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Hebrews 6:6-8 by Robert Dean
Series:Hebrews (2005)
Duration:58 mins 59 secs

Hebrews Lesson 63  August 17, 2006

 

NKJ Psalm 119:15 I will meditate on Your precepts, And contemplate Your ways.

 

We are in Hebrews 6. We have gone through about 95% of what is considered one of the most difficult passages in all of Scripture. Actually, like a lot of so-called difficult passages in Scripture, once you start looking at the details of the text and the words and everything else you realize that it is not all that difficult to begin with. One of the problems we always run into is that people always seem to want to take their theological framework and try to ram and cram and jam it into a passage instead of letting the passage speak for itself and interpret it on its own. So let's just pick up our context.

 

NKJ Hebrews 6:1 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,

 

We enter into the beginning of the warning section. The exhortation section began back in 5:11. We begin to transition into the warning section in verse 1. 

 

Literal translation:  Therefore, let us press on to maturity by leaving the foundational teachings about Christ and by not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and faith toward God.

 

Every time I read that lately I keep thinking - how many times have you heard a preacher say, "Let's press on to maturity by not teaching the basics anymore." 

 

You go too many places and they don't get to the basics anymore. They haven't gotten to nursery school. They are still trying to figure out where the diapers are. 

 

The writer of Hebrews is saying, "Let's just leave the basics and press on to maturity."

 

NKJ Hebrews 6:2 of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

 

NKJ Hebrews 6:3 And this we will do if God permits.

 

What is the "this"?  Let's get our focus back into what is going on here. 

 

What is that (this)? It is pressing on. What is the problem? The problem is that he is writing to a group of Jewish believers that have been growing and maturing and now due to the pressure and hostility from other Jews, from Orthodox Jews, and from Pharisees (They are still living in Israel in Jerusalem in Judea in the early 60's - 5 to 6 years before the Jewish revolt) they are ready to cave in. Some of them have already, as we will see, departed from the truth. They are going back into Judaism. 

 

Verse three is such a short verse, but we must recognize what it is saying. 

 

The reason I am stressing that is because we immediately go into verse 4 that says…

 

NKJ Hebrews 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit,

 

Then we get this list of characteristics all of which describe a believer.  

 

You have to skip all the way down to verse 6 to pick up the rest of the thought unless you have got a NASB. They threw the impossible down to verse 6. 

 

That sounds in the English as if it is stating a universal principle that it is impossible for anyone anywhere to renew them again to repentance. I pointed out last time that nothing with God is impossible. We have to understand the context. 

 

He is saying, "let us press on to maturity. We can do that if God permits." 

 

But aside from God permitting and allowing us extending us the grace to recover from the morass of carnality then under most circumstances you are not going to see anybody recover. Once somebody takes a swan dive into their sin nature and they start swimming in it and splashing around as much as they want to, it is extremely rare for recovery to take place. That is what he is talking about in this passage. That is the main idea.

 

NKJ Hebrews 6:5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,

 

Now let's look at that list.

 

  1. once having been enlightened
  2. tasted the heavenly gift
  3. made partakers of the Holy Spirit
  4. tasted the good word of God and the power of the age to come
  5. having fallen away

 

If you use the New King James (or the King James) version like I have up here, it translates the last description as a conditional clause. "If" they have fallen away. But there is no conditional clause in the original. It is simply one more aorist participle piled up on top of the others. In the Greek what you have is a construction where you have an article (These are called relative participles where they are used like a relative pronoun). When you have one it is a participle with an article. You can have one article that modifies or controls or governs 5, 6 or 7 participles.  They are all linked with "and". That one article at the front controls all of them. So you have a list of the same things. There is no "if" that slips in there.  It is clearly stating the fact that there is a group that has been enlightened. They have tasted the heavenly gift. And they have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit. They have tasted the good Word of God and the power of the age to come. They have fallen away. They have already departed from the truth. We are going to take some time to study what that means in a minute. What we have here with each of these participles are aorist participles, which means the action (if there is a temporal sense here) precedes the verb. But it is primarily talking about them as this group who has done this. It has already happened. 

 

"They have fallen away." That is the bottom clause. It is very interesting. There is no variation. 

