Hebrews 6:1-12 - Outline of Hebrews (Book Notes menu page)
6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ,
principles {GK=arche, beginning}
doctrine {GK=logos, word}
Literally: "...leaving the word of the beginning concerning the Christ..."
let us go on unto perfection; {ie., maturity, completion}
not laying again the {a} foundation {ie., the first principles, cp. 5:12}
The doctrine concerning the Christ was...
- Built upon OT teachings:- Introduced by the last OT prophet:
   (follow this column down)   (follow this column down)
of repentance from dead works,
Turning to God begins with"Repent..."
repentance from sin. Isa 55:7Mat 3:1,2
and of faith toward God,
Faith that fears God is an OT principle."prepare ye the way of the Lord..."
cp. Num 14:11; Hab 2:4; Heb 11:6Mat 3:3
6:2 Of the doctrine {a list of some foundational teachings follows}
of baptisms {ie., washings *},
Ceremonial cleansings (plural) depicted,"they were baptized...confessing their sins"
ritual separation unto the Holy Lord.Mat 3:4-6
Lev 11:28,32,44,45; Num 8:7; Heb 9:10
and of laying on of hands {*},
(identification with the sacrificial animal)"Behold the Lamb of God..." (Joh 1:29)
cp. Ex 29:10,15,19; Lev 4:15
and of resurrection of the dead
Resurrection is an OT principle."God is able of these stones to raise..."
cp. Dan 12:1,2; Hos 13:14Mat 3:7-9
and of eternal judgment.
Judgment is an OT principle."He will burn up the chaff with
cp. Psa 1:4-6; Mal 3:1,2unquenchable fire." Mat 3:10-12
{*}Note: These are OT foundational principles and should not be confused with similar practices with distinctly Christian meanings (eg., observe the differing ''baptisms'' of Acts 19:3-6).
6:3 And this will we do, if God permit.
ie., By God's grace, we will move on...
  • from the elemental things which should lead us to Christ
    (eg., the OT Law and John's Teaching & Baptism of repentance, as in v.1-2 above).
    cp. Gal 3:24; Acts 18:24-28
  • to truly know Christ and to become mature in Him.
But not everyone, who starts to follow Christ, will continue to this end. Joh 6:44,64-66
6:4 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,
Verses 4-8 are difficult to understand at first reading.
"it is impossible... if they fall away... to renew them again..."
What does this mean? It raises several questions:
  1. Can Christians lose their salvation? Many other passages say, "No."
    Joh 10:27-30; Rom 8:33-39; Eph 1:12-14; Php 1:6; 1Pet 1:3-5
    (also see the end of this chapter, Heb 6:13-20 and Heb 5:9).
  2. Is this merely a hypothetical case?
    "If" they shall fall away (v.6), assuming for the sake of argument that it were possible to do so, in that case, they could not be restored.
  3. Is this the loss of reward, rather than loss of salvation?
    ie., as experienced by those who "stumble" (as some would read 'fall away,' in v.6)
    (cp. v.7,8 with 1Cor 3:11-15)
  4. Are those who "fall away" merely professing,
    but not possessing a relationship to Christ?
  5. Is this passage limited to first century Jews,
    who had once professed Jesus as their Messiah, but were now in danger of forsaking Him to return to the sacrificial system of the Temple?
These verses (v.4-8) must be seen in the context of the passage: the writer's concern
that his readers have not matured beyond the "first principles" (v.1-3).
Could their immaturity mean that they are not true children of God?
Where are the Evidences of Maturity? (lettered points through v.8)
A. Assimilation of "strong meat." (Heb 5:12- 6:1-3)
     A lack of appetite and application of the Word of God...
  • hinders spiritual growth,
  • but may also indicate a lack of spiritual life (1Pet 2:2,3).
B. Continuation in the truth. (v.4-6)
The descriptive phrases of v.4,5 could apply equally...
to true believers, or to the unsaved who associate with believers.
The wheat and tares will grow together until the Lord separates them. Mat 13:24-30,36-43
who were once enlightened {or, once for all enlightened} -
Daylight may flood the eyes of both sighted and blind, but the blind do not benefit. 2Cor 4:3,4
who have tasted {GK=geoumai, to taste, to eat} of the heavenly gift -
The one who tastes may, or may not, eat. Joh 6:47-60,66
     The gift of God is the Person of Christ, who gave Himself for the life of the world (Joh 3:16; 4:10; 6:32,33; Rom 6:23; Eph 2:8).
