Bible study this morning touched briefly on the subject of eternal security. The man who leads bible study asked, how many of you believe in eternal security. Here is my take on this – if you do not stand for something, you will stand for nothing, and so I was the first to raise his hand. My codependent head anticipates no good coming out my actions, but you have to choose to be brave and do what the Holy Spirit tells you to do. While it went well, there are definitely differing opinions, but the man who got my attention was the brother who told about losing his son. He briefly recapped what that night was like and how the autopsy found alcohol in his boys system. A police officer stayed with the boy all the way to the hospital where he died. When the family made it to the hospital the officer told them, your son has made such an impact on my life, for apparently this young man, who was possibly criminally negligent, spoke of Jesus to the police officer all the way to the hospital before he died. In light of eternal security what does this tell me about this young man? God was not only, in him still, but all over him, and it is quite possible that Christ now lives in that police officer because of him.
At the end of the meeting one of the men came up to me and asked me, what then does Hebrews 6:4-8 mean. I still had the computer on and so I pulled it up quickly. I saw immediately where he was going with it, but he added something. He said, “I fell away for a time.” I responded with, so have I, so it definitely does not mean impossible, now does it. He sincerely wanted to understand, and because they now perceive me as bold and unafraid to challenge scripture he asked. I told him I would find the answer, and this is it.
Think on this – for it seems to speak in opposition to eternal security.
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, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 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. 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: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. (Hebrews 6:4-8 KJV)
“it is impossible “
The translators of the King James Version of the Holy Bible intentionally preserved, in Early Modern English, archaic pronouns and verb endings that had already begun to fall out of spoken use. This enabled the English translators to convey the distinction between the 1st, 2nd and 3rd person singular and plural verb forms of the original Hebrew and Greek sources. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Immediately I am confronted by the difference between the KJV and the NASB. The NASB states the sentence like this.
For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, (Hebrews 6:4 NASB)
They bypass the concept of impossibility. Why?
Here is NASB with the references to the Strong’s numbers. Something is clearly missing, or did the KJV unnecessarily added it.
For in the case of thoseG3588 who have onceG530 been R1enlightenedG5461 and have tastedG1089 of R2the heavenlyG2032 giftG1431 and have beenG1096 madeG1096 R3partakersG3353 of the HolyG40 SpiritG4151, (Hebrews 6:4 NASB+)
Now, compare this with the KJV:
ForG1063 it is impossibleG102 for those who were once enlightened,G5461 G530 andG5037 have tastedG1089 of theG3588 heavenlyG2032 gift,G1431 andG2532 were madeG1096 partakersG3353 of the HolyG40 Ghost,G4151 (Hebrews 6:4 KJV+)
Look at the word impossible in KJV. The reference is to the Greek word adunatos. From G1 (as a negative particle) and G1415; unable, that is, weak (literally or figuratively); passively impossible: – could not do, impossible, impotent, not possible, weak.
G1 – A al’-fah Of Hebrew origin; the first letter of the alphabet: figuratively only (from its use as a numeral) the first.
G1415 – dunatos doo-nat-os’ – From G1410; powerful or capable (literally or figuratively); neuter possible: – able, could, (that is) mighty (man), possible, power, strong.
Is possible that the KJV is wrong? Let’s see. We will go to the Septuagint, from which the KJV was derived.
adunatonG102 A-NSN garG1063 CONJ tousG3588 T-APM apaxG530 ADV photisthentasG5461 V-APP-APM geusamenousG1089 V-ADP-APM teG5037 PRT tesG3588 T-GSF doreasG1431 N-GSF tesG3588 T-GSF epouraniouG2032 A-GSF kaiG2532 CONJ metochousG3353 A-APM genethentasG1096 V-AOP-APM pneumatosG4151 N-GSN agiouG40 A-GSN (Hebrews 6:4 LXX-BYZ)
There it is right there, the very first word. Impossible?
As I mentioned, the brother in Christ that pointed this out to me, added, I fell away. I responded with, so did I, and yet I would not doubt for a moment that this man is a man of God who loves the Lord. I know I do. However, if I allow myself to compare myself with others, especially those who have fame and money, the junk we foolishly we think we are entitled to because of false teachings, I will collapse into myself, overwhelmed by self doubts. That is what my codependent head leads toward. This makes me think impossible is not the concept they are trying to convey, or we are just missing the point.
Let’s look at the context of the statement and see if we can sort it out.
For it is impossible for those once having been enlightened, and having tasted of the heavenly gift, and becoming sharers of the Holy Spirit, and tasting the good Word of God, and the works of power of a coming age, and having fallen away, it is impossible for them again to renew to repentance, crucifying again for themselves the Son of God, and putting Him to open shame. (For the earth drinking in the rain often coming upon it, and producing vegetation suitable for those for whom it is also worked, receives blessing from God; “but bearing thorns and thistles,” it is deemed unfit and near a curse, of which the end is for burning.) Gen. 3:17, 18 But, loved ones, even if we indeed speak so, we have been persuaded better things concerning you, even holding fast salvation. (Hebrews 6:4-9 LITV)
“For it is impossible” I think we already have the comprehension that impossible is too strong of a word for what the Holy Spirit is trying to convey.