 

Aorist passive participle

Aorist middle participle

Aorist passive participle

Aorist middle participle

Aorist active participle

 

Some are what they call deponent verbs which mean that they are passive in form so you parse them that way, but are active in meaning. So you can't make anything of it other than when it comes to "you fallen away", it is emphasizing the fact that it is due to their volition that they have fallen away. It is the subject that performs the action. They are the ones who have fallen away. In the other ones where they are passive and middle voices, they are receiving the action at salvation from God. The last participle indicates the action of their volition to depart from grace. So we come to verse 6.

 

NKJ Hebrews 6:6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.

 

I have run a line through "if they" because that's not present in the original. 

 

Then I put in brackets the main thought which goes back to verse 4. 

 

Then I added the phrase "for us". In a minute I am going to show you why I added that phrase "for us". You have got to come up with a subject somewhere. 

 

Well, we have all things are possible. There is the recognition in verse 3 that "if God permits" - so God does permit a recovery. So the only thing that we can pick up from the context of the book of Hebrews is that again and again believers are mandated in the book of Hebrews to encourage one another again and again to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10), to encourage one another, to stimulate one another. At some point it may be impossible for us to say anything or do anything that is going to have any impact on someone we love, know or care about who has turned their back on Scripture, exercising negative volition and swimming in a pool of carnality. 

 

Remember that the pool of carnality can manifest itself in one of two ways. The person who is a successful business person or a successful student or a successful worker, engineer, scholar, or academic or someone who marries well and has children and seems to have a wonderful life and be successful in terms of finances can be just as carnal in human good as the street kid or gutter punk down living under a bridge somewhere. Carnality manifests itself both in terms of morality (remember the Pharisees were very moral but they were not spiritual) and it can manifest itself in immorality as well. Now the last description of this group of believers is that they have fallen away.

 

I want to focus on the verb a minute. On the chart it is parapipto. It is a compound verb based on the prepositional prefix para plus the main verb pipto. Now what I want you to watch is the main verb pipto and how it works itself out as we go through this. What we are going to see is that this idea of parapipto means simply to fall aside, to fall away, to err, to stray, or to lapse in their spirituality. It is only used this one time in all of Scripture and indicates that they have fallen away from the truth or abandoned the truth. Then you also have parapipto, to the side of, to fall away to the side. Then you have another compound that we will see in a few minutes in Galatians 5:4. You have the use of ekpipto. We have these various compounds. Ekpipto means to fall from. Now what we have seen here is this theme of falling away or the danger of falling away that runs all of the way through Hebrews. For example in Hebrews 3:6 we read…

 

NKJ Hebrews 3:6 but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.

 

What is the next word? If (a third class condition). 

 

There is a warning that we might not hold fast in which case you would fall away. It is not a loss of salvation though because these are believers. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 3:14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,

 

If we don't hold on to it, we fall away.

 

Hebrews 10:23-25 references this. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

 

Again we have that same concept – holding on to the truth and holding on to our spiritual lives, persevering as we advance and enduring in times of testing. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,

 

NKJ Hebrews 10:25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

 

There is an emphasis here that within the body of Christ, believer to believer, there is going to be encouragement to go forward, to live the spiritual life. We get together with friends and they are going through a difficult time. We remind them of promises and doctrinal principles. All of that is part of the process. But there are times (and we have all gone through this.) when we have friends and family members who can't seem to get it together spiritually. It never quite becomes a priority. The only time they ever seem to turn to God or go to Bible class is when they are going through some serious discipline. As soon as they get things straightened out, then they are not interested anymore. 

 

This is the warning that the writer of Hebrews is saying, "Don't play with carnality in your life." 

 

There can be some dangerous extended consequences. You can be come so carnal in your spiritual regression that you could possibly reach a point-of-no- return where God just lets you go and you end up in the sin unto death.

 

NKJ Hebrews 10:35 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.

 

That was their problem. They were willing to give up their Christianity and go back to Judaism. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 10:36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:

 

NKJ Hebrews 10:37 "For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry.

 

NKJ Hebrews 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him."

 

NKJ Hebrews 10:39 But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.

 

This is a great passage for believers to hold on to – a great promise. 

