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Hebrews 6:4-9, Can A TRUE Christian Fall Away?

Hebrews 6:4-9 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, [5] And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, [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. [7] For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: [8] But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. [9] But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. (KJV)

Those . . . once enlightened . . . A TRUE Christian is someone who is once for all illuminated by the Word of God (Eph. 5:26). Heb.6:2 “doctrine of baptism” speaks of the purification or cleansing (washing). This Passage most likely originated the application of the term "illumination" (enlightened) to baptism in later times. Illumination is NOT supposed to be separated from baptism. "Heretics have baptism, but they are NOT illuminated (enlightened). They are baptized in body, but their soul is NOT enlightened. Simon the sorcerer was ‘water baptized’, but NOT illuminated. (baptized by the Holy Spirit). Millions fall into this category today. To be "enlightened" in this verse means knowledge of the Word of Truth, and means the same as "illuminated," in Heb.10:32. Compare the following Passages.

Enlightened: Eph.1:18; Heb. 6:4
Illuminated: Heb. 10:32
Knowledge of the Truth: 1 Tim.2:4; 2 Tim.3:7; Heb.10:26

Tasted of the heavenly gift . . . experienced for themselves. "The heavenly gift" is Christ Jesus, given by the Father and revealed by the illuminative Word preached and written. This Unequaled Gift bestows peace in the remission of sins; and is the Bestower of the Gift of the Holy Spirit (John 14:16) . . . after which we are made partakers of the Holy Ghost. God KNOWS a person’s heart and will NEVER give the Holy Spirit to anyone who are not sincere, or who are doubters, unbelievers or hypocrites.

Tasted the good word of God . . . is different from "tasted of the heavenly gift." We do not yet enjoy ALL the fullness of Christ, we have only a taste of Him, but TRUE believers may taste the whole word of God . . . God's "good word of promise." We CAN experience the goodness of God's Word and the powers of the world to come. We are enlightened to the world to come, to Christ, the Bread of Life, answers to faith and made partakers of the Holy Ghost, to God’s love, which is the first-fruit of the Spirit.

The world to come stands in direct contrast to the course of this world. It is so disorganized because God is not its end. By faith, TRUE Christians make the world to come a present reality, even though it is just a foretaste of the perfect future. If we set our affections on things above, and not on things on Earth, and to look for Christ's Coming, we taste of the world to come for it already exists in the redeemed, and will pass into a fully realized fact at Christ's coming (Col. 3:4).

If a person abandons their faith, they turn their back on the grace of God (Gal.5:4), and they are fallen from grace . . . meaning an entire and willful apostasy. If this happens, it is impossible to bring them back to repentance again, because they again crucify the Son of God and expose Him to public shame.

Hebrews 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, (KJV)

Hebrews 10:29-31 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? [30] For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. [31] It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (KJV)

2 Peter 2:21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. (KJV)

Better . . . is opposed to worse. It would be better if they had never known the right way to live than to know it and then reject the holy commandments that were given to them.
These verses refer to PROFESSORS (people who CLAIM to be Christians, but instead are nothing but hypocrites), not POSSESSORS (true born again believers) of Christ!

Those referred to here were enlightened to salvation through Christ. They tasted and they were convicted by the Holy Spirit, but they fell away because they were never saved in the first place. Heb.6:9 makes this clear.

Hebrews 6:9 But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. (KJV)

IF a person is TRULY saved, they may stray, they may backslide, but they WILL come back to God. No one who is TRULY saved can ever lose their salvation (John 1:12-13; 10:27-29).

Actually these verses tell me that it is impossible for a saved person to be lost. It is impossible . . . . If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance. IF a person were saved, then could be lost, it would be impossible for that person to ever be saved again. I think that verse 9 is the key to this Passage.

Other Interpretations

Many commentators completely avoid this chapter! There are many interpretations on this Passage. One interpretation says that the Christians mentioned here are Christians who have lost their salvation, and many people hold this position. This Passage is used by those who do not believe Once Saved, Always Saved. There are many people who are not sure about their salvation and that being the case, they cannot enjoy it.

1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (KJV)

If anyone has placed their trust in Christ Jesus as their Saviour, they are saved! The main thing is, NOT how much faith they have . . . but to Whom is that faith directed. People turn to this Passage of Scripture more than any other if they deny that we have a sure salvation which cannot be lost and that the believer is safe in Christ. I simply cannot go along with a Christian being able to lose their salvation. I absolutely believe Once Saved, Always Saved!

I believe that we have a SURE salvation because Scripture is very definite on this point, in MANY places! See: Rom.8:1,33-39. NOTHING can separate us from the love of God once we are “in Christ” . . . NOTHING!!! (1 Thes.4:16; 1 Pet.5:14).

