Hebrews 6


“Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so.” Hebrews 6:1-3

The writer of Hebrews calls for his audience to move forward. Let us leave the ABCs of the teachings of Christ. We cannot stay on the basics. It is not natural and it is not spiritually healthy. We are to be carried along to maturity. Quit rehearsing the things you already know!

One of the grave mistakes that can be made in our Bible classes and our Bible studies is that we simply rehearse the things we already know, going over the basics again and again. We need to look at the Scriptures in a new light to make sure that we are understanding God’s word properly.

We should not be content to stick with the basics. We should not merely rehearse what we agree on. We need to study, examine, and discuss things that are more challenging from the Scriptures.

The various things described as “laying again a foundation” seem to be things from both the first covenant and the second covenant. “Washings” is probably a reference to the ritual immersions that took place under the first covenant for ceremonial purity.

“Laying on of hands” likely refers to the imparting of the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit through the apostles. The resurrection of the dead was hotly contested and debated in the first century between the Pharisees and Sadducees, as the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection of the dead.

But all in all, these things are the foundational elements of the teachings of Christ, repentance, faith, purity, gifts, resurrection, and judgment. It was time to press forward.

The writer is confident that they will move forward. With God’s help, we can move forward and grow deeper in faith and maturity in Jesus Christ.

A warning

“It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 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. Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.” Hebrews 6:4-8

The theme of this book is that these Christians should not throw away their faith and confidence in Jesus. This warning is brought to light in the gravest way here.

“Those who have once been enlightened” is a reference to receiving the knowledge of the truth. We can see this in Hebrews 10:32, “Remember those earlier days after you had received the light when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering.”

This thought is in the context of “sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth.” Hebrews 10:26. So the writer begins that those who have received the knowledge of the truth, and then say they have ‘tasted the heavenly gift’.

The Scriptures repeatedly speak of our reception of the gift of grace and the gift of righteousness. We have tasted the gift of God’s grace in the forgiveness of sins. The writer goes further, “and have shared in the Holy Spirit.”

I currently think this is a reference to miraculous spiritual gifts that the apostles gave through the laying on of hands to Christians in the first century. I will explain my reasoning better in just a moment. But I believe the writer is saying that they had shared in the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Also, they “have tasted the goodness of the word of God.” You have enjoyed the riches of God’s word and seen how it is useful and beneficial to your life.

Finally, he says that they have tasted “the powers of the age to come.” “The age to come” is normally a reference to the Messianic age, as the Expositor’s Bible Commentary points out.

When we read about “the last days,” “in that day,” and “the age to come” we are reading references to the coming of the Messiah and the events that would unfold around His arrival. Therefore, I believe the writer is saying that they are part of the Messianic kingdom. They have seen the power of God’s kingdom and are currently enjoying being part of God’s family.

This is the reason why previously I said I believe that the phrase “shared in the Holy Spirit” means miraculous spiritual gifts.

The other possible meaning for “sharing in the Holy Spirit” would be entering into God’s restored kingdom, receiving God’s blessings, and being part of God’s new family in Christ. But I think these points are summed up in the phrase, “tasted the powers of the age to come.”

So what is the point?

If you have enjoyed all the benefits of being in God’s family and have the knowledge of the truth, but then fall away, it is impossible to restore them again to repentance because they are choosing to crucify the Son of God and are holding Him in contempt.

There is nothing that we will be able to do to bring them to repentance because they already know what they need to do. They have received the knowledge of the truth and participated in God’s family. It is impossible for you to restore them because they are choosing to crucify the Son of God.

They have not slipped into temptation or are having a moment of weakness. They know but choose to hold Jesus in contempt.

Now remember the writer is speaking about Jewish Christians who wanted to go back to the old law and the old system, the point is, why would they, Jewish Christians want to go back to Judaism? The writer uses those very words in Hebrews 6:6.

They received the knowledge of the truth and are full participants in God’s kingdom, but fall away. The principle of falling away is here though, how can anyone argue that we cannot fall away? 2 Peter 2:20-22.

The writer then uses illustrations in Hebrews 6:7-8 to prove his point. In a sense, this is the writer’s version of Jesus’ parable of the soils, Matthew 13:2-9 / Matthew 13:18-23. The kind of heart you have will determine what happens when the blessings of God are poured out on you.

“Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case—the things that have to do with salvation. God is not unjust he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” Hebrews 6:9-12

The writer comes back to them and says that he knows that they will not fall into this category. God sees your work and love shown by serving the saints. He cautions them not to fall back and not to be dull, “sluggish” is the same Greek word as “dull” in 5:11.

Show the same earnestness so that you have the full assurance of hope until the end. Do not lose your faith and fall away from the Lord and all of His goodness. Imitate those who through faith and longsuffering inherit the promises. Press forward like the example of those before us so that we also obtain the promises of the rest and the promises given to Abraham.

“When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.” And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised. People swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 6:13-20

The writer concludes his thought about the surety of God fulfilling His promises to those who endure with diligence to the end. God swore to Abraham that he would receive the promises, and he did receive the promise. Two things are going for us that we know with certainty that the promises await us.

1. It is impossible for God to lie. If He says something will happen, it will.

2. God made an oath. Look at Hebrews 6:17, to show more convincingly that this promise will come to us, God also took an oath. God is bound by an oath and by the fact that it is absolutely impossible for Him to lie.

This is our anchor through hard times. Anchor in Greek is ‘anchoria’. It’s the idea of a small boat going ahead from a ship to fasten the rope to a rock on an island. Jesus went before and fastened it. While the waves of life beat against us and make us want to become spiritually lazy, the anchor of this promise keeps us from drifting away from God.

Our hope rests on Jesus who is serving as our High Priest in the heavenly realms before God Himself. He is our forerunner, our trailblazer, leading the way to our heavenly home with God.

The author of Hebrews has mentioned twice that Jesus is the High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. The first statement is found in Hebrews 5:10, but the author could not speak about what he wishes concerning Jesus’ priesthood and the priesthood of Melchizedek because the audience is dull of hearing.

In chapter 6 the author spent his time challenging the readers to move away from the ABCs and move away from spiritual laziness. Then he concludes this discussion in Hebrews 6:20 with the same point, “Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.”

Notice the addition of the word “forever” because this is the direction of where he wants to go in his discussion in chapter 7.

Go To Hebrews 7