 

That is not talking about those who are lost, i.e. unbelievers. But it is talking about those who are actively moving forward. Saving the soul is often an idiom in the New Testament. The use of the word psuche for soul follows the Hebrew idiom of saving the life. There are several passages back in the Old Testament where that is what it refers to – saving the life. Somebody's life was almost lost in a particular situation. It is not necessarily a spiritual term here. 

 

We might say, "Is there a soul saved. Are they going to heaven?"

 

That is not the idiom. The idiom is deliverance, not losing your life. It is the idea of post-salvation faith rest drill and trusting God to experience the fullness, the richness, the full life that God has for us.

 

NKJ John 10:10 "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

 

That is the concept here, the abundant life for the soul.

 

When we talk about falling away, there are some other passages that describe believers who do fall away. That is a big debate out there among some theologians. They will use terms like true believe, genuine believer, and other terms that the Bible never uses. The Bible never modifies a believer with an adjective. The Bible never talks about true believers or false believers. The Bible never talks about genuine believers and false believers. It never mentions that. There is no Biblical support for that. There are just those who believe in Christ and those who don't. You have examples though of believers who fail and fail miserably and stay failures until they die and they die the sin unto death. That happens. There is a real warning here. 

 

Somebody asked me a question the other day. They said they grew up Catholic. They had a Roman Catholic background. 

 

"There is always this incentive to be obedient and to be moral because I might not get saved. I might get sent to purgatory. All of these things might happen to me. There is a load of guilt that motivates you. If what you are teaching is all about grace and that Christ did it all and I don't do anything (I just accept it); what is to keep me from going out and living a immoral, wretched and horrible life and doing whatever I want to? I could say, 'I am saved, so what?'" 

 

This was a real issue that was faced by the reformers. By the reformers I am talking about Martin Luther, John Calvin, Zwingli, and others who were fighting the good fight to reform the church back to the Bible, which is what the Protestant Reformation was all about. The core doctrine was over justification by faith. At the very beginning of the Reformation Calvin and Luther agreed completely on the whole concept of justification by faith alone that when you put your faith alone in Christ His righteousness is imputed to the unbeliever. At that instant the unbeliever receives the imputation of Christ's righteousness. God declares them righteousness on the basis of Christ's imputed righteousness. 

We are justified. 

 

God looks at us and says, "I see righteousness. I declare you justified. You are justified." 

 

But the reaction from the Catholic Church was - what do we have to control immorality now if this grace thing is true? 

 

That put tremendous pressure on the Protestant reformers. They had to answer that question. It has to do with the question of motivation to live the Christian life. What is the motivation to life the Christian life? Is it the fear that you are going to lose your salvation? Or as they responded, gratitude toward God because of all He has done for you. 

 

The unfortunate thing is in the history and development of Calvinistic thought, you ended up with the development of the doctrine called the perseverance of the saints. There are some different views on perseverance of the saints, but if you look at most of the creeds that came out of Calvinism, the worst expression of perseverance by the saints is the idea that if you are truly saved; then you will persevere in obedience. You may sin and become carnal for a short time but there is no falling away. That can't happen. If you fall away, then you weren't saved to begin with.  That was just another way of dealing with the whole issue that the Roman Catholics were dealing with. 

 

That is why I have said for the last 20 years that Lordship salvation (that is what this becomes a part of) is a return to Rome.  John McArthur who is pastor of a large church out in southern California and the foremost writer and perhaps speaker on the issue of lordship salvation came out with this in his first book almost 20 years ago called the "Gospel According to Jesus". You won't see it in the second edition. He responded to something. I did publish a book review on it. Ephesians 2:8-9 says...

 

NKJ Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,

 

NKJ Ephesians 2:9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

 

The Greek word there is pistis. He said pistis (You had to read the footnote) means faithful – not a one time decision trusting Christ, but faithful over a period of time. That is the primary meaning of the Greek word pistos, os not isPistis does sometimes mean faithful, but it doesn't mean that in those passages. 

 

If you retranslate Ephesians 2:8-9 putting in McArthur's recommended changed translation, then it says "for by grace you have been saved through faithfulness".

