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Hebrews Chapter Six


Hebrews 6

Now the Spirit will not stop at this point with Christians, but will go on to that full revelation of His glory which belongs to them that are of full age and indeed forms us for that state.

We easily perceive that the inspired writer tries to make the Hebrews feel that he was;acing them on higher and more excellent ground, by connecting them with a heavenly and invisible Christ; and that Judaism kept them back in the position of children. This moreover characterises the whole epistle.

Nevertheless we shall find two things here: on the one hand, the elements and the character of doctrine that belonged to infancy, to "the beginning of the word of Christ," in contrast with the strength and heavenly savour that accompanied the Christian revelation; and, on the other hand, what the revelation of Christ Himself is in connection with this last spiritual and Christian system.

But the epistle distinguishes between this system and the doctrine of the Person of Christ, [1], although the present position of Christ gives its character to the Christian system. The distinction is made-not that the condition of souls does not depend on the measure of the revelation of Christ and of the position He has taken, but-because the doctrine of His Person and glory goes much farther than the present state of our relationship with God.

The things spoken of in chapter 6:1,2 had their place, because the Messiah was then yet to come: all was in a state of infancy. The things spoken of in verses 4,5 are the privileges that Christians enjoyed in virtue of the work and the glorification of the Messiah. But they are not in themselves the 'perfection" mentioned in verse 1, and which relates rather to the knowledge of the Person of Christ Himself. The privileges in question were the effect of the glorious position of His Person in heaven.

It is important to attend to this, in order to understand these passages. In the infancy spoken of in verses 1, 2, the obscurity of the revelations of the Messiah, announced at most by promises and prophecies, left worshipers under the yoke of ceremonies and figures, although in possession of some fundamental truths. His exaltation made way for the power of the Holy Ghost here below: and on this the responsibility of souls which had tasted it depended.

The doctrine of the Person and the glory of Jesus forms the subject of revelation in the epistle, and was the means of deliverance for the Jews from the whole system which had been such a heavy burden on their hearts; it should prevent their forsaking the state described in verses 4 and 5, in order to return into the weakness and (Christ having come) the carnal state of verse 1 and 2.

The epistle then does not desire to establish again the true but elementary doctrines which belonged to the times when Christ was not manifested, but to go forward to the full revelation of His glory and position according to the counsels of God revealed in the word.

The Holy Ghost would not go back again to these former things, because new things had been brought in in connection with the heavenly glory of the Messiah, namely, Christianity characterised by the power of the Holy Ghost.

But if any one who had been brought under that power, who had known it, should afterwards abandon it, he could not be renewed again to repentance. The former things of Judaism must be, and were, left behind by that into which he had entered. Christians could not deal with souls by them; and, as for the new things, he had given them up. All God's means had been employed for him and had produced nothing.

Such a one-of his own will-crucified for himself the Son of God. Associated with the people who had done so, he had acknowledged the sin which his people had committed, and owned Jesus to be the Messiah. But now he committed the crime, [2] knowingly and of his own will. The judgment, the resurrection of the dead, repentance from dead works, had been taught. Under that order of things the nation had crucified their Messiah. Now power had come; which testified of the glorification of the crucified Messiah, the Son of God, in heaven; and which by miracles destroyed (at least in detail) the power of the enemy who was still reigning over the world. These miracles were a partial anticipation of the full and glorious deliverance which should take place in the world to come, when the triumphant Messiah, the Son of God, should entirely destroy all the power of the enemy. Hence they are called the "powers of the world to come."

The power of the Holy Ghost, the miracles wrought in the bosom of Christianity, were testimonies that the power which was to accomplish that deliverance-although still hidden in heaven-existed nevertheless in the glorious Person of the Son of God. The power did not yet accomplish the deliverance of this world oppressed by Satan, because another thing was being done meanwhile. The light of God was shining, the good word of grace was being preached, the heavenly gift (a better thing than the deliverance of the world) was being tasted; and the sensible power of the Holy Ghost made itself known, while waiting for the return in glory of the Messiah to bind Satan, and thus accomplish the deliverance of the world under His dominion.

Speaking generally, the power of the Holy Ghost, the consequence of the Messiah's being glorified above, was exercised on earth as a present manifestation and anticipation of the great deliverance to come. The revelation of grace, the good word of God, was preached; and the Christian lived in the sphere where these things displayed themselves, and was subjected to the influence exercised in it. This made itself to be felt by those who were brought in among Christians. Even where there was no spiritual life, these influences were felt.

