1 Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do, if God permits. 4 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, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. 7 For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; 8 but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.
Verse 1 – Sin is dead works, thus foundation of repentance is laid through dead works which is sin. Repentance is turning away from sin, constantly sinning and then repenting would be laying a foundation of repentance. Maturity is not laying a foundation of repentance from dead works or sin but rather always doing living works or the will of God which is not sin.
Verse 3 – God permits NOT laying down a foundation of repentance, in other words God does NOT permit sin but rather human will does.
Verse 4 – Now the author of Hebrews to his audience all of a sudden casts a hypothetical, a whole new context to stay within is created. We have to read couched in the metaphor drawn about those who have ONCE been enlightened in full knowledge of Christ.
Verse 5 – Lists other elements of being enlightened.
Verse 6 – THEN the enlightened ones fall away and it becomes impossible to renew them AGAIN to repentance because they again have to crucify Christ to themselves or within their own mind. It has to be in their mind because it is impossible to crucify Christ AGAIN, it is the very thing or reality that the enlightened ones are attempting to deny. The enlightened ones deny reality, fall away, and have to accept that reality again but of course cannot according to the hypothetical. To accept that reality again, the enlightened ones have to crucify Christ again which is impossible to do and is why the author of Hebrews is sure to say “to themselves”. Since the hypothetical dictates that the crucifixion again of Christ (not the one in history) is in their mind or “to themselves”, this seems to solve the problem of the enlightened ones not being able to come back into repentance. All they do is accept the crucifixion to themselves within their mind rather than the actual crucifixion in history that they should be assumed to have denied. It is by crucifying Christ according to their mind rather than having faith through the actual/literal event in history that allows the enlightened ones to crucify Christ “to themselves” and put Him to shame.
Some important exegetical elements show themselves, which are;
- The point is about the hypothetical enlightened ones, not any Christian ever.
- The point is to show the absurdity of the enlightened ones position after denying the reality of the crucifixion.
- The enlightened ones do not accept the REAL crucifixion after falling away.
- To sin is to fall away. To maintain a relationship with God is to repent from sin. This is ONLY possible if you recognize the actual reality of the crucifixion.
- The point isn’t that you can lose your salvation, but rather to highlight the impossibility of the enlightened ones to deny reality and come back to repentance.
Christ + crucifixion = enlightened ones
After denying reality of Christ and the crucifixion however the enlightened ones use their own mind, and thus the equation turns into…
Enlightened ones mind + crucifixion = enlightened ones fallen away
You cannot fall away once truly saved by accepting reality. Those who say that it is impossible to come to Christ again after falling away according to Hebrews 6:1-8 specifically are right. But only if this stance is formed within the context of the hypothetical, not in the context of the audience being given that hypothetical. In other words the enlightened ones are not able to be saved again, after denying the reality of Christ even though they once knew it, because they are trying to save themselves again by their own mind.