 

Did you get that? All of a sudden you have slipped perseverance in there. If you aren't faithful then you weren't saved to begin with. That is just as Roman Catholic as it can be. When you push these issues out all the way to their extreme then you can't be sure of your salvation. 

 

In fact there was a local bookstore owner. I think the name of the book store was The Living Vine in Irving, Texas. He was generating book sales. He tried to get good authors who were in Dallas to come and do a thing for pastors at his bookstore. He moved the racks back and brought in a bunch of chairs.  He invited John McArthur to come and speak to a group of pastors. John McArthur stood right there and right in the front row looking up at him were Robby Dean and Tommy Ice.   

 

After he got through with his presentation, one of us raised our hands and said, "Are you sure you are saved?" 

 

He said, "Well, I am about 99.8% sure." 

 

He can't have full assurance of his salvation because he may, possibly conceivably turn his back on Jesus in the future which would indicate that he was not fully, truly saved. So for them falling away means not that you lose your salvation, but that you never had it to begin with. 

McArthur will say and others in the lordship camp will say that you can have faith in Jesus that is not saving. You cannot demonstrate that from the Scriptures. This is prevalent. It is everywhere. If you haven't run into it maybe you have your head in a hole somewhere like an ostrich. It is everywhere. So we have to look at this.

 

NKJ Galatians 5:4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

 

There are some people at the other end of the spectrum who are called Arminians. Arminians are followers of James Arminias who was a Dutch Reform Calvinist who didn't agree with Calvin. His followers were challenged in a church court in 1617. That is where you get the 5 points of the Arminians or the 5 points of the Remonstrance as they were called. Then it was responded to in a reaction (in my opinion) to by the 5 point of Calvinism. The Arminians believe that you can lose your salvation. They have a very shallow view of God and a very shallow view of what happens at salvation. They have a very shallow view of sin. So they believe you can lose your salvation. They will take passages like this and the Hebrews 6 passage and say you can lose your salvation. 

 

Let's take a minute and observe what is going on in Galatians 5:4

 

NKJ Galatians 5:4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

 

Who is the "you'? That is one of the most important things you can do in Bible study - to try to figure out who the you's, the we's and the they's are. The "you" here is referring to the same group of people that he has been talking to all the way down the line in the book of Galatians. He is talking to them as believers, not as unbelievers.

 

NKJ Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

 

I supply the "you" because we don't usually put that in second person plural imperatives in English. We just translate it "do not be entangled." 

 

That is exactly what has been happening to them because they are being sucked in by these legalists. 

 

NKJ Galatians 5:2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing.

 

NKJ Galatians 5:3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law.

 

So what is he saying here? The background of this is that Paul went to Galatia. I believe in the southern Galatian view. As he went to these cities he taught the gospel. There were hundreds, maybe more, that got saved. They learned that Jesus was the Messiah and that Jesus came and died on the cross as a substitute for their sins and that by trusting in Him alone they could have eternal salvation. Some of these were Jews because Paul always went to the Jews first and then went to the Gentiles. After Paul left and went on to the next town a group of Judaizers came in behind him. Some of them may have been true believers. They were regenerate. Some may not have been. They hadn't come to understand the distinction between Israel in the Old Testament and the church. This is a new baby now. The church was given birth to on the day of Pentecost. There is a new critter in the world called a Church Age believer that is neither Jew nor Greek. That is why Paul emphasizes that in Galatians 3 - there is neither Jew nor Greek male or female bond or free because we are all one in the body of Christ. This is a new entity, the body of Christ. 

 

But what these Judaizers were saying was that if you really want to have full blessing and have everything that you think you are going to get, then you have to get circumcised and come in under both the Abrahamic Covenant and the Mosaic Covenant. Remember that circumcision was a sign of the Abrahamic covenant, not the Mosaic Covenant. They had to become a proselyte as it were to Judaism. They introduce works. That is why when Paul comes along in Galatians at the very first chapter he says…

 

NKJ Galatians 1:9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

 

He is using rather strong language.

 

He is saying, "Let them go to hell if they teach any other gospel." 

 

So the first chapter is straightening them out on the gospel because the Judaizers were mudding up the water by adding words to the gospel. But when he gets into the third chapter, he is showing that they not only muddied up the water on gospel part, but they were mudding up the gospel on the sanctification part. So the key verse here is … 

 

NKJ Galatians 3:3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?

