the same as village blacksmiths that hang out a sign "All kinds of twistings and fancy turnings done here". If these are true believers and the passage states that they can fall away, to say that it can not happen is saying that the Bible is only partially true. It either can happen or not and the Bible says it can.

If this passage is being presented to "scare" the believer into remaining in the faith, and the believer knows "once saved, always saved", then the passage has failed in it's intended application. The only way that it could be of use as a "scarecrow" is if one can actually fall and lose salvation, but the Securist can not admit this without admitting that OSAS is a fallacy. As with the previous position , to accept that this is a hypothetical situation and that "falling away" can not happen, there is no valid reason that God would include a warning against it in a Book that is to be considered fully and totally truthful. To say otherwise is to cast God as being a God of deceitfulness. We should reject this interpretation of the passage because of these points.

3> They were never saved in the first place.

These were people that came to a full understanding of the Gospel and what all is entailed in the Christian life, but never accepted it to the point of having a profession in Christ. We need not give this position any thought at all since it has been established that these are true believers being referred to. And to take it further, since we have established that it is faith that they have fallen away from, it is impossible for it to be referring to the unsaved, since they have no faith or salvation to fall away from. One must first have arrived in order to leave, so it is only a Christian that can fall away.

4> They are saved but have not lost salvation.

Those that are fallen away have only lost any hope of becoming repentive again. Their salvation is retained although they have no chance at regaining any rewards they have lost because of their falling away.

This argument assumes that we are talking of true believers and also that it is possible to fall away. The issue now is, did they lose rewards or salvation? In his book "The Believer's Conditional Security", Dan Corner takes this position further by adding fellowship to the list.

Mr. Corner answer this question by referring to verse 9, in which the the writer says "Though we speak thus, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things that belong to salvation.". This is an important item to note. The writer is contrasting two different groups of BELIEVERS. One that is falling away and another that he feels confident about, and his reference is not to rewards or fellowship, but to salvation. So we can assume that the writer is referring to those that are falling from faith and losing salvation.

Mr. Corner goes on to state:

"Heb. 10:26,27 parallel 6:9, in a negative sense, to show salvation is the subject:

"If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God" (NIV).

Raging fire that will consume the enemies of God can only be the language of no salvation, not lack of rewards or fellowship! This passage also declares that people, not their rewards, will be consumed by this fire, which is for the enemies of God." (Taken from, The Believer's Conditional Security, by Dan Corner, Chapter 14: The Book of Hebrews.)

Taking into account that this passage MUST be referring to losing salvation, we must disregard this interpretation as it's meaning.

5> They are true believers that will be chastised.

Those that hold to this belief claim that "fallen away" refers to falling into deep sin that requires God to chastise them severely, perhaps to the point of taking their life so as not to ruin their profession.

This position leads the Securist into contradiction with his own belief of imputed righteousness. The Securist argues that we are covered in the blood of Jesus and that when God looks down upon us He sees not our sins, but the righteousness of Christ. In order to make this position of Hebrews 6:4-6 valid, the Securist must now explain how God could chastise one of His children, even to the point of death, if He can not see the sin that He must chastise the believer for. This position is full of contradiction and does not hold up to the beliefs or doctrine of either the Eternal Securist or the opposing position to them and therefore can be discarded. 6> They are true believers and lost salvation forever. These are true believers that have turned away from Christ and forfeited salvation. They can NEVER regain salvation because of their denial of Christ.

In the same chapter of his book, "The Believer's Conditional Security", Dan Corner tries to explain the reasoning behind the impossibility of those in the Hebrew passage as being unable to regain salvation. He claims it is very possible that during the time of the Epistle, those that returned to the Jewish faith were required, before being accepted back, to renounce Christ publicly, claiming that He was NOT the Son of God, that His blood was rightly shed as that of a common malefactor, and that His miracles were performed through the power of the evil one. If Mr. Corner's explanation is correct, the Jews were committing the unpardonable sin that Jesus spoke of in the Gospel of Mark as blaspheming the Holy Spirit. So this explanation becomes an entirely different situation than falling away into deep sin.

7> They are true believers and lost salvation.

These are true believers that have turned away, forfeiting salvation, but can regain salvation after they are brought back to repentance. This appears to be the most relevant explanation for this day and age.

For it is impossible...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.

Notice the tense of the words. It is impossible to renew them again unto repentance (this is present tense); seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh...(once again, present tense). One can see that it IS impossible to renew them to repentance WHILE they are crucifying the Son of God afresh. If this crucifying were to STOP, the passage gives NO reason why a renewal to repentance can not take place.

This is the ONLY passage in Scripture that makes the claim that one can not regain salvation, but scripture can not conflict with other scripture. There are TOO many other reference to the ability to regain salvation once lost that this passage should stand in the way without a reason that it is not complementary to the balance of scripture, therefore THIS tends to be the position that seems to be the most credible.

Next: Sins Forgiven: Past, Present, and Future

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