Friday, 31 January 2014

Does Hebrews 6 teach you can lose salvation?

Hebrews 6:4-6  For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted 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.

Does this mean that someone can be saved and receive the Holy Spirit but nevertheless be damned?  Does this verse teach that I can lose my salvation?  Not if you read it in context…
This is simply describing those who, to all outward appearance, are considered Christians but who later show that they were truly not.

The key is the use of the word 'tasted'; the same word is used for our Saviour tasting the mingled wine upon the cross but, of course, this doesn't mean He properly drank it.  He said that He wouldn't drink wine again until He was reunited with His people (Luke 22:18 etc.).
Therefore, I consider that those who have only tasted of the spiritual things of the Holy Spirit are like Ananias and Sapphira who claimed they were Christians and were putting all the proceeds of the sale of their house
to share with all the other congregation members; really, they were keeping some back, lacking any certainty yet trying to look good.  They didn’t truly believe in the God who could see their hearts or in the work He was doing.  As Peter said, they lied to God the Spirit and were only superficially part of the church - the body of Christ (Acts 5).
Simply tasting is different to those who are 'made to DRINK of one Spirit' (1Corinthians 12:13).

This is why the apostle says to those Hebrew Christians: 'Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation.'  He believes the people he is addressing are actually saved. The things he listed before are pertaining to those who fall away and therefore states that those things do not 'belong to salvation'.  The apostle explicitly says that if you fall away like that, you don’t show any signs that you are saved.  As is confirmed by the other apostles:
1John 2:19  They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. (NASB)

This is a tricky verse, if I can put it that way, because we are so inclined to read the Bible verse by verse, like each verse is an island of truth but that is not the case and leads a great many into error. We refer to the Bible as the Word of God; it is a whole and it is one, and God's purpose is single and definite. We should try linking the chapters we read with the chapter before and after, to understand the immediate context and authorial intent, i.e. what the Spirit was driving on.

So let us recognise that when the Spirit truly starts driving us on, in and through Christ, He will never stop.

Philippians 1:6  And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
1Thessalonians 5:23-24  Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. (ESV)

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