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Author Topic: Hebrews 6:4  (Read 1582 times) Average Rating: 0
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KostaNY
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« on: March 27, 2006, 07:43:24 PM »

Are these scriptures in the book of Hebrews talking about an apostate only ? Whats your take on them ?

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.5And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come. 6If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themeselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.


Herbrews 10:26 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 judgement 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 ?


Would you agree with the following ?

 
When people deliberately reject Christ's offer of salvation, they reject God's most precious gift. They ignore the leading of the Holy Spirit, the one who communicates to us God's saving love. The warning was given to Jewish Christians who were tempted to reject Christ for Judaism, but it applies to anyone who rejects Christ for another religion or, having understood Christ's atoning work, deliberately turn away from it (see also Numbers 15:30,31 and Mark 3:28-30). The point is that there is no other acceptable sacrifice for sin than the death of Christ on the cross. If someone deliberately rejects the sacrifice of Christ after clearly understanding the Good News teaching about it, than there is no way for that person to be saved, because God has not provided any other name in all heaven for people to call on to save them (See Acts 4:12)

How have people insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit? The sacrifice of Christ is tied with the Holy Spirit;therefore, to scorn Christ's sacrifice is to insult and disdain the Holy Spirit by arrogantly rejecting him. The Holy Spirit is a person, not just a force or influence. To reject him is to cut off the means of God's acceptance. This is equivalent to blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (see Matthew 12:31,32). Deserving of great punishment are those who insult the Holy Spirit who brings God's mercy.

God's power is awesome, and his punishment terrible. These words give us a glimpse into the holiness of God. He is sovereign;his power is unlimited; He will do as He promises. This judgement is for those who have rejected God's mercy. For them, falling into God's hands will be a dreadful experience. They will have no more excuses. They will discover that they were wrong, but it will be too late. For those who accept Chirst's love and his salvation, however, the coming judgement is no cause for worry. Being saved through His grace, they have nothing to fear (see 1 John 4:18)


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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2006, 09:13:03 PM »

Quote
Whats your take on them ?

I think that whoever wrote it (perhaps a disciple of Paul) was pretty clear in what they thought. The real question is why Christians don't affirm the same principle today. Was the Scripture wrong?
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I'm not quite sure what to make of the common argument for Christianity that might be rephrased as: "Well, it's better than suicide, right?"
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« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2006, 09:47:45 PM »

I don't know if it is entirely clear exactly what they meant... just 'cause it's in english doesn't mean it can't be ambiguous.  I mean, was the word "sin" in the first century used more selectively than it came to be used?  I tend to agree with you, Asteriktos, in that it seems to be clear; but as for "was the scripture wrong?" I would probably answer - for the time, no, and if we understand it in context, no.
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KostaNY
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« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2006, 10:15:56 PM »

The question here is not whether the scripture is wrong, the question was to who would the scriptures apply to, since it is so clear of what the author is saying in the scripture, then could you please explain to me who they are describing, an apostate who rejects Christ, or just the regular Christian who falls back and begins to wilfully sin even after knowing the knowledge of truth.
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« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2006, 11:43:56 PM »

I have heard this passage argued from a Calvinist perspective, from a protestant Arminian perspective and now from an Orthodox perspective.

All I can say...
work out your salvation with fear and trembling
pray that what these verses describe doesn't happen to you
pray, "forestall us, forestall us quickly for we perish"
confess your sins, attend liturgy, receive the communion
and trust God
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« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2006, 11:48:48 PM »

from a historical perspective, were there not those in the early church who would not receive baptism until near the point of death because of the belief that if you sinned after baptism you would not be saved (maybe with these verses in mind)


Whatever my accuracy regarding this, nonetheless, I think that probably most members of the early church, if they could see our lives (in this life , of course they see them from the next) they would conclude that we had forfeited salvation, out lives are so lax and sinful.
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« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2006, 01:38:27 AM »

Greetings Kosta!   Let me first just welcome you to the forum.

I think it would be a great idea for you to either purchase or check out from a library the Orthodox Study Bible.  I find the footnotes and historical background information in it to be very valuable.
Regarding Hebrews 6:4 here is what the footnotes say.

The basic sacraments are crucial to salvation: One is once enlightened in baptism, which is unrepeatable and called the sacrament of illumination (See Eph. 5:14).  Tasted the heavenly gift(see 1Pet. 2:3)may refer to the grace of baptism-St. John Chrysostomos says this gift is especially the forgiveness of sin experienced in baptism-and it most certainly refers to the Eucharist.  Become partakers of the Holy Spirit refers to the fruit of chrismation, the experience of knowing the Holy Spirit.
Besides the sacraments, belief and life experience are also essential: tasted the good word of God refers to the message of the gospel and the true doctrine of the Church, especially the confession of faith.  The powers of the age to come are manifold:  incorruption and eternal life, the presence of the future Kingdom here and now, and also miracles and spiritual gifts (Matt. 7:22, 23; 12:28).

