(Part of the Election, Sovereign Grace, Will, Salvation bible study group.)
"For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good Word of God and the powers of the world to come, and who have fallen away; it is impossible, I say, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify the Son of God afresh to themselves and put Him to an open shame."
Hebrews 6:4-6, is often cited as an objection to the validity of the belief in salvation by God's Sovereign Grace & Will, the Doctrine of Election.
Hebrews 6:4-6, if taken out of context, appears to support the claims of the believers in ' free will ' salvation. However, when viewed according to the entire context of the Apostle Paul's teachings and the Epistle (letter) it is found in, this objection is shown to be invalid.
Paul's overall teaching on Salvation:
The Apostle Paul proclaims the basis for his beliefs & teachings, in Galatians 1:11-12,
- - "And, brothers, I make known to you the gospel which was preached by me, that it is not according to man. For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it except by a revelation of Jesus Christ."
The validity of, and the basis for, Paul's teachings are unquestionable. Paul has much to say on the subject of salvation throughout his many teaching letters, Epistles. If you have viewed the Scriptural Basis for Election sections of this site you will have seen some of Paul's teaching concerning Sovereign Grace Salvation. Often, some make the mistake of focusing only on the verses they are citing, without considering the overall message and teachings of the author. Paul would not change his basic teaching to address different gatherings of believers. Paul's basic salvation message is crystal clear,
- - "For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. "
- - "But whom He predestinated, these He also called; and whom He called, those He also justified. And whom He justified, these He also glorified."
- - "-according as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, "
- - "For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
There are those who like to add, except one's self, at the end of Romans 8:39; but that is not what Paul wrote, or taught. Paul's basic, and inspired, salvation message is summed up in the above verses, although you will find many similar verses throughout his Epistles. (For a more in-depth study see Apostle Paul's Salvation Teaching)
The Context of the Epistle to the Hebrews:
What Paul presents in Hebrews 6:4-6 is a teaching exercise. Having finished with the basics, he now takes the group on to more advanced matters. These verses actually allude to Luke 8, the parable of the Sower & the Seed , this is confirmed by Heb 6:7-8. Paul expands upon Luke 8:14,
- - "And those which fell among thorns are the ones who, when they have heard, go forth and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of life, and do not bear to maturity."
Explaining why it is not possible for these people to be brought to repentance. They have heard and know the word; they know of the true believer's reward; they may have participated in baptism and the Lord's Supper; and they may even have had some outward gift, such as preaching, performing miracles, etc. But they never had God's gift of belief and truly followed Jesus Christ. This is verified by the following verses,
- - "Many will say to Me in that day, Lord! Lord! Did we not prophesy in Your name, and through Your name throw out demons, and through Your name do many wonderful works? And then I will say to them
I never knew you!
Depart from Me, those working lawlessness! "
- - "For also we have had the gospel preached, as well as them. But the Word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. "
When viewed in the overall context of scriptural teaching, this objection is not valid and is without merit. Therefore it has no bearing on the validity of the belief in salvation by God's Sovereign Grace & Will, also called the Doctrine of Election.
page updated 03/19/2011.