But, after having been the subject of this influence of the presence of the Holy Ghost, after having tasted the revelation thus made of the goodness of God, and experienced the proofs of His power, if any one then forsook Christ, there remained no other means for restoring the soul, for leading it to repentance. The heavenly treasures were already expended: he had given them up as worthless; he had rejected the full revelation of grace and power, after having known it. What means could now be used? To return to Judaism, and the first principles of the doctrine of Christ in it, when the truth had been revealed, was impossible: and the new light had been known and rejected. In a case like this there was only the flesh; there was no new life. Thorns and briars were being produced as before. There was no real change in the man's state.

When once we have understood that this passage is a comparison of the power of the spiritual system with Judaism, and that it speaks of giving up the former, after having known it, its difficulty disappears. The possession of life is not supposed, nor is that question touched. The passage speaks, not of life, but of the Holy Ghost as a power present in Christianity. To "taste the good word" is to have understood how precious that word is; and not the having been quickened by its means. [3] Hence in speaking to the Jewish Christians he hopes better things and things which accompany salvation, so that these things could be there and yet no salvation. Fruit there could not be. That supposes life.

The apostle does not however apply what he says to the Hebrew Christians: for, however low their state might be, there had been fruits, proofs of life, which in itself no mere power is; and he continues his discourse by giving them encouragement, and motives for perseverance.

It will be observed, then, that this passage is a comparison between that which was possessed before and after Christ was glorified-the state and privileges of professors, at these two periods, without any question as to personal conversion. When the power of the Holy Ghost was present, and there was the full revelation of grace, if any forsook the assembly, fell away from Christ, and turned back again, there was no means of renewing them to repentance. The inspired writer therefore would not again lay the foundation of former things with regard to Christ-things already grown old-but would go on, for the profit of those who remained steadfast in the faith.

We may also remark how the epistle, in speaking of Christian privileges, does not lose sight of the future earthly state, the glory and the privileges of the millennial world. The miracles are the miracles of the world to come; they belong to that period. The deliverance and the destruction of Satan's power should then be complete; those miracles were deliverances, samples of that power. We saw this point brought into notice (chap. 2:5) at the beginning of the doctrine of the epistle; and in chapter 4 the rest of God left vague in its character, in order to embrace both the heavenly part and the earthly part of our Lord's millennial reign. Here the present power of the Holy Ghost characterises the ways of God, Christianity; but the miracles are a foretaste of the coming age, in which the whole world will be blessed.

In the encouragements that it gives them, the epistle already calls to mind the principles by which the father of the faithful and of the Jewish nation had walked, and the way in which God had strengthened him in his faith. Abraham had to rest on promises, without possessing that which was promised; and this, with regard to rest and glory, was the state in which the Hebrew Christians then were. But at the same time, in order to give full assurance to the heart, God had confirmed His word by an oath, in order that they who build upon this hope of promised glory might have strong and satisfying consolation. And this assurance has received a still greater confirmation. It entered into that within the veil, it found its sanction in the sanctuary itself, whither a forerunner had entered, giving not only a word, and oath, but a personal guarantee for the fulfillment of these promises, and the sanctuary of God as a refuge for the heart; thus giving, for those who had spiritual understanding, a heavenly character to the hope which they cherished; while shewing, by the character of Him who had entered into heaven, the certain fulfillment of all the Old Testament promises, in connection with a heavenly Mediator, who, by His position, assured that fulfillment; establishing the earthly blessing upon the firm foundation of heaven itself, and giving at the same time a higher and more excellent character to that blessing by uniting it to heaven, and making it flow from thence.

We have thus the double character of blessing which this book again presents to our mind, in connection with the Person of the Messiah, and the whole linked by faith with Jesus.

Jesus has entered into heaven as a Forerunner. He is there. We belong to that heaven. He is there as High Priest. During the present time therefore His priesthood has a heavenly character; nevertheless He is priest, personally, after the order of Melchizedec. It sets aside then the whole Aaronic order, though the priesthood be exercised now after the analogy of Aaron's but, by its nature points out in the future a royalty which is not yet manifested. Now the very fact that this future royalty was connected with the Person of Him who was seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high, according to Psalm 110 fixed the attention of the Hebrew Christian, when tempted to turn back, on Him who was in the heavens, and made him understand the priesthood which the Lord is now exercising; it delivered him from Judaism, and strengthened him in the heavenly character of the Christianity which he had embraced.


