Holy King, purify my heart before You, that I may follow You more closely.
Read Hebrews 6:4–12
4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen[a] away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. 7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.
9 Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case—the things that have to do with salvation. 10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. 11 We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. 12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.
- Hebrews 6:6 Or age, 6 if they fall
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Reflect‘Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His presence continually’ (Psalm 105:4, ESV). Do you do this?
Which family members or friends come to mind as you read this? Who once seemed to be walking with God but no longer does so?
There are different understandings of this passage. One suggests that verses 4 and 5 describe a genuine Christian who then falls away. The other, that the ‘enlightening,’ the ‘tasting,’ even the ‘sharing’ in the Holy Spirit, are enjoyed by a dabbler rather than a believer. It’s as if they’d gone on some dates but never gotten married. Placed against what Jesus said about never losing any that are His (John 6:39; 10:28–30), this second understanding seems to me to fit better with New Testament teaching. Their temporary response is like the seed sown on rocky ground (Mark 4:16,17). Either way it is a sober warning (6).
These are difficult verses – there are those whom we love deeply who we long to return to God. And yet, this brings a warning to lukewarm Christians (like those in 5:11,12). Fortunately, it’s not up to us to decide whether the ‘no way back’ applies to those who were once around church but are so no longer. But our response must surely be to pray for each of them with our whole heart, trusting that Jesus knows all who are His – and that all who are will follow Him (John 10:27,28).
Think of those you love who are not following Jesus. Write their names where you can see them daily this week. Make them a special object of prayer.
My God, I am so thankful that You love my friends and family even more than I do and that You long so intensely to see them saved.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.