 

Now the "you" there is the second person plural. To whom does the "you" refer?  The same "you" that he is talking to in Galatians 5. 

 

So if the you at the beginning of the book is talking to a group of believers and he says, "Are you so foolish having begun in the Spirit…

 

Does that mean they were saved? Yeah, that means they are regenerate.

 

"Are you now being made perfect, being brought to completion by the flesh?" 

 

That is what they were trying to do through the observance of the Mosaic Law. There is kind of a little humor there – a little sarcasm from Paul because he is digging at this flesh, circumcision, cutting off the flesh. There is a little tongue in cheek humor so to speak there in verse 3. 

 

We come to the passage that we are talking about here. The "you" is talking about this group of believers that have begun in the Spirit; but they're trying to mature through morality, through obedience to the law, through the observance of circumcision. He is saying that they have been estranged from Christ because they factored works into the equation.

 

"You fragmented, fractured your relationship with God. Your intimacy with God is gone. You aren't in fellowship anymore. You have broken fellowship not because you sinned but because you have bad doctrine." 

 

That is the same thing that John is dealing with in I John 1. It wasn't so much that they had sinned; it was that they had bad doctrine. If your doctrine isn't the same as the apostles, you are out of fellowship. Isn't that interesting? We live in a world that doesn't take doctrine very seriously. So we can have all kinds of doctrine because God loves all of us and He certainly wouldn't do anything like cut us off from fellowship just because we believed the wrong thing. But that is not what the Bible says. 

 

So Paul says, "You have become estranged from Christ because you let works into the system. You forgot about grace."

 

NKJ Galatians 5:4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

 

What we have here in the Greek is what is called a tendential present tense. It indicates this idea that they are attempting to be justified by the law. So who is the group that is trying to be justified by the law? It is a group of believers. Now they have gotten this bad information, false doctrine from the Judaizers and they are going back and trying to redo their justification before God. 

 

So Paul tells them that they have fallen from grace – pipto. Remember the other word was parapipto. Here we have ekpipto, another form of the same verb. They have departed from grace. Grace is the high standard of Christianity. When you enter works into the system, you fall from grace. You have left that high standard and jumped off the Empire State Building and splattered yourself all over the sidewalk as it were. You have fallen from grace. That is what he is talking about. It is not that you have lost your salvation. It is that you have fallen into legalism and spirituality by works, by morality system. You aren't going anywhere because you are trying to do it yourself rather than trusting God. 

 

There are a couple of other things that I could point out to show that they are believers. If you look a little further down it says they were running well. 

 

NKJ Galatians 5:7 You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?

 

They couldn't run at all if they hadn't been allowed to start which is regeneration. That indicates that they were saved.   

 

So they started well and then someone tripped them up. A little leaven leavens the whole lump.  

 

NKJ Galatians 5:13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

 

He calls them brethren. They are going to use their liberty as an opportunity for the flesh in contrast to serving one another.

 

Let's go to the next one.

 

NKJ Philippians 3:18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:

 

NKJ Philippians 3:19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame -- who set their mind on earthly things.

 

The term walking when you get into the Scripture is a metaphor for living the Christian life. The word walk is a metaphor for the Christian life.   

 

Who is he talking about here in Philippians 3:18?  Let's pick up a little context.

 

NKJ Philippians 3:17 Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.

 

Many what?  Many believers.  That is the context. 

 

The metaphor that "God is their belly" is that they are worshipping their own lusts. They are worshipping their own desires. 

 

What they are glorying in, what they think is so great, what they think are the greatest accomplishments in their lives is ironically a shame to them. Believers who have right priorities and right values look at what some of these people are so proud of and they are embarrassed for them because they realize that it has no eternal value whatsoever. It is nothing more than self-centeredness. 

 

They set their minds on earthly things rather than heavenly things.

 

These are believers. So we have those who fall from grace in the Galatian epistle, enemies of the cross in Philippians. Then in Revelation 3:15-16 we have the lukewarm believers. 

 

NKJ Revelation 3:15 "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.

 

NKJ Revelation 3:16 "So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.