[1] The Sonship of Christ however, here below, cannot be separated from His eternal Sonship, for this lends its character to the relationship in which He stands as Son on earth in time. The passage in the text refers to verses 5 and 8, compared with 6 and 10 of chapter 5. Compare also the beginning of John 17.

[2] I do not think "afresh" ought to be inserted: the emphasis is on doing it for himself.

[3] So in Matthew 13 some with joy receive it, but there was no root.

── John DarbySynopsis of Hebrews


Hebrews 6

Chapter Contents

The Hebrews are urged to go forward in the doctrine of Christ, and the consequences of apostacy, or turning back, are described. (1-8) The apostle expresses satisfaction, as to the most of them. (9,10) And encourages them to persevere in faith and holiness. (11-20)

Commentary on Hebrews 6:1-8

(Read Hebrews 6:1-8)

Every part of the truth and will of God should be set before all who profess the gospel, and be urged on their hearts and consciences. We should not be always speaking about outward things; these have their places and use, but often take up too much attention and time, which might be better employed. The humbled sinner who pleads guilty, and cries for mercy, can have no ground from this passage to be discouraged, whatever his conscience may accuse him of. Nor does it prove that any one who is made a new creature in Christ, ever becomes a final apostate from him. The apostle is not speaking of the falling away of mere professors, never convinced or influenced by the gospel. Such have nothing to fall away from, but an empty name, or hypocritical profession. Neither is he speaking of partial declinings or backslidings. Nor are such sins meant, as Christians fall into through the strength of temptations, or the power of some worldly or fleshly lust. But the falling away here mentioned, is an open and avowed renouncing of Christ, from enmity of heart against him, his cause, and people, by men approving in their minds the deeds of his murderers, and all this after they have received the knowledge of the truth, and tasted some of its comforts. Of these it is said, that it is impossible to renew them again unto repentance. Not because the blood of Christ is not sufficient to obtain pardon for this sin; but this sin, in its very nature, is opposite to repentance and every thing that leads to it. If those who through mistaken views of this passage, as well as of their own case, fear that there is no mercy for them, would attend to the account given of the nature of this sin, that it is a total and a willing renouncing of Christ, and his cause, and joining with his enemies, it would relieve them from wrong fears. We should ourselves beware, and caution others, of every approach near to a gulf so awful as apostacy; yet in doing this we should keep close to the word of God, and be careful not to wound and terrify the weak, or discourage the fallen and penitent. Believers not only taste of the word of God, but they drink it in. And this fruitful field or garden receives the blessing. But the merely nominal Christian, continuing unfruitful under the means of grace, or producing nothing but deceit and selfishness, was near the awful state above described; and everlasting misery was the end reserved for him. Let us watch with humble caution and prayer as to ourselves.

Commentary on Hebrews 6:9,10

(Read Hebrews 6:9,10)

There are things that are never separated from salvation; things that show the person to be in a state of salvation, and which will end in eternal salvation. And the things that accompany salvation, are better things than ever any dissembler or apostate enjoyed. The works of love, done for the glory of Christ, or done to his saints for Christ's sake, from time to time, as God gives occasion, are evident marks of a man's salvation; and more sure tokens of saving grace given, than the enlightenings and tastings spoken of before. No love is to be reckoned as love, but working love; and no works are right works, which flow not from love to Christ.

Commentary on Hebrews 6:11-20

(Read Hebrews 6:11-20)

The hope here meant, is a sure looking for good things promised, through those promises, with love, desire, and valuing of them. Hope has its degrees, as faith also. The promise of blessedness God has made to believers, is from God's eternal purpose, settled between the eternal Father, Son, and Spirit. These promises of God may safely be depended upon; for here we have two things which cannot change, the counsel and the oath of God, in which it is not possible for God to lie; it would be contrary to his nature as well as to his will. And as He cannot lie; the destruction of the unbeliever, and the salvation of the believer, are alike certain. Here observe, those to whom God has given full security of happiness, have a title to the promises by inheritance. The consolations of God are strong enough to support his people under their heaviest trials. Here is a refuge for all sinners who flee to the mercy of God, through the redemption of Christ, according to the covenant of grace, laying aside all other confidences. We are in this world as a ship at sea, tossed up and down, and in danger of being cast away. We need an anchor to keep us sure and steady. Gospel hope is our anchor in the storms of this world. It is sure and stedfast, or it could not keep us so. The free grace of God, the merits and mediation of Christ, and the powerful influences of his Spirit, are the grounds of this hope, and so it is a stedfast hope. Christ is the object and ground of the believer's hope. Let us therefore set our affections on things above, and wait patiently for his appearance, when we shall certainly appear with him in glory.