Those who revert to Judaism crucify Christ again- they become like those who hung Christ on the Cross, who denied His deity and His saving power.  They put themselves in a position of needing to be baptised again, which is impossible, for baptism is death and the dead cannot be put to death.  To deny one's baptism is to mock Christ's death.  Such may not be renewed again to repentence.

Historical setting:
The people addressed had previously demonstrated a deep faith, firmly enduring persecution themselves and aiding others under persecution.  But now they were in a war of attrition.  Internally, there was a perpetual battle with sin, and they had become dispirited and lax.  Externally, there was the pressure of public contempt from their fellow Jews.  The results of these pressures were:  (a) they had ceased to grow in their faith (b) they neglected corporate worship
(c) some possibly had already apostatized (d) and all were in danger of falling away and of reverting to Judaism, enticed by its splendid worship and by its status as a legal religion, with economic and political connections.

Anyway, since it is evident that you are well versed in Scripture, it would behoove you to check out the OSB so you can get an idea of the Orthodox faith and interpretation of scripture.  IMHO the words and opinions of early Church fathers is a lot more reliable than trusting myself to figuring out what it means.

God bless you in your quest for knowledge,    Juliana
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« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2006, 05:31:17 AM »

I think the way Orthodoxy interprets Hebrews 6 is akin to how we interpet God's warning not to eat of the forbidden fruit in Genesis 2. Just as western Christians often take that statement as if God said, "If you eat the fruit, I will kill you," so I think they also take Hebrews 6 to mean "If you fall away, I will destroy you and give you no chance to repent." However, just as Orthodoxy takes the passage in Genesis as a warning of what will come, so also Hebrews 6 is a warning that those who fall away will not want to come back to God, for they know full well what they reject, and hate it anyways. It's not that they can't repent, but that they won't.
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« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2006, 10:08:41 AM »

Just as western Christians often take that statement as if God said, "If you eat the fruit, I will kill you," ...

What? Not any western form of Christianity I was ever familar with. And that includes Pentacostal, Southern Baptist, and Methodist. They all understand that it means that they would eventually die because they had forfeited perfection. You don't really take it literally anyway.
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Ebor
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« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2006, 10:54:59 AM »

Just as western Christians often take that statement as if God said, "If you eat the fruit, I will kill you,"

Ummm, which "western Christians" do you have in mind here?  because it's not what I've ever heard in the Anglican Churchs.

Ebor
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« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2006, 01:10:21 PM »

I think Hebrews 6 "means what it says", but it's pretty clear also that what it's saying is a practical point, and I highly doubt is to be taken in itself as a dogmatic formula.  There is simply too much to the contrary in the Holy Writ to allow for an opinion to the contrary.  While they obviously have dogmatic content, I think it's also important not to forget that the Epistles themselves are pastoral documents addressed to real local Churches with real problems, and are written in this style.

Basically, for a Judeo-Christian to receive all of the Holy Mysteries of initiation (let alone with the rigor with which they were prepaired for in the early Church - to get a sense of what I mean by this, try reading something like Metropolitan Hierotheos' Entering the Orthodox Church), and then to turn their back on this and cleave to precisely the mindset which had Christ put to death, is to fall from a great height to an unspeakable low.  Practically speaking, such persons are lost to the Church and the path of salvation.

Again, I doubt however this was intended to be taken as a dogmatic point, most especially in reference to we who (to put it lightly) who are within the Church on the basis of a much lighter discipline, and who likely have hardly even begun genuinely repenting, let alone be able to say we've genuinely been illumined (note: I'm not refering to the Holy Mystery of Baptism itself which communicates this grace of illumination, but rather the practical fulfillment of the Baptismal gift in the depths of the soul...the very thing which distinguishes "the Saints".)  It's quite hard to fall from a height which we have not in fact truly made our own to begin with.

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« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2006, 01:23:19 PM »

well said, Augustine

you stated in greater depth and detail what I was trying to allude to

thank you!
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« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2006, 06:05:54 AM »

What? Not any western form of Christianity I was ever familar with. And that includes Pentacostal, Southern Baptist, and Methodist. They all understand that it means that they would eventually die because they had forfeited perfection. You don't really take it literally anyway.

This is not entirely true. I am reading statements of faith for these groups right now, and my previous post has been confirmed. While they do not necessarily state that God said "I'll kill you" the same statement is made de facto based on their view of God's punishing sins. As each of those groups considers eating the forbidden fruit a sin, there can be no question about the view they ultimately hold on the matter.

Ebor,

As Anglicanism is growing ever more diverse, I think there are some groups which may not hold this view. However, Anglicanism as a whole seems to still ascribe to this viewpoint.
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