Serving Jesus in Our Community

Bible Notes

Hebrews 6:4-6 (13.03.24)

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Hebrews 6:4-6 (NIVUK)
4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. 

This is a scary passage. Does it mean that anyone who ever questions or loses their faith, even briefly, will be rejected by God? Two pieces of advice I’ve heard recently are helpful. The first is simply, if you’re worried about this, it doesn’t apply to you. This talks of something irreconcilable, a hardening of heart that can be softened, a final conclusion reached. If you’re still worried, your heart hasn’t reached that point. The other suggestion was from David on Sunday, the question of to whom the ‘impossible’ refers. Could it mean that it is impossible at that point for us to drag ourselves back to faith? This is quite different from saying that it is impossible for God to act, after all, isn’t this the heart of the Gospel: we are incapable of helping ourselves, which is why Jesus had to come. This passage, does, however, recognise that, hence talking of crucifying him again. The tricky theology here sits in the tension of a God who is desperate to welcome back, and does all he can to enable the return of, the Prodigal Son or Daughter whilst respecting the son or daughter who chooses to walk away.

Father, forgive us the times when we’ve judged others without truly knowing what is in their heart. Help us to gain a deeper understanding of yours, and to walk that tricky line of respecting others’ views, but also doing all we can to bring them into relationship with you – just as you have done (and so much more than we could) in Christ.

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