── Matthew HenryConcise Commentary on Hebrews


Hebrews 6

Verse 1

[1] Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ — That is, saying no more of them for the present.

Let us go on to perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works — From open sins, the very first thing to be insisted on.

And faith in God — The very next point. So St. Paul in his very first sermon at Lystra, Acts 14:15, "Turn from those vanities unto the living God." And when they believed, they were to be baptized with the baptism, not of the Jews, or of John, but of Christ. The next thing was, to lay hands upon them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: after which they were more fully instructed, touching the resurrection, and the general judgment; called eternal, because the sentence then pronounced is irreversible, and the effects of it remain for ever.

Verse 3

[3] And this will we do, if God permit.

And this we will do — We will go on to perfection; and so much the more diligently, because,

Verse 4

[4] For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,

It is impossible for those who were once enlightened — With the light of the glorious love of God in Christ.

And have tasted the heavenly gift — Remission of sins, sweeter than honey and the honeycomb.

And been made partakers of the Holy Ghost — Of the witness and the fruit of he Spirit.

Verse 5

[5] And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,

And have tasted the good word of God — Have had a relish for, and a delight in it.

And the powers of the world to come — Which every one tastes, who has an hope full of immortality. Every child that is naturally born, first sees the light, then receives and tastes proper nourishment, and partakes of the things of this world. In like manner, the apostle, comparing spiritual with natural things, speaks of one born of the Spirit, as seeing the light, tasting the sweetness, and partaking of the things "of the world to come."

Verse 6

[6] If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

And have fallen away — Here is not a supposition, but a plain relation of fact. The apostle here describes the case of those who have cast away both the power and the form of godliness; who have lost both their faith, hope, and love, Hebrews 6:10, etc., and that wilfully, Hebrews 10:26. Of these wilful total apostates he declares, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance. (though they were renewed once,) either to the foundation, or anything built thereon.

Seeing they crucify the Son of God afresh — They use him with the utmost indignity.

And put him to an open shame — Causing his glorious name to be blasphemed.

Verse 8

[8] But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.

That which beareth thorns and briers — Only or chiefly.

Is rejected — No more labour is bestowed upon it.

Whose end is to be burned — As Jerusalem was shortly after.

Verse 9

[9] But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.

But, beloved — in this one place he calls them so. he never uses this appellation, but in exhorting.

We are persuaded of you things that accompany salvation — We are persuaded you are now saved from your sins; and that ye have that faith, love, and holiness, which lead to final salvation.

Though we thus speak — To warn you, lest you should fall from your present steadfastness.

Verse 10

[10] For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

For — Ye give plain proof of your faith and love, which the righteous God will surely reward.

Verse 11

[11] And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:

But we desire you may show the same diligence unto the end — And therefore we thus speak.

To the full assurance of hope — Which you cannot expect, if you abate your diligence. The full assurance of faith relates to present pardon; the full assurance of hope, to future glory. The former is the highest degree of divine evidence that God is reconciled to me in the Son of his love; the latter is the same degree of divine evidence (wrought in the soul by the same immediate inspiration of the Holy Ghost) of persevering grace, and of eternal glory. So much, and no more, as faith every moment "beholds with open face," so much does hope see to all eternity But this assurance of faith and hope is not an opinion, not a bare construction of scripture, but is given immediately by the power of the Holy Ghost; and what none can have for another, but for himself only.

Verse 12

[12] That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Inherited the promises — The promised rest; paradise.

Verse 13

[13] For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,

For — Ye have abundant encouragement, seeing no stronger promise could be made than that great promise which God made to Abraham, and in him to us.

Verse 14

[14] Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.

Genesis 22:17.

Verse 15

[15] And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.

