The Journal of Biblical Accuracy

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Explaining away Hebrews 6 and Hebrews 10

Many of those who cherish the belief that the moment somebody believes he is saved once and for all and regardless of what will happen to his faith after that, seeing that Hebrews 6 and Hebrews 10 do not line up with this belief, have tried to find ways to explain these passages. Most of these explanations basically support that these do not refer believers. But if a person who has been sanctified by the blood of Jesus and has been a partaker of the holy spirit was never a believer, then who is a believer?

Others though, despite that they still support this doctrine, they cannot deny the obvious taught in these passages that they indeed refer to believers. One of them is Barnes, a well-known commentator, whose commentaries one can find in many online Bible programs. He said the following in his comments on Hebrews 10:26:

"If after we are converted and become true Christians we should apostatize, it would be impossible to be recovered again, for there would be no other sacrifice for sin; no way by which we could be saved. This passage, however, like Hebrews 6:4-6, has given rise to much difference of opinion. But that the above is the correct interpretation, seems evident to me from the following considerations:

(1) It is the natural and obvious interpretation, such as would occur probably to ninety-nine readers in a hundred, if there were no theory to support, and no fear that it would conflict with some other doctrine.

(2) it accords with the scope of the Epistle, which is, to keep those whom the apostle addressed from returning again to the Jewish religion, under the trials to which they were subjected.

(3) it is in accordance with the fair meaning of the language - the words "after that we have received the knowledge of the truth," referring more naturally to true conversion than to any other state of mind.

(4) the sentiment would not be correct if it referred to any but real Christians. It would not be true that one who had been somewhat enlightened, and who then sinned "willfully," must look on fearfully to the judgment without a possibility of being saved. There are multitudes of cases where such persons are saved. They "willfully" resist the Holy Spirit; they strive against him; they for a long time refuse to yield, but they are brought again to reflection, and are led to give their hearts to God.

(5) it is true, and always will be true, that if a sincere Christian should apostatize he could never be converted again; see the notes on Heb. 6:4-6. The reasons are obvious. He would have tried the only plan of salvation, and it would have failed. He would have embraced the Savior, and there would not have been efficacy enough in his blood to keep him, and there would be no more powerful Savior and no more efficacious blood of atonement. He would have renounced the Holy Spirit, and would have shown that his influences were not effectual to keep him, and there would be no other agent of greater power to renew and save him after he had apostatized. For these reasons it seems clear to me that this passage refers to true Christians, and that the doctrine here taught is, that if such an one should apostatize, he must look forward only to the terrors of the judgment, and to final condemnation."

Therefore, according to Barnes these passages could only refer to real Christians. However, he chose to explain the above facts away. How? Through the following theory:

"If then it should be asked whether I believe that any true Christian ever did, or ever will fall from grace, and wholly lose his religion, I would answer unhesitatingly, no! If then it be asked what was the use of a warning like this, I answer: it would show the great sin of apostasy from God if it were to occur. It is proper to state the greatness of an act of sin, though it might never occur, in order to show how it would be regarded by God." (emphasis added).

In other words, according to Barnes, God is basically kidding us! He tells us what a great destruction one would suffer if he would abandon the faith, though such thing is, supposedly, impossible. He devotes passage upon passage with the sole purpose of warning us of something that – according to Barnes - is not really a danger! Would our God ever do something like this? No, He would not. God does not play with us. Let us be assured: what He says, He also means it!

From our side now, we can choose a bizarre explanation to avoid Hebrews 6 and 10 or we can just choose to believe what we read not just in Hebrews but also in the other passages covered in this study.

Next section: Hebrews 3:4-6: Holding fast our confidence until the end


Author: Anastasios Kioulachoglou