Immunized, Pt. 2
Hebrews 6:6-8 Immunized, part 2
Can someone during his lifetime render himself beyond the reach of God’s grace? (vv. 6-8)
a. Consider the warning, that this could happen to this audience
Reaching back to verse 4 this is a “case” where something becomes “impossible.”
- Verse 6 explains what that is.
- When a person with this level of exposure to Christ has “fallen away” then it is “impossible…to restore them again to repentance” (v. 6).
We should begin by putting the word “impossible” in the context of the book of the entire book.
- Within these 13 chapters, Hebrews states 4 “impossible things.”
- This passage and that “it is impossible for God to lie” (6:18) meaning God will keep His promises.
- “It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (10:4) meaning God requires a divine and eternal sacrifice for sin.
- And lastly, “Without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (11:6) meaning man has to believe in God and not the other way around!
- “What do all of these last three impossible things have in common?”
- God’s character.
- Specifically God’s nature that will not and cannot change!
- This is the great difference between us and God.
- We must change - repenting of sin – While does not!
- We need His unchanging grace and He never needs ours!
- He is the anchor! Who anchors us!
Understanding what makes these three other “things” – “impossible” in view of God’s unchanging nature sheds light on Hebrews 6:4.
“Can someone in their lifetime render themselves beyond the reach of God’s grace?”
b. Consider what makes this situation “impossible”
The straightforward reading is that there are some who “fall away” (v. 6).
- First of all, it is important to state that the context for those who “fall away” tells us that they all had these “experiences” (cf. 4-5).
- I have labored to prove that having these “experiences” do not prove someone’s salvation.
- So, those who “fall away” may be professing believers but are not truly believers!
- People in “state” cannot be “renewed” again [revived/resuscitated] “to repentance” (v. 6).
“Repentance” is metavoiav meaning someone “changes his mind” - redirecting his life from sin to Christ.
The Bible is clear that “repentance” is a gift from God but here the overwhelming emphasis is on man’s responsibility in terms of his thinking.
- This person’s state of mind is why God will not renew it!
What do I mean?
- Verse 6 explains the reason or “since” – “they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt” (v. 6).
Remember the three earlier examples of “impossibility” from Hebrews.
- What God will not do – in this since what becomes “impossible” for him to do is to contradict his own character.
- Just as “God cannot lie” because He is Holy and True.
- Just as “God who is Divine and Eternal” requires a Divine and Eternal sacrifice.
- Just as “God as God must be the object of Worship” meaning man exercises faith and not the reverse.
Why will God not override someone in this State?
- When someone comes to the point of this level openly rejecting the clear grace of Christ.
- When Christ’s clear witness is spurned at this level, then it brings Mockery!
- Mockery, that both shames Christ and hardens the heart at the same time! Perpetually!
God’s nature requires faith and this is the opposite of faith!
This state of mind is tantamount to the original crowd who crucified Christ, rendering God’s intervention a contradiction to his own glory.
This person makes himself harmful to himself – living in a perpetual state of shaming Christ.
- This is the devil and a third of the angels did placing them under an eternal curse.
- These are the Pharisees who attributed Christ’s miracles to Satan, blaspheming the Holy Spirit.
- Satan fills the self-righteous person.
ESV Luke 11:24-26 "When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, 'I will return to my house from which I came.'
25 And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order.26 Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first."
- This is Judas Iscariot who though he turned threw his 30 pieces of silver back to the treasury, wept out of self-imploding guilt and worldly sorrow!
- James 2:19 “…even the demons believe---and shudder.” They cannot “believe” in a way that saves!
These are the false teachers of 2 Peter:
12 But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction,13 suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you.14 They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children!
15 Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing,16 but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet's madness.17 These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved.18 For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error.19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.22 What the true proverb says has happened to them: "The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire." (2Pe 2:12-1 ESV)
- Those presently in eternal Hell, “weep and gnash their teeth” not out of remorse but perpetual anger.
This “professing believer” is in a constant state of “holding him [Christ] up to contempt” (v. 6).
