STUDY Hebrews 6:4-6
(click here for notes)
It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. (NIV)
Warning Against Falling Away
The writer of Hebrews issues a warning here to those in the church to which he's writing. The context makes it clear that he's writing to people professing to be believers.
1. What does it mean to "havebeen enlightened"? (see Hebrews 10:32)
2. What is the "heavenly gift" to which v. 4 refers? (see Eph. 2:8; Galatians 3:2)
3. What does it mean to have "tasted the goodness of the word of God"? (see Psalm 34:8; Hebrews 4:12)
4. What is "the coming age," and what are its "powers"? (see Mark 10:30; 1 Tim. 6:19)
"It is impossible," the author of Hebrews says, "for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance" (V. 4-6)
1. Do other Scriptural passages suggest this same irredeemable falling away? (see Exodus 23:21; 2 Peter 2:21; 1 John 5:16; Hebrews 10:26-27)
2. The phrase "because to their loss" (v. 6) can also be translated "while to their loss" How might this translation affect the meaning of the warning?
Salvation: Secure or Conditional?
1. What biblical assurance is there that salvation is secure for believers? (see John 3:16; 6:35-40; 10:27-30; 11:25-26; Acts 16:30-31; Romans 8:29-39; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Ephesians 1:11-14; Hebrews 7:24-25)
2. What biblical evidence exists to suggest that members of the Christian community will be lost? (Matthew 13: 3-9; 24-30; 24:24; 25:1-13; 14-30; 30-46; 26:23-25; John 6:71; 13:22-27)
3. What will make these lost ones within the Christian community appear to be authentic Christians? (Matthew 7:22; 13:20; 25:1; 14-15; Mark 6:7-12)
4. What will these lost "Christians" lack? (Matthew 7:23; 13:5-6, 21; 25:3, 8-12, 18, 24-30; 44-45; 1 John 2:9; 3:10)
Dangers of Backsliding Into the Law
Hebrews addresses Jews, possibly priests, who have become convicted of Christianity. The author's central focus in the book is the superiority of Jesus over the Old Covenant. The danger these newly convicted Jews faced was the danger of being seduced back into the familiar rituals and legalism of Judaism, or the Old Covenant.
1. How would yielding to such seduction affect their new conviction about the gospel? (2 Corinthians 11:4; Galatians 1:6-7; 3:1-3; 4:8-11)
2. If a person hears the truth of the gospel, intellectually and verbally responds to it, and slips back into legalism and Old Covenant rituals, what statement is that person making about Christ and his sacrifice?
1. Have you known anyone who had "tasted the heavenly gift" but fell away?
2. What is in your life that seduces you to look back, to return to your original "comfort zone", and to resist growing in righteousness?
3. In what ways have you "tasted the heavenly gift, "shared in the Holy Spirit," and "tasted the goodness of the word of God"?
4. Have you allowed the Holy Spirit to give you a new birth, or are you protecting your heart and accepting the gospel intellectually?
1. In what areas of your life do your old habits of legalism or of "fitting in" with the people you know tempt you to slide away from the transformation of grace?
2. What fear do you harbor of allowing the Holy Spirit to change your life?
3. In what ways are you tempted to be intellectually arrogant instead of submissive to the word of God and the power of His Spirit?
4. Ask God to reveal to you the areas in your mind and heart where you
retain control or laziness. Let the blood of Jesus Christ cover those hardened
areas of your heart, and ask the Holy Spirit to give you a new, soft heart.
Give Him your fear and resistance, and allow God to make you born again.
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Studio, Redlands, CA USA. All rights reserved. Revised December 17, 2000.