After he had waited — Thirty years.

He obtained the promise — Isaac, the pledge of all the promises.

Verse 16

[16] For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife.

Men generally swear by him who is infinitely greater than themselves, and an oath for confirmation, to confirm what is promised or asserted, usually puts an end to all contradiction. This shows that an oath taken in a religious manner is lawful even under the gospel: otherwise the apostle would never have mentioned it with so much honour, as a proper means to confirm the truth

Verse 17

[17] Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:

God interposed by an oath — Amazing condescension! He who is greatest of all acts as if he were a middle person; as if while he swears, he were less than himself, by whom he swears! Thou that hearest the promise, dost thou not yet believe?

Verse 18

[18] That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:

That by two unchangeable things — His promise and his oath, in either, much more in both of which, it was impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation - Swallowing up all doubt and fear.

Who have fled — After having been tossed by many storms.

To lay hold on the hope set before us — On Christ, the object of our hope, and the glory we hope for through him.

Verse 19

[19] Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;

Which hope in Christ we have as an anchor of the soul — Entering into heaven itself, and fixed there.

Within the veil — Thus he slides back to the priesthood of Christ.

Verse 20

[20] Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

A forerunner uses to be less in dignity than those that are to follow him. But it is not so here; for Christ who is gone before us is infinitely superior to us. What an honour is it to believers, to have so glorious a forerunner, now appearing in the presence of God for them.

