Book of Hebrews Chapter 6 & 10 is not about losing Salvation

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BOOK OF HEBREWS, CHAPTER 6 & 10 (SIN WILLFULLY) EXPLAINED

Hebrews 6 and 10 are another commonly misinterpreted piece of scripture that seem to suggest that salvation might by lost by sins. While the surface reading seems to suggest this, the truth is that it does not. If taken in context, the entire book of Hebrews is intended to have the opposite result. Paul was writing to the brethren who have accepted the Christian religion, though they also continued to offer animal sacrifices. This is analogous to how many Christians today feel the need to keep short accounts with God. That, if they sin, they need to continuously seek forgiveness (as if anyone is capable of continuously doing anything at all).

The brethren in Hebrews are guilty of navel-gazing-like introspection of sin. They want to offer animal sacrifices after receiving Christ, to continue to appease God; primarily because of their consciousness of sin. Paul is telling them that offering sacrifices defeats the purpose of Christ. That is why the book of Hebrews goes into depth on the meaning and purpose behind the animal sacrifices that were done in the old testament. Hebrews tells of how these things were a shadow of Christ, but that once Christ has done his work, that these things are no longer necessary. Similarly, it is impossible for you to be condemned by any sin after receiving Christ. Salvation is a once and for all act, completed 2,000 years ago on your behalf. All you need to do is accept it.

In fact, the very best scriptures that explicitly and emphatically declare the once-and-for-all nature of salvation is to be found in the book Hebrews. Hebrews is my second favorite book, next to the book of John.

That is why Hebrews chapter 2 starts off by saying that we need to keep the gospel in memory. Not to go back to works of the law, to not let the gospel slip.

Hebrews 2

1 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.

9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren

18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

Hebrews 5

9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

Hebrews 6

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

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

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:

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

Hebrews 7

18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.

22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.

23 And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:

24 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.

25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

Hebrews 8

1 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum:

12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

Hebrews 10

10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.

18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.

23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.

All of the above passages are meant to convey the eternal security that is offered by Christ. He is the author of an unchangeable salvation. He saves all those that come to him, to the uttermost. This is the sum of all that Hebrews is meant to say.

Now, on to the particularly difficult passages of Hebrews:

Hebrews 6

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,

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.

When Paul says this, he is not just saying that it is impossible to renew a person to repentance. Instead, he saying it is impossible to fall away to begin with. If it were possible for one to fall away, then it’s impossible to renew them again. Notice how the hypothetical starts with “if they shall fall away,” then it is impossible to renew them unto repentance. That is a big IF. That is a hypothetical that the entire book of Hebrews was written to denounce. It is not possible for someone who has received Christ to fall away.

That is why this chapter begins with the following as context:

Hebrews 6

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,

2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

3 And this will we do, if God permit.

Paul is saying that we should settle the principles of the doctrine of Christ and embrace perfection. Perfection that is given by grace. Because Jesus Christ is perfection. He is also the grace of God. We should receive the gift of perfection. Not to let our conscience be defiled by whatever sin we may have committed in the flesh. Instead, we should always know that we are saved, and that we are perfect in Christ. Regardless of the works of the flesh. The “principles of the doctrine of Christ” is the “milk of the word” that was mentioned in the previous chapters of Hebrews. Which is that Christ “became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Hebrews 5:9). Yes, that’s eternal salvation. A salvation that is permanent, a salvation that is eternal. But wait, don’t you have to obey him? Yes, to obey Christ is to believe on him.

Hebrews 3

17 But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?

18 And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?

19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

The point is to remove any hope that the brethren may have in animal sacrifices. That you cannot be renewed to repentance by use of animal sacrifices. If God is not able to keep you, then there is no hope. But he is able to keep us. In fact, he is able to keep us to the uttermost. That is why there is hope, Jesus Christ who is the God of all hope. “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost” (Romans 15:13).

Instead of offering sacrifices for sins, they are to remember and settle the doctrine of Christ that was originally preached. Which is: once you believe, you are saved forever. If that’s the doctrine, then it is impossible to fall away. That’s why he reasons with them: if it were possible for God to fail, how then are they to be saved? How can you renew them to repentance? Who is greater than God?

Hebrews 10

4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

Not only that, but if a person were to fall away, then Christ would be bound by his word to save them. He said:

John 10

28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

Christ said that we will never perish. So, if a man were to fall away and perish, then Christ would be forced (by his own nature, by his own word) to come down and die again on the cross. That is why the passage in Hebrews 6 talks about Christ being crucified afresh, putting him to an open shame. It is impossible for Christ to be put to shame; therefore, it is impossible for you to fall away.

