Further Considerations of Apostasy in Hebrews

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Craigbythesea, Jul 8, 2004.

  1. Craigbythesea

    Craigbythesea
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    Pastor Larry commented in the Heb. 6:4-6 thread,

    Heb. 6:4. For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit,
    5. and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,
    6. and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.

    Luke 8:13. "Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away.

    Gal. 5:4. You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

    In the Epistle to the Hebrews, the writer is “addressing readers whose loss of confidence and whose flagging will to persevere in the Christian race (10:35f.; 12:3, 12) point alarmingly to the possibility of their dropping out of the contest altogether, and in doing so of placing themselves beyond all hope of restoration.” (Philip Hughes). Therefore the writer finds it necessary to warn his readers repeatedly of the danger of falling away from the faith that has saved them, and does so in 2:1ff, 3:12ff., 6:4ff., 10:26ff, and 12:25ff.

    But Larry insists that these persons were never “truly” saved. Isn’t that amazing! They not only heard the gospel, they believed it. They not only believed the gospel, they repented of their sins. They not only repented of their sins compare 2 Cor. 7:10), they have been enlightened (compare John 1:9; Eph. 1:18; 2 Tim. 1:10; Heb. 10:26). They not only have been enlightened, they have been baptized (as early as the second century “enlightenment” was a synonym for Christian Baptism and in the Peshita Syriac version of the New Testament we find in Heb. 6:4, “But they who have once descended to baptism, and have tasted the gift from heaven, and have received the Hoy Spirit,” {Murdock’s Translation of the Syriac New Testament}. And that was not just a passing, novel idea. We find it again in the 4th century, and Thomas Aquinas wrote in the 13th century, “baptism is appropriately called enlightenment since baptism is the principle of spiritual regeneration in which the understanding is illuminated by faith.” In the 16th century Lefèvre d’Etaples writes, “What is ‘who have once been enlightened’? Undoubtedly who have once been baptized; for baptism is termed the sacrament of photismata, that is, of enlightenments, by most of our scholars.” And not only have they been baptized, they have tasted of the heavenly gift (historically interpreted as the forgiveness of sins, or simply as God’s grace in salvation). And not only have they tasted of the blessings that Christians receive by grace through faith, they have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit Himself. And not only have they been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, they tasted the good word of God. And not only have they tasted the good word of God, they have tasted the powers of the age to come (compare Heb. 2:4).

    Heb. 6:6. and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.

    Fallen away from what if not the from the faith that has saved them? “Impossible to renew them again to repentance.” If they hadn’t believed the Gospel, why did they repent upon hearing it? And what more is required for one to be saved but to believe the Gospel and repent of ones sins.
     
  2. danrusdad

    danrusdad
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    Please provide a biblical example of someone who was saved, lost it, and then was saved again.
     
  3. Charles Meadows

    Charles Meadows
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    Craig,

    You have well articulated your argument - but I think you too soon dismiss what Larry is saying here.

    "Luke 8:13. "Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away."

    To me this is a pretty good description of the ones who never truly made a committment. How many people do we see in church go up and bump their noses on an altar - only to be the same old worldy wretch a month later. This to me doesn't seem like the kind of fruit produced by an individual with the indwelling of the spirit.

    In my college days I drank enough 12 ounce cans (not pop) to float a battleship and lived to chase women and raise you know what! Since giving my heart to Christ I have not had any desire to do any of those things. The conviction I would feel upon walking into a bar would be overpowering. I think that if a person does not have an enduring change it's tough to say he/she was really saved.

    So I think Larry is right on in identifying these folks as people who made a committment with their lips but not really with their hearts.
     
  4. Daniel David

    Daniel David
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    There is still another view which I believe is picking up some steam.

    The view is basically this: the warnings were written to believers to admonish them to continue and persevere. In other words, they are the negative counterpart to promises, but both seek to produce the same result. That being perseverance of course.
     
  5. Lacy Evans

    Lacy Evans
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    This is my position. I believe we must take the warnings, however terrible that are addressed to us as real and possible.

    The problem I see with the teaching that salvation can be lost is that (other that the fact that I believe it is not scriptural) is that it doesn't produce perserverance. I know of NO individual that teaches it, that actually believes they are in any real danger. Most make it so hard to lose salvation (ie. one must sin REALLY bad for a REALLY long time and even then he must not "want" to repent.) that it produces no more fear of God than typical Fire-insurance Baptist teaching.

    But Hebrews 10 makes the danger clear, real and present. How many wilfull sins do we commit before being in danger according to this scripture?

    And who is the Lord judging? Whippings are not eternal! They end! They are temporal. But they hurt . . .bad!