John 10:27-30 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: [28] And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. [29] My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. [30] I and my Father are one. (KJV)

NO one can take us away from God IF we are TRULY saved, TRULY born again! There are millions who PROFESS to be God’s children, but are NOT! God KNOWS the difference! You CANNOT fool God. Don’t even try! You can fool the multitudes around you, but God knows ALL things, even our every thought (Eze.11:5). God will NEVER give a hypocrite His Spirit, whereas every TRUE child of God has the Holy Spirit within (John 14:16; Rom.8:9). I CANNOT accept the interpretation that the people in Hebrews 6:4-9 were once saved and had lost their salvation.

Another interpretation is that people may fall away. There is only a possibility that this might happen. These people do not say that it happens, only that it might be possible.

A third interpretation states that there really is no “if” in the Greek. It is a participle and they say it should be translated “having fallen away.” So, these people say that the Passage speaks only of those who profess to be “Christians” and that they are not TRUE believers. Many well known scholars such as: Matthew Henry, F. W. Grant, J. N. Darby and C. I. Scofield hold this view.

A forth interpretation is that he is describing saved people . . . they have been enlightened, they have tasted of the heavenly gift, they have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and they have tasted the good Word of God and the powers of the world to come.

The text reveals that he is speaking of rewards which are the result of salvation. In verse 6 he says, “If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance” . . . not to salvation, but to repentance. Repentance is something that God has asked believers to do. These believe the writer of Hebrews is talking about the fruit of salvation, not about the root of salvation. Heb.6:9 But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.

He is speaking of the fruit of the Christian’s life and the reward that comes to him as the result. The whole tone of this Passage is that he is warning them of the possibility of losing their reward.

1 Cor. 3:11-15 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. [12] Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; [13] Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. [14] If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. [15] If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. (KJV)

Hebrews 6:7-8 For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: [8] But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. (KJV)

The people who go with this interpretation say that IF the believer’s life brings forth fruit, it receives blessing from God; IF it brings forth thorns and briers, it is rejected.
When the apostle Paul wrote to Titus, a young preacher, he dealt with the matter of works: Good works do NOT have anything to do with salvation (Isa. 64:6), BUT when you become a child of God through faith in Christ, works are extremely important! Your works prove IF you are saved! How you live your life is proof that you have (or don’t have) Christ in your heart.

There are examples in Scripture of men who “fell away.” David fell (2 Sam.11:2-25), but he was not lost; Peter fell (Mat.26:69-75; Mark 14:66-72; Luke 22:55-62; John 18:17-18; 18:25-27), but he was not lost. Both David and Peter suffered great loss, but they were NOT lost.
This interpretation says that "if" is not in the text. It should be “having fallen away,” or “then fell away.”

Passages mentioned above.

Hebrews 10:32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; (KJV)

Eph. 1:18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, (KJV)

1 Timothy 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. (KJV)

2 Timothy 3:7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (KJV)

Hebrews 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, (KJV)

John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; (KJV)

Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. (KJV)

Romans 8:1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (KJV)

Romans 8:33-39 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. [34] Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. [35] Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? [36] As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. [37] Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. [38] For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, [39] 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. (KJV)

1 Thes. 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (KJV)

1 Peter 5:14 Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen. (KJV)

Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. (KJV)

Difficult or Confusing Bible Verses

1 Cor.3:13-15, What Motivates Us?

1 Cor.chapter 5, Should the Church Judge?

1 John 3:9, God's Child Cannot Sin . . . ???

1 John 5:4-5, Overcoming By Faith

1 John 5:16 . . . A Sin Unto Death???

1 John 5:18-20, Those Born of God Sinneth Not

1 Thes.5:23, Man's Trinity

2 Cor.2:14-17, Savour of Death, Savour of Life?

2 Thes.2:10-12, Those Left Behind

Col.3:12-17, How Believers Are To Live

Daniel 7:13-14, Christ in His Glory

Daniel 9:24-27, Daniel's 70 Weeks

Ecclesiastes 9:5-10, NO Soul Sleep

Genesis 3:15, Seed of the Woman

Genesis 6:1-2, Sons of God

Hebrews 6:4-9, Can a TRUE Christian Fall from Grace?

Hebrews 10:26, Do NOT Reject Christ!

Isaiah 53:4-5, By His Stripes We Are Healed!

John 6:47-58, Eating the Flesh and Blood of Jesus

John 15:1-6, Unfruitful Branches Burned?

Mark 3:28-29, The Unpardonable Sin?

Matthew Chapter 13, Mystery Parables of Jesus

Matthew 16:19, Keys to Kingdom of Heaven

Matthew 5:48, Being Perfect?

Matthew 7:21-23, Not Every One Goes to Heaven

Matthew 7:6, Cast Not Your Pearls before Swine!

* * * * Matthew 22:36-40, Believers' TWO Commandments * * * *

Matthew 23:13-30, Woes of Hypocrites

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The BIBLE has the answer