We pointed out that adunatos means unable or weak, as well as passively impossible. But what are we really trying to say.
“Let us first consider the subject of these verses. The writer described certain people with four phrases: (1) once enlightened, (2) experienced the good things of heaven, (3) shared in the Holy Spirit, and (4) tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come.” Life Application New Testament Commentary
When you take in all aspects, as the commentators have, it sounds like the person in question has experienced the full life in Christ. These people are unable to renew themselves again to repentance.
Heb 6:6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance;
Another example that conveys the same idea, from the same writer.
For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, (Hebrews 10:26 KJV)
Since Hebrews 10:26 speaks of a sacrifice for sins then we put this idea of impossibility or inability into the realm of a sacrifice. If we were living under the law, there would be lambs still to be slaughtered; that was common place under the law, but we are not under the law, and Jesus Christ, the Lamb, became the last and final sacrifice for sins which separated us from God. We, for some reason, seem to reject this, or ignore it.
So the person who continually comes down front, presenting themselves each week as a sinner, not covered by the grace of God, tends to make God look like a fool, as they expect someone to hang Jesus on the cross for them once again. What is the problem here? Perhaps it lies in what we are or are not telling people.
Paul shows up in a town and this is the message that he preaches – your sins are forgiven and you now have a hope that He will come back for you and receive you into heaven with Him and the Father – no matter how stupid you have been .
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)
“seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.”
This is very close to what we see in Hebrews 10:26. Our efforts to present ourselves each week, a crying baby that needs its diaper changed because we chose to go roll around in the mud pit that the world offered, demonstrating that we do not understanding this hope that is ours. Know this, you will not get Jesus Christ to put himself back on the cross for you. To ask him to do so is like saying that his sacrifice was not enough for, or you just do not believe what he did.
There is no doubt that we fall into sin, but is not always premeditated. None the less, it still gets us all muddied up, doesn’t it. Does that change how God sees you? Absolutely not! Do you need to get washed up? Certainly. It is only natural for people to cringe when you are covered in mud, trying to hold a conversation with civilized people. So, if you cannot go running back to the cross in an effort to re-crucify Christ what do you do? You repent. In other words own your actions, admit that you are powerless over your own life, and turn your life over to God, yes, once again. Tell God about your failures, talk to him, admit your wrong, and then make a concerted effort to get to know his character through his word, allowing the water of the Word of God wash you.
Jesus, in John 13:4-10 knew full well the nonsense Judas and Peter would pull, and yet he did not berate them, telling either they were eternally lost. He merely pointed out that they were clean because of Him, and merely needed to wash their feet from time to time.
He rose from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. Then comes he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou know not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needs not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. (John 13:4-10 KJV)
Paul, pointed out in 1Corinthians 6:11 that those who had come to knowledge of Christ through his teaching, were washed and set aside for God’s good work, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:11 ESV)
To the Ephesian church he compared the believer to the wife, the bride of Christ. In that comparison he points out that we are cleansed and washed by the water of the word. He did this so that we could be presented to himself in splendor.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:25-27 ESV)
There is one last aspect I need to cover. The writer of Hebrews compared this same person to a once productive field, but now bears thorns.
(For the earth drinking in the rain often coming upon it, and producing vegetation suitable for those for whom it is also worked, receives blessing from God; “but bearing thorns and thistles,” it is deemed unfit and near a curse, of which the end is for burning.) (Hebrews 6:7-8 LITV)
Notice that the verse says, “but”. But implies the potential, or a time of neglect. No field is free of weeds, they are always controlled. The mere fact that the wind blows, or birds fly guarantees that you will have weeds at some time. However, the good gardener, or land owner, knows what crop they planted and therefore pulls up things that were not intentional. This is what we do, and we use the word of God to help with that. If you realize that you simply do not have the strength to remove your own weeds then you need to get around people who have strengthened themselves, through trials, and God’s word, and allow them to help you. It is called humbling yourself.
As the bible study came to an end I raised my hand once again and said, I am not even sure why we have to have this conversation, because as a believer I have no intention of doing anything but pursue Jesus Christ, and I dare you to try to strip that salvation out of me. I believe Jesus was speaking to something along this line when he told the listeners this parable:
Again, the kingdom of Heaven is compared to treasure being hidden in the field, which finding, a man hid; and for the joy of it, he goes and sells all things, as many as he has, and buys that field. (Matthew 13:44 LITV)
For me, Jesus was that treasure and many years ago,I stumbled upon it. Having finally found what I was looking for I bought the field and have no intentions of giving it up. I suspect the Word of God is that field, and Jesus is the treasure. Fortunately, He presents himself, and offers himself to all. The result of accepting, or should I say, buying the field, is the joy in knowing that you now have a permanent hope and a knowledge that you will spend eternity with him, if you allow him in. I suggest you give him, on a daily basis, all the corners of your heart.