 

How many times have we had this cold or hot phrase? A little emphasis there. 

 

Now I am going to try to retrain all of you from traditionally poor teaching on this metaphor. So now you are going to try to run me out of the room. There are many people who have taught that what this refers to is cold refers to people who are cold to the spiritual life, cold to God. What an American idiom. Hot refers to those who are on fire for Jesus. That comes out of 19th century revivalism. This doesn't have anything to do with understanding the metaphor that is here. This is in the last of the seven letters to the seven churches of Revelation. It is written to Laodicea. Laodicea didn't have any natural springs right there so they piped the water in. They had hot springs and they had cold water coming down from the mountains. You see cold water and hot water are both usable. On a hot day like today a good glass of ice water tastes really good. On a hot day a cup of hot coffee or a cup of hot tea tastes good. Hot and cold are useable. Lukewarm isn't useable. The cold doesn't represent a rebellious believer and hot a non-rebellious believer because lukewarm is the rebellious believer. Okay? The hot and the cold represented usable. Cold water was great. That is what the Laodicians wanted. They were piping down this cold water from the mountains. They wanted hot water from the springs so that they could wash clothes and wash dishes and have hot water. Because of this they had hot and cold running water in their homes. But lukewarm water if it stayed in those channels too long, it became lukewarm and it wasn't useable. If you drink lukewarm water it makes you rather bilious. That is the imagery that is here.

 

NKJ Revelation 3:15 "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.

 

You are not useable.

 

If cold meant rebellious – that they were cold towards doctrine or on negative volition - then why would Jesus say I wish you were cold. That doesn't make any sense. They were lukewarm. They are not useable because they are out of fellowship. 

 

This is the same congregation that Jesus will say, "Behold I stand at the door and knock."

 

So the issue is fellowship. So they were not usable because they were carnal and out of fellowship.

 

Then Jesus says…

 

NKJ Revelation 3:16 "So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth

 

That is His metaphor. That is how the Lord refers to believers who have fallen from grace, who are enemies of the cross, and who follow this whole pattern of carnality.

 

We have the same idea in the Ephesian church. This is the first one we studied a long time ago in our study of Revelation. At the end of the evaluation report Jesus said…

 

NKJ Revelation 2:4 "Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.

 

NKJ Revelation 2:5 "Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place -- unless you repent.

 

Pipto. We have gone from parapipto to ekpipto and now we have pipto. It is all the same concept. They are a congregation of believers but they have fallen from their first love. It's not that they were 90% motivated before and now they have fallen a little bit and are 85% now or maybe 60%. They have fallen. It is a complete reversal. They have gone from being motivated by their love for the Lord to where that is not the motivation anymore. The challenge is not to rev up your engines a little bit but to repent metanoeo, to change your thinking. 

 

This idea of repentance is a loaded term in the Bible. Sometimes I think we do it injustice by simply saying it is changing you mind. In a lot of passages like this one if we just say change your mind, we don't capture it. It is a change of approach to life. It's not a one shot thing. 

 

You don't walk the aisle and repent and say, "Okay, I am never going to do that again."

 

It's an inner conviction and desire to change that may take years in the experience of the Christian life. 

 

A person who is not conscious of sin in their life and willingness to deal with even though they fail 50 times a day is different from the believer who says "I am just going to keep failing so to heck with it. As long as I keep confessing my sins it is okay."  

 

But see that person isn't going anywhere. The goal in the Christian isn't to be able to confess your sin. The goal in the Christian life is having confessed your sins to abide in Christ and walk in the Spirit so that you can grow and mature. That is the goal in the Christian life. Confession is simply a way to stay in fellowship, to continue abiding, and keep walking. Those in the Ephesians church have fallen. The solution is to repent and do like they did at the beginning or else there will be divine discipline.   

 

"I will come to you rapidly" is the sense of the idiom here in the Greek.

