Friday, January 17, 2014

Hebrews Chapter 6...The Heart of the Matter

posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi.

I will be straight up honest with you.  Hebrews chapter six contains one of the most difficult passages to process in the New Testament.  There are some pretty awesome promises at the end of the chapter, but there is a gorilla in the living room that we must address first.

Of course, I'm talking about verses 4 - 6:

For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted in the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.

Suzanne's discussion of Chapter 6 lists four possible interpretations of that passage, and I would star the same one.

Let me explain why...

The author of Hebrews actually gave a clue to this argument back in chapter 2, verse 3:

how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?

And another in 3:12:

Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.

Note that the author is addressing BROTHERS, that is, folks who are active in the body of believers, clearly indicating that it is possible to be among those who believe and yet not be a true believer; having an evil, unbelieving heart...and the end of harboring an evil, unbelieving heart is to fall away, to reject what one has seemed to embrace.

Two verses in Psalms both state The fool says in his heart, "There is no God."...and I wrote a post about a year ago pointing out the difference between saying with one's mouth  and saying in one's heart. 

And, if one really and truly renounces faith in God after experiencing the fellowship of those who believe, after attending Bible studies and being an eye witness of God's work in those around him...what is left for him?  Where will he go to find forgiveness and redemption?  Having rejected the sacrifice of the Son of God Himself, what hope has this person of ever finding a superior truth or more sure way?

There is none.

And the Bible is clear that there is a point of no return, a place of such hardened rebellion that God's Spirit will withdraw and allow the person to continue on the chosen path.  As C.S. Lewis said, 'All who chose death receive it.'

But neither you nor I can identify that point in another's life. So long as a single spark of desire for God exists in a heart, that heart has not fully rejected God.  In fact, the author of Hebrews goes on to state

Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things -- things that belong to salvation. 

Then he concludes his discussion by extolling God's promise to us as unbreakable, sure and steadfast, based not on our own works but on God's oath and promise and the action of Jesus.

A wicked, unbelieving heart will cause one to fall away; a heart full of faith and patience will inherit God's promise. It all comes down to what's in the heart.

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