    Lacy
     
  6. Artimaeus

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    It seems to be pretty easy to "fall away" and once you fall you are a gonner. Do you know what I call going through all of that...TUESDAY! (rim shot)
     
  7. Craigbythesea

    Craigbythesea
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    Dr. Meadows,

    How much of a commitment does it take for one to be saved? I prayed and asked Jesus to save me without having made any commitment to Him at all. For the next three weeks I even denied, in public, being saved, and I vocally made a mockery of the Bible, Jesus, and everything that Jesus stands for. Then, after three weeks, without any further prayer or commitment, I was walking down a sidewalk along a very busy street and I saw a young man standing on a corner. I had seen him there before, several times, apparently propositioning himself to other men, and I had just ignored him. But on that night, as I walked past him, I felt very badly for him. I tried to dismiss the thought, but it was so strong that I could not do so. I continued walking, feeling very badly for him and a rapidly increasing need to try to help him. But I knew that the whole idea was stupid and dangerous—after all, I was not even certain of my appraisal of his intentions. I continued walking, but before I could get to the next corner, I felt my body turning around and walking back to the young man.

    When I found myself right in front of him, without even thinking I asked him point blank if he was prostituting himself to other men. He told me that he was and he began to cry. After a few seconds he took off, running down the sidewalk, right through the red lights in heavy traffic. And just like that, I found myself running after him—right through the red lights. After running six or seven blocks, he ducked behind a pillar in front of a building, but I saw where he went and I ran up behind him.

    Upon reaching him, I felt my right hand lifting up and resting on the young man’s shoulder. He was crying very hard with his face in his hands facing the pillar. And then I felt my mouth begin to move and heard scriptures from the Bible coming out of my mouth. After a few minutes, the young man turned around, wiped the tears from his eyes, and told me that his name was Bob, that he was married, in the U.S. Navy, that his wife was pregnant, and that he was about to deploy on a West Pacific Cruise and would be away when the baby was born. He was two thousand miles from home, extremely lonely, and radically confused. He also told me that he was a Christian and a member of a good Baptist church back home, and that he knew what he was doing was wrong and that he was ashamed, and that he ran away from me because he was so very ashamed. He then added that as he ran, he hoped that I would care enough to run after him and help him.

    I was raised in a dysfunctional family and I hated both of my parents and both of my brothers, and I was extremely selfish and cared nothing about anyone but myself. But here I had risked my life running through several red lights in very busy traffic to help some faggot. And as I stood there with that kid, I realized that I loved him more than life itself. Bob thanked me for caring about him and helping him and shook my hand—and I realized at that moment that Jesus was real and that the Bible was true and that I had been saved back there in the Assembly of God church. Five months later I felt a strong call into the Christian ministry and subsequently became the pastor of an inner city church where I was able to minister to other young men like Bob, and very many other people, mostly Christians, who had succumbed in a very serious way to the temptations of sin.

    The job was exceedingly difficult and demanding, and after six years I found an excuse to give it up. That was the biggest mistake that I have every made. Christians are susceptible to temptations, and in times of trial, the temptations can look mighty fine. Even the very most committed Christians need to beware, lest they fall. I did not fall as far as some, but I fell from my calling, and that was bad enough. I have seen other committed Christians fall even further, and falling, even a little, is not much fun—indeed, it is not fun at all!

    But why did I pray and ask Jesus to save me back there in the Assembly of God church? The night before, a Saturday night, a backslidden 19-year-old Baptist boy named Ricky, whom I had known for only a short while, spent two hours pressing upon me my need to be saved until I promised to go to church the following night and answer the alter call. Ricky was not going to church at all, but I had been going to an Assembly of God church on Sunday nights for entertainment, so I went there Sunday night as promised to Ricky. The pastor preached an evangelical sermon, as he did every Sunday night, and gave an alter call. Several persons went forward and I looked at them and thought to myself how stupid they were for doing so. I had promised Ricky that I would do that myself, but looking at those fools manifested to me the stupidity of the whole thing. BUT, I had made a promise to Ricky, and I wanted to keep my promise, so I forced myself to go forward.

    When I reached the “alter,” the senior pastor’s wife came over to me and asked me if I wanted to get saved. I told her that I promised a friend that I would ask Jesus to save me tonight, but that I didn’t know how to do it. She told me that she would pray a “sinner’s prayer,” and that all I needed to do was repeat the words after her. That sounded easy enough, and I did so. The congregation began to shout praises to God, but I was simply glad that I kept my promise to Ricky.

    I should probably include here an important detail. About a month earlier, the associate pastor came over to me after a Sunday night evangelical service and witnessed to me. I told him that I didn’t want anything to do with his nonsense, and he asked me if he could pray for me. I told him that he could, and he called over his 14-year-old boy Gary (whom I learned later had been praying for several weeks for me to be saved), and Gary, along with several others, came over and prayed for me for about an hour. They then stopped praying, and the Gary’s father asked me if I wanted to be saved. I thought they were all absolutely insane to think that “praying” for an hour would change anything at all, and I told them that I didn’t believe a single word in the Bible. Gary’s father then called the entire church over to pray for me, and they prayed and prayed. I kept looking at my watch, wondering when they would give up, but they didn’t, so at midnight I stopped them and told them that enough was enough and that I wanted to go home. They asked me if I wanted to get saved first, and I told them that I did not. As I walked out of the church, I saw the little children asleep all over the sanctuary, and the older children, who had been praying for me, yawning, and I knew that they had to go to school in the morning and that the adults needed to go to work—Gary’s father had to be at work in five hours! But me, I thought it was all a big joke and I was happy to get so much attention.

