“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, 2 of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do if God permits. 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, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 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. 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; 8 but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned” (NKJV).
I know; it seems that I am stuck. I promise you I am not. All too often, the desire to get to the end of a text overrides the need to get to the correct end of the text. We have been talking about spiritual maturity over the past few weeks, and this is a very important topic. As we get closer and closer to the return of Jesus, the world will become harder and harder for those of us that love the Lord. It is the maturity that we have in Jesus that will sustain us and help us to get through these troublesome times. One of the most important things to be sure of is to whom you belong. Am I sure, based on the Bible, that I am a child of God? The writer of Hebrews helps us out here. He deals with the topic of the security of the believer. This is a necessary topic because the very foundation of all we have in Jesus is about the eternal, specifically eternal life. Do you and I have that?
- It is Impossible, verse 4
Impossible — What we are about to explore is impossible, and as such, it offers a real sense of the ramifications in both the negative and the positive. Let us look at the negative first.
In verse 6, we can complete the sentence using the phrase from verse 4. It is impossible for those if they fall away to renew them to repentance. If you and I could fall away, walk away from Jesus, walk away from the faith, and abandon the cause, we could not be redeemed again. We would be lost forever without hope, and Hell would be our sole destination once we die.
In Luke 24:54-62, Peter denies knowing Jesus to his face. Read verse 61 for yourself. As we enter John 21:1, Peter is abandoning the ministry; he is going back to fishing for fish. He is leading some of the other apostles with him, and Jesus comes and restores him. Peter fell away and was leading others to walk away as well. Yet, Jesus came and restored him, not only as an Apostle but as the leader of the new local church there in Jerusalem. But wait a minute; this is impossible according to the text above. Peter fell away, he walked away, and so he cannot ever be restored. There is no hope for him. The scriptures beg to differ. Thus, we will need to take another look at what is impossible in the text.
- The Falling away, verse 6
This is the impossible. You and I who are saved and redeemed by the blood of Jesus cannot fall away. We are held by Jesus, who is held by God, and thus we have double security. In John 10: 28-29, we have these words of security,
“And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand” (NKJV).
No one can ‘snatch’ us out of Jesus’ hands. Those that believe, put their faith and trust in Him, have eternal life and cannot stop having eternal life. Notice in verse 28, we are ‘given’ eternal life; it is not earned, nor do we get it on our own. We are ‘given’ it by Jesus the moment we are saved. It is a gift from God; as such, we did not work to gain it, and we are not able to sustain it. God does. In Isaiah 49:16, we see this verse,
“See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me” (NKJV).
God has inscribed our names on His hand; this is a sign of permanency. The custom was that women would engrave the names of their loved ones who went to war so they would not forget them. God is promising never to forget us; never to forget our names. Once we have been born again (John 3:3), we cannot be unborn. Nicodemus pointed this out; one cannot return to his mother’s womb. You cannot return to being unsaved once you are saved. You cannot fall away. You can sin, you can even forget that you are saved, but God cannot forget you. In 2 Peter 1: 8-9, we see this warning,
“For if you possess these qualities and continue to grow in them, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever lacks these traits is nearsighted to the point of blindness, having forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins” (Berean Study Bible).
If you grow in Christ, that is awesome, but if you do not, it is as if you have forgotten that you were saved. But that does not change the fact that you have been ‘cleansed.’ You may be a stunted child of God, but you are a child of God, and that is impossible to change once you have it.
This kind of sure footing is the basis for true growth into the image of Jesus. We can see from the previous scripture that some can live like they are not saved, but they are. You and I should endeavor to live like Jesus and build on the eternal life we have in Jesus, build on the security we have in Jesus, from Jesus, and by Jesus. Come and let us mature in Jesus together and be prepared for the times ahead.
God bless you,
Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church
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