Summary: A look at the third warning passage in the book of Hebrews
March 2, 2003
First Church of the Brethren
H. Kevin Derr
“The Third Warning: The Peril of Spiritual Immaturity”
11We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. 12In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
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.
7Land 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. 8But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.
9Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your case—things that accompany salvation. 10God 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. 11We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. 12We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.
This text is one of those that receives countless interpretations and reinterpretations concerning eternal security. There are some who are ready to use this text to say that you can loose your salvation, and others use different texts to say you can never loose your salvation. It is a very easy argument to get caught up in, especially when one starts to follow the predestined and free will agreement. These ideas represent some of the most revered theologians and traditions of Christianity. I my opinion, much of this constitutes simple answers to questions that have been asked erroneously.
The author of Hebrews on the other hand does not spend his time arguing that we can not loose our salvation, or that we can, rather he tells us to make every effort to make our hope sure. Our energies should not be spent in detailing ways we can loose our hope, or detailing reasons why no matter what we do we cannot loose our hope, rather we are to spend our time making our hope sure. He takes a sobering approach to faith. It is not something to be spoken of lightly or treated casually. Our hope is tied up in Jesus crucifixion, and life, all life is precious and should never be treated causally, especially the life of the Son of God, the Messiah, the Christ. Prayer