── John WesleyExplanatory Notes on Hebrews


Chapter 6. An Anchor for the Soul

Pursue with All Efforts
Go on to Maturity

I. Leave the Elementary Teachings

  1. Repentance and Faith
  2. Baptisms and the Laying on of Hands
  3. Resurrection and Judgment

II. Danger of Non-progress

  1. On the Verge of Salvation
  2. In Danger of Being Cursed
  3. Don't Be Lazy

III. take Hold of the Hope

  1. One Model
  2. Two Confirmations
  3. Three Parables

── Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament

The Peril Of Not Progressing (6:1-8)
1. The normal Christian life is to be one of spiritual growth and 
   a. Starting as "babes in Christ", we feed on the "milk" of the Word
   b. As our spiritual senses are exercised to discern good and evil, 
      we are then able to progress to "solid food" (meat)
   -- In this way we are to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our 
      Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." - 2 Pe 3:18
2. But as we saw in a previous lesson ("Marks Of Spiritual
   Immaturity"), not all grow as they should, and some of the 
   indications of immaturity are:
   a. Dullness of hearing
   b. Inability to teach others
   c. Diet of "milk" only
   d. Inability to discern good and evil - cf. He 5:11-14
3. But if we don't grow spiritually as we should, so what?
   a. Is spiritual growth really that essential?
   b. Is there a "danger" involved in not progressing spiritually?
[In the text before us (He 6:1-8), we find that indeed there is "The
Peril Of Not Progressing"; that it is possible for Christians to find
themselves in a very precarious situation.  
As we examine this passage, we note first...]
      1. Maturity in religious knowledge, as a MEANS - 1 Pe 2:2; Ja 
         a. We need the Word of God, that we may grow thereby
         b. By receiving the Word with humility into our hearts, it can
            save our souls
      2. Full development of spiritual life, as an ENDS - 2 Pe 1:5-8
         a. To faith and knowledge, we must add the qualities of godly
         b. As we develop this godly character, we truly come to know
            the Lord
      1. Our text reveals that this involves teaching on such subjects
         a. "Repentance from dead works"
            1) I.e., turning from works which produce spiritual death,
               not life
            2) Paul describes such works in Ep 2:1-3; Ro 6:21
         b. "Faith toward God"
            1) I.e., that trusting conviction in God and His promises
               that is essential to pleasing Him - cf. He 11:6
            2) This faith is produced by the Word of God itself - cf. 
               Ro 10:17; Jn 20:30-31
         c. "The doctrine of baptisms"
            1) In the first century A.D., there were many ritual 
               washings practiced by various sects of the pagans and
               a) Such practices needed to be carefully distinguished 
                  from Christian baptism
               b) Just as John's baptism was distinguished from baptism
                  into Christ - cf. Ac 19:1-5
            2) Today, it is important to understand the different kinds
               of baptisms practiced...
               a) Nearly all "Christian" religions practice some sort 
                  of baptism
               b) But most do not baptize for the reasons stated in the
                  Scriptures - cf. Ac 2:38; 22:16; Ro 6:1-6
         d. "Laying on of hands"
            1) In the early church, this was done for various reasons:
               a) By Jesus, and others with the gift of healing, to 
                  heal the sick - Lk 4:40; Mk 16:18; Ac 28:8
               b) By Jesus, to bestow special blessings upon others 
                  - Mk 10:16; Mt 19:13-15
               c) By the apostles, to impart the Spirit in a miraculous
                  measure - Ac 8:14-25; 19:1-7; 2 Ti 1:6
               d) By church leaders, to appoint different ones for 
                  service - Ac 6:1-6; 13:1-3; 1 Ti 4:14; 5:22
            2) Note that the laying on of hands was often accompanied 
               with prayer; perhaps the imposition of hands being the
               outward symbol of the prayer (Lightfoot)
         e. "Resurrection of the dead"
            1) A central theme of apostolic preaching was the 
               resurrection of Jesus - Ac 2:31-32; 10:40; 13:33
            2) They also preached in Jesus our own resurrection, which
               is our precious hope! - Ac 4:2; 24:15; 1 Co 15:12-23
         f. "Eternal judgment"
            1) Another theme of apostolic preaching - cf. Ac 17:30-31;
            2) Also stressed in their epistles - cf. Ro 2:16; 14:10-12;
               2 Co 5:10
      2. Understanding these concepts serves as the "beginning" of 
         spiritual growth!
         a. Sadly, some who have been Christians for years still "need 
            someone to teach you again the first principles of the 
            oracles of God;"
         b. Such people are still "babes" who "need milk and not solid
            food." - He 5:12
      1. Once we have laid the foundation, we need to build on it
      2. With an understanding of the doctrines previously described,
         we are ready to receive more difficult knowledge
         a. Such as the high priesthood of Christ - cf. He 5:9-11
         b. We might also add the work of Christ as our "King of kings
             and Lord of lords", as depicted in the book of Revelation