    After I got saved, I learned from Gary what it meant to be a Christian—not by the words that he spoke, for he seldom said a word to me, but by the life that he lived. Everything that I learned about commitment, I learned AFTER if got saved.
     
  8. Charles Meadows

    Charles Meadows
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    Craig,

    I'll certainly have to agree with you on the fact that there ARE those who fall away (Heb 4:6, Mt 25:41-46, Mt 7:21-22).

    Thus the question is WERE they saved only to become apostate later? Or perhaps were they never really saved to begin with? One of these two must apply!

    Given Jesus' descriptions of salvation (Jn 3:16, Jn 4:14, Jn 5:24, Jn 10:27-29) I see it as essentially a permanent change; a passage of sorts.

    Without a doubt there are those in the church who have "fallen" and who will "fall". Given Jesus' quotes above as well as the parable of the seed (and Heb 4:7-9 in parallel) I think the best way to describe these is never having been truly saved. Yes they may have said, "Lord Lord" or partaken in church fellowship - but they never produced the true fruit that salvation brings.

    Now I could be wrong...
     
  9. ituttut

    ituttut
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    Amen!
     
  10. Craigbythesea

    Craigbythesea
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    Dr. Meadows,

    Please allow me to ask you a question as a physician. Have you not saved a life only to have the person die later? Surely you did not save their life so that they could die later; you saved their life so that they could live. God saves the sinner so that he can live, but if he subsequently chooses to reject that salvation and the Christ who gave him that salvation, what is to stop him. I do not see in the Scriptures that that individual's free will has been taken away from him upon being saved. Yes, the Holy Spirit will convict him of his sin, but the Holy Spirit will not stop him from sinning if he insists upon do so. Neither will the Holy Spirit stop him from totally abandoning his faith if he so chooses.

    You have strongly suggested that persons who are truly saved will never totally abandon their faith. I find in the Scriptures, however, only two classes of persons, those who are saved, and those who are not. Either you is or you isn’t. And some who is become those who isn’t. But, beloved doctor, I am convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though I am speaking in this way.
     
  11. Craigbythesea

    Craigbythesea
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    Amen! </font>[/QUOTE]The Bible does not teach such a concept, and I certainly don' teach it either.
     
  12. ituttut

    ituttut
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    Hello C. Meadows. I see where you are making the choices available. If I may from my perspective.

    According to verse 4 we do know these Jew were saved, or they had only been partakers of the Holy Spirit. ”For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost”. But in one case they had been Once Saved Always Saved, or they had been saved under the old economy of having to endure until the end. I believe here we can perhaps make a case for the two gospels that were at work during the time of the Apostles.

    They were enlightened, they tasted of the gift (doesn’t say free gift), and they partook of the Holy Spirit (doesn't say saved). These are those that evidently had received some of the Holy Spirits Power. They had got a taste of the kingdom of heaven to come. If they came as the Jew of “repent and be baptized for the remission of sins”, that would mean they were not Once Saved Always Saved, as we received “remission of sins” when we believe, and that does not come by “water baptism”. So in this scenario these Jews could be lost as they did not endure until the end. Since this book is specifically written to the Jew, and seen as Jews, they may wish to come as the Jew, (The Christian in the Body of Christ is neither Gentile nor Jews), so then their salvation is conditional, being under the law, and they are finally secure after they die, if they have endured, as they come By faith, and not Through faith.

    But if we look at this in another way a case can be made that they are saved, and are not to go back under the law. I just made an argument on this in a new post on Hebrews - 2 gospels.
     
  13. Charles Meadows

    Charles Meadows
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    Craig,

    "You have strongly suggested that persons who are truly saved will never totally abandon their faith. I find in the Scriptures, however, only two classes of persons, those who are saved, and those who are not."

    Good observation. I agree. I also see Jesus warning that there are those who say "Lord Lord" but yet will be eternally damned come judgment day!

    I see a number of people in churches who "talk the talk" but whose lives don't project Christ. Like my story about the trustee's wife (I get mad whenever I remember it) who berated a young single mother for being dressed in pants and having illegitimate children. The young lady never came back to church - and when confronted with things the older lady said, "well, that's her fault!" Now this lady professes to be saved but her life reflects vinegar and not blessedness!

    I think she might say, "Lord Lord" but on judgment day...

    I think she never really got it!!

    Or did she just lose it!
    ;)
     

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