When we fall away we make a mocking show of Christ. How is that? When we sin the world will say: “So that is all that Christianity is worth. So that is all his Christ can do. So that is all that Cross achieved.” It is bad enough that when a Church member falls into sin he brings shame to himself and discredit on his Church; but what is worse is that he draws taunts and jeers on Christ. [Barclay]
This is the “case” where he is not going to change and consequently God lets this person go! Someone condemned to reprobation, where God passes them over.
The question invariably arises as to whether or not there is something wrong with God’s grace?
“Is God’s grace sufficient to save anyone or not?”
The writer provides a clear illustration of two “fields” in verses 7-8 to answer this question.
- There is “land that has drunk that rain that often falls on it” (v. 7).
- The first kind of “land” or “earth” experiences perpetual “rain.”
- The land represents people in church. In this first case, believers.
- Believers who are under God’s blessings being showered down – “rain” (v. 7).
- “Rain” equals the blessings I labeled as the five experiences described in verses 4-6.
- Here a “crop” or “living vegetation” is literally “born” (v. 7).
- There’s life! And, other believers, perhaps those who’ve invested in them can readily see and enjoy the “blessing(s) from God” (v. 7) in this life!
By contrast, a different kind of “land” which has also “drunk” this very same “rain” that “often falls on it” (vv. 7-8) has a very different response.
- “What comes out of this land?” “Thorns and thistles” (v. 8).
- The point is that there is nothing wrong with the “rain” but everything wrong with the “land” or “earth” (vv. 7-8).
God’s grace is not the problem, the human heart is where the problem lies.
- God’s Word showers down and people either drink it in like soft soil, producing life or are the kind soil that’s so hardened it can only produce what’s “worthless” or “rejected” (v. 8).
- This soil is “near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned” (v. 8).
- This means the clear trajectory when someone is in this state of hardness is final death!
- Don’t miss the fact that it is not God withholding grace.
- He continues to “rain” it down.
- The responsibility lies at the human heart that will not cease and desist from mocking Christ!
- Who will not exercise faith to be saved.
So, does this mean that we give up on people? When does someone reach a state where they will not come savingly to the Lord? Praise God, in this life we cannot know!
- Personally, I think this is why in verse 8 is says, those bearing “thorns and thistles” are “near to being cursed” (v. 8).
- Yes, they are set to be cursed but we do not know who “they” certainly are! I’ll clarify this by looking back to verse 6.
- “They are crucifying once again the Son of God” (v. 6).
- Crowds pictured as perpetually crying “Crucify!”
- The crowds who cried “crucify him” who were actually there were certainly condemned!
But, were all condemned? Christ prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
- In the case of some, his Father did!
Let me name a few possible candidates.
- A “mocking” thief on the cross.
- Right up to the point of his death, he with the other thief mocked Christ.
38 Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left.39 And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads40 and saying, "You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross."41 So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying,42 "He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.43 He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, 'I am the Son of God.'"44 And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way.
39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!"40 But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong."42 And he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
43 And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
- A mocking “centurion.”
45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour.46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" that is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"47 And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, "This man is calling Elijah."
48 And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink.49 But the others said, "Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him."50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.51 And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.52 The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised,53 and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.54 When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, "Truly this was the Son of God!"
- Finally, rolling the tape ahead to Acts 2 at Pentecost.
- Peter preaching, indicts the multitude of Jews there to celebrate their Wheat Harvest, the Pentateuch!
- These same Jews who incited the Romans to murder Jesus are the same ones Jesus prayed to be forgiven!
- In verses 23 and 36 Peter is very direct, saying these Jews were guilty!
ESV Acts 2:23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.
ESV Acts 2:36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified."
- Verses 37-41 is the outcome!
37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?"38 And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself."40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, "Save yourselves from this crooked generation."41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. (Act 2:37-41 ESV)
Their devotion Christ was unparalleled!
- Whether Mary Magdalene or the Apostle Paul, rebel Christians can be the most fiery!
- They know their salvation was all by GRACE!
We do not presume on anyone that they are too far gone!
- God’s grace is sufficient!
- We are warned by this curse to our own souls and we grab on to our friends and loved ones with an even tighter grip as God’s grace reigns!