 

Twice that is mentioned in those passages. Those who fall away are those who do not abide in Christ and thus do not walk in the Spirit. I want to pull all of that together in the next week or two going to John 15, Galatians 5 and Ephesians 4 because this is background to understanding what this writer in Hebrews is talking about. It just isn't as clearly understood and taught as much anymore as it was at one time. Those who fall away are the same group as those who don't abide in Christ in John 15 or those who don't walk by the Spirit Galatians 5. This can apply (those who fall away in Hebrew 6) to immature believers who spend most of their time out of fellowship because they may never get it quite kicked into gear and start to abide or walk. Or it can refer to more mature believers who reverse course in their spiritual growth, go into carnality, give up their Christian beliefs, give up in their struggle against the sin nature, the flesh, the devil the world and depart sound doctrine and give up on the biblical mechanics for spiritual growth. Therefore because they give that all up it is virtually impossible to renew them again to a change because they have just given up. Like the prodigal son, they decided to go wallow with pigs and not live in the light of the royal family that they belong to. 

 

This is something that is so lost today. Spiritual growth is not based on morality.

 

I was talking the other day. In fact I think it was a young pastor. 

 

I said, "People have to understand that spirituality is not the same thing as morality."

 

There are a lot of moral unbelievers. That is the essence of a lot of cults - Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons. It is all based on works. At one time I worked for a family who always liked to hire Jehovah Witnesses do carpentry work, plumbing and electrical work around the house because they are trying to earn their way to heaven so they always do a better job than anybody else. Everybody is trying to work their way to heaven. They are very moral, but that is not spirituality. It is not that spirituality is immoral; it is just that they are different. Morality is a category that can apply to a believer or unbeliever. But spirituality applies to the dynamics of the life of the Christian based on the power of God the Holy Spirit. We have supernatural way of life that is empowered by the Third Person of the Trinity. That is the only way it can work. We can't do it on our own. We can't pull ourselves up by our boot-straps, which is what a lot of Christians do. You go to 98% of the churches in this city and you will get nice messages on Sunday morning that don't have anything wrong with them. 

 

You may sit there and say, "I listened to them and it didn't sound bad."

 

Well, what they were telling you is to go read your Bible, to go pray, to go witness and do all of these things that you know you are supposed to do. But they never teach you to do it in the power of the Holy Spirit. It is just human good because they don't have the mechanics of the Christian life down. They don't understand that you are either walking by the Spirit or walking by the flesh and that the flesh can produce a lot of good. You can read your Bible in the flesh. You can pray in the flesh. You can witness in the flesh. You can do all kinds of things for Jesus in the flesh. It doesn't last and it doesn't contribute to your spiritual life. It doesn't have any eternal value. It is just wood, hay and straw. What is the solution? As we go through this we realize that the parallel admonition in terms of renewing people and challenging them is indicated in Hebrews 3:13 which we saw earlier. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 3:13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

 

This goes back to what I was saying earlier that adding the phrase that "it is impossible for us to renew them again to repentance" because in the application of the principle of Hebrews 3:13 where we are to encourage one another daily sometimes that doesn't work. But with God all things are possible. God may permit us to press on (6:3) to the high ground of spiritual maturity.

 

Five key principles

 

1.  No sin is unknown by the omniscience of God.  God's omniscience knows every single sin you and I will ever commit at any time. We never surprise God. We never shock God. You may surprise yourself. You may shock your spouse. You may scare your children, but it doesn't surprise, shock or scare God. He knew about it in eternity past. 

2.  Therefore no sin is overlooked by the justice of God. When Jesus Christ died on the cross He could pay the price for every sin because God the Father knew every sin. When He wrote the indictment and the list of debts that He nailed to the cross it has got every one there.  He didn't miss one. You are not going to wake up tomorrow and commit some sin and oops, God forgot to put it there.

3.  No sin is too bad for the grace of God. Every sin is equally bad in terms of its violation of God's righteous standard. 

