|Q320 : To Whom is the Warning Passage of Hebrews 6 Addressed?|
Our church is going through the book of Hebrews and I started reading it again to be one step ahead throughout the study. I got to the passage referenced above and have come to see that no body really agrees on what it is saying. I have presented below the 4 main views and am curious to which way you would teach this passage.. I have always leaned towards number 3..
- True believers lose their salvation if they fall away from Christ.
- Genuine Christians can deny the faith and yet remain saved, although they lose their rewards in heaven.
- The author is speaking of something that cannot happen, but is using it as a warning to press on.
- The author is speaking of those who are associated with the church and its blessings, but are not truly saved.
|A320 : by Tony Garland |
As you observe, there are a number of different ways people tend to interpret the early portion of Hebrews 6.
My own view, that of pastor Greg Summers, and also the view of Andy Woods from our website would be that the passage is written to believers (view #2 above) — although I wouldn't necessarily describe them as having "denied the faith" even though they live much like unbelievers.
In other words, I still hold to the possibility that those who once professed the faith, but categorically deny it later in life could well have never been saved: to whom Jesus will say, I never knew you (Matthew 7:21-23). So there remains the question in my mind, in regard to those who truly exhibit hardened rejection of Christ in the later years, whether they ever were truly saved. But Hebrews, it seems to me, has in mind those who are truly saved, yet squander the grace of Christ and live much like unbelievers.
Several resources which may prove helpful as you study the passage:
- Pastor Greg's sermon series on Hebrewsa especially the following four presentations which cover the passage in question within the larger context:
- Stuck in Spiritual Infancy (Hebrews 5:11-14)
- Moving Beyond Elementary Principles (Hebrews 6:1-3)
- Saved but Useless to God (Hebrews 6:3-8)
- Beyond Repentance (Hebrews 6:3-8)
- Resources by Andy Woods on this challenging passage:
Blessings - Tony