Hebrews 6:3 And this will we do, if God permit. 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.
These verses are some of the most misunderstood of the entire Bible. Because most are still on the ‘milk’ doctrine, they are, indeed, unskillful in the proper interpreting of the true meaning. Hebrews 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
For these verses do not represent a ‘back-sliding christian,’ but an apostate who can never be recovered! And the difficulty of a right interpretation lies in the fact that they do not know the full effect of the omnipresence of the Holy Spirit. They only consider that Christ, by the Holy Spirit is in all true believers. Colossians 3:11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
But the Apostle Paul, in addressing the philosophers on Mars Hill in Athens gave the true interpretation of God’s omnipresence. For he truly stated that God is not just in the world, but that the entire world was in God! Acts 17:27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: 28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. No creature and no other thing has life apart from the enabling source of life from the Spirit of God.
Everything that exists receives its being and character from the enabling power of the Spirit of God! Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. That word, consist is from a Greek word meaning to stand, as in Colossians 4:12, and from, he may establish as in Hebrews 10:9. The Complete Jewish Bible reads, “he holds everything together.”
As noted in a previous article, the apostle states in verse three of our text that he will go on to perfection in this teaching, not reiterating the milk doctrine as it would be “impossible to renew” those who have now fallen away from faith in Christ. Then in verses four through six, he begins to list the benefits of those once enlightened which they have now sinned against.
And that they were enlightened is of no dispute. For both Jews and Gentiles of that age had great access to the clear witness of the Lord Jesus and his work! Acts 2:22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
And even to the Gentile, Cornelius, to whose house Peter went and preached, we read “that word, ye know.” Acts 10:36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) 37 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; 38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
But there is another word of witness to all human beings, of all times. It is the word ‘spoken’ from creation! Psalms 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. 2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. 3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. 4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,
And that voice of creation speaks into every language and every nation upon earth, throughout all times. Thus rendering all without excuse for not knowing God! Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
The first thing the apostle writes that these apostates sinned against was that they tasted the heavenly gift. That is, these had the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ revealed to them.
1 Peter 1:10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: 12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
But before preceding we must make sure we take note of that word, “tasted.” It is a word meaning “to perceive.” Therefore it clearly goes along with the phrase, “once enlightened.” Therefore these were enlightened, but not enlivened! And the sinner, being dead in trespasses and sins, needs life, not light!
To just taste a food is not to eat and digest it for strength of life. It is more for the tongue’s tasting than for the stomach’s digestion. These are not those whom our Lord said were “Blessed!” Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. John 6:27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
To taste is but to nibble. But to hunger is to famish, and therefore to crave! The Lord spoke of this as being a radical devouring of Himself by those hungering after righteousness! John 6:54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. Those truly hungry for the Lord yearn for him as the deer, being chased by the hounds, yearns for a drink of water that he can smell in the underground streams over which he is running! Psalm 42:1 As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
Therefore these apostates have only tasted of the heavenly gift of the gospel. But they have never hungered for Christ!
Then he states that they were made partakers of the Holy Ghost. A profession of Christ after seeing miracles is not the basis of true regeneration! For gifts are not grace! Hebrews 2:3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; 4 God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will? This great salvation even accompanied with signs and wonders can be neglected!
Consider the Lord’s conversation with a highly trained master of Israel: John 2:23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. 24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, 25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man. 3:1 ¶ There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom.
Witnessing the Lord’s miracles revealed the Lord to Nicodemus as only a teacher come from God. But the Lord was actually God come to teach! And that word “commit” in John 2:24 is the exact same Greek word, “believed” in John 2:23. So those who committed to Christ because of the miracles they saw, did not have Christ commit to them in saving grace! Or, those who ‘believed’ in Christ on the basis of witnessing miracles, did not have the Lord ‘believe’ that they had true salvation by grace alone!
In Revelation 1:4, 3:1, 4:5, and 5:6 we have the Holy Spirit referred to as the seven Spirits of God. And there being only one Holy Spirit, this is to reveal the multiplicity of his workings to sustain life in all created beings, whether animal, vegetable or mineral! All creation is animated by the Spirit of God inhabiting it all. For if he did not sustain it in all its individual makeup, it could not continue to exist.
Then it states that they have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come. This phrase the world to come was also seen in Hebrews 2:5. It is a Hebrew phrase used to refer to the Messiah’s kingdom. Therefore this is different from just having tasted the heavenly gift of the gospel. This was to exact upon these Hebrew listeners that they had actually ‘tasted’ or perceived the ending of the old covenant of the law, and the appearing of the new covenant of grace. Their Messiah had come! Hebrews 10:9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.
Those Jews that had long sat in darkness had now seen a great light! Matthew 4:12 Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee; 16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. 17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
1 John 2:8 Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. 2 Timothy 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, 10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
The Lord Jesus is the illumination of every man’s conscience. There are no true atheists! One may do all he can to delete the awareness of God from their minds, but to no avail. He lightens ever man that comes into the world. But he is only the light of life to those who receive the gift of faith to believe into him! John 1:9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
As the light on the world the Eternal Son of God is the ‘covering’ of God! For he said, “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father;” He is the invisible Father’s garment of light! Psalm 104:2 Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain: And as the natural eye must have light to envision an image, so the spiritual eye of the regenerate believer can only ‘see God’ in the Lord Jesus Christ! Psalm 36:9 For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.
The Apostle Peter writes of the Apostle Paul’s strong meat doctrine, and in doing so he speaks of these who fall away to their own destruction. 2 Peter 3:16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. 18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
Notice that he refers to their problem being that they “are unlearned and unstable.” They did not come on unto perfection! And what did that cause? He reveals that they “wrest” the scriptures. That is, they twist and torture the scriptures. And this is exactly what religionists do to the passage in out text! They have some milk knowledge from simply tasting. But they have no strong meat knowledge from hungering after righteousness.
And what is the absolute remedy given to ensure that one does not apostatize? – It is growth! For in that 2 Peter 3:18 verse, just listed, we see the words, “But grow.” Growth is evidence of life! And this is also that which the Apostle Paul writes to the Ephesians. Ephesians 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
Continued, daily, steady growth in the grace of the Lord is the evidence of not falling away into apostasy! Matthew 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
Pastor Gene Breed
July 27, 2017