      3. By comprehending the "meatier" parts of the Word of God, we 
         are more likely to remain steadfast in our faith
      -- And so we need the attitude of striving toward perfection as
         described by Paul - Ph 3:7-15
[Is this our attitude?  It should be, for as we continue to read in our
text, there is...]
      1. They "were once enlightened"
         a. This likely refers to their conversion - cf. He 10:32
         b. By the second century, the word "enlightenment" was used as
            a synonym for baptism (Justin, Apology, 1.61.65)
         c. The Peshitta Syriac translates the verse, "who have once
            descended to baptism" (Lightfoot)
      2. They "have tasted of the heavenly gift"
         a. The word "taste" suggests a deep personal experience - cf.
            1 Pe 2:3; Ps 34:8
         b. Their tasting the "heavenly gift" refers back to the past
            experience of salvation...
            1) In which they experienced the forgiveness of sins
            2) In which they began to receive the spiritual blessings
               of being in Christ
         c. The clause "describes vividly the reality of personal
            experiences of salvation enjoyed by Christians at
            conversion (baptism)." (Behm, TDNT, I, 676)
      3. They "have become partakers of the Holy Spirit"
         a. This also refers back to their conversion - Ac 2:38; 5:32
         b. The word "partakers" (metochous) is significant...
            1) Christians are "partakers (metochoi) of the heavenly 
               calling" - He 3:1
            2) They are "partakers (metochoi) of Christ" - He 3:14
            -- So they are also partakers in the Holy Spirit! 
      4. They "have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the
         age to come"
         a. Again the word "tasted" suggests personal experience
         b. They had experienced the good things the word of God 
         c. They had experienced "the powers of the age to come"
            1) The "age to come" is likely the Messianic age, ushered
               in with the first coming of Christ, and consummated with
               His second coming (Lightfoot)
            2) The "powers of the age" they had experienced...
               a) Certainly included the "power" experienced by all 
                  Christians - cf. Ep 1:19; 3:20; 6:10
               b) But perhaps even "signs and wonders, with various 
                  miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit" - cf. He 2:4
      -- Can these be anyone other than true Christians who had once 
         believed in Jesus?
      1. It was now "impossible...to renew them again to repentance"
         a. It is apparent that Christians can "fall away"
            1) Paul warned that one can become "estranged from Christ" 
               and "fall from grace" - Ga 5:4
            2) Peter described those once saved whose "latter end is 
               worse than the beginning" - 2 Pe 2:20-22
         b. Here we learn that some can fall away to the point they are
            beyond rescue!
            1) We cannot say when a person reaches that point
            2) But there is a point where renewal becomes impossible!
      2. In such a state "they crucify again for themselves the Son of
         God and put Him to an open shame."
         a. This is not a Christian who sins out of weakness or 
         b. This is one who knowingly and openly rejects Christ 
            1) It is one whose heart has been so hardened by sin that 
               in unbelief they have departed from the living God - cf.
               He 3:12-13
            2) It is one who despises Jesus, His blood, and the Spirit
               of grace - cf. He 10:29
         c. It is one thing to "yield" to sin contrary to the new life
            in Christ, it is another thing to "abandon" that new life 
            altogether! (Lightfoot)
         -- But such can happen if we are not careful to "go on to 
      1. Like unproductive branches, they are "rejected...whose end is
         to be burned"
         a. Having received blessings from God, they should have 
            produced good fruit
         b. But instead they are like thorns and briars, taking 
            nourishment but not producing useful fruit in return - He
      2. With a similar illustration, Jesus warned His disciples! - Jn
         a. By abiding in Him, we are able to bear fruit to God's glory
         b. But if we do not bear fruit, we will be cut off and
1. From this stern passage, we learn some sobering truths...
   a. Receiving wonderful blessings from God does not preclude the 
      impossibility of apostasy
   b. For those who fall away to the point of casting off their faith,
      destruction awaits!
2. In view of such truths...
   a. "The Peril Of Not Progressing" is very real!
   b. We need to heed the exhortation:  "let us go on to perfection"
      1) We cannot be content with spiritual immaturity
      2) We must be diligent to "press on" in our spiritual growth
Does this mean we must live our Christian lives with insecurity 
regarding our salvation?  No, for as we will see in our next lesson
("The Basis For Spiritual Security"), there are things upon which we
can base our hope and trust for the future.  But the warnings in this
passage should be heeded!
Brethren, what are you doing with the blessings you have received in 


