Re: Orthodoxy contradicts being saved by faith alone.
I would offer that what is being taught is this: If a person falls away, it is impossible for them to be brought back to repentance. I believe this is what the Unpardonable Sin is all about. Note how the words "for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age". Remember that we are also taught that the ONLY way we KNOW that Jesus is the Christ, is by the witness of the Holy Spirit. It is the denial of the Holy Spirit that is unpardonable.
JAYMZ;2996730]lets take these verse in the context of the chapter.
1Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation
of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3And God permitting, we will do so.
4It is impossible
for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6if they fall away
, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.
I will attempt to further explain this. When a person first makes the choice to repent and accept Jesus, the Holy Spirit witnesses His Truth to us. It is the Holy Spirit who then guides and directs us and continues to open the kingdom of heaven to us as we gain more and more knowledge. We have already accepted the gift Jesus offers us. We have recognized His sacrifice and suffering on the cross on our behalf, and have knowingly partaken of His blood cleansing us of our sin. As we then continue to gain knowledge, the Holy Spirit is able to teach us the importance of what Jesus has done; and we are more deeply aware of what He went through. When we reach a high level of understanding, we become partners in the cause of His crucifixion through our deeper understanding of His sacrifice. IOW, we recognize our part in the responsibility of why He did what He did. So, even though His gift is free to us, nevertheless we see that we had a hand in the need for a Savior.
Now, consider how we have accepted His gift, we have been enlightened by the Holy Spirit, and we have recognized and confessed our culpability in the need for His sacrifice. Then, for some reason (which seems quite unlikely to us.....but it can happen as evidenced by the fact that Jesus taught us that there IS an unpardonable sin) we should fall away and deny what the Holy Spirit has taught us, we commit the unpardonable sin. Why is this then unpardonable? Affectively, "because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace."
Inasmuch as I agree that the word "IF" is important to consider, I believe it is because it IS possible to lose salvation that the word "IF" was used to begin with. And the teaching goes on to explain what the result of such a falling away translates into: "crucifying the Son of God all over again". I do NOT agree with your conclusion that it is impossible to lose salvation once someone is saved. If the author wanted to convey the message that once someone is saved it is impossible to fall away, they would not have used the word "IF" at all. And why would this be unpardonable? Because the gift had been accepted, and then rejected and actually, at this point, has been thrown back into the face of our Savior. Those who reject Jesus' gift cannot be saved.
Why do some people assume the author is talking about REAL examples of christians loosing their salvation ?
Look at verse 6. It says IF they fall away. It doesnt say someone actually did. Wouldnt it be more possible that the author is setting up a hypothetical to prove the absurdity of Christ being crucified over and over again ? The author of Hebrews is essentially saying " if it were possible for a christian to loose their salvation, then to get it back, Christ would have to come to earth again and be nailed to a cross . " And that is not going to happen, because Christ died ONCE for ALL of mankind. Then, these verse come right on the heels of him just saying " the gospel is a fundamental teaching that you should ALREADY understand ( verses 1, 2 ).
I think really, he is saying that it is IMPOSSIBLE for one to loose their salvation ( verse 4 ).
So no......I dont think this supports true christians loosing there salvation.
In additional support of my view on this is taking into consideration what Peter taught to members of the church who had already been converted to Christianity:
2 Peter 1:10
Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
Obviously, being saved by accepting Jesus is NOT a guaranty you can't fall away. Peter taught that "ye shall never fall" by giving diligence to make your calling and election sure.
"Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle." source unknown