There is no sin that is any worse.  It is interesting if you study the history of different cultures that everybody has their set of bad sins. You look at the history of America. You go back to the 1700's and ask people what they thought were the worst things they could do. They would come up with their list. Get into the 1800's and the number one sin in some areas of the country was to own a slave. If you owned a slave you couldn't be spiritual. You couldn't have anything to do with God. That is the worst sin you commit. Then you get into the early 20th century and if you had evil demon rum cross your lips, then you couldn't commit a worse sin. I ran across a survey done years ago by Christianity Today which was done in 1950-1951 near the beginning of that publication. They did a survey and it was like 95% of Christians surveyed believed it was a sin to drink wine. In the early 80's they had the same survey. 95% of the Christians surveyed said it was not a sin to drink wine. That is a major shift. That is a 180 done by evangelicals in America. Either that or they went down to the local tavern the second time and interviewed all the Christians down there. It really was a shift. Culturally we define sin differently. You get into the early 21st century the great sin according to Michael Bloomberg is to smoke. He is committing $21 million of his personal fortune to fund a stop smoking campaign. Smoking is the big #1 or #2 evil sin. Every generation, every culture has their different nasty sins. These things are relative. That is the point I am making. You may think that smoking is not so bad. Maybe you can't wait to get out of here and have a good cigar. A person across the room thinks that if you light up a cigar you are going to hell. 

Everybody has their personal tastes and personal pleasures and trends of the sin nature. But for God all sin is equally evil. No sin is too bad for the grace of God to deal with. Grace is going to solve the problem.

4.  No sin is too strong for the omnipotence of God. 

5.  No sin is too harsh not be overcome by the love of God. The love of God is going to find a way to solve the sin problem. There are consequences to sin even in the life of the believer and even if you operate on grace there are consequences to sin. There are the natural consequences which come as a result of reaping what you sow. Then there are additional consequences that come from divine discipline. What we read here is an extremely serious warning that you can dabble in carnality to such a degree and start wallowing in the cesspool of your own sin to the point where God leaves you to your own negative volition to reap all the consequences you can right to the point of the sin unto death and there won't be a recovery. It is not that He can't. It's not that you can't; it is that you won't. You get to a point-of-no-return and apart from the grace of God and apart from God permitting, there will not be a recovery. 

That is the point. That is why this is a warning. It is serious. Believers have to pay attention to this - not to take their spiritual life lightly. 

 

Now let's go on to the rest of the verse. This group of believers who have fallen away – it is impossible to renew them again for a reason. What we have here is not a strong causal statement. We have two participles, anastaurao and paradeigmatizo. These two participles are causal participles. They express why it is impossible to renew them again to repentance - because they crucify again for themselves. Pure arrogance! They have gotten out of fellowship. Once you are out of fellowship operating on the sin nature, it is all about me. It is not about God. It is all arrogance. You get into the full function of the arrogance skills – self absorption, self indulgence, self deception, self deification and self justification. All of those things work together. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 6:6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.

 

Or disgrace Him. I wouldn't separate the two. Those two participle link together.

 

Literal Translation:  With reference to themselves they crucify again and publicly disgrace the Son of God.

 

Now what does that mean? What that means is that because of the fact that they have turned their back on this grace salvation that is theirs in Jesus Christ and they have gone back to realign themselves with the Pharisees who nailed Him to the cross and aligned with those who crucified Jesus that they are in essence re-crucifying Jesus by their very actions – not that they are going back and nailing Him to the cross, but they are committing the same act that the Pharisees committed when they rejected the offer of salvation and nailed Him to the cross. So what they are doing by rejecting Him and publicly leaving the Christian community and going back to Judaism, is the same kind of act that caused the crucifixion to begin with – the rejection of Jesus' claims to be the Messiah. It is disgraceful and an embarrassment to the cause of Christ. It should embarrass them. That is what he is saying here at the end of this passage.   

 

Then we get an illustration. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 6:7 For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God;

 

NKJ Hebrews 6:8 but if it bears thorns and briars, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.

 

This is clearly an illustration of judgment. What kind of judgment is this? The key to understand this is that first word "for". It is telling us what went before. If what went before relates to believers, then this illustration of judgment and blessing relates to believers. This is not a judgment related to the Lake of Fire. So we are not going to talk about the Great White Throne Judgment here. It doesn't talk about the judgment at the end of the tribulation. It is related to both the Judgment Seat of Christ and temporal discipline, temporal judgment. This imagery of planting and fruit bearing and burning the crop are motifs that run through several metaphors used in the Scripture for the Christian life. Jesus when He talks about being divine in John 15, fruit production in Galatians 5, and burning back in John 15. So this is some important material that we need to go through to reinforce our understanding of the mechanics for the Christian life and how these things all fit together. We will crank into these things next week.