Hebrews 9

24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;

26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

But as discussed, it is impossible for Christ to be put to shame. Just as impossible as it is for God to lie.

Hebrews 6

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

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

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:

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

The book of Hebrews continues by saying,

Hebrews 10

10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

We are sanctified not by avoiding sin. Rather, we are sanctified through the offering of Jesus Christ, once for all. One time offering for all sin, for everyman. You make amends by offering Christ, not by changing your lifestyle. Not by stopping any sin. Not by sacrifices. Once saved, God is always for you. “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). We are not saved by reducing the amount of sin in our lives. No, we are saved by having a bank account large enough to pay for all sin. Jesus Christ is that bank account. He already paid for all sin, 2,000 years ago on the cross. If you believe that, you are saved.

Hebrews 10

14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

We are perfected forever. Someone who is perfected forever cannot fall away, its logically impossible. Otherwise you are not perfected forever. These two things are mutually exclusive.

And so that is the whole point of the book of Hebrews, Paul is exhorting the brethren to not fall for the trap of offering sacrifices for salvation.

That is why, if we jump back to the difficult passage in chapter 6, he continues with a parable.

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.

This hearkens back to the numerous parables Christ used when trying to teach grace vs works. That a tree is either completely good or completely evil. There are no in-betweens with God. You cannot be somewhat good, but also have some thorns. No, you are saved forever, you are perfected forever. “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” (Matthew 7:16)

There is only 1 good tree. Christ is that good tree. We are the branches. Faith is the fruit. Therefore, it is not of works. Your works will never condemn you, because they are not your fruit. Works are the fruit of your flesh, and our old man is of the Earth. Faith in Christ is the fruit of the Spirit. Therefore, the rain (word) falls on the Earth: you can either have faith or you don’t. There is no in-between. That is why he concludes with the following in Chapter 6:

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

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.

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

12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.13 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,

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

He is saying that they are persuaded better things, because they have believed. They believed enough to minister to the saints. Which means that God would be unrighteous not to keep his word. That he would bless them for believing the gospel. Paul calls it a “labor of love” what they’ve done. Which means they did it out of gratitude; gratitude because they have received the gospel. Just like the woman that broke the vial of ointment on Christ’s feet. Not because she had to, but because she received the gospel and wanted to. Also, his desire is that you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope. That you hold fast to the original doctrine of hope.

Furthermore, if we look at Isaiah, which is the original version of this parable. We see that it is in context of eternal salvation.

Isaiah 55

6 Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:

7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:

11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

God promised in Isaiah, that instead of thorns and briers, we would receive the myrtle tree, and an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off. That is why Hebrews 6 is promising that it is impossible to fall away. And because if it is impossible to fall away, why are they trying to offer animal sacrifices? They should just hold fast to their confidence, as Paul says. Then God’s word will result in joy and peace, as it says in Isaiah.

In Hebrews 10 we get another scary sounding passage:

26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

29 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

The language used in Hebrews 10 gives even more evidence that these passages are to be read as hypotheticals. He is telling them the conclusion that they should draw, assuming that the premise is true. That if someone were to fall away somehow, what better sacrifice could they appeal to? To the blood of bulls and goats?  If it were possible to fall away, there is no other way to be saved. In fact, the word “saved” no longer means saved, if a saved person were to fall away. Of course, the premise is not possible, that a saved person could fall away. That would be a contradiction in terms.

Notice how in the key verse he says, “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath…” He uses terms like “suppose ye” and “shall he be thought worthy.” This type of language is clearly pointing the reader to imagine something. To imagine a scenario that they have no empirical evidence for. We are envisioning an impossible, but hypothetical scenario.

So, the attitude is that if it were possible for someone to “sin willfully” after having come to the knowledge of the truth, we should not think that a mere sacrifice in the temple of a goat would reconcile that person back to God. In fact, God offered the greatest sacrifice of all, Himself. And if we were to fall away from this, then there is nothing left but righteous indignation. He is telling them that they cannot go back to temple sacrifices. If a man were able to sin willfully, what can that man expect? Paul appeals to the image of God’s wrath which is prominent in the old testament against people that could not keep the law.

This image is further embellished in Hebrews chapter 12 where Paul reminds them of the mount that might be touched.