The Basis For Spiritual Security (6:9-20)
1. We have seen the author of "The Epistle To The Hebrews" express his
   concern for the initial recipients of this epistle...
   a. He makes mention of their spiritual immaturity - He 5:11-14
   b. He warns them of the peril of not progressing - He 6:1-8
2. While he writes in this way, he has great confidence for their 
   ultimate salvation...
   a. Though others had indeed fallen to the point where it was 
      "impossible...to renew them again to repentance..." - He 6:4-6
   b. Yet he could say of them, "we are confident of better things
      concerning you, yes, things which accompany salvation..." - He
3. What was it that gave the author confidence regarding his readers' 
   a. I.e., what was the basis for their spiritual security, when the 
      danger of apostasy had just been described in vivid detail?
   b. What can we glean from this passage that may help us understand
      the basis for our own spiritual security?
[There are three things mentioned in this section of scripture (He 6:
9-20), that gave the author his confidence.  The first of which is the
      1. He is very much aware of our service in the PAST ("in that you
         have ministered")
         a. Service that has been shown toward Him ("toward His name")
         b. Service that has been shown toward His servants ("to the 
      2. He is very much aware of our service in the PRESENT ("and do 
      1. In contrast to every sin which is "blotted out" and 
         "remembered no more" (cf. He 8:12), service rendered in love
         to God is not forgotten!
      2. We need not fear that God will not see or remember our efforts
         to be pleasing to Him
         a. God seeks to show Himself strong to those who are loyal to
            Him - cf. 2 Chr 16:9
         b. If He took note of Cornelius' desire to please Him in his 
            unsaved state, how much more will He take note of His 
            children's effort to serve Him! - cf. Ac 10:1-6
      -- Thus when we stumble, but repent of our sins, our labor of 
         love is remembered and our sins forgotten!
[Knowing that God sees and does not forget our service of love, both 
past and present, should help us feel spiritually secure. But note that
what He does not forget is our "work and labor of love", which implies
the need for...]
      1. That his readers' show the same diligence (earnestness) they
         had shown in the past
         a. Diligent regarding their assurance of hope
         b. Diligent until the end - cf. He 3:6,14
      2. That they do not become sluggish
         a. The word "sluggish" is from a Greek word meaning "dull"
         b. The same word as used in "dull of hearing" - cf. He 5:11
         -- They were already dull of hearing; his desire is they not
            become dull in conduct!
      3. That they have faith and patience
         a. Imitating "those who through faith and patience inherit the
         b. Such as Abraham, who is given as an example later - He 6:15
      1. Peter describes the need for diligence to "make your calling
         and election sure" - 2 Pe 1:5,10-11
      2. Jesus called upon His disciples to remain faithful if they 
         wished to "receive the crown of life" - Re 2:10
      3. Paul wrote that eternal life is for those "who by patient 
         continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor and 
         immortality" - Ro 2:7; cf. also He 10:36
[Only by developing such virtues as diligence, faith, and patience can
we rightfully have an assurance that we will one day "inherit the
promises". Without them, we become sluggish, and as such expose 
ourselves to the danger of apostasy.
To encourage us further, we note that another reason we can have
spiritual security is because...]
      1. God made a promise to Abraham - He 6:13-15
         a. In which He swore by Himself (because He could not swear by
            anyone higher)
         b. A promise which Abraham obtained after patient endurance 
            - cf. v.15 with v.12
      2. God confirmed His promise with an oath - He 6:16-18a
         a. For men, an oath confirms what they say, ending all dispute
         b. To assure us of the unchangeableness of His promise, God 
            also swore an oath
         c. This provided a double assurance that He would keep His 
            1) One, because it impossible for God to lie anyway - cf. 
               Ti 1:2
            2) Two, because of the oath by which He confirmed it
      -- How does this relate to our spiritual security?  Read on...
      1. It gives us "strong consolation" - He 6:18b-19b
         a. We who are seeking refuge
         b. We who need "an anchor of the soul, both sure and 
      2. This is especially true regarding our "hope", which is Jesus!
         - He 6:19b-20
         a. I understand Jesus to be the "hope" in this passage...
            1) For He is "our hope", to whom we can flee as a refuge 
               - cf. 1 Ti 1:1
            2) As such, He is our "anchor of the soul, both sure and
         b. As a forerunner, He has entered "the Presence behind the
            veil" (i.e., heaven)
         c. He has become "High Priest forever according to the order
            of Melchizedek"
            1) Even as God swore He would do - cf. Psa 110:4
            2) God not only promised, but He swore an oath, just like 
               He did for Abraham
         -- So He has kept His promise, providing us a superior High 
      3. Upon such an example of God's faithfulness, we can have an 
         assurance of our salvation as long as we continue to lay hold
         of the "hope" (Jesus) set before us
1. With a finely crafted argument, the author has returned his readers
   back to his original subject, which is Jesus as "a priest forever 
   according to the order of Melchizedek"
   a. Our spiritual security is first based upon the character of 
      1) Who is not unjust to forget our work and labor of love
      2) Who keeps His promises
   b. God has promised and swore with an oath concerning the priesthood
      of the Messiah
   c. This priesthood Jesus now has in heaven, and as such is the basis
      of our "hope"
   -- For which reason we should seek to learn what we can about the 
      priesthood of Jesus
2. Yet as wonderful are the character and promises of God, we are not 
   to take them for granted...
   a. We must be careful not to become sluggish
   b. We must be careful to be diligent, imitating the faith and
      patience of those like Abraham who obtained God's promise for
   -- Together with God's character and promises, this is "The Basis
      For Spiritual Security"
Have you fled to Jesus for refuge?  Is He your "hope", your "anchor of
the soul, both sure and steadfast"?  Is He your "High Priest"?  If so,
then let these words sink deep into your heart:
   "And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to 
   the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become
   sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit
   the promises." (He 6:11-12)
If you have not yet fled to Jesus for refuge, then please consider His
tender invitation:
   "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will 
   give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am
   gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
   For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Mt 11:28-30)


--《Executable Outlines


An anchor for the soul

Pursue with all efforts

Go on to maturity


I.  Leave the elementary teachings

1.    Repentance and faith

2.    Baptisms and the laying on of hands

3.    Resurrection and judgment

II.danger of non-progress

1.    on the verge of salvation

2.    In danger of being cursed

3.    Don’t be lazy

III.       Take hold of the hope

1.    One model

2.    Two confirmations

3.    Three parables

-- Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament