Consequences of the Warning Passages in Hebrews

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Faith alone, Nov 22, 2006.

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  1. Faith alone

    Faith alone
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    There was recently a discussion of Hebrews 6:4-6 - a controversial text in Hebrews (one of the five such warning passages). But about what do these warning passages warn?

    Some say that they warn about the possible loss of salvation of those who have been genuinely saved. Others say that thay warn about something which in theory could happen, but would never happen to a genuine believer, but only to those who falsely profess to be saved.

    But there is a 3rd opinion on them. (And others, I know - just trying to keep this less complex.) That is that they do not warn about eternal damnation at all. Now some pretty intense language is used. Fire is used in at least 5 places in Hebrews:

    Hebrews 6:8 (3rd warning passage - refers to burning)

    Hebrews 10:27 (4th warning passage)

    Hebrews 11:34 (actually not applicable - not a warning passage)

    Hebrews 12:18 (5th warning passage)

    Hebrews 12:29 (5th warning passage)

    So what do you guys think? Is "fire" in Hebrews referring to "hell-fire"? I say no.

    And please, let's keep this civil and on-topic. I'd like to discuss Hebrews 6 and 10 - eventually. But first let's discuss what the danger is all about here.

    FA
     
    #1 Faith alone, Nov 22, 2006
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  2. Faith alone

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    I should add that during the week I usually am not available to respond very quickly to posts, so please do not assume that I am ignoring anyone! I am hoping that once I get the ball rolling that others will jump in. :thumbs:

    BTW, perhaps we should start out by giving our theological stance - might help others to understand what we're posting. Personally, I am neither Calvinist noir am I Arminian. It's a pretty standard Baptist position these days. I sometimes refer to myself as a "moderate calvinist," though often my Reformed brothers beg to differ. :p It's sometimes referred to as "free grace." Those who don't agree, call it "easy believism," but please, let's not go down that path. Anyway - that's me.

    FA
     
    #2 Faith alone, Nov 22, 2006
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  3. webdog

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    I believe the fire to be a symbol of punishment (as is used throughout Scripture), but no necessarily hell - fire here.
     
  4. James_Newman

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    FA, I am a believer in free grace, OSAS easy believism, in regards to eternal salvation. But these warning passages may easily apply to literal hell fire, and still not imply eternal damnation. A growing number of us have recognized that there are many significant warnings to believers in scripture. Hebrews 10 certainly is one of the more disturbing passages in the bible.

    Hebrews 10:26-31
    26 For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
    27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
    28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
    29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
    30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.
    31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

    It is evident that Paul is speaking of believers, when he talks of those who have received the knowledge of the truth and been sanctified by the blood of the covenant. Whatever the fiery indignation is refering to, we are assured that those who count that blood an unholy thing are worthy of much sorer punishment than the physical death that was meted out under Moses' law.
     
  5. Jarthur001

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    What in the world is a moderate calvinist???? :) :)

    Just kidding.

    You have a "Classic Calvinist" here.....<<<<<((ME))

    I addressed this on the LONNNNNNNNNNNNG "if" thread.

    http://www.baptistboard.com/showpost.php?p=877512&postcount=38
    part 2..
    http://www.baptistboard.com/showpost.php?p=877512&postcount=39

    In my view...this is not the even of salvation, but the events after salvation. If you happen to read it on the other thread, no need to link back, it did not change.
     
  6. Blammo

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    James,

    Who are the "we" in the last verse of Hebrews 10?

    Hebrews 10:39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.
     
  7. James_Newman

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    I would say that ultimately we is the just who live by faith, and do not draw back. But I think Paul is just speaking encouragingly to the Hebrews, reminding them of what has already been wrought in them. He speaks of their confidence in verse 35, then reminds them that it is just a little while until the Lord comes back.

    Hebrews 10:34-39
    34 For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.
    35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.
    36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
    37 For yet, a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.
    38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
    39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

    I would take this to be similar to Paul's statement to the Philippians.

    Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

    We can certainly look to our good works in regard to a hopeful expectation of reward, so long as we are not sinning willfully. We can and should have faith that God wants us to overcome and has given us everything we need in order to receive that reward. But we shouldn't be looking to our works for assurance of our salvation, rather we should be looking at the work of Jesus Christ.
     
  8. Faith alone

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    Thx James. Can you expand on your thinking here? How is the author of Hebrews using the firey ordeal of Hebrews 10 as a warning of hell-fire and yet not warning of possible loss of salvation? I'm very interested in hearing more about your approach.


    Just a comment: the severe judgment referred to here (referencing the OT) was referring to punishment of believers, not unbelievers in the OT context, as I see it.

    Each warning given in Hebrews is progressively worse. The 1st warning is the danger of drifting away from the truth (2:1-4); the next danger of not entering into His rest (ch. 3-4); and the third is the danger of not going on to maturity (ch. 5-6). In the 4th warning - Hebrews 10 - the believer is warned about the impossibility of going back to the OT sacrificial system. Some of those Jewish believers were considering compromising their faith. The 5th warning has to do with renewing your spiritual vitality and the danger of lost rewards. In fact, IMO all of the warnings passages refer, directly or indirectly, to lost rewards and other temporal consequences.

    The author uses illustrations to make his point, and often uses ones that are very graphic and serious in nature. That does not necessarily imply, IMO, that it must refer to eternal punishment. Some say, perhaps you do, James, that the reference to eternal punishment was given here in Hebrews 10 IOT point out that there was no provision for deliberate sin in the OT by the annual sacrifices. Hence, if they were turning away from Christ's sacrifice, upon what were they relying? Is that your position?

    But IMO all of these dangers are only for the child of God, not for the world in general. Many who support eternal security take a different position in these warning passages in Hebrews. The danger of the unsaved is not to be saved and thus go to the lake of fire. But I do not believe that to be the focus in Hebrews. There the focus is that there is a danger for the saved to lose rewards, to have a wasted life, and ultimately, that of physical death. As believers we often take the severity of the consequences for our sin too lightly.

    So in Hebrews 5:11ff Barnabas, after rebuking his hearers for not being teachers of the Word even though they had been saved long enough that they should have progressed that far, but they were still needing to be taught the milk of the Word. Barnabas urges them in chapter 5 and 6 to “go on to maturity.” The reason for doing this is because it is impossible for someone who is saved if they should defect from the faith and are set in this to renew them again to an attitude of repentance. After coming to Christ, everything we do will come before the judgment seat of Christ and it will be rewarded if it is good, or burnt if it is good-for-nothing.

    For example, earlier in chapter 10 Barnabas (or whoever the author of Hebrews was) had exhorted them to hang in there - to stand tall. Yet he also expressed confidence that they would do so. What is the nature of the judgment? It just comes down to this, IMO: desiring to escape man’s judgment, they will fall into the judgment of God instead! As I said, this is a serious warning.

    But IMO the judgment cannot be loss of eternal salvation or of eternal life (10:39). Also, this judgment does involve loss of spiritual rewards (See 10:35-36). And the judgment could involve actual physical death for this is certain to come if they continue and persist in sinning (10:28-29).

    I'm not trying to talk about Hebrews 10, but just using it as an example of what I'm trying to say here.

    The fire is applied to the land in Hebrews 6. Since the land is what is burned, this parallels the curses on the land of promise in Deuteronomy 28–29. There we see that the land was cursed and not productive. We do know that a common practice in those days was to burn off the foilage on the land so that the land itself would be returned to productive use. It is my opinion that this is what the author of Hebrews is referencing in the 3rd warning passage (Hebrews 5:11 - 6:8).

    That's how I see the warnings of fire in Hebrews. Also, the concept of loss of rewatrds appears again and again in hebrews, yet is mostly ignored by commentators.

    FA
     
  9. Faith alone

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    James,

    I don't disagree with your point, but I would point out that...
    That the goodwork performed in the Phillipians believers is the work Paul was accomplishing as a result of their restoring their giving to him, and they were hence partnering with Paul in it. It is not saying that believers will be fully sanctified. We have to find that elsewhere, IMO.

    Also, isn't most sin "deliberate" or "willful"? IMO the author of Hebrews point in Hebrews 10 is not that they need to not sin deliberately, but that they will, and as a result they will not be able to return to the OT sacrificial system.

    FA
     
  10. Faith alone

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    "Moderate calvinists"

    Moderate Calvinism is a view of Calvinism that accepts many of its tenets, yet not as they are traditionally phrased. It is neither Calvinism nor Arminianism. There are dozens of positions which are neither Reformed nor are they Arminian. Some well-known adherrants of moderate Calvinism, who sometimes refer to their position as such, are: Norman Geisler (See his book, Chosen But Free), Charles Ryrie, Charles and Andy Stanley, Zane Hodges, Ravi Zacharias and Earl Radmacher, Dave Anderson and originally Chafer of DTS.

    Many Calvinists insist on labeling all those who are not 5-pointers as Arminians - which is ridiculous. They only see Calvinist doctrines or Arminian doctrines. But there is a lot more out there which is neither diametrically opposed to Calvinism nor Arminianism either, for that matter.

    Generally, I have issues with how Unconditional election, Limited atonement, and Irresistible grace are described in Calvinism. I do hold to election - definitely - but not as defined in the TULIP - for example. The other two I just flatly do not accept.

    Hope that helps.

    FA
     
  11. Jarthur001

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    39But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

    We are the elect of God. This verse is clearly a statement of OSAS. If I could reword it...
     
    #11 Jarthur001, Nov 22, 2006
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  12. Jarthur001

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    I knew what you meant...just giving you a hard time. :)

    BTW...maybe we can work on your views. :)
     
  13. Blammo

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    The reason I asked who the "we" are in 10:39, is the same reason I would ask who the "you" are in 6:9. It seems like the warning is given, and then those who are addressed are assured the warning does not apply to them.

    Hebrews 6:9 But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.

    Hebrews 10:39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.
     
  14. James_Newman

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    I agree with you mostly. These warnings are definitely talking about rewards for believers. But I think we downplay the seriousness of the rewards. I think we also have a general misunderstanding of the nature of rewards themselves. We tend to think of reward only in a positive sense, while scripture teaches that there are negative rewards, or basically what we would call consequences for sin. Looking again at Hebrews 10, what we are talking about is called in verse 39 the saving of the soul.

    Falling into the hands of a living God is a fearful thing indeed. While physical death is certainly a danger for disobedience (see Ananias and Sapphira), Jesus warned us that we should fear God who could destroy both body and soul in hell. As you say, this would not involve losing eternal salvation, but forfeiting rewards in the next life in order to secure temporary comfort in this life has it's own reward.

    Matthew 16:24-27
    24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
    25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
    26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
    27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
     
  15. webdog

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    This is why I feel the "fire" and "burned" is in regards to our works, those being wood hay and stubble, and not hell fire.
     
  16. Jarthur001

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    One thing is clear, the write does sure HOPES they will not. Maybe the wording is stronger as you seem to be saying. That is a hard call to make. Or I feel it is.


    Yet...I feel it is addressing believers in both cases.... I would say the writer has hopes he is ..."persuaded better things of you"...and that the "warning" will not take place to those he addresses


    6:9...But, beloved, we ((((the writer I think all would agree))) are persuaded better things of you ((((better things then the worthless works that were set afire in the verse above)))), and things that accompany salvation, ((((This shows what the passage is talking about. Not the salvation even, but the events after salvation))))))though we thus speak.


    But...I could be wrong. :)
     
  17. Jarthur001

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    i happen to agree. :)
     
  18. webdog

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    It only took a little over 2000 posts :)
     
  19. James_Newman

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    the problem is that this burning of the works is not the reward, but it is the trial. If the works be burned, he shall suffer loss. Suffering loss occurs after the burning of works. The testing of the works is what determines the reward. If the believer is found to have defiled the temple with works of wood hay and stubble, the burning of his works is not the reward, nor is the lack of positive reward the only suffering of loss. Paul says they will be destroyed.

    1 Corinthians 3:16-17
    16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
    17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

    So whatever this destruction is, it isn't the burning of works. We would do well to heed the Lord's warnings.

    Mark 9:47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:
     
  20. Blammo

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    Why does the parallel verse in Matthew say "life" instead of "kingdom of God"?

    Matthew 18:9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.
     
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