18 For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest,

19 And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more:

20 (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart:

21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:)

22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,

23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

We have not come to the mount that might be touched. This is symbolic of the law, because this is the mount where Moses received the law. And the law is symbolic of utter perfection. Nobody is able to keep the law, so we are not to touch the law. We are to rely on mercy. If we are judged by the law, then it would result in death. We have not come to that mount of the law. Therefore, we cannot suffer the consequences of sin. Instead, there is the blood of sprinkling, Christ’s sacrifice that pays for all sin.

That is why back in Hebrews 10, Paul starts that whole chapter by affirming the perfection of salvation:

1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.

3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.

4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:

6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.

7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.

10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.

18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.

19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,

20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;

21 And having an high priest over the house of God;

22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

This chapter is about establishing the eternal security of those that have believed. Because it is not based on us at all. It is totally based on Christ’s faithfulness (for he is faithful that promised;). That is why it says let us draw near with “full assurance.” How could you have full assurance, if there is a chance that you might sin willfully?

It also says let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering. This hearkens back to chapter 2 when he begins the book by telling us not to let the gospel slip. “Therefore, we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip” (Hebrews 2:1).

So, we hold fast our profession of eternal security, which is the gospel.

The book of Hebrews is the best book for eternal security. It is only those that are blind (or babes in Christ) that misconstrue it to mean something different.

That is why after the whole “sin willfully” passage, he ends the chapter by saying:

35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.

39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

It does not say “brethren take heed that ye sin not willfully, otherwise ye might be doomed.” No, he says that we should not cast our confidence away. And the last verse of this chapter says that we are “of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” Which again, is eternal security. We believe to the saving of the soul. The soul is not at risk of Hell, it is saved forever.

Another possible interpretation of Hebrews 10 could be that it applies only to the unsaved. Because you cannot be told that you “neglect so great a salvation” because you have believed it. You believe in the perfect salvation of Christ. You are not among the many that have left Egypt, but died in the way, because of unbelief (Hebrews 3&4).

In fact, the only people that could ever fit the description of sinning willfully, would be unbelievers. Because, if you understand the gospel as it says in John 3:36, you know that only the unbelievers are condemned. If we continue with this understanding, we could surmise that this passage is talking about people that have heard the gospel, but have never believed the gospel. Like people who hear about Christ, but come to a different conclusion, other than eternal security, or just outright deny it. Because we know that “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). And Christ said, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17). So, it’s possible for someone to hear the word and not believe, and therefore be guilty of neglecting “so great a salvation.” That would be like Peter’s statement in 2 Peter 2:

20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

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.

22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

The word cleans us as it says in John 15:3, “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” So, the people that have taken on the name of Christ, without believing in the gospel are like the sow or the dog. They just sort of tag Christ along to their long list of do’s and don’ts. Which are of the knowledge of the tree of good and evil. Instead of reckoning themselves dead to the flesh and alive to God, as it says in Romans, instead of considering salvation complete, and perfect; they believe that it is not complete. They believe that they need to work to maintain their salvation or something. So, they were clean, but jumped back into the mire.

It’s possible for a saved person to get confused by these things as well, but that would fall under the pruning of God, as it says in John 15:2. You are not a dog, but a son of god. Born after the incorruptible seed. When you get confused by these things, it’s only because God will eventually prune those things away from you, so that you can bring forth more fruit. Fruit is faith. People will either believe or not believe in Christ, based on your word. So, if you present the gospel as requiring works (because you are confused, even though you were originally saved by faith) you will not convert many people. But if you are pruned (God removes that doctrine from you) then you will be able to deliver the simple gospel, which is able to save. Thus, you will bear more fruit (convert more people\make them have faith).

When Peter says that it’s worse for the dog or sow, it’s because of the heavier blindness that an unbeliever in Christendom would have to overcome. They have heard the gospel, but have become dull of hearing and stiff-necked. They must first undo all of the false doctrines they learned, and then they can receive the truth. That is why it is easier to receive salvation as a child, as it says in Matthew. Because then, you don’t have to overcome all of this baggage, in order to believe the truth.

Anyways, I am not really committed to the above reading of passage of Hebrews 10. It’s easier to just recognize it as a mere hypothetical. You cannot fall away after believing the truth, that is the meaning of Hebrews 10. The bottom line of Hebrews is to be confident in the sacrifice that God has made on our behalf. If you come out with a different conclusion, you’ve misunderstood this book

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