     However, some, who profess to know and serve Him, have not truly received the Bread of Life (Mat 7:21-23). Being self-righteous and self-satisfied, they sense no hunger or thirst for the Savior, and fail to come to Him for life (cp. Isa 55:1-3; Mat 5:6; Joh 7:37-39; 5:39,40).
who were made {became} partakers {GK=metochos, those who 'have with,' sharers} -
Believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
The unsaved, who associate with believers, benefit from the Spirit's influence:
Even the unsaved church-goer enjoys a more stable life and home than his peers who invest their lives in alcohol, drugs and other vices. cp. 1Cor 7:14
6:5 And have tasted the good {(or) 'the goodness of' the} word of God,
and the powers of the world
{ie., age} to come,
tasted {GK=geuomai, to taste, to eat} - Again, to taste is not necessarily to eat.
A person may have intellectual knowledge and appreciation of the Scriptures (including an understanding of biblical prophecy concerning the eternal kingdom in the new heaven and new earth) without coming to saving faith. It is possbile to be exposed to the Word and to convincing evidences of its truth, without embracing it. eg., Heb 2:2-4; Joh 13:17,18 (Judas did not benefit from what he knew.)
6:6 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.
if they shall fall away {GK=parapipto, to stumble, to fall down} -
'They' refers to those who have become familiar with God's Word and people (v.4-6).
The true child of God will continue in 'the faith' unto the end.
     cp. 1Cor 1:8; Heb 3:6,14; 1Joh 2:19
Also see references at v.4 note (point # 1) above, and Note at Heb 3:6.
crucify... afresh -
  1. A person who gives intellectual assent to Christ's Person and Work,
    but who later rejects Him, is essentially endorsing His sentence of crucifixion. (Thus, putting Him to "an open shame.") cp. Mat 26:65,66; 27:22,23
       Such persons might be mere professors (v.4 point # 4), or first century Jews who initially embraced Jesus as Messiah, but not as Savior (v.4 point # 5). They turned away from Him when expected political or material benefits did not materialize.
       For these, a reversal, of their decision, would require Christ to be re-crucified.
  2. Having rejected the Savior, there is no alternate means of salvation.
    Joh 6:66-71; Heb 10:26-29; 12:15-17; 2Pet 2:20-22
6:7 For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it,
and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed,
receiveth blessing from God:
C. Production of good fruit (v.7,8) (An evidence of Maturity- see note at v.4)
the earth which drinketh in the rain... receiveth blessing from God.-
Rain falls on good and bad fields.
Some absorb, some squander the source of blessing.
The fields are judged according to their fruit.
Likewise, God's Word is intended to bless. Isa 55:10-13; Joel 2:23-26
A man's condition is determined by the way he receives God's Word. Mat 13:1-9
6:8 But that which beareth thorns and briers [is] rejected,
and [is] nigh unto cursing;
whose end [is] to be burned.
rejected {GK=adokinos, castaway} - see this word in 1Cor 9:27
A lack of good fruit...
-- is an indication of 'no root' in the Lord. Mat 13:18-23; Joh 15:4-8
-- is reason for judgment. Isa 5:4-7; Mat 7:19,20
Though the seed and water of the Word is broadcast widely,
and though it cuts to the heart (Heb 4:12),
some hearts remain hardened (Acts 5:33).
Thus, v.4-8 are a Warning to the spiritually unreceptive: You are in danger of cursing.
There is mercy in the warning: The end is ''near'' but not yet. Therefore, Repent.
6:9 But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you,
and things that accompany salvation,
though we thus speak.
Verses 9-20 are an Encouragement to those who are saved.
better - The argument of ch. 6 hinges around this word.
Though some had come near to Christ and then fallen away to eventual judgment, these had not fallen away but continued in the faith (which is far better).
Their lives exhibited evidences of spiritual life and growth:
things that accompany salvation - namely:
(The lettered points in v.10-12 are Evidences of Maturity, corresponding to the note at v.4 above, but in reverse order.)
C. Continuing Fruitfulness -
6:10 For God [is] not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love,
which ye have shewed toward his name,
in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
your work and labor of love...-
While salvation is not by works, the external evidence of fruitful service demonstrated the reality of their salvation. cp. 1The 1:2-7
B. Continuing Confidence unto the end -
6:11 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence
to the full assurance of hope unto the end:
diligence... unto the end - cp. 1Cor 15:58; Col 1:23; Heb 3:6; 1Pet 1:3-9; 2Pet 1:5-10
full assurance of hope... unto the end.- ie., confidence in God's sure promises in Christ.
(The security of our salvation will be explained, in v.13-20.)
A. Continuing Maturation in the Faith -
6:12 That ye be not slothful,
but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
not slothful {ie., dull} - cp. Heb 5:11, 'dull' of hearing
but... through faith {GK=pistis, assurance, persuasion} and
...patience {GK=makrothumia, endurance, longsuffering} inherit {ie., rightfully possess}...-
The promises of God will be realized, by those who are persuaded that they are true and worth waiting for (not by those who turn back).
be... followers {ie., imitators} - Examples of faith and patience...
-- Abraham. (v.13-15)
-- Faithful church leaders. Heb 13:7,8
-- The apostle Paul. 2Tim 1:12

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